Michael was born in 770 in Amorium in Phrygia, into a family of professional soldier peasants who received for their military service land from government. His family belonged to Judeo-Christian sect of athinganoi whose members were of mixed Cappadocian and Jewish descent. Michael's Jewish grandparents converted to Christianity but belonging to athinganoi allowed them to uphold many Jewish religious rituals.
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Date: 19 JAN 2010
Prior to import, this record was last changed 19 JAN 2010.
This biography is a rough draft. It was auto-generated by a GEDCOM import and needs to be edited.
Note: Michael II, surnamed the Amorian or the Stammerer , reigned as Byzantine emperor from December 820 to his death on 2 October 829, and the first ruler of the Syrian or Amorian dynasty.
Born in Amorium, Michael began his career as a soldier, rising to high ranks due to the favour of his old colleague, Leo V the Armenian (r. 813820). Nevertheless, Michael masterminded a conspiracy which overthrew and murdered Leo in Christmas 820. Immediately Michael faced the long revolt of Thomas the Slav, which almost cost him his throne and which was not completely suppressed until spring 824. The later years of Michael's reign were marked by two major military disasters with long-term effects, the beginning of the Muslim conquest of Sicily, and the fall of Crete to the Saracens. Domestically, Michael supported and strengthened the resumption of official iconoclasm, which had begun under Leo V.
Michael was born in 770 in Amorium in Phrygia, into a family of professional peasant-soldiers who received for their military service land from government. His family belonged to the Judeo-Christian sect of the Athinganoi, whose members were Cappadocians who adopted Jewish rituals. The Athinganoi were numerous in Anatolia and together with the Greeks and Armenians formed the backbone of the Byzantine army of that era.
Michael first rose to prominence as a close aide (spatharios) to the general Bardanes Tourkos, alongside his future antagonists Leo the Armenian and Thomas the Slav. He married Bardanes' daughter Thekla, while Leo married another daughter. Michael and Leo abandoned Bardanes shortly after he rebelled against Emperor Nikephoros I in 803, and were rewarded with higher military commands. Michael was instrumental in Leo's overthrow of Michael I Rangabe in 813, after Rangabes continuing military defeats against the Bulgarians. Under Leo V, Michael was appointed to command the elite tagma of the Excubitors.
He became disgruntled with Leo V however when the Emperor divorced Michael's sister-in-law. On Christmas Eve 820, Leo V accused him of conspiracy, jailed him and sentenced him to death but postponed the execution until after Christmas. Michael sent messages to his co-conspirators threatening to reveal their identity, whereupon his partisans freed him and murdered of Leo V during the Christmas mass in the palace chapel of St. Stephen.