Online Encyclopedia

MICHAEL VII

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 359 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MICHAEL VII. DUCAS, Or PARAPINACES, was the eldest son of Constantine X. Ducas. After a joint reign with his brothers, Andronicus I. and Constantine XI. (1067—1071), he was made sole emperor through his uncle John Ducas. The feebleness of Michael, whose chief interest lay in trifling academic pursuits, and the avarice of his ministers, was disastrous to the empire. As the result of anarchy in the army, the Byzantines lost their last possessions in Italy (1071), and were forced to cede a large strip of Asia Minor which they were unable to defend against the Seljuk Turks (1074). These misfortunes, which were but partially retrieved by the suppression of a Bulgarian revolt (1073), caused widespread dissatisfaction. In 1078 two generals, Nicephorus Bryennius and Nicephorus Botaniates, simultaneously revolted. Michael resigned the throne with hardly a struggle and retired into a monastery. His nickname Parapinaces (" starver ") was due to his causing the price of wheat to rise.
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