Romanos IV Diogenes

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Romanos (or Romanus) IV Diogenes (Greek: Ρωμανός Δ΄ Διογένης, Rōmanos IV Diogenēs) was a member of the Byzantine military aristocracy who, after his marriage to the widowed empress Eudokia Makrembolitissa was crowned Byzantine emperor and reigned from 1068 to 1071. During his reign he was determined to halt the decline of the Byzantine military and stop Turkish incursions into the Byzantine Empire, but in 1071 he was captured and his army routed at the Battle of Manzikert. Upon his capture he was overthrown in a palace coup, and when released he was quickly defeated and detained by members of the Doukas family. In 1072, he was blinded and sent to a monastery where he died of his wounds.

Contents

Accession to the throne

Romanos Diogenes was the son of Constantine Diogenes and a member of a prominent and powerful Cappadocian family,[1] connected by birth to most of the great aristocratic nobles in Asia Minor.[2] Courageous and generous, but also quite impetuous, his military talents had seen him rise with distinction in the army, including serving on the Danubian frontier[3] but he was eventually convicted of attempting to usurp the throne of the sons of Constantine X Doukas in 1067.[1] While waiting to receive his sentence from the regent Eudokia Makrembolitissa, he was summoned into her presence and advised that she had pardoned him and that furthermore she had chosen him to be her husband and the guardian of her sons as emperor.[4] She took this course of action firstly due to her concern that unless she managed to find a powerful husband, she could easily lose the regency to any unscrupulous noble, and secondly because she was infatuated with the popular Romanus.[1] Her decision was met with little protest as the Seljuk Turks had overrun much of Cappadocia and had even taken the important city of Caesarea, meaning that the army needed to be placed under the command of an able and energetic general.[2]

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