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Byzantine Empire /
Constantine 7
Full name: Constantine Flavius Porphyrogenitus


(905-959) Byzantine emperor 913-959; sole ruler since 945, almost 15 years.
Constantine's reign was largely dominated by Romanus 1, who managed to become real emperor throug a period of 24 years. Constantine had an excellent intellect, but devoted his abilities mainly to scholarly pursuits, and did little to challenge Romanus.
As sole ruler, he chose to delegate his power to bureaucrats and generals, as well as to his wife. Internationally, he focused much on keeping good diplomatic relations with foreign rulers. While he may appear uninterested and even inapt as leader, it could well be argued that he was more of a modern leader than other Byzantine emperors, who theoretically had to approve every decision. Constantine established an administration stronger than the capacity of the emperor's mind.
Among his main challenges was his legitimacy, being the illegitimate son of the emperor. In order to promote his right to his position, he emphasized his nickname, which related to the purple room in the palace. This was the place where he was born, a room where only a royal childbirth was allowed.
Constantine is famous for his two descriptive books, Imperial Administration (De Administrando Imperio) and Byzantine Ceremonies (De Ceremoniis aulae Byzantinae). Imperial Administration is a handbook in foreign politics, and it also gives unique information on Slavic and Turkic peoples. Byzantine Ceremonies describes the elaborate ceremonies at the imperial court. Among his other works, De thematibus describes the origins and development of the imperial provinces.

Biography
905 September: Born as son of Emperor Leo 6. Being illegitimate, but born in the Purple Chamber of the Imperial Palace in Constantinople, as befitted legitimate children of reigning emperors.
911: Made co-emperor with his father.
912 May 11: Leo dies, and is succeeded by his half-brother, Alexander.
913: His uncle, Alexander, dies, and only 7 years old, Constantine succeeds him as emperor. Patriarch Nicholas Mysticus acts as his regent.
— Constantine's mother, Zoe, replaces Nicholas as regent.
917: The Byzantines are severely defeated by the Bulgarians.
919: Zoe is replaced as regent by Admiral Romanus Lekapenos.
May: Romanus' daughter, Helena, is married to Constantine.
920 December: Romanus has himself appointed co-emperor. Romanus would keep his position for more than 24 years, a period in which Constantine exercised practically no power.
927 September: Peter of Bulgaria marries Maria, daughter of Cristopher, Romanus' appointed heir. With this alliance, Cristopher lifted his precedence in rank over Constantine's.
931: Christopher dies.
944 December 16: Romanus is deposed by his sons, Stephen and Constantine.
945 January 27: Constantine is able exercise his role as sole ruler of the empire. He has himself crowned again. He forces Romanus's sons into exile.
April 6: Crowns his son, Romanus, co-emperor.
949: Launches an attack on Arabs on Crete, but has no success.
949: The Byzantines conquer Germanica (modern Kahramanmaras, Turkey).
952: Byzantine troops cross the upper Euphrates River.
953: Germanica is lost to the Abbasids, and their troops penetrate imperial territory.
957: Constantine has the Russian princess, Olga, converted to Christianity. She takes the name Helena, and begins converting her people to Christianity.
958: Nicephorus Phocas conquers Hadath in northern Syria.
959: John Tzimiskes, later emperor, captures Samosata in northern Mesopotamia.
959 November 9: Dies and is succeeded by his son, Romanus 2. Rumours said he had been poisoned.




By Tore Kjeilen