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Name:  Michael VIII Palaiologos
Brief biography:  Last Emperor of Nicaea, reconqueror of Constantinople, Byzantine emperor and founder of the imperial Palaiologan dynasty.
Nationality:  Byzantine
Occupation:  Emperor
Date of birth:  1223
Period of rule:  1259-1282
Date of death:  1282
Place of death:  Eurasia: Eksemil

Michael was, as most Byzantine nobles of the time, familially connected to various Byzantine emperors of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Because of this, he was able to try to claim the Nicaean throne, first he was implicated in a coup but spared, then he eventually siezed guardianship of the child-emperor John IV, declared himself co-emperor in 1259, then had John blinded and sent to a monatery to disqualify him from the throne. Two years later, Michael, as emperor of Nicaea, was able to successfully reconquer Constantinople from the Latin Empire. It is because of this reconquest the the Nicaean emperors continue to be numbered from the Byzantine emperors, hence Michael became Michael VIII, not Michael I of Nicaea, and John IV Laskaris is called John IV, not John II of Nicaea. The reconquered city was much reduced, however, having been extensively looted by the Venetians in particular, and having been damaged during the conquest. The importance of the reconquest not just to Michael's reign, but to the Palaiologan dynasty more broadly can be seen on the gold coinage, whose obverse routinely features the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) within the city's walls, the Theotokos being the protectress of the city of Constantinople. Michael and his wife, Theodora, patronised a large number of building and renovation works in the city.

Michael was succeeded by his son, Andronikos II, and their decendents ruled the Empire until its colapse in 1453.

The Barber's collection also holds one of the finest examples of the seal of Michael's wife, Theodora Doukaina Palaiologina, whose item number is BIRBI-SL0165. It is interesting to compare the quality of the imagery with the coinage of her husband.

20 Related Objects

BIRBI-B6112.jpg
Aspron Trachy Nomisma
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Magnesia
BIRBI-B6112
BIRBI-B6094.jpg
Aspron Trachy Nomisma
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6094
BIRBI-B6111.jpg
Aspron Trachy Nomisma
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Magnesia
BIRBI-B6111
BIRBI-B6044.jpg
Aspron Trachy Nomisma
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantine I; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6044
BIRBI-B6160.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6160
BIRBI-B6163.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6163
BIRBI-B6161.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6161
BIRBI-B6158.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6158
BIRBI-B6159.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6159
BIRBI-B6165.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6165
BIRBI-2001.0328.14.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Thessalonica
BIRBI-2001.0328.14
BIRBI-B6154.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6154
BIRBI-B6157.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6157
BIRBI-B6155.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Uncertain mint
BIRBI-B6155
BIRBI-B6156.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6156
BIRBI-B6164.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6164
BIRBI-B6162.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6162
BIRBI-B6167.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6167
BIRBI-B6168.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6168
BIRBI-B6188.jpg
Trachea
Michael VIII Palaiologos; Constantinople
BIRBI-B6188
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