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Alexios Raoul

Author(s) : Vougiouklaki Penelope (2/20/2003)
Translation : Velentzas Georgios

For citation: Vougiouklaki Penelope, "Alexios Raoul",
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=7174>

Αλέξιος Ραούλ (3/3/2008 v.1) Alexios Raoul (6/3/2008 v.1) 

1. Βiography

Alexios Raoul was born into the aristocratic family of Raoul; he was possibly the son of Constantine Raoul.1 He married a niece of John III Vatatzes (1222-1254), emperor of Nicaea, with whom he had four sons, John, Manuel, Isaac and a fourth whose name remains unknown, as well as a daughter, whose name is also unknown. The name of Alexios Raoul does not appear in the sources after the autumn of 1258. Probably he had already passed away.2

2. Political and military activity

During the reign of John III Vatatzes (1222-1254), Alexios Raoul held the title of protovestiarios. In 1242 he was among the noblemen that followed the emperor in his first campaign against the sovereign of Thessaloniki, John Angelos (along with Demetrios Tornikios, Andronikos Palaiologos, Nikephoros Tarchaneiotes and John Petraleifas).3

Then, in 1252, he appears again on the side of the emperor participating actively in the war against the despot of Epirus, Michael II Doukas (1231-1267). After the war ended and a peace treaty was signed between the two sides, Alexios appears to have remained by the future emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (1259- 1282) in Vodena (modern Edessa), by order of the then emperor, in charge of a force, aiming to guard the outskirts of Thessaloniki.

When Theodore II Laskaris was emperor (1254-1258), Alexios Raoul was deposed from his office. The new emperor followed a strict line against the traditional aristocracy of Constantinople ignoring its privileges, while he favoured and elevated to offices persons of non-aristocratic descent. Thus, in 1256, he deposed Alexios from his office, which was awarded to his friend George Mouzalon, a man of humble origins, while his four sons were imprisoned, probably the same year or shortly later.4 At the same time, the daughter of Alexios Raoul was married to Andronikos Mouzalon, according to the emperor’s wish, which was considered very insulting due to the humble background of the Mouzalon family.5

1. See Ahrweiler, H., “L’histoire et la géographie de la région de Smyrne entre les deux occupations turques, particulierment au XIIIe siècle”, Travaux et Mémoires 1 (1965), p. 176 [reprinted Ahrweiler, H., Byzance: les pays et les territoires (Variorum Reprints, London 1976), no. IV].

2. See Fassoulakis, St., The Byzantine Family of Raoul-Ral(l)e (Athens 1973), p. 16.

3. That campaign, although early interrupted due to the Mongol invasion of Asia Minor, was very important. The sovereign of Thessaloniki laid down his imperial insignia and recognised the title of the emperor of Nicaea, who accorded him the title of despot in reward. See Ostrogorsky, G., Geschichte des Byzantinischen Staates (München 1963; trans. Παναγόπουλος, Ιω., ed. Χρυσός, Ευ., Ιστορία του Βυζαντινού κράτους 3, Athens 1997, p. 126).

4. Α. Chatzes (A. Χατζής) suggests that it was in the same period that Alexios Raoul was deposed and his children were imprisoned. See Χατζής, Α. Χ., Οι Ραούλ, Ραλ, Ράλαι, 1080-1800: ιστορική μονογραφία (Kirchhain, Max Schmersow 1909), p. 15; on the contrary, the editors of Prosopographisches Lexikon der Palaiologenzeit support that Raoul's sons were imprisoned in 1258. See Trapp, E. - Beyer, H. - Leontiades, I., s.v. Ραούλ Ιωάννης Κομνηνός Δούκας Άγγελος Πετραλείφας in Prosopographisches Lexikon der Palaiologenzeit 10 (Wien 1990), pp. 105-106, no. 24125. Τhe same is claimed by D. Polemis (Δ. Πολέμης); see Polemis, D., The Doukai: a contribution to byzantine prosopography (London 1968), p. 173.

5. On the policy of Emperor Theodore II Laskaris to give the daughters of the nobility in marriage with offsprings of non-aristocratic families, see Angold, M., A Byzantine Government in Exile. Government and Society Under the Lascarids of Nicaea (1204-1261) (Oxford 1974), pp. 77-79.


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