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Michael III the Drunkard, 20 January 842 - 23 September 867 A.D.
The reign and personality of Michael III are difficult to evaluate. Michael had just turned two years old when he succeeded as sole emperor. During his reign the Empire made considerable advances internally, held its own against the Abbasid Caliphate, and Bulgaria was transformed into a religious and cultural satellite. Hostile accounts by Byzantine authors writing under his successors describe Michael's habitual drunkenness, obsession with chariot racing, and public displays mocking the processions and rituals of the church. The impression gained from Arab sources, however, is one of Michael as an active and often successful military commander. Much of the credit for his achievements certainly must go to his mother Theodora (regent during his minority), his minister Theoktistos, and his uncle Bardas. Michael had his courtier Basil marry his mistress and later crowned him as co-emperor. The empress was childless, and this scheme was likely intended to legitimize the eventual succession to the throne of his mistresses' son (believed to be his son). The plan did not work as intended. Basil had Michael murdered and assumed sole rule.
Byzantine Empire, Michael III the Drunkard, 20 January 842 - 23 September 867 A.D.
Michael III took an active part in the wars against the Abbasids and their vassals on the eastern frontier in 856 - 863, especially in 857 when he sent an army of 50,000 men against Umar al-Aqta, Emir of Melitene. In 859 he personally besieged Samosata, but in 860 he had to abandon his expedition to repel a Rus' attack on Constantinople. Michael was defeated by the Caliph al-Mutawakkil at Dazimon in 860, but in 863 Petronas defeated and killed the emir of Melitene at the battle of Lalakaon and celebrated a triumph in the capital.BZ71032. Bronze follis, Anastasi 567, SBCV 1697; DOC III-1 12, Choice VF, weight 2.537 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, sole reign, 856 - 866; obverse mIXAHL b, facing bust of Michael III, with short beard, wearing crown and loros, cross potent in right; reverse large M (40 nummi), cross above, Θ below; very scarce; SOLD
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