Biography of Emperador de Bizancio Miguel VII Ducas (1059-1078)

Roman Emperor of Byzantium (1071-78) and last representative of the DOUKAS dynasty. Born in Constantinople in the year 1059, and dead retired as a monk in a convent of Ephesus in the year 1078.

Eldest son of Emperor Constantine IX and Empress Eudoxia, after the death of his father in May of the year 1067, Eudoxia took the minority of age of Miguel to raise to the throne to Roman IV Diogenes, who he/she married. Roman IV associated with the throne to Miguel and his two brothers, Andronikos and Constantine, exercising absolute power until August of the year 1071, when Roman IV suffered military disaster of Mantzinkert. The sultan of Seljuk Alp Arslan made prisoner to the Emperor and invaded Asia minor, defeating the generals Isaac and Alejo Commeno. Eudoxia was imprisoned in a monastery and Miguel VII could take the throne after the death of Roman IV.

After rising to the throne of absolute, Miguel VII proved to be a man unable to and little has to take the reins of the Empire, and even less in the difficult moments that he/she was going through, with practically all fronts border open and threatened by the enemies of the Empire. When in the year 1071 Norman Roberto Guiscardo took Bari, which was the last point of Byzantine support in Italy, the Empire was also threatened by that side, due to the progressive increase in Norman power. Neither the Byzantine dominion over the Balkans was fought threats armed different peoples settled in the area, always willing to RAID the Imperial domains to the slightest sign of weakness of Byzantium. Only once the general Nicéforo Brienio use all forces available in the area, you could control order in such dangerous border. But despite the huge willing military efforts from the year 1073, Asia minor began to fall under the absolute rule of the different Seljuk sultans.

In the realm of domestic policy, Miguel VII openly practiced a policy of centralized, not exempt of certain authoritarianism, practiced by the new strongman of the Court, the logothete Niceforizes, who then replaced the deposed Miguel Psellos, disgraced. The reform task of the new Government was very complicated by the slow but progressive economic impoverishment of the Empire, which produced a deep crisis. One of the main causes of the economic slump was the increase in the price of wheat, the staple food of many sectors of the population, which led to a catastrophic shortage of life. Niceforizes carried out the nationalization of the grain trade, at the same time raising the price in order to fatten the tax revenue of the State, prompting the opposition and angry protest of all the people, especially of the nobility of the capital. To complete the economic programme proposed, Niceforizes snatched to large landowners, the monopoly of trade in wheat, enacting several harsh decrees against anyone who contravenes the provisions of the imperial. The logical consequence of this economic policy was the rise of the wages of the workers. Large landowners landowners and nobles were the directly attacked by the measures applied, so it soon closed ranks against the Emperor Miguel VII and his hated Prime Minister.

Noble unrest against emperor logical, joined several military uprisings, to a certain extent taking into account that Miguel VII was a member of the aristocracy of officials rather than come from the army, as his predecessor, Roman IV. Finally, the rarefied atmosphere of the military exploded in the year 1077, when the commanders of the army rebelled openly against Miguel VII. At the beginning of November of the same year, Nicéforo Brienio revolted in the town of Dyrrhachium, taking the city of Adrianople. Only weeks later, Anatolia, Nicéforo Botaniates, estratego denied his obedience to the Emperor and moved with his army against Constantinople, suitably assisted by the own Seljuk, who wisely took advantage of the internal disagreements of the Empire. Nicéforo Brienio Botaneiates, with bold decision, was ahead in its efforts to topple Miguel VII, planting, without hardly any opposition, in the city of Nicaea the following year. The uprising spread to Constantinople itself, with a revolution open against Miguel VII. The Emperor, nearest increasingly threatened by the armies of two of his generals, realized the weakness of his position, so it ended up abdicating willingly, dragging in its fall the Almighty man of confidence, Niceforizes. Miguel VII became a monk, later coming to bear the Archbishop's mitre of Ephesus. Nicéforo Botaniates did not hesitate to enter the capital, being crowned Emperor with the name of Nikephoros III and marrying María Alania, the beautiful wife of the deposed Emperor.


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