Isaac I Komnenos

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Isaac I Komnenos (or Comnenus) (Greek: Ισαάκιος A' Κομνηνός, Isaakios I Komnēnos) (c. 1007[1] – 1061) was Byzantine Emperor from 1057 to 1059, and the first reigning member of the Komnenos dynasty. His brief reign saw an attempt to restore the Byzantine Empire’s military capability and reputation.

Contents

Life

He was the son of Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, the strategos autokrator of the East under Emperor Basil II[2] who in 978 defended Nicaea against Bardas Skleros, and one of his two wives, whose names are unknown, and who on his deathbed in 1020 commended his two surviving sons Isaakios and Ioannes to the emperor's care.[3] Basil had them carefully educated at the monastery of Stoudion, and afterwards advanced them to high official positions. He also had an older son, Nikephoros, who died in 1026, and a daughter, born in 1012 and married around 1031 to Michael Dokeianos, Catepan of Italy, deceased in 1050. It is said that their name was derived from the city of Komne, near Philippopolis,[2] where they were landowners, and that they were of Armenian ancestry from Paphlagonia, which is supported by the use of the name Manuel instead of Emmanouel.

During the disturbed reigns of Basil's seven immediate successors, Isaac by his prudent conduct won the confidence of the army. From 1042 to 1057, he served as commander of the field army in Anatolia. In 1057, after being humiliated by the Emperor Michael VI,[4] he rebelled in Paphlagonia, and joined with the nobles of the capital in a conspiracy against Michael VI.[5] Proclaimed emperor by the army on June 8, 1057, he defeated an imperial army at the Battle of Hades.[6] A panicked Michael VI attempted to negotiate with the rebels through the famous courtier Michael Psellos, offering to adopt Isaac as his son and to grant him the title of kaisar (Caesar),[7] but his proposals were publicly rejected. Privately Isaac showed himself more open to negotiation, and he was promised the status of co-emperor. However, during the course of these secret negotiations, a riot in favor of Isaac broke out in Constantinople.[7] With Michael VI’s deposition, Patriarch Michael Keroularios crowned Isaac I emperor on September 1, 1057,[1] taking much of the credit for Isaac's acceptance as monarch.[8] His coronation marks the founding of the new dynasty of the Komnenoi.

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