Byzantine Empire Macedonian dynasty
Short Reign of Michael V
1041 Dec 13

Short Reign of Michael V

İstanbul, Turkey

On the night of 18 April to 19 April 1042, Michael V banished his adoptive mother and co-ruler Zoe, for plotting to poison him, to the island of Principo, thus becoming sole Emperor. His announcement of the event in the morning led to a popular revolt; the palace was surrounded by a mob demanding Zoe's immediate restoration. The demand was met, and Zoe was brought back, though in a nun's habit. Presenting Zoe to the crowds in the Hippodrome did not quell the public's outrage over Michael's actions. The masses attacked the palace from multiple directions. The Emperor's soldiers attempted to fight them off and by April 21, an estimated three thousand people from both sides had died. Once inside the palace, the mob pillaged valuables and tore up the tax rolls. Also on 21 April 1042 Zoe's sister Theodora, who had been removed from her nunnery against her will earlier in the uprising, was declared Empress. In response, Michael fled to seek safety in the monastery of the Stoudion together with his remaining uncle. Although he had taken monastic vows, Michael was arrested, blinded, castrated and sent to a monastery. He died as a monk on 24 August 1042.