Greatest schemers of Byzantium

Mar 2018
Almaty, Kazakhstan
This thread is dedicated to the sleazy bastards than happened to have gotten the top position of Byzantium through intrigue, plots and other means that were neccessary.

The top dogs in this department are probably Romanos Lekapenos and Basil I. Those dudes have proven to be snakes by definition. Both come from Armenian origin, from peasant families and got to the top position of the Empire through backstabbing and ambition.

Another sleaze ball i would like to mention is empress Irene, daughter of the Khazar ruler, she married to the son of Constantine V, Leo IV. She more or less controlled the state until his death. After Leo's death, her son Constantine VI was to be king and yet he was a child who was easily manipulated at the hands of Irene. Once reaching Adulthood Irene gouged her sons eyes, from which he died later leaving ALL power to herself.

These are only 3 people that have gotten to the top, you might aswell add some more. They dont have to be Emperors, they could be taking any meaningful position in the empire through deception and intrigue.


Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
Amelia, Virginia, USA
I wouldn't call Romanus Lekapenos a snake or a sleazeball. Admittedly based almost entirely on Runciman's biography, I rather like him. He may have pushed the Porphyrogenitus aside, but after ruling competently for 20 years he made things right with Jesus and with a minimum of trouble Constantine finally took his throne.
I think he ranks as one of the better emperors, both personally and professionally.

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