Konstantios Dukas

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Konstantios Dukas ( Middle Greek Κωνστάντιος Δούκας ; * 1060 ; † October 18, 1081 at Dyrrhachion ) was Byzantine co-emperor from 1060 to 1078 and pretender to the throne 1078/79.

Histamenon of Romanos IV . : Romanos with Eudokia Makrembolitissa ,crownedby Jesus Christ ( reverse , right), and the young co-emperors Michael VII. Dukas , Andronikos Dukas and Konstantios Dukas ( obverse )


Konstantios Dukas came from the Byzantine noble family of the Dukas , which was one of the oldest in the empire. It is noteworthy that the presumed progenitor of the house, Andronikos, who is known as Domestikos ton scholon (commander-in-chief of the imperial troops) and a Byzantine Dux (i.e. military governor) - which gave the family its name - converted to Islam in 904.

This large noble family, the two emperors of the Byzantine Empire, Constantine X. (1059-1067) and Michael VII. (1071-1078), is derived from a Muslim , which shows that there was considerable tolerance towards Islam at the time duration.

His father was Konstantin Dukas (1006-1067), who was Emperor from 1059-1067 as Constantine X. His mother was eudokia makrembolitissa ( 1021 - 1096 ), regent of the empire in 1067 and 1071, which was after the death of his father, remarried with Romanos Diogenes, who from 1068 to 1071 as Romanos IV. Ruled the Byzantine Empire.


Co-emperor under his father

Konstantios was only the youngest son of Constantine X, but the only one who was born after his accession to the throne and therefore bore the honorary name "Porphyrogennetos" (the " purple born "). This is because he was born in the " Porphyra ", in the room of the imperial Great Palace , in Constantinople , which was intended for imperial births. The porphyra got its name from the cladding of the floor and the walls with purple porphyry . Konstantios was raised to the rank of co-emperor at birth - alongside his eldest brother Michael .

Co-emperor under Romanos IV.

When his father, Emperor Constantine X, died in 1067, Constantius was only seven years old. Since the nominal heir to the throne Michael was also a minor, his mother Eudokia took over the reign. In practice, however, the monk, historian and statesman Michael Psellos (1017 / 18-1078) and Konstantios' uncle, the Kaisar ( Caesar ) Johannes Dukas , who was a younger brother of the late emperor, ruled .

In view of the massive military threat to the empire from outside, the military aristocracy did not want to leave the government to a boy, a woman or a monk, but instead advocated strong military rule. The mother of Constantius, the Empress Eudokia, was therefore urged to marry the Cappadocian magnate and victorious general, Romanos Diogenes.

Through this marriage, Romanos Diogenes became the stepfather of Constantius in 1068 and was subsequently crowned Emperor of the Byzantine Empire as Romanos IV. He ruled as the main emperor from 1068 to 1071, thus excluding the sons of his predecessor who were entitled to inheritance as mere "co-emperors" from the rule for the time being, although the second oldest, Andronikos , was now nominally promoted to the ruling college. This happened perhaps at Eudocia's request, but also for dynastic considerations: the large number of co-emperors, which soon also included Eudocia's two young sons of Romanus, Leon and Nikephorus , weakened the position of the sons of Constantine X in favor of the chief emperor.

However, the tide turned three years later. Romanos IV, who primarily tried to push back the Turkish Seljuks , suffered a devastating defeat with his army in the battle of Manzikert on August 26, 1071 against Alp Arslan , Sultan of the Greater Seljuks (1063-1072), and was captured . This opportunity was used by his opponents - under the leadership of Emperor Johannes Dukas - to declare him deposed and to occupy the throne again.

Co-emperor under his brother Michael VII.

After the deposition of his stepfather, Romanos IV, Constantius' eldest brother, Michael VII, who had been nominally emperor since 1067, was proclaimed sole ruler and crowned on October 24, 1071 . Emperor Michael VII - according to Georg Ostrogorsky "a bookworm unrelated to life" - could not enjoy his rule for long, as there were not only threatening attacks from the outside, but also internal problems with rival pretenders for the crown. Among these were not only his uncle, the emperor Johannes Dukas, but also the Dux of Dyrrhachion , Nikephoros Bryennios , and the strategist of the subject (province) of the Anatolics, Nikephoros Botaneiates . The latter had himself proclaimed Emperor of the Byzantine Empire on January 7, 1078 and marched to Constantinople. In the meantime, an uprising there forced Michael VII to renounce the crown and enter the studio monastery in Constantinople as a monk. Most of the former monastery church is still preserved today as Imrahor Camii .

Designated Emperor 1078

That was the moment that Konstantios may have been hoping for for some time. His brother had not abdicated in favor of Nikephoros Botaneiates, but in his favor. This made Constantios the designated emperor of the Byzantine Empire. His only rival was Nikephoros Botaneiates. Although the troops in Asia Minor supported him and proclaimed him emperor, it soon became apparent that he was unsuitable for ruling the empire.

Monk and exile

His lack of talent for the difficult task of the ruler of the Byzantine Empire, which was threatened from all sides, was so evident in Constantius that in the end even his own followers handed him over to Nikephoros Botaneiates in order to avoid a civil war. This forced Konstantios to become a monk and banished him to the Prince Islands in the Marmara Sea . Nikephoros, who had secured the support of Suleiman ibn Kutalmiş († 1086 near Antioch ), the founder (1077) of the Sultanate of Rum of the Seljuks , moved into Constantinople on March 24, 1078 and let himself be by Cosmas I on the same day . the Patriarch of Konstantin Opel as Nikephoros III. crowned Emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

General under Alexios I.

However, Constantius was not destined to end his life as a monk on the Prince Islands. In the year of his exile by Emperor Nikephorus III. married his niece Irene Dukaina (approx. 1066–1123 / 33) (granddaughter of the aforementioned emperor Johannes Dukas) a successful and ambitious general named Alexios Komnenos . This nephew of Emperor Isaac I dethroned Emperor Nikephorus III three years later. and had himself crowned Emperor Alexios I on April 4, 1081 in Hagia Sophia by the Patriarch of Constantinople Cosmas I.

Emperor Alexios had Constantius brought back from exile as a close relative of his wife and gave him command on the beleaguered western flank of the empire. This was particularly oppressed by the daring Norman Robert Guiskard from the House of Hauteville , who not only made himself Duke of Apulia and Calabria , but also showed ambitions to seize the weakened Byzantine Empire. In 1074 he engaged his daughter Olympia to Konstantin Dukas Porphyrogennetos , the nephew of Konstantios and only son of Emperor Michael VII - and therefore to the likely heir of the empire. As if that were not enough, Robert Guiskard advanced with his army to the Balkans in 1081, where on October 18 he defeated the army of Emperor Alexios Komnenos in a great battle near Dyrrhachion (now Durrës in Albania ) , conquered Durazzo and then as far as Thessaloniki pushed forward.

Konstantios Dukas did not live to see these last defeats: he had already died on October 18, 1081 at the head of his troops in the battle of Dyrrhachion.


Nothing is known about a marriage or children of Constantius.



  • Alexander Canduci: Triumph and Tragedy - The Rise and Fall of Rome's Immortal Emperors. Murdoch Books, Sydney 2010, ISBN 978-1-74196-598-8 .
  • Jean-Claude Cheynet: Pouvoir et contestations à Byzance (963-1210) (= Publications de la Sorbonne. Series Byzantina Sorbonensia. Vol. 9). Reimpression. Publications de la Sorbonne Center de Recherches d'Histoire et de Civilization Byzantines, Paris 1996, ISBN 2-85944-168-5 , pp. 87-88 No. 110.
  • Georg Ostrogorsky : Byzantine History 324–1453. 2nd Edition. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-39759-X .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Detlev Schwennike: European Family Tables New Series. Verlag JA Stargardt Volume II, Plate 178.
  2. ^ Charles Cawley: Medieval Lands in Foundation for Medieval Genealogy: Doukas.
  3. a b c d Canducci, Triumph and Tragedy , p. 274.
  4. ^ Ostrogorsky, Byzantine History , p. 290.
  5. ^ Ostrogorsky, Byzantine History , p. 291.
  6. ^ Ostrogorsky, Byzantine History , p. 292.
  7. a b Ostrogorsky, Byzantinische Geschichte , p. 294.
  8. Konstantios is depicted on St. Stephen's crown as co-emperor and designated successor to Michael VII.
  9. John J. Norwich, Byzantium - The Apogee. Viking u. a., London 1992, ISBN 0-394-53779-3 , p. 361.
  10. ^ Ostrogorsky, Byzantine History , p. 299.