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Constantine IX Monomachus, Byzantine Emperor


June 12, 1042, to Jan. 11, 1055. He was crowned coemperor at his marriage to the Empress-regnant Zoë (102850) on June 12, 1042; from that time until his death he was effective ruler of the byzantine empire. Constantine was a member of the civil aristocracy of Constantinople, which controlled the central administration of the Empire, and as Emperor he was opposed by the military aristocracy of Asia Minor, which sought to gain control of the state. He successfully crushed rebellions but was unable to curb the growing power of the military party, who absorbed the free peasant holdings on which the fiscal and military organization of the Empire was based. The consequent decline of revenue forced Constantine to debase the gold nomisma and to neglect the naval defenses of the Empire. Nevertheless, Byzantium appeared strong: independent Armenia was annexed in 1046, and Patzinak and seljuk invasions were successfully repulsed during his reign. At the instance of Pope leo ix Constantine sought an alliance with Rome against the normans who were attacking Byzantine possessions in southern Italy. These negotiations foundered because the Patriarch of Constantinople, michael ceru larius, refused to cooperate (see eastern schism); however, the Pope's three legates in 1054 (humbert of silva candida; Frederick of Lorraine, who was later Pope ste phen ix; and Peter of Amalfi) praised the Emperor for his orthodoxy and goodwill. Constantine made liberal benefactions to the Church and patronized learning. In 1045 the University of Constantinople was reopened under his aegis.

Bibliography: m. psellus, Chronographia, ed. e. renauld, 2 v. (Paris 192628) Fr. tr.; Eng. tr. without Gk. text by e. r. a. sewter (London 1953), chief source for the reign. j. b. bury, "Roman Emperors from Basil II to Isaac Komnênos," English Historical Review 4 (1889) 4164, 251285. g. l. schlumberger, L'Épopée byzantine (Paris 18961905) v.3. a. michel, Humbert und Kerullarios, 2 v. (Paderborn 192430). j. m. hussey, "The Byzantine Empire in the 11th Century," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, series 4, 32 (1950) 7185. g. ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, tr. j. hussey from 2d German ed. (Oxford 1956); American ed. by p. charanis (New Brunswick, N.J. 1957), 289298. s. runciman, The Eastern Schism (Oxford 1955).

[b. hamilton]

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