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Byzantine Anonymous Class H Follis
Michael VII Doukas or Ducas (Greek: Μιχαήλ Ζ΄ Δούκας, Mikhaēl VII Doukas), nicknamed Parapinakēs(Παραπινάκης), was Byzantine emperor from 1071 to 1078.
Michael VII was the eldest son of Constantine X Doukas and Eudokia Makrembolitissa, and was born c. 1050, in Constantinople. He had been associated with his father on the throne late in 1059, together with or shortly before his newly born brother Konstantios Doukas. When Constantine X died in 1067, Michael VII was 17 years old and should have been able to rule by himself. He exhibited little interest in politics, and his mother Eudokia and uncle John Doukas governed the empire as effective regents.
On January 1, 1068, Eudokia married the general Romanos Diogenes, who now became senior co-emperor alongside Michael VII, Konstantios, and another brother, Andronikos. When Romanos IV was defeated and captured by Alp Arslan of the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert in August 1071, Michael VII remained in the background, while the initiative was taken by his uncle John Doukas and his tutor Michael Psellos. They conspired to keep Romanos from regaining power after his release from captivity, while he himself felt under no obligation to honor the agreement that Romanus struck with the Sultan. After the dispatch of Eudokia to a monastery, Michael VII was crowned again on October 24, 1071 as senior emperor.
Although still advised by Michael Psellos and John Doukas, Michael VII became increasingly reliant on his finance minister Nikephoritzes. The emperor's chief interests, shaped by Psellos, were in academic pursuits, and he allowed Nikephoritzes to increase both taxation and luxury spending without properly financing the army. As an emperor he was incompetent, and surrounded by synchophantic court officials, he was blind to the empire collapsing around him. In dire straits, imperial officials resorted to property confiscations and even expropriated some of the wealth of the church. The underpaid army tended to mutiny, and the Byzantines lostBari, their last possession in Italy, to the Normans of Robert Guiscard in 1071. Simultaneously, they faced a serious revolt in the Balkans, where they faced an attempt for the restoration of the Bulgarian state in the same year. Although this revolt was suppressed by the general Nikephoros Bryennios, the Byzantine Empire was unable to recover its losses in Asia Minor.
After Manzikert, the Byzantine government sent a new army to contain the Seljuk Turks under Isaac Komnenos, a brother of the future emperor Alexios I Komnenos, but this army was defeated and its commander captured in 1073. The problem was made worse by the desertion of the Byzantines' western mercenaries, who became the object of the next military expedition in the area, led by the Caesar John Doukas. This campaign also ended in failure and its commander was likewise captured by the enemy. The victorious mercenaries now forced John Doukas to stand as pretender to the throne. In this situation Michael VII's government was forced to recognize the conquests of the Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor in 1074, and to seek their support. A new army under Alexios Komnenos, reinforced by Seljuk troops sent by Malik Shah I, finally defeated the mercenaries and captured John Doukas in 1074.
These misfortunes caused widespread dissatisfaction, exacerbated by the devaluation of the currency, which gave the emperor his nickname Parapinakēs, "minus a quarter". In 1078 two generals, Nikephoros Bryenniosand Nikephoros Botaneiates, simultaneously revolted in the Balkans and Anatolia, respectively. Botaneiates gained the support of the Seljuk Turks and first reached Constantinople. Michael VII resigned the throne with hardly a struggle on March 31, 1078 and retired into the monastery of Stoudios. He later became metropolitan archbishop of Ephesus and died in Constantinople in c. 1090.
Various usurpers attempted to overthrow Michael VII or rule parts of the empire. These included:
Michael VII Doukas had married Maria of Alania, daughter of King Bagrat IV of Georgia. By her he had at least one son, Constantine Doukas, co-emperor from c. 1075 to 1078 and from 1081 to 1087/8. He died c. 1095.
The Patriarchal cross is a variant of the Christian cross, the religious symbol of Christianity. Similar to the familiar Latin cross, the Patriarchal cross possesses a smaller crossbar placed above the main one, so that both crossbars are near the top. Sometimes the patriarchal cross has a short, slanted crosspiece near its foot. This slanted, lower crosspiece often appears in Byzantine Greek and Eastern European iconography, as well asEastern Orthodox churches.
The Byzant christianization came to the Morava empire in the year 863, provided at the request of Prince Rastic sent Byzantine Emperor Michael III. The symbol, often referred to as the patriarchal cross, appeared in the Byzantine Empire in large numbers in the 10th century. For a long time, it was thought to have been given to Saint Stephen by the pope as the symbol of the apostolic Kingdom of Hungary. The two-barred cross is one of the main elements in the coats of arms of the Kingdom of Hungary since 1190. It appeared during the reign of King Béla III, who was raised in the Byzantine court. Béla was the son of Russian princess Eufrosina Mstislavovna. The cross appears floating in the coat of arms and on the coins from this era. In medieval Kingdom of Hungary was extended Byzantine Cyril-Methodian and western Latin church was expanded later.
The current coat of arms of Slovakia stems directly from the Cyril-Methodian tradition of the 9th century. The two-barred cross in the Hungarian coat of arms comes from the same source of Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire in the 12th century. Unlike the ordinary Christian cross, the symbolism and meaning of the double cross is not well understood.
The top beam represents the plaque bearing the inscription "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" (often abbreviated in the Latinate "INRI", and in the Greek as "INBI"). A popular view is that the slanted bottom beam is a foot rest, however there is no evidence of foot rests ever being used during crucifixion, and it has a deeper meaning. The bottom beam may represent a balance of justice. Some sources suggest that, as one of the thieves being crucified with Jesus repented of his sin and believed in Jesus as the Messiah and was thus with Christ in Paradise, the other thief rejected and mocked Jesus and therefore descended into Hades.
Many symbolic interpretations of the double cross have been put forth. One of them says that the first horizontal line symbolized the secular power and the other horizontal line the ecclesiastic power of Byzantine emperors. Also, that the first cross bar represents the death and the second cross the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Other variationsThe Russian cross can be considered a modified version of the Patriarchal cross, having two smaller crossbeams, one at the top and one near the bottom, in addition to the longer crossbeam. One suggestion is the lower crossbeam represents the footrest (suppendaneum) to which the feet of Jesus were nailed. In some earlier representations (and still currently in the Greek Church) the crossbar near the bottom is straight, or slanted upwards. In later Slavic and other traditions, it came to be depicted as slanted, with the side to the viewer's left usually being higher. During 1577–1625 the Russian use of the cross was between the heads of the double-headed eagle in the coat of arms of Russia.
One tradition says that this comes from the idea that as Jesus Christ took his last breath, the bar to which his feet were nailed broke, thus slanting to the side. Another tradition holds that the slanted bar represents therepentant thief and the unrepentant thief that were crucified with Christ, the one to Jesus' right hand repenting and rising to be with God in Paradise, and one on his left falling to Hades and separation from God. In this manner it also reminds the viewer of the Last Judgment.
Still another explanation of the slanted crossbar would suggest the Cross Saltire, as tradition holds that theApostle St. Andrew introduced Christianity to lands north and west of the Black Sea: today's Ukraine, Russia,Belarus, Moldova, and Romania.