Byzantine Empire /
Michael the Amorian; Michael the Drunkard
(838-867) Byzantine emperor 842-867. Despite his long reign, he was an adult only the last 11 years.
Michael was reportedly both unstable and cruel, but many of the histories are clear exaggerations. The reason for Michael's bad reputation, like being nicknamed The Drunkard, is linked to propaganda of Emperor Basil, who had to defend the liquidation of Michael.
Michael's reign represents the permanent return of icon veneration in the Byzantine Empire.
Michael began several reforms, that have been attributed to his successor, Basil 1.
Michael sent several successful campaigns against the Abbasids and Slavs.
838: Born in Constantinople as son of Emperor Theophilus and his wife Theodora.
840: Crowned co-emperor with his father.
842 January 20: Becomes emperor only 4 years old. A council of regency is set up, in which Theodora, Theodora's uncle Sergios and the chief minister, Theoctistus, were the leading figures.
843: Use of icons is reintroduced, but the policy towards the Iconoclasts is mild.
Launches fairly successful campaigns against the Slavs in Greece and against the Abbasid strongholds in Asia Minor, the Aegean coast and in the Nile Delta.
840's: Byzantine forces are defeated by the Abbasids in Pamphylia, Crete and on the border with Syria.
853: The Byzantine navy defeats the Abbasids in a battle.
855 November: Has Theoctistus murdered.
856 March 15: Takes direct control of the administration, but is opposed by his mother. He has Bardas as a close ally.
War begins against the Abbasids.
857: Forces his mother and sisters to a monastery.
859: Byzantine forces reaches the Euphrates River under the command of Michael himself.
860: Constantinople comes under a Russian siege, Michael is forced to return.
858: Appoints Photius new Patriarch, having Ignatius removed.
860's: Basil the Macedonian becomes new strong man in Constantinople, destroying Bardas' influence.
863: The Pope in Rome declares Photius illegitimate, but Micheal refuses to accept this. From this a schism emerges.
The Byzantine army conquers Melitene (modern Malatya, Turkey).
Manages to have the people of Great Moravia convert to Christianity instead of Judaism.
864: Invades Bulgaria to assure that the country is not converted to Western Christianity.
Around 865: His mistress, Eudocia Ingerina, officially marries Basil the Macedonian. Basil, himself, lived in reality with Thekla, the emperor's sister.
866 September 19: Eudocia Ingerina gives birth to Leo, assumed to be Michael's son. Leo would become emperor in 886.
865 April: Influenced by Basil, Micheal has Bardas murdered.
866 May: Makes Basil co-emperor. Michael even adopts Basil, although Basil is about 25 years older.
867 September 23: Basil has Michael murdered in Constantinople, making himself sole emperor.