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Michael Doukas (1050 - 1090)

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Michael (Michael VII) "Byzantine Emperor" Doukas
Born in Constantinople, Byzantiummap
Brother of
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Constantinople, Byzantiummap
Profile last modified | Created 11 Oct 2014
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Michael VII Doukas was born about 1050 in Constantinople, Byzantium (Byzantine Empire). He was the first-born son of Eudokia Makrembolitissa and Constantine X Doukas. From about 1059 he was associated with his father on the Byzantine throne, along with his younger brother, Constantine Doukas.

Michael's father died in 1067 when he was 17 years old. Although officially crowned Emperor Michael VII, he showed little taste for politics or administration and allowed his mother and his uncle, John Doukas, effective control of the State bureaucracy. His mother re-married and her new husband, Romanos Diogenes, became "senior emperor" as Romanos IV, while Michael and his two brothers: Constantine and Andronicos, officially "shared" executive power.

After a series of defeats by the Seljuik Turks, who were the Empire's main foreign enemy, Romanos IV was captured and had to be ransomed, giving up more territory as the Turks slowly advanced across Asia Minor (Anatolia). Michael and his advisors took advantage of the situation, removed Romanos IV from office and sent dowager Emperess Eduokia to a Greek Orthodox convent. Michael was then re-crowned as "Senior Emperor" on Oct. 24, 1071.

Michael VII's disinterest in state-craft at this critical point in his reign, proved disastrous. Norman invaders ousted the Byzantines from their last holding (Bari) in Italy; Bulgarian uprisings in the Balkans boiled over in open conflict; the Seljuk Turks made an alliance with the powerful Comnenos family and waged several successful campaigns in the East. Various councilors tried to maintain order but without real power they failed. Even Michael's experienced uncle, John Doukas lost a series of key battles against the Comnenos-led Turks so that in 1074 Michael VII was forced to recognize their territorial gains and certain rights in order to make peace. As the Empire's economy crumbled, Michael devalued its currency by 25%, compounding his unpopularity and leading to his derisive nickname: Parapinakēs, or "minus a quarter".

Finally, in 1078 two of his generals, Nikephoros Bryennios and Nikephoros Botaneiates, revolted in the Balkans and in Anatolia, at the same time, allied with the Turks. With hardly a struggle, Michael VII relinquished the throne and his titles on March 31, 1078 and retired to the Monastery of Stoudios, among the books he preferred to government. He later became the metropolitan (Bishop) of Ephesus. He passed away in 1090 in Constantinople.

Michael VII Doukas married Maria of Alania, daughter of King Bagrat IV of Georgia. By her he had at least one son, Constantine Doukas, co-Emperor from about 1075 to 1078 and then from 1081 to 1088. Constantine Doukas died about 5 years after his deposed father. [1]


  1. Michael VII Doukas article on Wikipedia

See also:

  • Michael VII Doukas article on Wikipedia ; includes references such as: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Michael: Michael VII". Encyclopædia Britannica 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 359.


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