Nikephoros Palaiologos used to be a Byzantine general who served until 18 October 1081 when he was killed in battle against Guiscard's forces at the Battle of Dyrrhachium.

Biography Edit

Nikephoros is known to have been the founder of the Palaiologos dynasty/family which was the last dynasty to rule the Byzantine Empire. It ruled from 1259 to 1453. Nikephoros' two children were named George and Nicholas. George became a general and was a support of the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos who ruled from 1081 to 1118. George and his great-great-grandson Andronikos Palaiologos drew the descent from the dynasty[1]

Nikephoros is seen during the short reign of Romanos IV Diogenes who ruled from 1068 to 1071. He was a Doukas partisan and was hostile to Romanos and opposed John Doukas and Michael Psellos[2] When the fall of Romanos came, it followed the Battl eof Manzikert in 1071 where Nikephoros was dispatched to the east against Georgian mercenaries, then he confronted Roussel and Georgian troops defected and he was eventually defeated.[2] Later in 1077, Nikephoros is recorded as the doux of Mesopotamia. Nikephoros was loyal to the Doukas dynasty and to Emperor Michael VII Doukas who ruled from 1071 to 1078. His son, George, was permitted to join the rebellion of Nikephoros Botaneiates, he was then known as Emperor Nikephoros III and ruled from 1078 to 1081[2][3]

In 1081, he was loyal to Botaneiates and the Komnenoi under Alexios Komnenos rose, even though George and the Doukai supported Komnenian cause. According to Anna Komnene's Alexiad, the father and the son met during Komnenian forces' entry into Constantinople on April 1st, 1081; this is what Basile Skoulatos describes as a very passionate scene of work[4]Even then, Nikephoros tried to induce Botaneiates to resist, urging him to give him command of the Varangian Guard and try to defend the imperial palace, but in vain. He then tried to mediate and proposed that Alexios be adopted by Botaneiates and assume de facto control over the Empire, while the latter would retain the honorary position of emperor, but at the insistence of Caesar John Doukas, the Komnenoi rejected this proposal. Eventually, Botaneiates abdicated.[5]

Nikephoros accepted Alexios as his new emperor, and accompanied him in his campaign in the same year against the Normans under Robert Guiscard. He fought and died at the Battle of Dyrrhachium against Guiscard's forces on 18 October 1081.[5]


  1. Kazhdan 1991, pp. 1557–1558.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Skoulatos 1980, p. 245.
  3. Kazhdan 1991, p. 1557.
  4. Skoulatos 1980, pp. 245–246.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Skoulatos 1980, p. 246.


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