ALEXIUS PETROVICH (1690-1718), Russian tsarevich, the sole surviving son of Peter I.
The young Alexius was ignored by his father till he was nine years old.
From his sixth to his ninth year he was given over to the care of learned foreigners, who taught him history, geography, mathematics and French.
In 1703 Alexius was ordered to follow the army to the field as a private in a bombardier regiment.
It was an additional misfortune for Alexius that his father should have been too busy to attend to him just as he was growing up from boyhood to manhood.
In 1708 Peter sent Alexius to Smolensk to collect provender and recruits, and thence to Moscow to fortify it against Charles XII.
For the next twelve months Alexius was kept constantly on the move.
Immediately on his return from Finland Alexius was despatched by his father to Staraya Rusya and Ladoga to see to the building of new ships.
Alexius, in order to escape such an ordeal, resorted to the abject expedient of disabling his right hand by a pistol-shot.
Alexius rejoiced at this welcome change, but he had cause rather to fear it.
Alexius was evidently consoling himself with the reflexion that the future belonged to him.
All Alexius had to do was to sit still, keep out of his father's way as much as possible and await the natural course of events.
By some such process of reasoning as this must the idea of changing the succession to the throne, by setting aside Alexius, have first occurred to the mind of Peter the Great.
On the 22nd of October 1715 Alexius' consort, the princess Charlotte, died, after giving birth to a son, the grand-duke Peter, afterwards Peter II.
On the day of the funeral Peter addressed to Alexius a stern letter of warning and remonstrance, urging him no longer to resemble the slothful servant in the parable, and threatening to cut him off, as though he were a gangrenous swelling, if he did not acquiesce in his father's plans.
But it was now that Alexius showed what a poor creature he really was.
On the 26th of August 1716 he wrote to Alexius from abroad urging him, if he desired to remain tsarevich, to join him and the army without delay.
Rather than face this ordeal Alexius fled to Vienna and placed himself under the protection of his brother-in-law, the emperor Charles VI., who sent him for safety first to the Tirolean fortress of Ahrenberg, and finally to the castle of San Elmo at Naples.
That the emperor sincerely sympathized with Alexius, and suspected Peter of harbouring murderous designs against his son, is plain from his confidential letter to George I.
This difficult task was accomplished by Count Peter Tolstoi, the most subtle and unscrupulous of Peter's servants; but terrorized though he was, Alexius would only consent to return on his father solemnly swearing, "before God and His judgment seat," that if he came back he should not be punished in the least, but cherished as a son and allowed to live quietly on his estates and marry Afrosina.
On the 18th of February a "confession" was extorted from Alexius which implicated most of his friends, and he then publicly renounced the succession to the throne in favour of the baby grand-duke Peter Petrovich.
A horrible reign of terror ensued, in the course of which the ex-tsaritsa Eudoxia was dragged from her monastery and publicly tried for alleged adultery, while all who had in any way befriended Alexius were impaled, broken on the wheel and otherwise lingeringly done to death.
In April 1718 fresh confessions were extorted from Alexius, now utterly broken and half idiotic with fright.
Alexius' "evil designs" were still in fore conscientiae, and had not been, perhaps never would be, translated into practice.
The temporal dignitaries declared the evidence to be insufficient and suggested that Alexius should be examined by torture.
Though only twenty-two years of age, Alexius was a man of ability and resolute will, and he succeeded without difficulty in making himself master of the greater part of the southern coast of the Black Sea.
An antiquity of 150o years is claimed for the foundation of the monastery, but it is certain that the first person who raised it to importance was the emperor Alexius Comnenus III.
The golden bull of that emperor, which became thenceforth the charter of its foundation, is still preserved; it is one of the finest specimens of such documents, and contains portraits of Alexius himself and his queen.
In 1671 the tsar Alexius and Artamon were already on intimate terms, and on the retirement of Orduin-Nashchokin Matvyeev became the tsar's chief counsellor.
It was at his house, full of all the wondrous, half-forbidden novelties of the west, that Alexius, after the death of his first consort, Martha, met Matvyeev's favourite pupil, the beautiful Natalia Naruishkina, whom he married on the 21st of January 1672.
A constitution of Alexius Comnenus I.
In the reign of Michael's successor, Alexius (1645-76), the country recovered its strength so rapidly that the tsar was tempted to revive the energetic aggressive policy and put forward claims to Livonia, Lithuania and Little Russia, but he was obliged to moderate his pretensions.
For some time Tsar Alexius hesitated, because he knew that intervention could entail a war with Poland, but after consulting a National Assembly on the subject, he decided to take Little Russia under his protection, and in January 1654 a great Cossack assembly ratified the arrangement, on the understanding that a large part of the old local autonomy should be preserved.
Alexius had been twice married and had left several children by each of his wives, and, as generally happened in such cases, a struggle for power ensued between the two rival families.
Peter, by his first marriage, had a son, the unhappy cesarevich Alexius (q.v.), who figures more largely in imaginative literature than in history - a narrow-minded, obstinate, pious youth, who had no sympathy with his father's violent innovations, and was completely under the influence of the old Muscovite reactionary faction.
On the other hand the great nobles of more conservative tendencies wished to get the young son of the cesarevich Alexius made emperor under their own control.
The former faction triumphed, and Catherine reigned for about a year and a half, after which the son of the cesarevich Alexius, Peter II., occupied the throne from 1727 to 1730.
(II.) Alexius (2645-76).
Was re-echoed by Alexius Comnenus himself.
The First Crusade was not, indeed, what Alexius had asked or expected to receive.
Alexius may almost be compared to a magician, who has uttered a charm to summon a ministering spirit, and is surrounded on the instant by legions of demons.
In truth the appeal of Alexius had set free forces in the West which were independent of, and even ultimately hostile to, the interests of the Eastern empire.
1 The comte de Riant impugned the authenticity of Alexius' letter to the count of Flanders.
It is very probable that the versions of this letter which we possess, and which are to be found only in later writings like Guibert de Nogent, are apocryphal; Alexius can hardly have held out the bait of the beauty of Greek women, or have written that he preferred to fall under the yoke of the Latins rather than that of the Turks.
Such were the forces set in movement by Urban II., when, after holding a synod at Piacenza (March, 10 9 5), and receiving there fresh appeals from Alexius, he moved to Clermont, in the S.E.
These two divisions (which in spite of good treatment by Alexius began to commit excesses against the Greeks) united and crossed the Bosporus in August, Peter himself remaining in Constantinople.
Of France, had reached Constantinople in November 1096, in a species of honourable captivity, and had done Alexius homage; Robert of Normandy and Stephen of Blois, to whom Urban II.
Confronted by crusaders where he had asked for auxiliaries, Alexius had two alternative policies presented to his choice.
Thus Hugh of Vermandois became the man of Alexius in November 1096; Godfrey of Bouillon was induced, not without difficulty, to do homage in January 1097; and in April and May the other leaders, including Bohemund and the obstinate Raymond himself, followed his example.
The policy of Alexius was destined to produce evil results, both for the Eastern empire and for the crusading movement.
The old dissension of the Eastern and Western Churches had blazed out afresh in 1054; and the policy of Alexius only added new rancours to an old grudge, which culminated in the Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204.
Yet one must remember, in justice to Alexius, the gravity of the problem by which he was confronted; nor was the conduct of the crusaders themselves such that he could readily make them his brethren in arms.
In any case, it hampered the Mahommedans as much as the jealousy between Alexius and the Latins hampered the progress of the Crusade.
Their first operation was the siege of Nicaea, defended by a Seljuk garrison, but eventually captured, with the aid of Alexius, after a month's siege (June 18).
Alexius took possession of the town; and though he rewarded the crusading princes richly, some discontent was excited by his action.
But the hostility of Alexius, aided and abetted by the jealousy of Raymund of Toulouse, was almost equally fatal.
Alexius claimed Antioch; was it not the old possession of his empire, and had not Bohemund done him homage?
Raymund was ready to defend the claims of Alexius; was not Bohemund a successful rival?
Thus it came about that Alexius and Raymund became allies; and by the aid of Alexius Raymund established, from 1102 onwards, the principality which, with the capture of Tripoli in 1109, became the principality of Tripoli, and barred the advance of Antioch to the south.
Meanwhile the armies of Alexius not only prevented any farther advance to the N.W., but conquered the Cilician towns (1104).
Irritated by the concessions made by Alexius to the Pisans in II II, and furious at the revocation of her own privileges by John Comnenus in 1118, the republic naturally sought a new outlet in the Holy Land.
They gave the kingdom a connexion of its own with the Red Sea and its shipping; and they enabled the Franks to 2 Pisa naturally connected itself with Antioch, because Antioch was hostile to Constantinople, and Pisa cherished the same hostility, since Alexius I.