After Charlemagne, who were the most competent kings till Alfred the Great.

Feb 2019
I have Al-Ma'mun, Al-Mu'tasim, Ivar the Boneless(and possible his semi historical father, Ragnar), Emperor Xuanzong of Tang, Boris I of Bulgaria and Basil I. Who else?

There's a clear gap between Al-Mu'tasim and Emperor Xuanzong/Ragnar, from 842 to 846. Was there no remarkable historical figure during this time?
Mar 2016
Emperor Basil I - the founder of the Macedonian dynasty of the Roman Empire - reigning from 867 - 886. The first genuinely competent and admirable Emperor in many years.
Jan 2016
Victoria, Canada
Michael III would be a candidate, technically for 842-846, though he was a child under regency, but also for the 9th century generally. Despite the massive amount of slander heaped on him by his Macedonian successors, Michael had a very active and successful reign (with the help of the Caesar Bardas). He ordered successful campaigns against the Paulicians, he defeated the Bulgarians and secured their conversion to Orthodox Christianity, he decisively defeated the Emir of Melitine, and a fleet under his orders successfully captured and sacked Damietta in Egypt -- the first large-scale Roman operation in Egypt proper for over 200 years, and the last for another 300, both of which eventually met with failure -- and all this in only 11 years of sole rule. Because of the complete lack of neutral sources it's impossible to really judge how competent Michael was personally, and we do get the impression from the sources we have that much or most of this was largely the initiative of Bardas, but his reign was one of the most successful in a century, probably since the death of Constantine V, and could be properly viewed as the true starting point for the 200 years of prosperity and success enjoyed by the Romans during the so-called "Macedonian Renaissance".
Last edited:


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Republika Srpska
Well, we also have Serbian Prince Vlastimir who ruled during the 842-846 period. Vlastimir strengthened Serbia, forming an alliance with Constantinople, most likely helping them in their conflicts with the Bulgarians before eventually repelling a full-scale Bulgarian invasion of Serbia after three years of fighting. This was no small feat, Bulgaria was one of the dominant powers in the Balkans at the time and we have no evidence that Byzantium or anyone else helped Serbia so the Serbs beat the Bulgarians on their own. He also married his daughter to the son of the ruler of the region of Travunia thus binding this region closer to Serbia. He also took control of the region of Zahumlje.