John V Palaiologos

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John V Palaiologos (or Palaeologus) (Greek: Ίωάννης Ε' Παλαιολόγος, Iōannēs V Palaiologos) (18 June 1332 – February 16, 1391) was the son of Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos and Anna of Savoy. His maternal grandparents were Count Amadeus V of Savoy and his second wife Maria of Brabant. He succeeded his father as Byzantine Emperor in 1341, at age nine.

Contents

Life

John VI Kantakouzenos, his father's friend, served as his regent and co-emperor (1347–1354), after having fought a civil war (1341–1347) against the regency for young John V headed by his mother Anna of Savoy, the Patriarch John XIV Kalekas and the megas doux Alexios Apokaukos. Forced to fight John Kantakouzenos, who had usurped the throne during his minority, John V became sole emperor in 1354. In 1343, Anna of Savoy pawned the Byzantine crown jewels for 30,000 Venetian ducats. His long reign was marked by the gradual dissolution of the imperial power.

In his reign the Ottomans, led by Suleyman Paşa the son of the Ottoman sultan, took Adrianople and Philippopolis, and exacted tribute from the emperor. After the Ottoman Turks gained control of Gallipoli and threatened Constantinople, John V appealed to the West for help, proposing to end the schism between the Byzantine and Latin churches by submitting to the supremacy of the Roman Church. Impoverished by war, he was detained as a debtor when he visited Venice (1369). In 1371 he recognized the suzerainty of the Ottoman sultan Murad I, who later helped him to regain the throne (1379) after he was deposed by his son Andronikos IV Palaiologos in 1376.

In 1390 his grandson, John VII Palaiologos, briefly usurped the throne, but was quickly overthrown. John V was succeeded by his son Manuel II Palaiologos. His younger son Theodore I Palaiologos succeeded to the so-called Despotate of Morea in 1383.

Towards the end of his reign, in 1390, John ordered the strengthening of the Constantinople Golden Gate, utilizing marble from the decayed churches in and around the city. Upon the completion of this construction, Bayezid I, threatening war and the blinding of his son Manuel (whom he held in captivity), demanded that John raze these new works. John V filled the Sultan's order, but is said to have suffered from this humiliation and, according to historians, died on February 16, 1391.

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