Manuel Palaiologos (or Palaeologus) (1455–1512) was the youngest child of Thomas Palaiologos and Catherine Zaccaria. He was brother of the de jure Byzantine Emperor Andrew Palaiologos, Zoe Palaiologina, Grand Duchess of Moscow, and Helena Palaiologina, wife of Despot Lazar Branković of Serbia.
Born after the Fall of Constantinople (May 29, 1453), Manuel spent his first few years living in the Morea (modern Peloponnese) till fleeing with his family in 1460 to Corfu. His father Thomas then left the rest of the family to go to Rome, where he made a ceremonial entrance as Byzantine Emperor on March 7, 1461. Manuel's mother died in August 1462, but he and his older brother Andrew did not rejoin his father until a few days before the man died in 1465.
For the next few years he and his brother were brought up under the watchful eye of Cardinal Bessarion. Pope Pius II granted him a pension of 50 ducats a month, but this came to an end with the prelate's death in 1465; his successor Pope Sixtus IV proved to be not as generous.
After several years of life as an exile, Manuel surprised the Roman establishment by returning to Constantinople and throwing himself on the mercy of the Sultan Mehmed II. In exchange for his rights to the Imperial throne, the Sultan granted him an estate and a comfortable pension. He married a woman, whose name has not been recorded, and by whom he had two sons: John (Ioannes), who died at an early age; and Andrew (Andreas), who converted to Islam. Although Runciman identifies Andrew with a court official named Mehmet Pasha, subsequent research has shown they are two different men.
Manuel died in 1512.
Representations in popular culture
- In Assassin's Creed: Revelations (2011), Palaiologos plays a central role to the plot as one of the main antagonists. He is displayed as having a large Byzantine army which he was going to use to reconquer Constantinople from the Ottomans. He is killed by the game's protagonist Ezio Auditore.
|Ancestors of Manuel Palaiologos|
- Steven Runciman, The Fall of Constantinople (London: Cambridge, 1969), p. 182
- Donald M. Nicol, The Immortal Emperor (Cambridge: Canto Paperbacks, 1994), p. 115; Runciman provides the amount of the pension (Fall, p. 183).
- Nicol states this happened in 1476 (Immortal Emperor, p. 115); Runciman writes it was in 1477 (Fall, p. 183).
- Runciman, Fall, p. 183; Nicol, Immortal Emperor, pp. 115f and see p. 116 n. 15 for Andrew and Mehmet Pasha.