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the name of a number of Byzantine emperors.

Romanus I Lecapenus

Died June 15, 948, on the island of Prote. Emperor from 920 to 944.

The son of Armenian peasants. Romanus rose to the rank of commander of the imperial fleet. In 919 he became regent during the minority of Emperor Constantine VII, to whom in that same year he married off his daughter. In 920, Romanus became coruler with the emperor, having in actuality usurped all the power.

Romanus represented the interests of the upper stratum of the capital’s officials. He sought to prevent the taking of lands from the free peasants, who were the principal taxpayers and were subject to military service for the state (amendments of 934 and 943). He waged war against Bulgaria, and after the death of the Bulgarian tsar Simeon (927) he extended Byzantine influence to Bulgaria and subordinated the Serbian lands. Romanus strengthened the army and thus facilitated Byzantium’s victories in wars against the Arabs. In 924 an Arab fleet was destroyed and Byzantine domination was established in the Aegean Sea. The city of Melitene was regained from the Arabs in 934, and in the early 940’s, Martyropolis, Dara, Amida, and Ni-sibis were reconquered. In 941, Romanus repulsed an attack on Byzantium by Prince Igor of Kiev, and in 944 he concluded a peace treaty with Rus’. Late in 944, Romanus was deposed by his sons. He died in exile.


Runciman, S. The Emperor Romanus Lecapenus and His Reign. Cambridge, 1963.
Romanus IV Diogenes. Died in the summer of 1072. Emperor from 1068 to 1071.
Romanus IV belonged to the Cappadocian aristocracy. After the death of Emperor Constantine X Ducas (1067), he organized a plot against Eudocia, Constantine X’s widow. He was seized, brought to Constantinople, and sentenced to death. After being pardoned by Eudocia, he obtained the post of commander in chief. He subsequently married Eudocia and became emperor.
Romanus represented the interests of the military feudal aristocracy. He was faced with strong opposition from the upper stratum of the officials, headed by Michael Ducas, son of Constantine X. Romanus successfully waged war against the attacking Seljuks, but on Aug. 19, 1071, he was defeated by Sultan Alp Apslan near Manzikert. He was taken prisoner but was released on condition that he pay an annual tribute. In October 1071 he was deposed. Romanus attempted to regain the throne, but the Ducas group seized and blinded him.