Michael III

   Emperor (q.v.) from 842-867. He was not the incompetent drunkard portrayed in historical sources loyal to the memory of Basil I (q.v.), the man who assassinated and succeeded him. However, he spent his reign under the influence of powerful ministers. His mother Theodora and the eunuch Theoktistos (qq.v.) restored veneration of icons (q.v.), governing as regents until 856, when he overthrew them. Thereafter, until 866, his uncle Bardas (q.v.) was the power behind the throne. It was Bardas who organized the university at the Magnaura (q.v.) and who worked with the Patriarch Photios (q.v.) to facilitate the Moravian mission of Cyril and Methodius (qq.v.), as well as the baptism of Bulgarian khan Boris I (qq.v.). Byzantine military forces under Petronas (q.v.) won notable successes against the Arabs (q.v.), including a victory in 863 over Umar, emir of Melitene (qq.v.), that avenged Arab victories over Michael's father Theophilos, and he inaugurated a new period of Byzantine military supremacy along the eastern frontier. Ankyra (q.v.), destroyed under Mutasim (q.v.), was rebuilt, the fortifications of Nicaea (q.v.) were restored, and in 860 the first Rus attack on Constantinople (qq.v.) was fended off. Such were the important accomplishments of the once reviled emperor.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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