Michael VI Bringas Gerontas (Greek: Μιχαήλ ΣΤ΄ Βρίγγας, Mikhaēl VI Bringas), called "Stratiotikos" or "the Old" ("Gerontas"), was Byzantine emperor from 1056 to 1057.
Apparently a relative of the powerful courtier Joseph Bringas (influential during the reign of Romanos II), Michael Bringas was an elderly patrician and a member of the court bureaucracy who had served as military minister (and hence the epithet Stratiotikos). Michael Bringas was chosen by the empress Theodora as her successor shortly before her death in early September, 1056. The appointment had been secured through the influence of Leo Paraspondylos, Theodora's most trusted adviser.
Although Michael VI managed to survive a conspiracy organized by Theodosios, a nephew of the former emperor Constantine IX Monomachos, he was faced with the disaffection of the military aristocracy. After dismissing the grievances of the noblemen in an audience, the emperor completely alienated this powerful element of society. As Michael VI began to confiscate the wealth of some of the discontent, the nobility united against him and proclaimed Isaac I Komnenos emperor in Paphlagonia on June 8, 1057.
Although Michael VI immediately lost heart, the bureaucrats around him attempted to defend their position and assembled an army against the rebels. On August 26, 1057, the government's army was routed at Nicaea, and Isaac Komnenos advanced on Constantinople. Michael VI attempted to negotiate with the rebels through the famous courtier Michael Psellos, offering to adopt Isaac as his son and to grant him the title of kaisar (Caesar), but his proposals were publicly rejected. Privately Isaac showed himself more open to negotiation, and he was promised the status of co-emperor. However, during the course of these secret negotiations, a riot in favor of Isaac broke out in Constantinople. The patriarch Michael Keroularios convinced Michael VI to abdicate in Isaac's favor on August 31, 1057. The emperor duly followed the patriarch's advice and became a monk. He retired to his private home and died there by 1059.
- (primary source) Michael Psellus, Chronographia.
- The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
- This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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