Nicaea, empire of

Nicaea, empire of,

1204–61. In 1204 the armies of the Fourth Crusade set up the Latin Empire of Constantinople, but the Crusaders' influence did not extend over the entire Byzantine Empire. Several Greek successor states, chief among them the empire of Nicaea, sprang up (see also Epirus, despotate ofEpirus, despotate of.
When, in 1204, the army of the Fourth Crusade set up the Latin Empire of Constantinople on the ruins of the Byzantine Empire, an independent Greek state emerged in Epirus under Michael I, a member of the Angelus family.
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; Trebizond, empire ofTrebizond, empire of,
1204–1461. When the army of the Fourth Crusade overthrew (1204) the Byzantine Empire and established the Latin Empire of Constantinople, several Greek successor states sprang up.
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). The empire of Nicaea preserved the continuity of emperors, patriarchs, and institutions of Byzantium. Founded by Theodore ITheodore I
(Theodore Lascaris), d. 1222, Byzantine emperor of Nicaea (1204–22), son-in-law of the Byzantine emperor Alexius III. He escaped from Constantinople after it was captured (1204) by the Latins of the Fourth Crusade and founded a Byzantine state at Nicaea (see
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 (Theodore Lascaris) in NW Asia Minor, with Nicaea as its capital, it played the decisive part in reuniting the Byzantine Empire. Theodore I and his successors of the LascarisLascaris
, family name of the Greek emperors of Nicaea (see Nicaea, empire of). The empire was founded in 1204 by Theodore I, a son-in-law of Alexius III (Alexius Angelus). Theodore I was succeeded (1222) by his son-in-law, John III (John Ducas Vatatzes).
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 family expanded their domains, defeated their neighbors to the south, the Seljuk Turks, and in alliance with Ivan IIIvan II
or Ivan Asen
, d. 1241, czar of Bulgaria (1218–41). On the death (1207) of his father, Kaloyan, founder of the second Bulgarian empire, the throne was usurped by Ivan's cousin Boril.
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 of Bulgaria weakened their chief rivals, the despots of Epirus. They successfully warred against the Latins, and when the Mongol invasions weakened the Turks of Iconium, Nicaea became supreme in Asia Minor. Michael VIIIMichael VIII
(Michael Palaeologus), c.1225–1282, Byzantine emperor (1261–82), first of the Palaeologus dynasty. Following the murder of the regent for Emperor John IV of Nicaea, he was appointed (1258) regent and, soon afterward (1259), coemperor.
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 (Michael Palaeologus), who usurped the throne of Nicaea in 1259, captured Constantinople from the Latins and restored (1261) the Byzantine Empire.
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