Eudokia Makrembolitissa

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Eudokia Makrembolitissa
Eudokia Makrembolitissa portrait.png
Contemporary miniature of Eudokia, previously thought to be Irene Doukaina[1][2]
Empress of the Byzantine Empire
Tenure23 November 1059 –
1 October 1071
Coronation23 November 1059
Bornc. 1027
SpouseConstantine X Doukas
Romanos IV Diogenes
IssueMichael VII Doukas
Andronikos Doukas
Konstantios Doukas
Nikephoros Diogenes
Leo Diogenes
Carved ivory plaque known as the "Romanos Ivory" depicting Eudokia and Romanos IV being crowned by Christ. There are two inscriptions in Greek language written on the ivory plaque: "Romanos, Emperor of the Romans" and "Eudokia, Empress of the Romans"

Eudokia Makrembolitissa (Greek: Εὐδοκία Μακρεμβολίτισσα, romanized as Eudocia Macrembolitissa; c. 1027-1096) was a Byzantine empress by her successive marriages to Constantine X Doukas and Romanos IV Diogenes. She acted as regent of her minor son, Michael VII in 1067, and resigned her regency by marriage to Romanos IV Diogenes. When he was deposed in 1071 she resumed the regency for her sons, but in 1072 was forced to resign again.

Because she essentially ruled in her own right during her sole regencies and retained the title of empress, several modern scholars consider Eudokia to have been empress regnant in 1067[3][4][5] and some also in 1071.[5]


Eudokia Makrembolitissa was the daughter of John Makrembolites and a niece of Michael Keroularios, the patriarch of Constantinople, whose sister had married Makrembolites. Michael Psellos was very close to the family, and ruled Eudokia considered him an "uncle". According to Psellos she was very noble, beautiful, and intelligent.[6] Eudokia married Constantine Doukas sometime before 1050. They had several children:

In late 1067, despite vowing to never re-marry, Eudokia wed powerful general, Romanos Diogenes, in order to retain power over her regency. Together they would have two children:


Constantine became Byzantine emperor in 1059. When he died on 23 May 1067,[7] Eudokia, as a crowned augusta, was confirmed as regent for their sons Michael VII and Konstantios, along with Constantine's brother, Caesar John Doukas. Michael VII was just old enough to rule on his own, but nevertheless was considered co-emperor with his younger brother, while Eudokia ran the administration of the empire.

Eudokia had also sworn on Constantine's deathbed not to remarry, and had even imprisoned and exiled Romanos Diogenes, who was suspected of aspiring to the throne. Perceiving that she was not able to avert the invasions which threatened the eastern frontier of the empire unaided,[8] however, she revoked her oath and married Romanos, without the approval of John Doukas, Patriarch John VIII of Constantinople, or Michael VII. She approached the patriarch and convinced him both to hand over the written oath she had signed to this effect, and to have him pronounce that he was in favour of a second marriage for the good of the state.[9] The Senate then agreed to the marriage. The wedding took place on 1 January 1068, and Romanus was immediately proclaimed co-emperor as Romanos IV.[10]

With her new husband's assistance, Eudokia was able to dispel the impending danger. She had two sons with Romanos IV, Nikephoros and Leo. Another of Eudokia and Constantine's sons, Andronikos Doukas, was now made co-emperor by Romanos IV, although he had been excluded from power by his own father, mother, and brothers. However, Eudokia did not live at ease with her new husband, who was warlike and self-willed and increasingly excluded her from power.

When Romanos was taken prisoner by the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert (1071), Eudokia and Michael again assumed the government,[8] until it was discovered that Romanos had survived and was returning to Constantinople. John Doukas then compelled Eudokia to leave power to Michael and retire to a convent,[8] which she did on or around 1 October 1071.[11]

After Michael VII was deposed in 1078 by Nikephoros III, Eudokia was recalled by the new emperor, who offered to marry her. This plan did not come to pass, due to the opposition of John Doukas, and Eudokia died as a nun sometime after the accession of Alexios I in 1081.


Attributed to Eudokia is a dictionary of history and mythology, called Ἰωνιά (i.e. Collection or Bed of Violets). It is prefaced by an address to her husband Romanos Diogenes, and the work is described as "a collection of genealogies of gods, heroes, and heroines, of their metamorphoses, and of the fables and stories respecting them found in the ancients; containing also notices of various philosophers". However, the book is now thought to be a modern (16th-century) compilation, falsely attributed to Eudokia, and compiled by the counterfeiter Constantine Paleocappa around 1540.[12] The sources from which the work was compiled include Diogenes Laërtius and the Suda.[12]


  1. ^ Sághy & Robert 2019, p. 162.
  2. ^ Spatharakis 1976, pp. 27–34.
  3. ^ ODB, p. 739.
  4. ^ McLachlan 2004, p. 236.
  5. ^ a b Haldon 2005, p. 176.
  6. ^ Psellus, Chronographia, Book ?? page ??.
  7. ^ Schreiner 1977, pp. 150–151.
  8. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911, pp. 881–882.
  9. ^ Norwich 1993, p. 344.
  10. ^ Schreiner 1977, p. 153.
  11. ^ Schreiner 1977, p. 156.
  12. ^ a b Dorandi 2013, p. [page needed].


  • Dorandi, Tiziano (9 May 2013), "Introduction", Diogenes Laertius: Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Cambridge University Press (published 2013), ISBN 978-0521886819
  • Dzielska, Maria (1995), Hypatia of Alexandria, translated by Lyra, F., Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-43776-4
  • Haldon, John (2005). The Palgrave Atlas of Byzantine History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0230243644.
  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
  • McLachlan, Sean (2004), Byzantium: An Illustrated History, Hippocrene Books, ISBN 0-7818-1033-7
  • Norwich, John Julius (1993), Byzantium: The Apogee, Penguin, ISBN 0-14-011448-3
  • Psellus, Michael, Chronographia
  • Sághy, Marianne; Robert, Ousterhout (2019), Piroska and the Pantokrator, Central European University Press, ISBN 9789633862971
  • Spatharakis, Ioannis (1976), The Portrait in Byzantine Illuminated Manuscripts, Brill, ISBN 9789633862971
  • Schreiner, Peter (1977). Die byzantinischen Kleinchroniken II: Historischer Kommentar. Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae. Vienna: ÖAW. ISBN 978-3-7001-0206-9.


Further reading[edit]

Eudokia Makrembolitissa
Born: 1030
Royal titles
Preceded by Byzantine Empress consort
Succeeded by