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Empire of Nicaea, John III Ducas-Vatatzes, c. 15 December 1221 - 3 November 1254
A successful soldier from a military family, John was chosen in about 1216 by Emperor Theodore I Laskaris as the second husband for his daughter Irene Laskarina and as heir to the throne. This arrangement excluded members of the Laskarid family from the succession, and when he became empero following Theodore I's death, he had to suppress opposition to his rule. John was a very successful ruler who greatly increased the size, influence, and prosperity of the Nicaean Empire. He prepared the way for his descendants to successfully restore Greek rule to Constantinople and to rule the restored Byzantine Empire.