Michael II°

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MICHAEL II °, Byzantine emperor (820–29) to whom strong Judaizing leanings were ascribed, partly because of his iconoclasm. A tenth-century chronicler states that Michael relieved Jews of financial burdens and that he "loved Jews above all mortals" since he was himself half Jewish and had been brought up by Jews. It is possible that Michael may have come under Jewish influence as a native of Amorium in Phrygia, a province noted for Judeo-Christian syncretism, including sects which kept the whole of Jewish law except circumcision and had close contact with Jews. However, the main impetus for imputing pro-Jewish sentiments to Michael came from the desire of the succeeding dynasty, the Macedonian, to discredit the founder of the Amorian dynasty.


J. Starr, Jews in the Byzantine Empire 641–1204 (1939), index; idem, in: htr, 29 (1936), 93–106; G. Caro, in: mgwj, 53 (1909), 576–80; F. Doelger, Regesten der Kaiserurkunden des Ostroemischen Reiches von 565–1453, 1 (1924), no. 414; Baron Social2, 3 (1957), 178.

[Andrew Sharf]

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Michael II°

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