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Joint rule with Constantine VIII (his brother), 10 January 976 - 15 December 1025 A.D. Basil II Bulgaroktonos was the longest-reigning Byzantine emperor (for almost 50 years). He ruled with his brother, Constantine VIII as his adviser. Bulgaria (the Bulgars) was an ongoing problem during his reign, but was finally defeated and absorbed into the Empire. Basil brought great wealth to the Empire. At the time of his death, at almost 70 years of age, he was planning a campaign to wrest control of Sicily from the Arabs. Constantine VIII took over after the death of Basil, and the Empire began its decline.