John IV Laskaris
1250 – 1300
Who was John IV Laskaris?
John IV Doukas Laskaris was emperor of Nicaea from August 18, 1258 to December 25, 1261. This empire was one of the Greek states formed from the remaining fragments of the Byzantine Empire, after the capture of Constantinople by Western European Christians during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.
John was a son of Theodore II Doukas Laskaris and Elena of Bulgaria. His maternal grandparents were Emperor Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria and his second wife Anna Maria of Hungary. Anna was originally named Mária and was the eldest daughter of Andrew II of Hungary and Gertrude of Merania.
John IV was only seven years old when he inherited the throne on the death of his father. The young monarch was the last member of the Laskarid dynasty, which had done much to restore the Byzantine Empire. His regent was originally the bureaucrat George Mouzalon, but Mouzalon was murdered by the nobility, and the nobles' leader Michael Palaiologos usurped the post. Soon, on January 1, 1259, Palaiologos made himself co-emperor as Michael VIII. Michael was, in fact, John's second cousin once removed, since they were both descended from Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera.
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