|Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans|
Gold solidus with Romanos II and his father, Constantine VII
|Emperor of the Byzantine Empire|
|Reign||6 April 945 – 9 November 959 (as junior co-emperor)|
9 November 959 – 15 March 963 (as senior emperor)
|Coronation||6 April 945|
|Co-emperors||Constantine VII (6 April 945 – 9 November 959)|
Basil II (960 – 15 March 963)
Constantine VIII (962 – 15 March 963)
|Died||15 March 963|
|Spouse||Berta of Italy|
Romanos (or Romanus) II (Greek: Ρωμανός Β΄, Rōmanos II) (938 – 15 March 963) was a Byzantine Emperor. He succeeded his father Constantine VII in 959 at the age of twenty-one and died suddenly in 963.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos or Porphyrogenitus was the fourth Emperor of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire, reigning from 913 to 959. He was the son of the emperor Leo VI and his fourth wife, Zoe Karbonopsina, and the nephew of his predecessor, the emperor Alexander.
Romanos II was a son of Emperor Constantine VII and Helena Lekapene, the daughter of Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos and his wife Theodora. Named after his maternal grandfather, Romanos was married, as a child, to Bertha, the illegitimate daughter of Hugh of Arles, King of Italy to bond an alliance. She had changed her name to Eudokia after their marriage, but died an early death in 949 before producing an heir, thus never becoming a real marriage, and dissolving the alliance. On January 27, 945, Constantine VII succeeded in removing his brothers-in-law, the sons of Romanos I, assuming the throne alone. On April 6, 945, Constantine crowned his son Romanos co-emperor. With Hugh out of power in Italy and dead by 947, Romanos secured the promise from his father that he would be allowed to select his own bride. Romanos chose an innkeeper's daughter named Anastaso, whom he married in 956 and renamed Theophano.
Helena Lekapene was the empress consort of Constantine VII, known to have acted as his political adviser and de facto co-regent. She was a daughter of Romanos I Lekapenos and Theodora.
Romanos I Lekapenos or Lakapenos, Latinized as Romanus I Lecapenus, was an Armenian who became a Byzantine naval commander and reigned as Byzantine Emperor from 920 until his deposition on December 16, 944.
Hugh of Arles was King of Italy from 924 until his death in 947. He was a Bosonid. During his reign, he empowered his relatives at the expense of the aristocracy and tried to establish a relationship with the Byzantine-Roman Empire. He had success in defending the realm from external enemies, but his domestic habits and policies, which showed some evidence of culture in an otherwise barbaric century, created many internal foes and he was removed from power before his death.
In November 959, Romanos II succeeded his father on the throne amidst rumors that he or his wife had poisoned him. Romanos purged his father's courtiers of his enemies and replaced them with friends. To appease his bespelling wife, he excused his mother, Empress Helena, from court and forced his five sisters into convents. Nevertheless, many of Romanos' appointees were able men, including his chief adviser, the eunuch Joseph Bringas.
Joseph Bringas was an important Byzantine eunuch official in the reigns of Emperor Constantine VII and Emperor Romanos II, serving as chief minister and effective regent during the latter. Having unsuccessfully opposed the rise of Nikephoros Phokas to the imperial throne in 963, he was exiled to a monastery, where he died in 965.
The pleasure-loving sovereign could also leave military matters in the adept hands of his generals, in particular the brothers Leo and Nikephoros Phokas. In 960 Nikephoros Phokas was sent with a fleet of 1,000 dromons, 2,000 chelandia, and 308 transports (the entire fleet was manned by 27,000 oarsmen and marines) carrying 50,000 men to recover Crete from the Muslims.After a difficult campaign and nine-month Siege of Chandax, Nikephoros successfully re-established Byzantine control over the entire island in 961. Following a triumph celebrated at Constantinople, Nikephoros was sent to the eastern frontier, where the Emir of Aleppo Sayf al-Dawla was engaged in annual raids into Byzantine Anatolia. Nikephoros liberated Cilicia and even Aleppo in 962, sacking the palace of the Emir and taking possession of 390,000 silver dinars, 2,000 camels, and 1,400 mules. In the meantime Leo Phokas and Marianos Argyros had countered Magyar incursions into the Byzantine Balkans.
Nikephoros II Phokas was Byzantine Emperor from 963 to 969. His brilliant military exploits contributed to the resurgence of the Byzantine Empire during the 10th century. His reign, however, included controversy. In the west, he inflamed conflict with the Bulgarians and saw Sicily completely turn over to the Muslims, while he failed to make any serious gains in Italy following the incursions of Otto I. Meanwhile, in the east, he completed the conquest of Cilicia and even retook the island of Cyprus, thus opening the path for subsequent Byzantine incursions reaching as far as the Jazira and the Levant. His administrative policy was less successful, as in order to finance these wars he increased taxes both on the people and on the church, while maintaining unpopular theological positions and alienating many of his most powerful allies. These included his nephew John Tzimiskes, who would take the throne after killing Nikephoros in his sleep.
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete, one of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece. The capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065.
The Siege of Chandax was the centerpiece of the Byzantine Empire's campaign to recover the island of Crete, which since the 820s had been ruled by Muslim Arabs. The campaign followed a series of failed attempts to reclaim the island from the Muslims stretching as far back as 827, only a few years after the initial conquest of the island by the Arabs, and was led by the general and future emperor Nikephoros Phokas. It lasted from autumn 960 until spring 961, when the main Muslim fortress and capital of the island, Chandax was captured. The reconquest of Crete was a major achievement for the Byzantines, as it restored Byzantine control over the Aegean littoral and diminished the threat of Saracen pirates, for which Crete had provided a base of operations.
After a lengthy hunting expedition Romanos II took ill and died on March 15, 963. Rumor attributed his death to poison administered by his wife Theophano, but there is no evidence of this, and Theophano would have been risking much by exchanging the secure status of a crowned Augusta with the precarious one of a widowed Regent of her very young children. Romanos II's reliance on his wife and on bureaucrats like Joseph Bringas had resulted in a relatively capable administration, but this built up resentment among the nobility, which was associated with the military. In the wake of Romanos' death, his Empress Dowager, now Regent to the two co-emperors, her underage sons, was quick to marry the general Nikephoros Phokas and to acquire another general, John Tzimiskes, as her lover, having them both elevated to the imperial throne in succession. The rights of her sons were safeguarded, however, and eventually, when Tzimiskes died at war, her eldest son Basil II became senior emperor.
John I Tzimiskes was the senior Byzantine Emperor from 11 December 969 to 10 January 976. An intuitive and successful general, he strengthened the Empire and expanded its borders during his short reign.
Basil II, nicknamed the Bulgar Slayer, was a Byzantine Emperor from the Macedonian dynasty whose effective reign, the longest of any Byzantine monarch, was from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025. The son of Romanos II and Theophano, a woman of commoner origin, he had been associated with the throne since 960 as a junior colleague to a succession of senior emperors–his father, his step-father Nikephoros II Phokas, and John I Tzimiskes. In addition to these emperors, Basil's influential great-uncle, Basil Lekapenos, held power for several decades before he was overthrown in 985. From 962, Basil II's brother Constantine, who succeeded him as Constantine VIII, was nominal co-emperor.
Romanos married firstly on September 944with Bertha, illegitimate daughter of Hugh of Arles, King of Italy, who changed her name to Eudokia after her marriage. She died in 949, her marriage unconsummated.
King of Italy was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The first to take the title was Odoacer, a "barbarian" military leader, in the late 5th century, followed by the Ostrogothic kings up to the mid-6th century. With the Frankish conquest of Italy in the 8th century, the Carolingians assumed the title, which was maintained by subsequent Holy Roman Emperors throughout the Middle Ages. The last Emperor to claim the title was Charles V in the 16th century. During this period, the holders of the title were crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy.
By his second wife Theophano he had at least three children:
Year 963 (CMLXIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar.
Constantine VIII was the Byzantine Emperor from 15 December 1025 until his death in 1028. He was the son of Emperor Romanos II and Empress Theophano. He was nominal co-emperor for 63 years from 962, successively with his father, his stepfather Nikephoros II Phokas, his uncle John I Tzimiskes, and his elder brother Basil II.
Eudokia Makrembolitissa was a Byzantine Empress by marriage to Emperor Constantine X Doukas. She acted as regent of her minor sons in 1067-68, and resigned her regency by marriage to Romanos IV Diogenes. When he was deposed in 1071, she again resumed the post of regent for her sons, but was forced to resign.
Theophano was Byzantine Empress by marriage to Romanos II and Nikephoros II. In 963, between her first husband Romanos' death and her second marriage, she was regent for her sons Basil II and Constantine VIII. Theophano historically has been depicted as infamous.
The Macedonian dynasty ruled the Byzantine Empire from 867 to 1056, following the Amorian dynasty. During this period, the Byzantine state reached its greatest expanse since the Muslim conquests, and the Macedonian Renaissance in letters and arts began. The dynasty was named after its founder, Basil I the Macedonian who came from the Theme of Macedonia which at the time was part of Thrace.
Polyeuctus, was Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (956–970). His orthodox feast is on February 5.
Basil Lekapenos, also called Basil the Parakoimomenos or Basil the Nothos, was an illegitimate child of the Byzantine emperor Romanos I Lekapenos. He served as the parakoimomenos and chief minister of the Byzantine Empire for most of the period 947–985, under emperors Constantine VII, Nikephoros II Phokas, John I Tzimiskes, and Basil II.
Theodora was the second wife and the empress consort of John I Tzimiskes. She was a daughter of Constantine VII and Helena Lekapene. Her maternal grandparents were Romanos I Lekapenos and Theodora.
Leo Phokas or Phocas was a prominent Byzantine general who scored a number of successes in the eastern frontier in the mid-10th century alongside his older brother, the Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas. He served as chief minister during his brother's reign, but was dismissed and imprisoned by his successor, John Tzimiskes.
Theophilos Kourkouas was a distinguished Byzantine general in the 10th century. He was also the grandfather of the Byzantine emperor John I Tzimiskes.
Stephen Lekapenos or Lecapenus was the second son of the Byzantine emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, and co-emperor from 924 to 945. With his younger brother Constantine, he deposed Romanos I in December 944, but was overthrown and exiled by the legitimate emperor Constantine VII a few weeks later. Stephen lived out his life in exile on the island of Lesbos, where he died on Easter 963.
Constantine Lekapenos or Lecapenus was the third son of the Byzantine emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, and co-emperor from 924 to 945. With his elder brother Stephen, he deposed Romanos I in December 944, but was overthrown and exiled by the legitimate emperor Constantine VII a few weeks later. Constantine was exiled to the island of Samothrace, where he was killed while attempting to escape sometime between 946 and 948.
Phokas or Phocas, feminine form Phokaina, was the name of a Byzantine aristocratic clan from Cappadocia, which in the 9th and 10th centuries provided a series of high-ranking generals and an emperor, Nikephoros II Phokas. Its members and their clients monopolized the high command positions of the Byzantine army for much of the 10th century and led the successful Byzantine offensive against the Arabs in the East. As one of the leading families of the Anatolian military aristocracy, the Phokades were also involved in a series of rebellions that laid claim to power and challenged the emperors at Constantinople. Their power was eventually broken by Basil II, and the family declined in importance after the 11th century.
Romanos Kourkouas was a Byzantine aristocrat and senior military leader of the mid-10th century.
Marianos Argyros was a Byzantine aristocrat and member of the Argyros family. A monk, in 944 he supported the assumption of sole rule by Constantine VII, and was allowed to leave the monastery and enter imperial service. He held a succession of senior military commands, fighting in southern Italy against local rebels and the Fatimids, and in the Balkans against the Magyars. In 963, he tried to oppose the takeover of the imperial throne by the general Nikephoros Phokas by assuming control over Constantinople and arresting his father, Bardas Phokas the Elder. During the ensuing clashes, he was hit on the head by a platter, and died on the next day, 16 August 963.
Romanos IIBorn: 938 Died: 963
| Byzantine Emperor |
6 April 945 – 15 March 963 (with Constantine VII, Basil II, and Constantine VIII)
Nikephoros II Phokas