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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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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).
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. ) 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. . Michael was distinguished for his learning and left an autobiography. His son Andronicus II succeeded him.
See study by D. Geanakoplos (1959).
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