Michael IV part 12

The Empress’s Adoption of Michael**48 and his Promotion to Caesar

22.’A very easy measure,’ answered John, ‘and all ready. If our brother **49 were not dead, you would have granted him the second highest dignity in the state — the office of Caesar. Since death has

taken him from us, there is our sister’s son, Michael, who, as you know, has been entrusted with the command of your bodyguard. Why not make him Caesar? He will be of more service to you than before, and as for the position, he will regard that as merely nominal. Apart from holding the title, he will be no more than a slave to you, occupying the lowest rank.’

With these persuasive arguments he won over the emperor, and once agreed on the new policy, they debated the manner of carrying it out. John again was ready with advice. ‘You know, Sir, that the Empire belongs by inheritance to Zoe and the whole nation owes greater allegiance to her, because she is a woman and heir to the throne.

Moreover, being so generous in her distribution of money, she has won the hearts of the people completely. I suggest, therefore, that we should make her mother to our nephew — if she adopts him it will be more propitious — and at the same time persuade her to promote him to the dignity and title of Caesar. She will not refuse. Zoe is accommodating enough, and in any case, she cannot oppose us in any way.’

23. The emperor agreed that the plan was a good one, and when they informed Zoe of the scheme, they found it a very simple matter to convince her. So at once they proceeded to put it into practice. An announcement was made about the public ceremony, and all the dignitaries were gathered together in the church at Blachernae. When the sacred building was full, the Empress-Mother, accompanied by her adopted son, was brought from the palace.

The emperor congratulated him on his new relationship to the empress and formally promoted him to the dignity of Caesar. The assembly thereupon acclaimed him, and the usual rites and ceremonies proper to such an occasion were performed in his honour. After this, the meeting was dismissed. As for John, believing that all his troubles were now at an end and that the family fortunes were now secured, he hardly knew how to contain himself for the greatness of his joy.

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