Palaiologan Dynasty

   Longest-lived of Byzantine imperial dynasties, founded by Michael VIII Palaiologos (q.v.), who recovered Constantinople from the Latin Empire (qq.v.) in 1261. The dynasty included Michael VIII (1261-1282), Andronikos II (12821328), Andronikos III (1328-1341), John V (1341-1391; and during his turbulent reign these rulers: John VI Kantakouzenos [13471354], Andronikos VI [1376-1379]), and John VII [1390]), Manuel II (1391-1425), John VIII (1425-1448), and Constantine IX (14481453). The dynasty ended with the death of Constantine XI (q.v.) during the final Ottoman assault on Constantinople (qq.v.) in 1453. Ultimately, the destruction wrought by the Fourth Crusade and the Latin Empire (qq.v.) was something Palaiologan dynasts were not able to surmount. Palaiologan emperors (q.v.) sought vainly to stem the decline of restored Byzantium (q.v.), but this proved virtually impossible in the face of unrelenting Ottoman expansion and threats from the West (e.g., from Charles I Anjou and the Catalan Grand Company [q.v.]). Help sought from the West proved to be a chimera. Despite this decline, Byzantine art and architecture, as well as Byzantine literature and cultural interactions with the West, flourished. Moreover, the Palaiologan period produced some of Byzantium's finest scholars, including Bessarion, George Gemistos Plethon, and Demetrios Kydones (qq.v.).

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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