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Byzantine Empire /
Michael 4
Byname: Michael 4 the Paphlagonian

(1010-1041) Byzantine emperor 1034-1041, 7 and a half years.
Michael became emperor because of his good looks, Empress Zoe fell in love with him, and most likely had her husband, Emperor Romanus 3 killed. Michael, a man of no learning, delegated most of the government to his trusted and more talented brother, John the Eunuch. John reformed the organization of the army and increased taxation to meet the needs of the state. Discontent over the higher taxes among the nobility and the richer classes in the empire brought forth several conspiracies against John, but none were successful.
On the international arena, Michael's reign brought a peace treaty with the Fatimids, who now ruled from Egypt, signed to last for 30 years. Michael was permitted to renovate the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem as part of the agreement, and received the right to appoint Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Byzantines conquered land on Sicily, but their presence here would not last long. Also, a revolt in Bulgaria was successfully suppressed.
Michael suffered from epilepsy, a disease that would make him mortally ill, and probably became the cause of his death at young age.

1010: Born in Paphlagonia into a peasant family.
— His brother, John the Eunuch, aids him into the women's quarter in the royal palace, where he meets Empress Zoe and becomes her lover.
1034 April 11: Emperor Romanus 3 dies, and Michael marries his widow, perhaps even the same day.
— Michael is proclaimed emperor.
1037: Peace treaty of 30 years is signed with the Fatimids.
1037: Massina on Sicily is conquered.
1040: Syracuse on Sicilty is conquered.
1041: Most of the Byzantine strongholds on Sicily are lost to the Normans.
— Defeats the Bulgarians with the aid of Norwegian mercenaries.
December 10: Dies from illness in Constantinople.

By Tore Kjeilen