- One of the great generals of the 11th century. Of humble origins he rose through the ranks due to his exceptional military capabilities. His victories along the Arab frontier in the early 1030s made him famous, especially his capture of Edessa (q.v.) where he seized the alleged letter that Jesus sent to Abgar. He attacked eastern Sicily (q.v.) in 1038, accompanied by Harold Hardrada and a company of Varangians (qq.v.). He quickly won Messina and Syracuse (qq.v.), but enemies at court persuaded Michael IV (q.v.) to recall and imprison him in 1040. When Michael V (q.v.) released him in 1042, he returned to Italy with the authority of katepano (q.v.), this time to fight the Normans (q.v.). However, his recall the same year by Constantine IX (q.v.) forced him into rebellion in 1043, just as the Rus under Jaroslav (qq.v.) were preparing to attack the capital. He landed at Dyrrachion (q.v.) and was marching on Constantinople (q.v.) when he was killed in battle near Thessalonike (q.v.). Thus perished a true warrior; there were precious few like him to defend Byzantium (q.v.) in the period from 1025-1081.
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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