Byzantine Emperor. He was born in approximately 811 AD and spent part of his childhood as a captive of the Khan Krum of Bulgaria, finally escaping in 836 AD. He later found favour with Danielis, a wealthy woman who took him into her household and endowed him with a fortune. He came to the attention of the Emperor Michael III when he won a wrestling match with a Bulgarian champion and soon became the Emperor's companion and bodyguard. He quickly rose to the position of Caesar and was crowned co-Emperor in 866 AD. He had Michael assassinated when he started to show favour to another courtier and became Emperor, with his two sons acting as co-rulers, in 867 AD. He became famous for his legislative work, and his laws were collected together in the sixty books of the "Basilica". He also ordered an extensive building programme, including the construction of the Nea Ekklesia Cathedral. He maintained good relations with Rome, and restored the Patriach Ignatios, whose claim was supported by Pope Adrian II, although a breach with Rome occurred after Ignatius' death in 877 AD. The Paulicians of the Upper Euphrates rebelled and sacked Ephesus before his forces defeated them in 872 AD. There were also frontier wars with the Arabs in Asia Minor, during which Byzantium's Eastern frontier was strengthened and the island of Cyprus was recovered. He allied himself with the Holy Roman emperor Louis II against the Arabs and sent a fleet of ships to clear them from the Adriatic Sea and also aided in Louis' capture of Bari in 871 AD. His most significant failure was the loss of Sicily from the Byzantine Empire. He died in 866 AD from a fever contracted after a hunting accident.
Bio by: js