Michael VIII

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Michael VIII

(Michael Palaeologus), c.1225–1282, Byzantine emperor (1261–82), first of the PalaeologusPalaeologus
, Greek dynasty that ruled the Byzantine Empire from its restoration in 1261 to its final conquest by the Turks in 1453. The first emperor was Michael VIII, restorer of the empire.
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 dynasty. Following the murder of the regent for Emperor John IVJohn IV
(John Lascaris) , b. c.1250, d. after 1273, Byzantine emperor of Nicaea (1258–61), son and successor (under a regency) of Theodore II and last of the Lascarids. Michael Palaeologus (later Michael VIII) overthrew the regency and in 1259 was crowned coemperor.
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 of Nicaea, he was appointed (1258) regent and, soon afterward (1259), coemperor. He successfully defended (1259) Nicaea against the coalition of the despotat of Epirus, Sicily, and Achaea. Michael then led his army against the crumbling Latin Empire of Constantinople and recovered (1261) its capital from Emperor Baldwin IIBaldwin II,
1217–73, last Latin emperor of Constantinople (1228–61), brother and successor of Robert of Courtenay. He began his personal rule only after the death (1237) of his father-in-law, John of Brienne.
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. With the Byzantine Empire thus restored, Michael was crowned by the patriarch. He later had John IV blinded and imprisoned. The remainder of Michael's reign was taken up by his fight against Charles ICharles I
(Charles of Anjou), 1227–85, king of Naples and Sicily (1266–85), count of Anjou and Provence, youngest brother of King Louis IX of France. He took part in Louis's crusades to Egypt (1248) and Tunisia (1270).
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 of Naples and Sicily, and against the despotat of Epirus. He concluded peace with the Tatars and Mamluks in 1272. For support against Charles he vacillated between Venice and Genoa as allies. He negotiated with Pope Gregory X for a union of the Eastern and Western Churches, and in 1274 his emissaries at the Second Council of Lyons (see Lyons, Second Council ofLyons, Second Council of,
1274, 14th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church. It was summoned by Pope Gregory X to discuss problems in the Holy Land, to remove the schism of East and West, and to reform the church.
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) agreed to recognize the spiritual supremacy of the pope. However, in 1281 Pope Martin IVMartin IV,
d. 1285, pope (1281–85), a Frenchman named Simon de Brie; successor of Nicholas III. He was chancellor under Louis IX of France and was created cardinal by Urban IV. He was thus a supporter of the Angevin dynasty in S Italy and Sicily.
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, a supporter of Charles, broke the union by excommunicating Michael, while Charles's troops with those of Venice invaded Epirus. Michael saved his throne by financing a rebellion in Sicily, which broke Charles's power in the Sicilian VespersSicilian Vespers,
in Italian history, name given the rebellion staged by the Sicilians against the Angevin French domination of Sicily; the rebellion broke out at Palermo at the start of Vespers on Easter Monday, Mar. 30, 1282.
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. Michael was distinguished for his learning and left an autobiography. His son Andronicus II succeeded him.


See study by D. Geanakoplos (1959).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Second Council of Lyon (1272-1274) was presided over by Pope Gregory X and was convened to act on a papal call for another crusade to recapture the Holy Land and a pledge by the new Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos to reunite the Eastern Church with the West.
Also saved from time are humble items like a simple clay eating bowl, the kind you'd use to feed a baby, and loftier ones like the official seal of the restored emperor, Michael VIII Palaiologos.
In the summer of 1261, an army sent by the Byzantine general, the emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, at last defeated the Franks--more or less by accident, but that's another matter.