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ROMANUS II

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 583 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROMANUS II. succeeded his father Constantine VII. in 959 at the age of twenty-one, and died—poisoned, it was believed, by his wife, Theophano-in 963. He was a pleasure-loving sovereign, but showed judgment in the selection of his ministers. The great event of his reign was the conquest of Crete by Nicephorus Phocas. RoMAxus III. (Argyrus), emperor 1028-1034, was an undistinguished Byzantine patrician, who was compelled by the dying emperor Constantine IX. to marry his daughter Zoe and to become his successor. He showed great eagerness to make his mark as a ruler, but was mostly unfortunate in his enterprises. He spent large sums upon new buildings and in endowing the monks, and in his endeavour to relieve the pressure of taxation disorganized the finances of the state. In 1030 he resolved to retaliate upon the incursions. of the Moslems on the eastern frontier by leading a large army in person against Aleppo, but by allowing himself to be surprised on the march sustained a serious defeat at Azaz near Antioch. Though this disaster was retrieved by the successful defence of Edessa by George Maniakes and by the defeat of a Saracen fleet in the Adriatic, Romanus never recovered his popularity. His early death was supposed to have been due to poison administered by his wife. See J. B. Bury in the English Historical Review (1889), pp. 53-57; G. Schlumberger, L'Epopee byzantine (Paris, 1905), iii. pp. 56-158.
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