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The ANGELOS family (Greek : Ἄγγελος), feminine form ANGELINA (Άγγελίνα), plural ANGELOI (Ἄγγελοι), was a Greek noble lineage which gave rise to three Byzantine emperors
Byzantine emperors
who ruled between 1185 and 1204. From the 13th to the 14th century, a branch of the family ruled Epiros , Thessaly
Thessaly
and Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
under the name of KOMNENOS DOUKAS.

The lineage was founded by Constantine Angelos , a minor noble from Philadelphia ( Asia Minor
Asia Minor
), who married Theodora Komnene (born 1096), a daughter of emperor Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos
. According to a 12th-century historian, Constantine was brave, skilled and handsome, but of lowly origin. Constantine was born in c. 1093 to an obscure family of the local aristocracy of Philadelphia. The family's surname, "Angelos", is commonly held to have derived from the Greek word for "angel", but such an origin is rarely attested in Byzantine times, and it is possible that their name instead derives from Agel, a district near Amida in Upper Mesopotamia. The historian Suzanne Wittek-de Jongh suggested that Constantine was the son of a certain patrikios Manuel Angelos, whose possessions near Serres
Serres
were confirmed by a chrysobull of Emperor Nikephoros III (r. 1078–1081), but this is unlikely. Constantine and Theodora had three sons: the sebastokrator John Doukas , Andronikos Doukas Angelos and Alexios Komnenos
Komnenos
Angelos , who erected a church in Nerezi in 1164, famed for its frescoes. Several members of the Angelos family, like John Doukas
Doukas
and his sons, often preferred to use other surnames rather than the family name.

Constantine's son Andronikos was the progenitor of the Angelos dynasty. In 1185, Andronikos' son Isaac II Angelos
Isaac II Angelos
deposed Andronikos I Komnenos
Komnenos
and was proclaimed Byzantine Emperor. Irene Angelina
Irene Angelina
, a daughter of Isaac II Angelos, married Philip of Swabia
Philip of Swabia
, King of the Germans . Their daughters married into a number of western European royal and princely families. Many of the extant aristocratic families of Europe are, therefore, descendants of the Angeloi. Isaac was deposed by his brother Alexios III Angelos , who was in turn overthrown by Alexios IV Angelos
Alexios IV Angelos
with the aid of the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
. Under the corrupt and dissolute reign of the Angelos dynasty, the Byzantine empire deteriorated and soon fell prey to Latin crusaders and Venetians in the Fourth Crusade.

After the fall of Constantinople and the establishment of the Latin Empire in 1204, John Doukas' illegitimate son, Michael I Komnenos Doukas
Doukas
, founded the Despotate of Epirus , choosing the city of Arta as its capital. In 1224, Michael's half-brother Theodore captured the Kingdom of Thessalonica
Kingdom of Thessalonica
from the crusaders and proclaimed himself as the legitimate Byzantine emperor (basileus ) in Thessalonica. However, Theodore was defeated and captured by John II Asen in the Battle of Klokotnitsa in 1230, and the Empire of Thessalonica
Empire of Thessalonica
quickly declined. During Theodore's captivity, his brother Manuel ruled over Thessalonica, succeeded by Theodore's sons John and Demetrios . Eventually, the city was lost to the Nicaean emperor John III Doukas Vatatzes in 1246, marking the end of the rule of the Angeloi in Thessalonica.

In 1230, Theodore's nephew Michael II , son of Michael I, established himself as ruler of Epirus and Thessaly
Thessaly
. After the death of Michael II in 1271, Epirus was ruled by his legitimate son Nikephoros I , while Thessaly
Thessaly
was given to his illegitimate son John I Doukas
John I Doukas
. In 1318, Nicholas Orsini murdered Nikephoros' son Thomas , ending the rule of the family in Epirus. In Thessaly, John I Doukas
John I Doukas
was succeeded by his son Constantine , followed by John II , who ruled from 1302/03 until his death in 1318. In the same year, the south of Thessaly
Thessaly
was seized by the Catalan Grand Company and annexed to the Duchy of Athens , while the north passed to a series of autonomous magnates.

Having re-established Byzantine control over Epirou and Thessaly
Thessaly
in 1340, emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos
Andronikos III Palaiologos
appointed the pinkernes (cup-bearer) John Angelos , a nephew of megas domestikos John Kantakouzenos , to the governorship of Epirus. John extended his rule to Thessaly
Thessaly
in 1342, but died from the plague in 1348. Epirus and Thessaly
Thessaly
were conquered by the Serbian ruler Stefan Dušan
Stefan Dušan
soon afterwards.

Descendants of John Angelos continued to govern Thessaly
Thessaly
under Simeon Uroš and John Uroš . John Uroš, the last Nemanjić
Nemanjić
, abdicated in favour of Alexios Angelos Philanthropenos , the kaisar of Thessaly
Thessaly
. Alexios' brother Manuel Angelos Philanthropenos was the last Byzantine Greek ruler of Thessaly.

After the Ottoman conquest of Thessaly
Thessaly
in 1394, the Angeloi Philanthropenoi took refuge in Serbia
Serbia
. A grandson of either Alexios or Manuel, Mihailo Anđelović , served as an official at the court of Đurađ and Lazar Branković
Lazar Branković
. Mihailo's brother Mahmud , captured in his infancy by Ottoman soldiers, was brought to Edirne
Edirne
, where he converted to Islam. He later rose to the highest ranks of the Ottoman Empire, becoming beylerbey of Rumelia
Rumelia
in 1451 and Grand Vizier
Grand Vizier
in 1455. Thus, in the negotiations between Serb despot Lazar Branković and Mehmed II
Mehmed II
in 1457, the two sides were represented by the brothers Mihailo and Mahmud Anđelović.

REFERENCES

* A. Kazhdan : "Angelos". In: The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium , New York/Oxford, 1991. * G. Ostrogorsky : "Anđeli". In: Enciklopedija Jugoslavije , 1st ed., Zagreb, 1955. * G. Prinzing: "Angeloi". In: Lexikon des Mittelalters
Lexikon des Mittelalters
, Stuttgart/Weimar, 1999.

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