Agesilaos Antik Sikkeler Nümzimatik

Byzantine Michael II

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Antik Sikkeler

4 Şub 2022
Byzantine Michael II

Born into a humble family of professional peasant-soldiers, Michael was born in 770 in Amorium, Phrygia. As a soldier, he rose quickly to high rank, becoming a close aide to the general Bardanes Tourkos, along with his colleagues and future antagonists Leo the Armenian and Thomas the Slav. Both he and Leo married daughters of Bardanes, though both renounced the general after he rebelled against the emperor Nicephorus I in 803 and were rewarded with higher military positions.

Following the death in battle of the emperor Nicephorus against Khan Krum of Bulgaria, and the abdication of his severely wounded son Stauracius, the throne was passed to Michael I Rhangabe. The new emperor was unable to counter the Bulgarian threat, and under his leadership the progress of the war went from bad to worse, with the Imperial army suffering a devastating defeat at Versinikia. Leo, with the assistance of Michael the Amorian, was able to force the emperor to abdicate in his favour. Thus Leo became emperor and Michael the Amorian and Thomas the Slav were raised still higher in standing. Yet the relationship between Leo and his colleague Michael soon soured; Michael was imprisoned on suspicion of conspiracy. Whether or not Michael was indeed conspiring to usurp the throne before his imprisonment, when faced with his impending execution he arranged Leo's assassination from his prison cell. The deed was carried out in the chapel of St. Stephen on Christmas of 820, and Michael the Amorian was crowned Michael II with the prison irons still around his legs.

Immediately forced to deal with his former colleague Thomas the Slav who had set himself up as a rival emperor, Michael was forced to call upon the aid of Omurtag of Bulgaria to defeat Thomas' forces, whose surrender he eventually obtained in October of 823. With a severely weakened army, Michael was thus unable to prevent the conquest of Crete in 824 by a relatively small force of Arabs, and failed in a subsequent attempt to retake it in 826. The following year, the Muslim conquest of Sicily began, an assault Michael was powerless to stop. Despite these serious failures, Michael established a stable dynasty and his direct descendants would rule the empire for more than two centuries, inaugurating the Byzantine renaissance of the 9th and 10th centuries.