Macedonian Dynasty

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Macedonian Dynasty


a dynasty of Byzantine emperors (A.D. 867-1056).

Members of the Macedonian dynasty included Basil I the Macedonian (ruled 867-86), who came from the peasants of the deme of Macedonia (hence his nickname and the name of the dynasty); Leo VI (886-912); Alexander, the brother of Leo VI (912-913); Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, the son of Leo VI (913-59); Romanus I Lecapenus, the father-in-law of Constantine VII (920-44) and co-ruler with Constantine VII, who actually usurped power from him; Romanus II, the son of Constantine VII (959-63); Nicephorus II Phocas (963-69), who seized the throne as the result of an uprising by the military aristocracy of Asia Minor and married the widow of Romanus II; John I Tzimisces (969-76), who came to power after an aristocratic coup, and married the daughter of Constantine VII; Basil II the Bulgar-Slayer, the son of Romanus II (976-1025); Constantine VIII, the brother of Basil II (1025-28); Romanus III Argyrus, the first husband of Zoe, daughter of Constantine VIII (1028-34); Michael IV Paphlagonus, the second husband of Zoe (1034-41), Michael V Calaphates, the nephew of Michael IV, adopted by Zoe (1041-42); Zoe and Theodora, daughters of Constantine VIII (1042); Constantine IX Monomachus, third husband of Zoe (1042-55); and Theodora (1055-56).

Most of the emperors of the Macedonian dynasty defended the interests of the aristocracy living in the capital (in particular, they hindered the seizure by the great landowning feudal lords of the peasants’ land, since the peasants were the principal taxpayers and provided most of the soldiers). Only Nicephorus II and John I represented the provincial military aristocracy, which was concerned with developing large-scale landownership.


Kazhdan, A. P. Derevnia i gorod v Vizantii IX-X w. Moscow, 1960. Pages 123-89.
Ostrogorsky, G. Geschichte des Byzantinischen Staates. Munich, 1963. Pages 225-61.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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