Palaeologus

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Palaeologus

(pālēŏl`əgəs), 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 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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, restorer of the empire. He was succeeded by Andronicus IIAndronicus II
(Andronicus Palaeologus) , 1258–1332, Byzantine emperor (1282–1328), son and successor of Michael VIII. He devoted himself chiefly to church affairs, renewing the schism by renouncing (1282) the union established at the Second Council of Lyons.
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 (reigned 1282–1328) and Andronicus IIIAndronicus III
(Andronicus Palaeologus), c.1296–1341, Byzantine emperor (1328–41), grandson of Andronicus II, whom he deposed after a series of civil wars. His chief minister was John Cantacuzene (later Emperor John VI).
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 (reigned 1328–41). John VJohn V
(John Palaeologus) , 1332–91, Byzantine emperor (1341–91), son and successor of Andronicus III. Forced to fight John VI (John Cantacuzene), who usurped the throne during his minority, he came into power in 1354.
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 acceded in 1341, but was kept from the throne until 1354 by John VI (John Cantacuzene) and from 1376 until 1379 by his son, Andronicus IV. At his death (1391) Manuel IIManuel II
(Manuel Palaeologus), 1350–1425, Byzantine emperor (1391–1425), son and successor of John V. In his youth he was taken captive by the Turks, and during his reign the Ottomans reduced the empire to Constantinople and its dependencies in the Peloponnesus.
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 succeeded and ruled until 1425; he had to share his rule with John VIIJohn VII
(John Palaeologus) , c.1370–1408, Byzantine emperor, grandson of John V. Backed by the sultan Beyazid I, he usurped (1390) the throne from John V but was dethroned by his uncle, Manuel II, six months later.
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 after 1399. Manuel's sons John VIIIJohn VIII
(John Palaeologus), 1390–1448, Byzantine emperor (1425–48), son and successor of Manuel II. When he acceded, the Byzantine Empire had been reduced by the Turks to the city of Constantinople.
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 (reigned 1425–48) and Constantine XI (reigned 1449–53) succeeded him. Constantine XI was killed when the Turks stormed Constantinople. Branches of the Palaeologus family survived in various European countries. One branch ruled the Italian marquisate of Montferrat from the 14th cent. until the family's extinction in 1536. Distinguished for their erudition, the Palaeologi helped the Greek people to retain their cultural identity after their conquest by the Ottoman Turks. As statesmen they had to contend with the pressure of the Turks and with the reluctance of Western Europe to come to the aid of the Orthodox Greeks. Their rule marked the high point of feudalism, partitions of the empire, and internal conflict between religious and secular groups.

Palaeologus

 

the name of the last dynasty of Byzantine emperors.

Michael VIII, founder of the dynasty, was from an aristocratic family known from the 11th century. He restored the Byzantine Empire in 1261 (it had fallen in 1204) and ruled it until 1282. Earlier—from the beginning of 1259 until 1261—he was coruler with the Nicaean emperor John IV Lascaris. In 1261 he became sole ruler of the Nicaean Empire.

Andronicus II ruled from 1282 until 1328. His grandson An-dronicus III was sovereign from 1328 until 1341. John V (1341–1391) had corulers: the imperial throne was usurped by John VI Cantacuzenus (1341–54); by John V’s son Andronicus IV (1376— 79); and by Andronicus IV’s son John VII (April to September 1390). There followed Manuel II (1391–1425), John V’s second son; John VIII (1425–48); and Constantine XI (1449–53), brother of John VIII. Their rule was a period marked by the political weakening of Byzantium, the feudal fragmentation of the country, Venetian and Genoan domination of the economy, and attacks on Byzantium by the Seljuk Turks.

Constantine XI’s niece Zoe (Sofia) married Ivan III Vasil’evich.