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There have been many notorious Roman Emperors such as Caligula and Nero. The successor state of the
Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire also had several Emperors who could be classed as evil. Andronicus I Comnenus, (1118-1185 AD) has been classed as one of the most vicious and depraved monarchs of the Eastern Roman Empire. His rule was a catastrophe for the Byzantine Empire just after it had begun to recover after the disastrous defeat at Manzikert (1079). This article argues that Andronicus I created a great deal of social conflict, his cruelty led to a breakdown in relations with the West, and he left the Empire exposed to invasion. It will also show that despite his bloodthirstiness, he genuinely sought to reform the Imperial system and Byzantine society. However, Andronicus I, tyrannical regime gravely weakened the Empire and left it vulnerable to its enemies.
[[File: Andronicus Two.jpeg|200px|thumb|left|A medieval depiction of the revolt against Andronicus I]
In 1079 the Byzantine Emperor was defeated by the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert and this led to some twenty years of near anarchy in the Empire. During this time various claimants to the Byzantine throne fought civil wars as the Turks began to conquer more and more territory in Asia Minor<ref> Angold, Michael The Byzantine Empire, 1025–1204 (London, Longman, 1997), p 56</ref>. The Empire became so weak that it seemed that the successor of the Roman state would soon collapse and be conquered by Seljuk Turks, Normans, and Bulgarians. However, beginning from the reign of Alexios I Comnenus there was a remarkable revival in the Byzantine Empire. When he inherited the Imperial diadem the Turks were, literally, almost at the gates of Byzantium and the Normans had invaded the Empire’s Balkan territories. Alexios I had managed to reconquer the coastline and west of Asia Minor and defended the Empire in its western possessions <ref>Angold, p 119</ref>. He had also inadvertently initiated the First Crusade when he sent ambassadors to Western Europe seeking military assistance. The Crusaders had established a series of Crusader states and these helped to improve the strategic situation for the Byzantines in the east <ref> Harris, Jonathan, Byzantium and the Crusades (London, Bloomsbury, 2014), p 113</ref>. Moreover, the Muslim states focused their attention on the Crusaders and tended to leave the Byzantines alone. Under Emperors John and Manuel, the Empire began to grow in strength and was the leading Christian power. However, there were continuing tensions between Orthodox and Latin Christianity after the schism in the Christian Church in 1054, while the Italian maritime Republics had begun to dominate the trade of the Byzantine territories <ref> Harris, p 203</ref>.