Romanus II

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Romanus II (Greek Ρωμανός Β') (939 - 963) succeeded his father Constantine VII as Byzantine Emperor in 959 at the age of twenty-one, and died, poisoned, it was believed, by his wife, Theophano in 963.

As a child he was married to Bertha, the illegitimate daughter of Hugh of Arles, King of Italy, but, with Hugh out of power in Italy and dead by 947, and Bertha herself dead in 949, Romanus secured the promise from his father that he would be allowed to select his own bride. Romanus' choice fell on an innkeeper's daughter named Anastasia, whom he married and renamed Theophano.

He was a pleasure-loving sovereign, but showed judgement in the selection of his ministers. The great event of his reign was the reconquest of Crete from the Saracen Arabs by his general and eventual successor, Nicephorus Phocas in 961.


  • Georgiy Ostrogorsky. History of the Byzantine State, 1969.