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Caesar of Byzantine John Doukas
31 generations from the origin. Great x 29 grandfather.
Birth: c. 1020, Byzantine;
Death: c. 1088; Byzantine;
Age: 68

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  • Caesar of the Byzantine Empire


John Doukas or Ducas (died c. 1088), was the son of Andronikos Doukas and younger brother of Emperor Constantine X Doukas. John Doukas was the paternal grandfather of Irene Doukaina, wife of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos.

John Doukas, who was given the court dignity of Caesar by his brother Constantine X, was one of the most influential members of the court aristocracy from the death of his brother into that of Alexios I Komnenos. His wealth derived of estates in Thrace and Bithynia, and he was a close friend of the historian Michael Psellos. Although he is usually documented by the sources as a member of the court, he had begun his career as a general.

After serving as a counsellor and supporter of his brother, John came to the fore after his brother's death in 1067 as the natural protector of the rights of his nephew Michael VII Doukas. In this capacity he cautiously opposed the marriage of the Empress Mother Eudokia Makrembolitissa to Romanos IV Diogenes. The Caesar spent much of Romanos' reign in retirement on his estates in Bithynia, but his son Andronikos Doukas joined and then deserted the emperor in the disastrous campaign ending with the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.

Romanos' captivity gave John the opportunity to return to court at the request of Eudokia Makrembolitissa. Joining forces with Michael Psellos, the Caesar made the Empress share power with her son, and then forced her to become a nun and retire from court affairs in October 1071. The Caesar sent his sons Andronikos and Constantine to capture Romanos IV, who had been released from captivity and thus ensured the sole rule of his nephew Michael VII. With the elimination of Romanos, John and Michael Psellos were supreme at court.

The Caesar was undone, however, by one of his own creatures, the eunuch Nikephoritzes. By 1073 the eunuch had gained the confidence of Michael VII, whom he turned against his uncle. To be kept out of court (and perhaps to be put in harms way), John was charged with leading a force against the rebel Norman mercenaries led by Roussel de Bailleul in Anatolia in 1074.Betrayed by his own western mercenaries and by the army division under the future Emperor Nikephoros III Botaneiates, John was defeated and captured together with his son Andronikos. A relieving force under John's younger son Constantine disintegrated when its commander suddenly died.

Roussel now proclaimed John Doukas emperor against his will and marched on towards Constantinople. Michael VII and Nikephoritzes managed to defeat and capture the rebel leaders by obtaining the support of a group of Seljuk Turks in 1074. After some time as Seljuk captive, John was ransomed by his nephew. Before returning to court he took the precaution of becoming a monk, so as to deflect any suspicion that he was aiming at the throne.

The tonsured Caesar retained some influence on political events. He advised Michael VII to abdicate and become a monk when Nikephoros III Botaneiates threatened Constantinople in 1078, and in 1081 he persuaded Alexios Komnenos to revolt against Botaneiates and claim the throne. It was also John Doukas, who arranged for the marriage of his granddaughter Irene Doukaina to Alexios Komnenos over the objections of the latter's mother Anna Dalassene. Remaining part of the court, John died in c. 1088.

By his wife Irene Pegonitissa, John Doukas had at least two sons, both of whom predeceased him:
Andronikos Doukas, who was the father of Irene Doukaina
Constantine Doukas, who died in 1074

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Prince of Byzantine Andronikos Doukas
Great x 28 grandfather
c. 1040 - Oct 14, 1077
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