Romanos IV Diogenes or Romanus IV Diogenes (Greek: Ρωμανός Δ΄ Διογένης, Rōmanos IV Diogenēs) was Byzantine (Roman) emperor from 1068 to 1071.
Ascension to the throne
Romanos Diogenes was the son of Constantine Diogenes
and a member of a prominent and powerful Cappadocian
family. He had risen to distinction in the army, until he was convicted of conspiracy to seize the throne from the sons of Constantine X
Doukas in 1067. While waiting for his execution he was summoned into the presence of the empress regent, Eudokia Makrembolitissa
, whom he so fascinated that she granted him a free pardon and married him on January 1
Campaigns against the Turks
With this Romanos IV Diogenes became the senior emperor alongside Michael VII
, Konstantios Doukas, and Andronikos Doukas
. After his coronation he carried out three successful campaigns against the Seljuk Turks
, whom he drove beyond the Euphrates
in 1068–1069. In 1071 Romanos IV prepared a large-scale expedition against the Seljuk stronghold of Manzikert
. Although his forces were numerous, they were not equally well-trained and contained various mercenary units.
Battle of Manzikert and capture by Alp Arslan
After initial successes in his campaign, Romanos IV fought in the Battle of Manzikert on August 26, 1071. He became isolated from the bulk of his army, which turned to flight, believing that the emperor had been killed. The disorderly withdrawal of the Byzantine army allowed the Seljuk Sultan Alp Arslan to capture Romanos IV and inflict a disastrous defeat on his forces. Most chroniclers of the period and the battle agree that Romanos IV was treated with respect by his captor, who at first had difficulty believing the dusty and tattered warrior brought before him was the Roman Emperor (see, Norwich, "Byzantium: The Apogee"). But then he treated him with extreme kindness, never saying a cruel word to him in the Emperor's eight-day stay in his camp, and who then released him in exchange for a treaty and the promise of a hefty ransom. At first Alp Arslan suggested a ransom of 10,000,000 nomismata to Romanos IV, but later reduced it to 1,500,000 nomismata with a further 360,000 nomismata annually.
In the meantime the opposition faction scheming against Romanos IV decided to exploit the situation. The Caesar John Doukas
and Michael Psellos
relegated Eudokia to a monastery and easily prevailed upon Michael VII to declare Romanos IV deposed. Before Romanos could gather support, he was attacked and defeated by Constantine and Andronikos Doukas
, the sons of the Caesar John Doukas. Besieged by Andronikos Doukas in a fortress in Cilicia
, Romanos surrendered after promising to resign his claims to the throne and enter a monastery. While being brought back to Constantinople, Romanos was nevertheless blinded (June 29
) and was sent into exile to the island of Proti
. His blinding was carried out so brutally that he soon died of the injury and subsequent infection. It was during his reign that the forces of Robert Guiscard
in 1071, and the Byzantine Empire
lost its last holdings in Italy
. Unable to stem this process, Romanos IV had turned his attention to affairs in the east.
By his first wife Anna, a daughter of Alusian of Bulgaria
, Romanos IV Diogenes had at least one son:
- Constantine Diogenes, who died before 1068
By his second wife, the Empress Eudokia Makrembolitissa, he had:
- Nikephoros Diogenes
- Leo Diogenes