Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos
Historical Figure
Nationality: Byzantine Empire
Date of Birth: 1056
Date of Death: 1118
Cause of Death: Natural Causes
Religion: Christianity
Occupation: Soldier, Monarch
Parents: John Komnenos
Anna Dalassena
Spouse: Irene Doukaina
Children: Nine
Relatives: Isaac Komnenos (brother)
House: Komnenoi
Turtledove Appearances:
Shared Universe Story
"Two Thieves"
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Nationality: New Constantinople
Alexios I Komnenos (1056 - 15 August 1118) ruled over the Byzantine Empire from 1081 to 1118. He was not the first Komnenos to rule, but it was during his reign that the dynasty came to full power.

During his reign, Alexios rejuvenated the Empire, vending off attacks from the Seljuqs and the Normans. He also served as the catalyst for the First Crusade. His twilight years saw him lose popularity, and even on his deathbed, various family members were plotting against each other for succession.

Alexios I Komnenos in "Two Thieves"Edit

Like everyone who lived and died on Earth, Alexios I Komnenos was resurrected on Riverworld in a healthy 25-year old body. He soon reconnected with his elder brother, Isaac, and founded New Constantinople, with himself as Basileus.[1] His territory was bordered just down the River by Bornu, which was ruled by Sultan Musa ar-Rahman. Up-river, his territory was bordered by red-skinned pagans who wanted to be left alone.

Through the course of events, Alexios concluded that war against Bornu would be necessary. However, he realized that, while none of his men would truly die, they would be resurrected on a distant bank of the River, and so New Constantinople would still lose them.[2] Thus, he resolved to form an alliance with with Mayor Richard J. Daley of Shytown, a community which lay down River of Bornu.[3] After consulting Isaac, who warned Alexios of Daley's reputation as a crafty man, Alexios and Isaac planned for Alexios' trip down River.

Taking advantage of a storm which caused the River to swell and sent trees, plants and other debris flowing down, Alexios attached himself to a large yew. Using a hollowed out bamboo shoot as a breathing tube, Alexios flowed with the yew down, past Bornu's territory, and into Shytown, arriving in the morning hours before sunrise.[4]

After demanding to see Daley (who was still asleep), Alexios met with Hizzonor and Daley's translator, Father Boyle.[5] Daley, who disdained Bornu's black population (a position Alexios didn't understand fully but was prepared to exploit), was intrigued by Alexios' proposals.[6] However, Daley was canny enough to realize that Bornu was a good buffer between Shytown and New Constantinople. He proposed that not only would the grailstones of Bornu be divvied up in advance, but that additionally, Daley would make Alexios his vice-mayor, while Alexios would make Daley the kaisar of New Constantinople. Thus, if one should "die", the other would immediately rule both city-states. Despite misgivings (including the fact that his own brother Isaac was already kaisar), Alexios agreed.[7] The two then got down to plotting the actual attack, which lasted until the next day.[8] Daley then arranged for Alexios's passage home.

The battle itself came not much later. Alexios' Rhomamoi swept over the border into Bornu. The more disciplined men of New Constantinople quickly overwhelmed the Bornu. Outside the royal palace, Musa himself challenged Alexios to the death. However, Musa was immediately attacked by Alexios, Isaac, and several others. Musa was killed, but Alexios allowed his surviving men to surrender. Not long after, the army of Shytown, which had launched their attack at about the same time, marched triumphantly into the capital.[9]

A week later, Alexios traveled to Shytown to be sworn in as Vice Mayor. While Alexios found the ceremony to be quite boring, he did enjoy the party afterward.[10] A few days after that, Daley traveled to New Constantinople and was sworn in as kaisar.[11] However, Alexios then announced that Isaac would be given the title of Sebastokrator, again assuring that Isaac would be his true successor, and rendering the office of kaisar irrelevant and Daley powerless.[12] Daley immediately realized what had happened. After an initial outburst of anger, Daley grew amused by Alexios' cleverness, and, after pledging to create the position of Associate Mayor in Shytown, enjoyed the feast.[13]

See AlsoEdit


  1. Tales of Riverworld, pg. 173.
  2. Ibid., pg. 175.
  3. Ibid., pg. 176.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 178-183.
  5. Ibid, pgs. 184-185.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 186-87
  7. Ibid., pgs. 187-189.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid., pgs. 191-199.
  10. Ibid. pgs. 201-202.
  11. Ibid., pgs. 203.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid., pgs. 204-206.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Nikephoros III
Byzantine Emperor
Succeeded by
John II Komnenos

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