Michael VIII Paleologos





Year 1204, the western "crudaders" have captured Constantinople, killed, destroyed, ravaged and pillaged. They created the "Latin Empire of Constantinople", the "Kingdom of Salonica" and other smaller states from sharing between them the territories of the destroyed by them Byzantine Empire. 3 territories remained free though.
The Despotate of Epirus, the Empire of Trabizond and the Empire of Nicaea. 3 Greek Orthodox states resisted the invadors. From the Empire of Nikae came the man that was destined to resurect the Byzantine Empire...His Magesty Michael Palaeologos.

Michael was crowned as an Emperor with the name Michael VIII in 1259, 55 years after the destruction of the Empire by the "crusaders" of the 4th "crusade" .

After a whille in the battle of Pelagonia he defited the united forces of the Despotate of Epirus, Sicily and the Principality of Achaea. It was a triumph of Michael! The power of Latin Principate of Achaea in Greece was destroyed, the threat over Salonica was over and now Michael could turn in setting free Constantinople from Latin occupation.

His general Alexios Strategopoulos, whille he was returning from the Bulgarian borders sow that the Queen of the cities was not guarded well. He managed to get inside the walls with his 800 men and set free the City. Michael went to Constantinople where he was crowned as King and Emperor of the Romans inside the holy church of Hagia Sofia.

In order to set free the Latin Prince of Achaea William II Villehardouin which he captured after the battle of Pelagonia Michael received by him the <>. By that action the Principate of Achaea of the Latin invadors lost its strength and the Greek despotate of Moreos was born, a fact that was very important because Pelloponesse became the Acropolis of Hellenism at the last years of the Empire, during the Turkish occupation of Greece and during the Great Greek rebellion of 1821.

Charles of Anjou King of Sisely head of a very strong anti-Byzantine western alliance wanted to destroy once more the resurected Empire and reenslave Constantinople and the rest of Greece. Anjou's first step was to occupy the Greek island of Corfu in order to use it as a base to threat the Byzantine Empire. Next year (1270) he gathered a huge fleet in the Italian port of Trapani in order to attack and destroy the Empire. Suddenly a storm came from nowhere destroyed his fleet inside the port an incident that was considered by Michael and Orthodox Greeks as a miracle of the Holy Virgin Mary the Protector of Constantinople.


Charles returned, attacked Epirus and made alliance with the Despot but he was heavily defited by the Byzantine general Michael Tarhaniotes in the battle of Veration ( 1281).
Charles that insisted, gathered a stronger and fearsome army in Sisely in order to eliminate Byzantium but the famous Siselian Vespers (sikelikos esperinos) took place, a rebellion of the locals against the French that ended with the total slaughtering of French on Sisely. It is undoubtable that the famous Byzantine diplomacy of Michael (known as the best Emperor in diplomacy) was behind the rebellion and the slaughtering of their dangerous enemies.

Michael VIII Paleologos was one of the greatest Byzantine Emperors that managed to resurect the Empire, defit all its western enemies and establice the Paleology dynasty that live longer than any other in the Empire. He is considered by many historians as the best diplomat-Emperor the Empire ever had. The Hellenic Nation owns a lot to Michael Paleologos because it secured its continuation as an Empire for almost 200 years, set free almost all metropolitan Greece and put the basis for Pelloponesse to be the Acropolis of Hellenism through the dark ages of Turkish occupation and the succes of the Great Greek rebellion of 1821 that took place.

Learn more about this author, George Papasimakis.