John VIII Palaiologos
name =John VIII Palaiologos
title =Emperor of the
reign =1425 – 1448
Manuel II Palaiologos
Constantine XI Palaiologos
spouse 1 =
Anna of Moscow
spouse 2 =
Sophia of Montferrat
spouse 3 =Palaiologos dynasty
Manuel II Palaiologos
date of birth =
December 18, 1392
date of death =
October 31, 1448|
John VIII Palaiologos or Palaeologus (Greek Ιωάννης Η' Παλαιολόγος, "Iōannēs VIII Palaiologos") (
December 18 1392– October 31 1448, Constantinople), was Byzantine Emperorfrom 1425 to 1448.
John VIII Palaiologos was the eldest son of
Manuel II Palaiologosand Helena Dragaš, the daughter of the Serbian prince Constantine Dragaš. He was associated as co-emperor with his father before 1416 and became sole emperor in 1425.
In June 1422, John VIII Palaiologos supervised the defense of Constantinople during a siege by
Murad II, but had to accept the loss of Thessalonica which his brother Andronikos had given to Venice in 1423. To secure protection against the Ottomans, he visited Pope Eugene IVand consented to the union of the Greek and Roman churches. The Union was ratified at the Council of Florencein 1439 which John attended with 700 followers including Patriarch Joseph II of Constantinopleand George Gemistos Plethon, a Neoplatonist philosopher influential among the academics of Italy. Union failed due to opposition in Constantinoplebut by his prudent conduct towards the Ottoman Empirehe succeeded in holding possession of the city.
John VIII Palaiologos named his brother
Constantine XI, who had served as regent in Constantinople in 1437–1439, as his successor. Despite the machinations of his younger brother Demetrios Palaiologoshis mother Helena was able to secure Constantine XI's succession in 1448.
He was married three times. [http://surprisedbytime.blogspot.com/] The first marriage to
Anna of Moscow, daughter of Grand Prince Basil I of Moscow(1389–1425) and Sophia of Lithuania, in 1414. She died in August 1417 of plague. Wedding portrait
The second marriage, arranged by his father Manuel II and Pope Martin V, was to
Sophia of Montferratin 1421. She was a daughter of Theodore II, Marquess of Montferratand his second wife Joanna of Bar. Joanna was a daughter of Robert I, Duke of Barand Marie Valois. Her maternal grandparents were John II of Franceand Bonne of Bohemia.
His third marriage, arranged by the future cardinal, Bessarion. was to
Maria of Trebizondin 1427. She was a daughter of Alexios IV of Trebizondand Theodora Kantakouzene. She died in the winter of 1439, also from plague. None of the marriages produced any children.
Representation in art
He was famously depicted by several painters on the occasion of his visit to Italy. [http://nauplion.net/CP-John-Pisanello.html] Perhaps the most famous of his portraits is the one by
Benozzo Gozzoli, on the southern wall of the Magi Chapel, at the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, in Florence. According to some interpretations, John VIII would be also portrayed in Piero della Francesca's "Flagellation". A particularly fine portrait of John appears in a manuscript at the Monastery of St. Catherine at Sinaii [http://nauplion.net/CP-JOHN-VIII.html] .
style=font-size: 90%; line-height: 110%;
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1= 1. John VIII Palaiologos
Manuel II Palaiologos
John V Palaiologos
Andronikos III Palaiologos
Anna of Savoy
John VI Kantakouzenos
12= 12. Dejan
13= 13. Theodora of Serbia
Michael IX Palaiologos
Rita of Armenia
Amadeus V, Count of Savoy
19= 19. Maria of Brabant
21= 21. Theodora Palaiologina Angelina Kantakouzene
Stefan Uroš III Dečanski of Serbia
27= 27. Theodora of Bulgaria
Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium," 1991.
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