Nikephoros III Botaneiates

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Nikephoros III Botaneiates, Latinized as Nicephorus III Botaniates (Greek: Νικηφόρος Βοτανειάτης, born c. 1002,[1] died 10 December 1081, Constantinople) was Byzantine emperor from 1078 to 1081. He belonged to a family which claimed descent from the Byzantine Phokas family.[2]


Early career

Nikephoros Botaneiates had served as general from the reign of Constantine IX. Drawn to politics, he had been an active participant in the uprising that brought Isaac I to the throne in 1057,[2] including a prominent role in the Battle of Hades. Although considered a competent general, he had suffered a number of humiliating setbacks throughout his career.[3] In 1064, he, together with Basil Apokapes, doux of Paradounavon, defended the Balkan frontiers against the invading Oghuz Turks, but was defeated and suffered the humiliation of being taken captive.[3] However, the outbreak of epidemic soon began decimating the Turks and the prisoners were recovered, while the survivors were quickly recruited in the Byzantine army.[4]

In 1067, he had been considered as a possible husband for the empress Eudokia Makrembolitissa, widowed wife of Constantine X, but she eventually set her heart of Romanos IV Diogenes.[3] Excluded from Romanos's campaign at Manzikert, he retired to his estates in Anatolia.[5] Eventually, under Michael VII Doukas, he became strategos of the Anatolic theme and commander of the troops in Asia Minor.[5] Here he participated in the shambolic acts that crippled the empire’s eastern provinces, including his strategic retreat when Caesar John Doukas was confronting Norman mercenary rebels, resulting in the humiliating defeat of the Byzantine army, and the capture of John Doukas.[6]

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