Byzantine Empire Macedonian dynasty
Reign of Michael IV the Paphlagonian
Michael IV ©Madrid Skylitzes
1034 Apr 11

Reign of Michael IV the Paphlagonian

İstanbul, Turkey

A man of humble origin, Michael owed his elevation to his brother John the Orphanotrophus, an influential and capable eunuch, who brought him to court where the old Macedonian empress Zoe fell in love with him and married him on the death of her husband, Romanus III, in April 1034.

Michael IV the Paphlagonian, handsome and energetic, had poor health and entrusted most of the business of government to his brother. He distrusted Zoë and went to lengths to ensure that he did not suffer the same fate as his predecessor. The fortunes of the Empire under Michael's reign were mixed. His most triumphant moment came in 1041 when he led the imperial army against Bulgarian rebels.