Nikephoros III Botaneiates (1078–1081)
Rebelling against the inept rule of Michael VII Doukas, the elderly Nikephoros Botaneiates defeated Michael’s troops at Nicaea and, after the young ruler’s abdication, entered the capital. Generosity to his supporters led to another round of currency debasement and a reduction of imperial salaries. The ever closer problem of Turkish raids was compounded further by the rebellions of Nikephoros Bryennios, Nikephoros Basiliakes, Nikephoros Melissenos, and Botaneiates’s erstwhile supporter Alexios Komnenos. It was Alexios, the nephew of Isaakios I Komnenos, who forced his way into Constantinople and seized the throne. Nikephoros abdicated in April 1081 and retired to the Perbleptos monastery.
The seals of Nikephoros retain many of the design elements of the Doukas emperors. Botaneiates is shown standing, wearing a crown and loros and holding a labarum and globus cruciger. As with the Doukai he is identified by his family name. In his choice of obverse Nikephoros broke with the designs of Michael VII by returning to the bust of Christ. Also new on these seals is the title despotes (lord), which had not been seen since the reign of Michael III. From this point on despotes would be the title used on most imperial seals.
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