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Byzantine Empire /
Theophilus


(813-842) Byzantine emperor 829-842.
Theophilus appears both to have been an active and just leader, good at running the finances of the empire and improving the administration in the empire. Still, he was also very brutal on many occasions. Among the first things he did as emperor was to execute his father's allies from the coup that made him emperor.
He was the last Iconoclastic emperor, and was in the beginning quite brutal in his suppression of icon worshipping. Gradually, he came to realize that too many favoured icon worship to realistically expect its final demise.
On the international arena, he was forced to fight the Muslims, both in Sicily and in Anatolia. In the north, Vikings and Magyars were the main challenges, motiving the construction of an extensive line of fortresses.
Theophilus was very much inspired by the example of Abbasid Caliph Harun ar-Rashid, and he reportedly made many walks around the capital disguising his position as emperor, listening to the thoughts of his subjects.
Theophilus had the University of Constantinople restored. He gave much attention to learning in general.

Biography
813: Born as son of future Emperor Michael 2 and his wife, Thekla.
— Receives excellent education.
822: Crowned co-emperor with his father, now emperor. Marries Theodora, a girl selected for her beauty.
829: Micheal 2 dies, and Theophilus becomes emperor.
830: Abbasid invasion into Anatolia.
831: Palermo on Sicily is lost to the Abbasids. From this stronghold, attacks on remaining Byzantine strongholds are performed.
— Byzantine counterattack in Anatolia, mainly in Cilicia. Taurus is captured.
— Byzantines faces major defeat in Cappadocia.
832: Issues an edict forbidding the veneration of icons, and launches a brutal campaign to stop this practice throughout the empire.
833: Further Byzantine losses in Cappadocia; Theophilus is forced to negotiate for a truce with the Abbasids.
— Makes his son, Constantine, co-emperor.
834: Truce is signed with the new Abbasid Caliph, al-Mu'tasim.
835: Co-emperor, Constantine, dies.
836: Manages to obtain peace with Bulgaria.
837: Byzantine attack on Abbasid strongholds in Mesopotamia, capturing Melitene (modern Malatya, Turkey), Samosata and Zapetra. The latter being the birthplace of Caliph al-Mu'tasim, was destroyed.
838 July: Defeated in a battle at Dazimon (modern Turkey) by the Abbasids.
August: New defeat at Amorium, birthplace of Michael 2. 30,000 of its inhabitants were massacred, the rest sold as slaves. Thereafter, the city was razed to the ground.
841: Captures Melitene on the Armenian border from the Abbasids.
842 January 20: Dies from diseases in Constantinople. He is succeeded by his 4-year old son, Michael 3.




By Tore Kjeilen