AIMA prophecy

The AIMA prophecy was a prophecy current during the reign of the Byzantine emperor, Manuel I Comnenus (r. 1143–1180) and at the same time an example of a medieval contrived acronym. It claimed to foretell that the initial letters of the names of the emperors of the Comnenus dynasty would spell aima (αιμα), the Greek word for blood. The emperors had been, in order, Alexius I (A, alpha), Ioannes II (I, iota), and Manuel I (M, mu) (whose succession was unexpected since he was the fourth son of Ioannes). Because of his belief that his successor's name would have to start with the letter alpha, Manuel had the name Alexius bestowed on his daughter Maria's first fiancé and on at least one and perhaps two of his own illegitimate sons, and finally on his legitimate son Alexius, child of his second marriage.

The reign of Alexius II lasted only three years, before he was deposed and killed by his cousin, Andronicus I Comnenus, with whom, apparently, the AIMA sequence began again. In accordance with this, Andronicus would be succeeded in turn by an emperor whose name began with the letter I (iota). Andronicus hence feared his throne would be usurped by another cousin, Isaac Comnenus of Cyprus. In fact, Andronicus was killed in 1185 and succeeded by Isaac II Angelus after an uprising. The repeated sequence apparently ended with Isaac II.


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