Definitions

cerebral haemorrhage

List of Byzantine Emperors

This is a list of the Emperors of the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly known as the Byzantine Empire by modern historians. This list does not include numerous co-emperors who never attained sole or senior status as rulers.

This list begins with Constantine I the Great, the first Christian emperor reigning from Constantinople. Diocletian before him had ruled from Nicomedia and replaced the republican trappings of the office with a straightforward autocracy. All Byzantine Emperors regarded themselves as Roman Emperors.

The Emperor Heraclius (610–41) replaced Latin with Greek as the language of the army and began the administrative restructuring of the Empire into themata. Although Greek had long been the dominant language in the Eastern Roman Empire this change represented a formal rejection of the Latin language and many aspects of traditional Roman culture. Indeed after 800 AD the Pope and later the Franks would reject the Roman Imperial authority of Constantinople partially on this basis.

The title of all Emperors listed preceding Heraclius was officially Augustus, although various other titles such as Dominus were used as well. For official purposes, their names were preceded by Imperator Caesar and followed by Augustus. Following Heraclius, the title commonly became the Greek Basileus (Gr. Βασιλεύς), which had formerly meant generally "king", "sovereign" but now was used in place of Imperator. Kings were now titled by the neologism Regas (Gr. Ρήγας, from the Lat. "Rex") or by another generic term Archon (Gr. Άρχων, "ruler"). Autokrator (Gr. Αυτοκράτωρ) was also frequently used, along with a plethora of more hyperbolic titles including Kosmokrator (Gr. Κοσμοκράτωρ) ("Master of the World") and "Chronokrator" (Gr. Χρονοκράτωρ) ("Master of Time"). In the later centuries of the Empire, the emperor could be often referred to by Western Christians as the "Emperor of the Greeks", though they still considered themselves "Roman" Emperors.

Constantinian dynasty (306–363)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Constantine I "the Great"
(Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus)
son of the Augustus Constantius Chlorus 27 February c.280 25 July 306
Proclaimed "Augustus" upon the death of Constantius Chlorus
22 May 337
Constantius II
(Flavius Iulius Constantius)
second son of Constantine I 7 August 317 22 May 337
Inherited Eastern third of Roman Empire upon his father's death
Julian "the Apostate"
(Flavius Claudius Iulianus)
grandson of Constantius Chlorus, cousin of Constantius II May 332 5 October 361
Proclaimed by his army in Gaul, became legitimate Emperor upon the death of Constantius
28 June 363
Mortally wounded in battle

Non-dynastic (363–364)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Jovian
( Flavius Claudius Iovianus )
Guards' Captain amongst Julian's Eastern forces c.332 28 June 363
Elected by the army upon Julian's death
17 February 364
Died on journey back to Constantinople

Valentinian-Theodosian dynasty (364–457)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Valentinian I
(Flavius Valentinianus)
Officer under Julian and Jovian 321 26 February 364
Elected by the army upon Jovian's death
align="center" colspan=2–17 November 375
Died of cerebral haemorrhage
Valens
( Flavius Iulius Valens )
Minor soldier of the Roman army, brother of Valentinian I 328 28 March 364
Appointed by his brother
align="center" colspan=2–9 August 378
Killed at the Battle of Adrianople
Gratian
( Flavius Gratianus )
Son of Valentinian I, nephew of Valens 18 April/23 May 359 9 August 378
Inherited rule of the East upon the death of Valens
Theodosius I
( Flavius Theodosius )
Aristocrat and military leader, brother-in-law of Gratian 11 January 347 19 January 379
Appointed by Gratian
align="center" colspan=2–17 January 395
old age
Arcadius
( Flavius Arcadius )
Son of Theodosius I 377/378 17 January 395
Upon the death of Theodosius I
align="center" colspan=2–1 May 408
Theodosius II
( Flavius Theodosius )
Son of Arcadius 10 April 401 1 May 408
Upon the death of Arcadius
align="center" colspan=2–28 July 450
Riding accident
Pulcheria
( Aelia Pulcheria )
Daughter of Arcadius, sister of Theodosius II 19 January 399 28 July 450
Upon the death of Theodosius II
July 453
Marcian
( Flavius Marcianus )
Soldier, politician, husband of Pulcheria 396 450
Upon his marriage to Pulcheria
January 457
Gangrene contracted on a journey

Leonid dynasty (457–518)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Leo I "the Thracian"
(Flavius Valerius Leo )
Soldier 401 7 February 457
Chosen by Aspar, commander-in-chief of the army
18 January 474
Died of dysentery
Leo II
( Flavius Leo )
Grandson of Leo I 467 18 January 474
Succeeded his grandfather Leo I
17 November 474
Died of an unknown disease, possibly poisoned
Zeno
( Flavius Zeno )
(Born Tarasicodissa)
Roman general of Isaurian origins; son-in-law of Leo I, father of Leo II c.425 Co-emperor: 9 February 474
Appointed by his son Leo II
Sole Emperor: 17 November 474
Succeeded upon the death of Leo II
9 January 475
Deposed by Basiliscus, brother-in-law of Leo I
9 April 491
Basiliscus
( Flavius Basiliscus )
Army General; brother-in-law of Leo I 9 January 475
Seized power from Zeno
August 476
Deposed by Zeno
476/477
Zeno, restored
( Flavius Zeno )
(Born Tarasicodissa)
Roman general of Isaurian origins; son-in-law of Leo I, father of Leo II c.425 restored August 476
Having deposed Basiliscus
9 April 491
Anastasius I
( Flavius Anastasius )
Palace official ("Silentiarius"); son-in-law of Leo I c.430 11 April 491
Chosen by Ariadne, widow of Zeno
9 July 518

Justinian dynasty (518–602)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Justin I
(Flavius Iustinus )
General, commander of the City Guards under Anastasius I c.450 July 518
Elected by army and people upon the death of Anastasius I
1 August 527
Justinian I
(Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus)
Nephew and heir of Justin I 482/483 1 August 527
Inherited the throne on the death of Justin I
13/14 November 565
Justin II
(Flavius Iustinus Iunior)
Nephew and heir of Justinian I c.520 14 November 565
Inherited the throne on the death of Justinian I
5 October 578
Tiberius II Constantine
(Flavius Tiberius Constantinus)
"Comes" of the Excubitors, friend and adoptive son of Justin II c.520 5 October 578
Became full Emperor on the death of Justin II
14 August 582
possibly poisoned by Maurice
Maurice
(Flavius Mauricius Tiberius)
Commander-in-chief of Cappadocian origins; son-in-law of Tiberius II 539 14 August 582
Succeeded upon the death of his father-in-law Tiberius II
November 602
Forced to abdicate by Phocas
27 November 602
'' Executed by Phocas

Non-dynastic (602–610)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Phocas
(Flavius Phocas )
sub-altern in the Balkan army, leader of rebellion; deposed Maurice ? November 602
Seized power in a rebellion against Maurice
610
Executed by Heraclius

Heraclian dynasty (610–711)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Herakleios
(Ηράκλειος, Hērakleios) Heraclius (Flavius Heraclius)
son of Exarch Heraclius the Elder; deposed Phocas c.575 5 October 610
Seized power in a rebellion against Phocas
11 February 641
Constantine III
(Ηράκλειος (νέος) Κωνσταντίνος, Herakleios Novos Kōnstantinos) Constantine III ( Heraclius Novus Constantinus )
eldest son of Herakleios 3 May 612 11 February 641
Succeeded to throne with Heraklonas following death of Herakleios
24–26 May 641
Tuberculosis, allegedly poisoned by Martina
Heraklonas
(Κωνσταντίνος Ηράκλειος, Kōnstantinos Herakleios) Heraclianus (Constantinus Heraclius)
younger son of Herakleios 626 11 February 641
Succeeded to throne with Constantine III following death of Herakleios
September 641
Deposed by Senate
c.641
Presumed to have died in exile
Constans II
(Κώνστας Β', Kōnstas II);
born Herakleios Constantine
(Ηράκλειος Κωνσταντίνος, Herakleios Kōnstantinos );
called "Constantine the Bearded" (Κωνσταντίνος Πωγωνάτος, Kōnstantinos Pogonatos) Constans II
(Constantus II);
born Heraclius Constantine
( Heraclius Constantinus );
called "Constantine the Bearded"
son of Constantine III
Mezezius Usurper Emperor Unknown 668 669
Constantine IV
(Κωνσταντίνος, Kōnstantinos) Constantine
(Constantinos)
son of Constans II 652 15 September 668
succeeded following murder of Constans II
September 685
Died of dysentery
Justinian II son of Constantine IV 669 Co-emperor in 681, sole emperor in 685. 695
Deposed by military revolt
December 711
Leontios Usurper Emperor Unknown 695 698
Deposed by military revolt
705
Tiberios III Usurper Emperor Unknown 698 705
Deposed by a Bulgarian-supported revolt
705
Justinian II son of Constantine IV 669 705 711
Deposed by military revolt
December 711

Non-dynastic (711–717)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Philippikos A general of Armenian origins; deposed Justinian II Unknown December, 711 3 June, 713
Deposed by a military revolt
Later in the 8th century
Anastasios II a burecraut, imperial secretary for Philippikos Unknown June, 713 November, 715
Deposed by a military revolt
718
Theodosios III a financial officer, tax collector in the Opsikian Theme Unknown May, 715 25 March, 717
Deposed by a military revolt
Later in the 8th century

Isaurian dynasty (717–802)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Leo III the Isaurian a general from Germanikeia, Commagene c. 685 25 March, 717 18 June, 741 18 June, 741
Constantine V Son of Leo III July, 718 Co-ruler in 720, senior ruler in 741 14 September, 775 14 September, 775
Artabasdos Son-in-law of Leo III, brother-in-law of Constantine V Unknown Rival emperor from June 741/2 2 November, 743 Later in the 8th century
Leo IV the Khazar Son of Constantine V 25 January, 750 Co-ruler in 751, senior ruler in 775 8 September, 780 8 September, 780
Constantine VI Son of Leo IV and Irene 771 Co-ruler in 776, sole emperor in 780 August, 797 c. 797, though sources are contradictory on the subject
Irene of Athens Wife of Leo IV, mother of Constantine VI c. 752 August, 797 31 October, 802 9 August, 803

Nikephoros’ dynasty (802–813)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Nikephoros I logothetēs tou genikou (finance minister) Unknown 31 October, 802 26 July, 811 26 July, 811
Staurakios Son of Nikephoros I Unknown Co-ruler in 803, senior ruler in 811 2 October, 811 11 January, 812
Michael I Rangabe Son-in-law of Nikephoros I, brother-in-law of Staurakios Unknown 2 October, 811 11 July, 813 11 January, 844

Non-dynastic (813–820)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Leo V the Armenian Strategos of the Anatolic theme c. 775 11 July, 813 25 December, 820 25 December, 820

Phrygian dynasty (820–867)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Michael II the Stammerer or the Amorian (Μιχαήλ Β' ο Τραυλός ή Ψελλός) Strategos, son-in-law of Constantine VI 770 25 December 820
2 October 829
Theophilus (Θεόφιλος) son of Michael II 813 2 October 829
20 January 842
Theodora (Θεοδώρα) wife of Theophilus c. 815 842
855 867
Michael III the Drunkard (Μιχαήλ Γ' ο Μέθυσος) son of Theophilos 19 January 840 842
23 September 867

Macedonian dynasty (867–1056)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Basil I the Macedonian (Βασίλειος Α') married Michael III's widow c. 811 867
2 August 886
Leo VI (Λέων ΣΤ' ο Σοφός) likely either son of Basil I or Michael III 19 September 866 886
11 May 912
Alexander III (Αλέξανδρος Γ' του Βυζαντίου) son of Basil I; regent for nephew 870 912
913
Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (Κωνσταντίνος Ζ' ο Πορφυρογέννητος) son of Leo VI 9 September 905 15 May 908
9 November 959
Romanos I Lekapenos (Ρωμανός Α' ο Λεκαπηνός) father-in-law of Constantine VII c. 870 17 December 920
16 December 944 15 June 948
Romanos II (Ρωμανός Β' ο Πορφυρογέννητος) son of Constantine VII 15 March 938 November 959
15 March 963
Nikephoros II Phokas (Νικηφόρος Β' Φωκάς) married Theophano, Romanos II's widow, regent for Basil II c. 912 16 August 963
969
John I Tzimiskes (Ιωάννης Α' Κουρκούας ο Τσιμισκής) brother-in-law of Romanus II c. 925 11 December 969
10 January 976
Basil II the Bulgar-Slayer (Βασίλειος Β' ο Βουλγαροκτόνος) son of Romanos II 958 10 January 976
15 December 1025
Constantine VIII (Κωνσταντίνος Η') son of Romanos II 960 15 December 1025
15 November 1028
Zoe (Ζωή) daughter of Constantine VIII c. 978 15 November 1028
June 1050
Romanos III Argyros (Ρωμανός Γ' ο Αργυρός) Zoe's first husband 968 15 November 1028
11 April 1034
Michael IV (Μιχαήλ Δ' ο Παφλαγών) Zoe's second husband 1010 11 April 1034
10 December 1041
Michael V (Μιχαήλ Ε' ο Καλαφάτης) Michael IV's nephew 1015 10 December 1041
20 April 1042 24 August 1042
Theodora (Θεοδώρα) daughter of Constantine VIII 984 20 April 1042
1042 after 31 August 1056
Constantine IX (Κωνσταντίνος Θ' ο Μονομάχος) Zoe's third husband c. 1000 11 June 1042
11 January 1055
Theodora (Θεοδώρα) daughter of Constantine VIII 984 11 January 1055
after 31 August 1056

Non-dynastic (1056–1057)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Michael VI Court burecraut, defence minister Unknown September, 1056 31 August, 1057 c. 1059

Komnenid dynasty (1057–1059)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Isaac I Komnenos commander of the field army in Anatolia c. 1005 5 June, 1057 as rival emperor, sole emperor since 31 August, 1057 22 November, 1059 c. 1061

Doukid dynasty (1059–1081)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Constantine X Doukas (Κωνσταντίνος Ι' ο Δούκας) 1006 24 November 1059
22 May 1067
Michael VII Doukas Quarter-short (Μιχαήλ Ζ' Δούκας Παραπινάκης) son of Constantine X 1050 22 May 1067
24 March 1078 1090
Romanos IV Diogenes (Ρωμανός Δ' Διογένης) married Eudokia Makrembolitissa, Constantine X's widow 1032 1067
1071 1072
Nikephoros III Botaneiates (Νικηφόρος Γ' Βοτανειάτης) Strategos claiming descent from the Fabii 1001 31 March 1078
10 December 1081

Komnenid dynasty (1081–1185)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Alexios I Komnenos (Αλέξιος Α' Κομνηνός) Nephew of Isaac I, military commander 1048 4 April 1081
15 August 1118
John II Komnenos (Ιωάννης Β' Κομνηνός o Καλός) son of Alexios I 13 September 1087 1118 8 April 1143
Alexios Komnenos (Αλέξιος Κομνηνός) son of John II February, 1106 co-emperor in 1122 2 August 1142
Manuel I Komnenos (Μανουήλ Α' Κομνηνός ο Μέγας) son of John II 28 November 1118 1143 24 September 1180
Alexios II Komnenos (Αλέξιος B' Κομνηνός) son of Manuel I 14 September 1169 1180 October 1183
Andronikos I Komnenos (Ανδρόνικος Α' Κομνηνός) nephew of John II c. 1118 1183 2 September 1185

Angelid dynasty (1185–1204)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Isaac II Angelos (Ισαάκιος Β' Άγγελος) great-grandson of Alexios I September 1156 1185
1195 January 1205
Alexios III Angelos (Αλέξιος Γ' Άγγελος) brother of Isaac II 1153 1195
1203 1211
Isaac II Angelos (Ισαάκιος Β' Άγγελος) great-grandson of Alexios I September 1156 1203
1204 January 1205
Alexios IV Angelos (Αλέξιος Δ' Άγγελος) son of Isaac II 1182 1203 1204
Nikolaos Kanabos 25 January 1204 5 February 1205
Alexios V Doukas (Αλέξιος Ε' Δούκας) son-in-law of Alexios III 1140 5 February 1204 12 April 1204 December 1205

Laskarid dynasty (Empire of Nicaea, 1204–1261)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Constantine Laskaris Defender of Constantinople Unknown Claimant emperor in 1204 c. 1205 c. 1205
Theodore I Laskaris Brother of Constantine Laskaris, son-in-law of Alexios III c. 1174 proclaimed 1205, crowned 1208 1221 1221
John III Doukas Vatatzes son-in-law of Theodore I c. 1192 December, 1221 3 November, 1254 3 November, 1254
Theodore II Laskaris son of John III, grandson of Theodore I 1221/1222 proclaimed 4 November, 1254, crowned 1255 18 August, 1258 18 August, 1258
John IV Laskaris son of Theodore II 25 December, 1250 18 August, 1258 25 December, 1261 c. 1305

Palaiologan Dynasty (restored to Constantinople, 1259–1453)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Michael VIII Palaiologos Great-grandson of Alexios III, grandnephew of John III by marriage 1223 1 January, 1259 as co-emperor, senior emperor since 25 December, 1261 11 December, 1282 11 December, 1282
Andronikos II Palaiologos Son of Michael VIII 25 March, 1259 nominal co-emperor in September, 1261, crowned in 1272. Senior emperor on 11 December, 1282 24 May, 1328 13 February, 1332
Michael IX Palaiologos Son of Andronikos II 17 April, 1277 co-emperor in 1281, crowned in 1294/1295. 12 October, 1320 12 October, 1320
Andronikos III Palaiologos Son of Michael IX 25 March, 1297 co-emperor in 1316, rival emperor since July, 1321. Senior emperor on 24 May, 1328. 15 June, 1341 15 June, 1341
John V Palaiologos Son of Andronikos III 18 June, 1332 Emperor in 15 June, 1341 8 February, 1347 16 February, 1391
John VI Kantakouzenos A maternal relative of the Palaiologoi c. 1292 rival emperor on 26 October, 1341, senior emperor on 8 February, 1347. 4 December, 1354 15 June, 1383
Matthew Kantakouzenos Son of John V, brother-in-law of John V c. 1325 co-emperor on 15 April, 1353, rival emperor since 4 December, 1354. December, 1357 between 1383 and 1391
John V Palaiologos Son of Andronikos III, son-in-law of John VI 18 June, 1332 co-emperor in 1347, rival emperor in 1352. Senior Emperor on 4 December, 1354 12 August, 1376 16 February, 1391
Andronikos IV Palaiologos Son of John V, grandson of John VI 2 April, 1348 co-emperor c. 1352, Senior Emperor on 12 August, 1376 1 July, 1379 28 June, 1385
John V Palaiologos Son of Andronikos III, son-in-law of John VI 18 June, 1332 Senior Emperor on 1 July, 1379 14 April, 1390 16 February, 1391
John VII Palaiologos Son of Andronikos IV 1370 Co-emperor from 1376 to 1379, senior emperor on 14 April, 1390. 17 September, 1390 22 September, 1408
John V Palaiologos Son of Andronikos III, son-in-law of John VI 18 June, 1332 Senior Emperor on 17 September, 1390 16 February, 1391 16 February, 1391
Manuel II Palaiologos Son of John V, grandson of John VI, brother of Andronikos IV 27 June, 1350 Co-emperor in 1373, Senior Emperor on 16 February, 1391 21 July, 1425 21 July, 1425
Andronikos V Palaiologos Son of John VII c. 1400 co-emperor c. 1403 c. 1407 c. 1407
John VIII Palaiologos Son of Manuel II 18 December, 1392 Co-emperor c. 1416, sole emperor on 21 July, 1425 31 October, 1448 31 October, 1448
Constantine XI Son of Manuel II, brother of John VIII 8 February, 1405 6 January, 1449 29 May, 1453 29 May, 1453

Palaiologan Dynasty (claimants in exile)

Picture Name Status Birth Emperor from Emperor until Death
Demetrios Palaiologos Son of Manuel II, brother of John VIII and Constantine XI c. 1407 1453 1460 1470
Thomas Palaiologos Son of Manuel II, brother of John VIII and Constantine XI c. 1409 1453 12 May, 1465 12 May, 1465
Andreas Palaiologos Son of Thomas c. 1453 12 May, 1465 1502 1502

See also

References

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