In a critical period of Byzantine history stands out this loser of an emperor. Manuel carried to his throne little but his distinuished name. His brother Theodore had gone off on a wing and a prayer to neutralize the fearsome Bulgars but lost the gamble. John Asen, leader of the Bulgars, found for whatever reason the need to keep things seemly in Thessalonica and left Manuel on his throne with the clear understanding that he was to be little more than window dressing. All matters of state were to be handled by Asen himself. From what history leaves us it seems that Manuel was more than happy with this arrangement and made no effort to assert his independence.
Meanwhile, old Theodore somehow convinced his captor Asen to marry his daughter as a strategic alliance. Now friends, he was sent off back to Thessalonica as his vassal but with an imperial robe nevertheless. Theodore however had been blinded by Asen previously so on arrival he asked his brother to step down and placed his son John on the throne instead.
SB 2177, DOC IV 3 Billon Trachy (Type A) Obv: Half-length facing bust of St. Demetrius, holding spear and hilt of sword.
Rev: Manuel standing facing, being crowned by Christ. (Thessalonica). $900 4/1/01.