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Eudocia Macrembolitissa

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Eudocia Macrembolitissa (1021 - 1096) was the second wife of the Byzantine emperor Constantine X. After his death (1067) she became the wife of Romanus IV. She was also the niece of Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople, whose sister married John Macrembolites.

She married Constantine sometime before 1050. With Constantine she had seven children; one died as a child and two, Constantius and Zoe, were born after Constantine became Byzantine emperor in 1059. When Constantine died in 1067 she was confirmed as regent for their sons Michael and Constantius, along with Constantine's brother John Ducas. Michael was old enough to rule on his own, but nevertheless was considered co-emperor with his younger brother, while Eudocia ran the administration of the empire.

She had also sworn on Constantine's deathbed not to marry again, and had even imprisoned and exiled Romanus, who was suspected of aspiring to the throne. However, perceiving that she was not able to avert the invasions which threatened the eastern frontier of the empire unaided, she revoked her oath and married Romanus, without the approval of John Ducas, the patriach John Xiphilinus, or Michael. The marriage took place on January 1, 1068, and Romanus was immediately pronounced co-emperor. With his assistance Eudocia was able to dispel the impending danger. She had two sons with Romanus, Nicephorus and Leo. They too were crowned co-emperors, along with another of Eudocia and Constantine's sons, Andronicus. However, Eudocia she did not live very happily with her new husband, who was warlike and self-willed and increasingly excluded her from power. When he was taken prisoner by the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert (1071), Eudocia and Michael were declared co-emperors, until it was known that Romanus had survived and was returning to Constantinople. John Ducas and the Varangian Guard then compelled Eudocia to vacate the throne in favour of Michael and retire to a convent

Michael was deposed in 1078 by Nicephorus III, who recalled Eudocia and offered to marry her. This plan did not come to pass, and Eudocia died sometime after the accession of Alexius I Comnenus in 1081.

Michael Psellus the younger was very close to the family, and Eudocia considered him an "uncle." According to Psellus she was very noble, beautiful, and intelligent.

Bibliography

  • Michael Psellus the Younger. Chronographia.
  • Lynda Garland, Byzantine Empresses: Woman and Power in Byzantium, AD 527-1204. Routledge, 1999.
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