Michael I Rangabe

Michael I Rangabes
Μιχαήλ Α΄ Ραγκαβές
Emperor of the Byzantine Empire

Emperor Michael I on a contemporary coin
Reign 2 October 811 – 813
Coronation 2 October 811
Hagia Sophia
Full name Michael I Rangabes
Born c. 770
Died 11 January 844
Place of death Prote Isla
Buried Church on Prote Island, transferred to Monastery of Satyros
Predecessor Staurakios
Successor Leo V
Consort to Prokopia
Offspring Theophylaktos
Father Theophylaktos Rangabes

Michael I Rangabes (Greek: Μιχαήλ Α΄ Ραγκαβές, Mikhaēl I Rangabes) (died January 11, 844) was Byzantine Emperor from 811 to 813.

Michael was the son of the patrician Theophylaktos Rangabes, the admiral of the Aegean fleet. He married Prokopia, the daughter of the future Emperor Nikephoros I, and received the high court dignity of kouropalatēs after his father-in-law's accession in 802.

Michael survived Nikephoros' disastrous campaign against Krum of Bulgaria, and was considered a more appropriate candidate for the throne than his severely injured brother-in-law Staurakios. When Michael's wife Prokopia failed to persuade her brother to name Michael as his successor, Michael's supporters forced Staurakios to abdicate in his favor on October 2, 811.

Coronation by the Patriarch, as depicted in the Madrid Skylitzes.

Michael I attempted to carry out a policy of reconciliation, abandoning the exacting taxation instituted by Nikephoros I. While reducing imperial income, Michael generously distributed money to the army, the bureaucracy, and the Church. Elected with the support of the Orthodox party in the Church, Michael diligently persecuted the iconoclasts and forced the Patriarch Nikephoros to back down in his dispute with Theodore of Stoudios, the influential abbot of the monastery of Stoudios. Michael's piety won him a very positive estimation in the work of the chronicler Theophanes the Confessor.

In 812 Michael I reopened negotiations with the Franks, and recognized Charlemagne as basileus (emperor) without saying anything else. In exchange for that recognition, Venice was returned to the Byzantine Empire. However, under the influence of Theodore, Michael rejected the peace terms offered by Krum and provoked the capture of Mesembria (Nesebar) by the Bulgarians. After an initial success in spring 813, Michael's army prepared for a major engagement at Versinikia near Adrianople in June. The Byzantine army was turned to flight and the emperor's position was seriously weakened. With conspiracy in the air, Michael preempted events by abdicating in favor of the general Leo the Armenian and becoming a monk (under the name Athanasios). His sons were castrated and relegated into monasteries, one of them, Niketas (renamed Ignatios), eventually becoming Patriarch of Constantinople. Michael died peacefully in January 844.


Flag depicting the Arms of the Rangabes family

By his wife Prokopia, Michael I had at least five children:

  • Theophylaktos, co-emperor from 812 to 814.
  • Staurakios
  • Niketas, later Patriarch Ignatios of Constantinople.
  • Georgo
  • Theophano


  • The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • Ostrogorski, G.; History of the Byzantine State, Rutgers University Press (July 1986)
  • Treadgold, W. A History of the Byzantine State and Society, Stanford University Press; 1 edition (November 1, 1997)
  • Gregory, T., A History of Byzantium (Blackwell History of the Ancient World), Wiley-Blackwell (March 11, 2005)

External links

Media related to Michael I Rangabe at Wikimedia Commons

Michael I Rangabe
Born: unknown Died: 11 January 844
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Byzantine Emperor
Succeeded by
Leo V

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Michael I Rangabe —    Emperor (811 813) who succeeded Staurakios (q.v.). Michael I came under the influence of patriarch Nikephoros I (qq.v.) and, after the end of the Moechian controversy in 809, of Theodore of Stoudios (q.v.). Emperor Nikephoros I s (q.v.) former …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Michael VIII Palaiologos — Μιχαῆλ Η΄ Παλαιολόγος Emperor of Nicaea and Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Painting of Michael VIII …   Wikipedia

  • Michael III — Emperor of the Byzantine Empire This coin struck during the regency of Theodora shows how Michael was less prominent than his mother, who is represented as ruler alone on the obverse, and even less than his sister Thecla, who is depicted together …   Wikipedia

  • Michael IV the Paphlagonian — Michael IV the Paphlagonian Μιχαὴλ Δ´ ὁ Παφλαγὼν Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Gold histamenon of Michael IV s reign …   Wikipedia

  • Michael VI Stratiotikos — Michael VI Bringas Μιχαήλ ΣΤ΄ Βρίγγας Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Gold tetarteron of Michael s reign Reign 1056–1057 …   Wikipedia

  • Michael VII Doukas — Michael VII Doukas Μιχαήλ Ζ΄ Δούκας Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Nomisma histamenon of Michael VII Doukas. Emperor with attributes. Reign …   Wikipedia

  • Michael IX Palaiologos — Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Andronikos II Palaiologos and Michael IX Palaiologos (silver basilikon) …   Wikipedia

  • Michael II — For other people named Michael II, see Michael II (disambiguation). Michael II Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Michael II and his son Theophilos, founders of the Amorian dyna …   Wikipedia

  • Michael — For other uses, see Michael (disambiguation). Michael Pronunciation English: /ˈmaɪkəl/ Gender …   Wikipedia

  • Michael V — For the Filipino comedian of similar name, see Michael V.. Michael V Kalaphates Μιχαήλ Ε΄ Καλαφάτης Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Histamenon which may …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.