Michael II

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Michael II, called Psellus, "the stammerer," or "the Amorian" (770-829) reigned as Byzantine emperor 820 - 829. Born in Amorium in Phrygia, he began his career as a private soldier, but rose by his talents to the rank of general.

He had favoured the enthronement of his old companion in arms Leo the Armenian (813), but, detected in a conspiracy against that emperor, had been sentenced to death in December 820; his partisans, however, succeeded in assassinating Leo and called Michael from the prison to the throne as the first representative of the Amorian dynasty.

Several features marked his reign: a struggle against his brother general, Thomas, who aimed at the throne (822-824); the conquest of Crete by the Saracens in 823; and the beginning of their attacks upon Sicily (827).

In spite of his iconoclastic sympathies, he endeavoured to conciliate the image-worshippers, but incurred the wrath of the monks by entering into a second marriage with Euphrosyne, daughter of Constantine VI, who had previously taken the veil.