Romanos IV Diogenes (1068–1071)

Romanos IV Diogenes (1068–1071)

Romanos was outflanked in his short reign and in all parts of his life: in his family by his wife and the Doukas clan, in his governing by his own shortcomings in administration and authority, and, most importantly, in the field by the Turks at Mantzikert in 1071. Brought in to restore the army, Romanos's position was resented by the Doukas clan who felt he was an outsider, neglecting the rights of Michael VII. In order to protect the Byzantine possessions in Asia, he neglected Italy where the Normans under Robert Guiscard captured Bari, the last Byzantine town, in 1071. Romanos campaigned in 1068 and 1069 in eastern Anatolia and Armenia but was unable to prevernt he Turks from raiding into the empire. In 1071 Romanos confronted the army of the Seljuk sultan Alp Arslan at Mantzikert in Armenia. His defeat and capture, for which a large amount of responsibility falls to Andronikos Doukas’s premature departure from the field of battle, led to his deposition in abstentia. The caesar John Doukas, brother of Constantine X and uncle of Michael VII, placed his nephew on the throne. Thereafter Romanos, though released from captivity by the Turkish Sultan Alp Arslan, was unable to regain his former place. The civil war was brief, and Romanos surrendered and was blinded on John Doukas’s orders.

The seals and coins of Romanos’s reign are the most cluttered examples from the whole Byzantine period. During Romanos’s reign, Constantine’s third son, Andronikos, was associated in rule, and on his seals and coins the nominal senior emperor appears vastly outnumbered by the family of Constantine X. Romanos and Eudokia appear either side of Christ, who blesses them. On the reverse the three sons of Constantine X are shown in their imperial regalia. Although interpretation of the seals follows the convention of placing the senior emperor on the obverse, the sides are reversed when considering the coins, the concavity of which allows us to determine which was the top die.

 

 
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