Michael III, Byzantine emperor

Michael III (Michael the Amorian or Phrygian), 836–67, Byzantine emperor (842–67), son and successor of Theophilus and grandson of Michael II. His minority saw the final overthrow of iconoclasm and a severe persecution of the Paulicians. Upon coming of age he entrusted the government to his capable uncle, Bardas, whose administration (856–66) was marked by the missions of saints Cyril and Methodius to the Slavs and by the conversion of Czar Boris I of Bulgaria. The Arabs continued their raids into the empire and extended their conquests in Sicily, although their eastward expansion was temporarily stopped (863). In the north, he defeated (860–61) the Russians. Michael made Basil of Macedonia (later Basil I) one of his favorites and together they had Bardas assassinated in 866. Basil was made coemperor. He then murdered Michael and became sole emperor. The schism precipitated by the patriarch Photius began in the last year of Michael's reign.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Late Roman and Byzantine: Biographies