John VIII Palaiologos


John VIII Palaiologos

Infobox Monarch
name =John VIII Palaiologos
title =Emperor of the Byzantine Empire


reign =1425 – 1448
predecessor =Manuel II Palaiologos
successor =Constantine XI Palaiologos
spouse 1 =Anna of Moscow
spouse 2 =Sophia of Montferrat
spouse 3 =Palaiologos dynasty
father =Manuel II Palaiologos
mother =Helena Dragaš
date of birth =December 18, 1392
date of death =October 31, 1448|

John VIII Palaiologos or Palaeologus (Greek Ιωάννης Η' Παλαιολόγος, "Iōannēs VIII Palaiologos") (December 18 1392 – October 31 1448, Constantinople), was Byzantine Emperor from 1425 to 1448.

Life

John VIII Palaiologos was the eldest son of Manuel II Palaiologos and Helena Dragaš, the daughter of the Serbian prince Constantine Dragaš. He was associated as co-emperor with his father before 1416 and became sole emperor in 1425.

In June 1422, John VIII Palaiologos supervised the defense of Constantinople during a siege by Murad II, but had to accept the loss of Thessalonica which his brother Andronikos had given to Venice in 1423. To secure protection against the Ottomans, he visited Pope Eugene IV and consented to the union of the Greek and Roman churches. The Union was ratified at the Council of Florence in 1439 which John attended with 700 followers including Patriarch Joseph II of Constantinople and George Gemistos Plethon, a Neoplatonist philosopher influential among the academics of Italy. Union failed due to opposition in Constantinople but by his prudent conduct towards the Ottoman Empire he succeeded in holding possession of the city.

John VIII Palaiologos named his brother Constantine XI, who had served as regent in Constantinople in 1437–1439, as his successor. Despite the machinations of his younger brother Demetrios Palaiologos his mother Helena was able to secure Constantine XI's succession in 1448.

Marriages

He was married three times. [http://surprisedbytime.blogspot.com/] The first marriage to Anna of Moscow, daughter of Grand Prince Basil I of Moscow (1389–1425) and Sophia of Lithuania, in 1414. She died in August 1417 of plague. Wedding portrait

The second marriage, arranged by his father Manuel II and Pope Martin V, was to Sophia of Montferrat in 1421. She was a daughter of Theodore II, Marquess of Montferrat and his second wife Joanna of Bar. Joanna was a daughter of Robert I, Duke of Bar and Marie Valois. Her maternal grandparents were John II of France and Bonne of Bohemia.

His third marriage, arranged by the future cardinal, Bessarion. was to Maria of Trebizond in 1427. She was a daughter of Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene. She died in the winter of 1439, also from plague. None of the marriages produced any children.

Representation in art

He was famously depicted by several painters on the occasion of his visit to Italy. [http://nauplion.net/CP-John-Pisanello.html] Perhaps the most famous of his portraits is the one by Benozzo Gozzoli, on the southern wall of the Magi Chapel, at the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, in Florence. According to some interpretations, John VIII would be also portrayed in Piero della Francesca's "Flagellation". A particularly fine portrait of John appears in a manuscript at the Monastery of St. Catherine at Sinaii [http://nauplion.net/CP-JOHN-VIII.html] .

Ancestry

ahnentafel-compact5
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boxstyle_1=background-color: #fcc;
boxstyle_2=background-color: #fb9;
boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #bfc;
boxstyle_5=background-color: #9fe;
1= 1. John VIII Palaiologos
2= 2. Manuel II Palaiologos
3= 3. Helena Dragaš
4= 4. John V Palaiologos
5= 5. Helena Kantakouzene
6= 6. Constantine Dragaš
8= 8. Andronikos III Palaiologos
9= 9. Anna of Savoy
10= 10. John VI Kantakouzenos
11= 11. Irene Asanina
12= 12. Dejan
13= 13. Theodora of Serbia
16= 16. Michael IX Palaiologos
17= 17. Rita of Armenia
18= 18. Amadeus V, Count of Savoy
19= 19. Maria of Brabant
20= 20. Michael Kantakouzenos
21= 21. Theodora Palaiologina Angelina Kantakouzene
22= 22. Andronikos Asen
26= 26. Stefan Uroš III Dečanski of Serbia
27= 27. Theodora of Bulgaria

References

*"Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium," 1991.
*1911


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