Michael VII

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Michael VII Ducas or Parapinakes, was the eldest son of Constantine X Ducas and Eudocia Macrembolitissa. After a joint reign as Byzantine emperor with his brothers Andronicus and Constantine (sometimes numbered XI, but not to be confused with the actual Constantine XI) from 1067 to 1071, joined by the usurper Romanus IV in 1068, he was made sole emperor in 1071 through his uncle John Ducas after the defeat of Romanus IV by Alp Arslan.

The feebleness of Michael, whose chief interest lay in trifling academic pursuits, and the avarice of his ministers, was disastrous to the empire. As the result of anarchy in the army, the Byzantines lost Bari, their last possession in Italy, to the Normans in 1071, and were forced to cede a large strip of Asia Minor which they were unable to defend against the Seljuk Turks (1074).

These misfortunes, which were but partially retrieved by the suppression of a Bulgarian revolt (1073), caused widespread dissatisfaction. In 1078 two generals, Nicephorus Bryennius and Nicephorus Botaniates, simultaneously revolted. Michael resigned the throne with hardly a struggle and retired into a monastery. His nickname Parapinakes ("minus a quarter") was due to his causing the price of wheat to rise, the same sum buying only three-fourths as much as before.

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