John IV Laskaris

John IV Laskaris

John IV Doukas Laskaris or Ducas Lascaris (Greek: Ιωάννης Δ΄ Δούκας Λάσκαρις, "Iōannēs IV Doukas Laskaris"), December 25 1250 – c. 1305) was emperor of Nicaea from August 18, 1258 to December 25, 1261. This small empire was one of the Greek states founded after the capture of Constantinople by Western European Christians during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, which caused a fragmentation of the Byzantine Empire.

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 that position was usurped by the aristocrat Michael Palaiologos, who later made himself co-emperor as Michael VIII on January 1, 1259.

After Michael's conquest of Constantinople on July 25, 1261, John IV was left behind at Nicaea, and was later blinded on Michael's orders on his eleventh birthday, December 25 1261. This made him ineligible for the throne, and he was exiled and imprisoned in a fortress in Bithynia. This action caused the excommunication of Michael VIII Palaiologos by the Patriarch Arsenius Autoreianus, and a later revolt led by a Pseudo-John IV near Nicaea.

John IV spent the remainder of his life as monk, under the name Joasaph. In 1290 he was visited by Andronikos II Palaiologos, who sought forgiveness for his father's blinding of John IV three decades earlier. The deposed emperor died about 1305 and was eventually recognized as a saint, whose memory was revered in Constantinople in the 14th century.


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1= 1. John IV Laskaris
2= 2. Theodore II Laskaris
3= 3. Elena Asenina
4= 4. John III Doukas Vatatzes
5= 5. Eirene Laskarina
6= 6. Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
7= 7. Anna Maria of Hungary
10= 10. Theodore I Laskaris
11= 11. Anna Angelina
12= 12. Ivan Asen I of Bulgaria
13= 13. Elena
14= 14. Andrew II of Hungary
15= 15. Gertrude of Merania
20= 20. Manuel Laskaris
21= 21. Joanna Karatzaina
22= 22. Alexios III Angelos
23= 23. Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera
28= 28. Béla III of Hungary
29= 29. Agnes de Chatillon
30= 30. Berthold IV, Duke of Merania
31= 31. Constance of Sicily


*"The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium", Oxford University Press, 1991.

s-ttl|title=Emperor of Nicaea|years=1259–1261
regent1=Michael VIII Palaiologos|years1=1258–1261

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