Rebellion of Ioannes Bryennios & Nikephoros Basilakes, joined reluctantly by Nikephoros Bryennios

Dissatisfaction with the rule of Michael VII and Nikephoritzes led to plots againt them: Ioannes Bryennios started a rebellion and first tried to persuade his brother Nikephoros at Dyrrachion to join him, but Nikephoros was reluctant until he learnt from the emperor's envoy Eustathios Kappadokes that he was suspected of plotting. When Michael VII appointed Nikephoros Basilakes to succeed Nikephoros Bryennios as doux of Dyrrachion he decided to act. Basilakes, who had been contacted by Ioannes Bryennios about the planned rebellion, met and fought against Nikephoros Bryennios at Thessalonike. Bryennios then advanced towards Adrianople, where he was proclaimed emperor, before marching on Constantinople 
Eustathios Kappadokes, envoy of Michael VII to Nikephoros Bryennios (Eustathios 124)
  • Sent by the emperor (Michael 7) to Illyricum on a secret mission to verify the reports (on Nikephoros 62 Bryennios's rebellion), he was received very kindly by Bryennios who endeared himself to him so much that he revealed the purpose of his mission (:) τοσοῦτον αὐτὸν ᾠκειώσατο ὡς καὶ τὰ τοῦ δράματος αὐτῷ ἀπαγγεῖλαι καὶ ὅτου χάριν πρὸς βασιλέως ἐπέμφθη Bryennios 215.26-217.1
Ioannes Bryennios, brother of usurper Nikephoros (Ioannes 61)
  • Sent letters to his brother (Nikephoros 62 Bryennios) urging him to rise in rebellion and, Nikephoros being reluctant, he wrote to him often (:) ἐξέπεμψε γράμματα πρὸς ἀποστασίαν αὐτὸν ἐρεθίζοντα ... καίτοι συχνῶς ὑπὸ ἐπιστολῶν ἐρεθιζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ Bryennios 219.4-6, 219.12
  • Seeing his brother (Nikephoros 62) hesitating and holding back and attempting to escape rather that enter in rebellion, he thought that he had to push him into action, even if he was unwilling to undertake the task (:) δεῖν ᾠήθη παρασκευάσαι τοῦτον καὶ ἄκοντα τοῦ ἔργου ἅψασθαι Bryennios 223.15-18
  • Agreed with Basilakes (Nikephoros 61) to summon Bryennios (Nikephoros 62) from Illyricum at once and put him at the head of their plot to overthrow the stingy and incompetent ruler (Michael 7) and to replace him with a man graced with many virtues (:) ἀποσκευάσασθαι μὲν τὸν οὕτως ἀνελεύθερον καὶ ἀνοικονόμητον, καταστῆσαι δὲ εἰς τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἀρχὴν ἄνδρα πολλοῖς κομῶντα πλεονεκτήμασι καὶ μὴ ὑπ ᾿ ἀνδρὸς ἐκτομίου οὕτω τοὺς στρατηγοὺς Ῥωμαίων ἐμπαίζεσθαι Bryennios 217.16-21
  • Defeated the Pechenegs, returned to Constantinople, and requested his reward from Michael 7 but annoyed the logothetes (Nikephoros 63) and was greatly upset and distressed when he was ignored and sent away empty-handed (:) ὡς δὲ παρωρᾶτο καὶ κενὸς ἀπεπέμπετο, ἐδυσφόρει μάλα καὶ ἠνιᾶτο Bryennios 217.4-7
  • Met up with Basilakes (Nikephoros 61), discussed and complained about the emperor (Michael 7)'s stinginess and the logothetes (Nikephoros 63)'s harshness, and exchanged oaths to consider what is best for them and the empire, keeping their plan secret (:) καὶ ὅρκια δοῦναι καὶ λαβεῖν ἐπὶ τῷ σκέψασθαί τι σφωὶν συνοῖσον καὶ τῇ Ῥωμαίων ἀρχῇ Bryennios 217.11-16
Emperor Michael VII Doukas (Michael 7)
  • Acting upon rumours that Nikephoros 62 Bryennios was planning a rebellion, spread by sycophants who abused his vanity, he sent Eustathios 124 Kappadokes to Illyricum on a secret mission to verify the reports (:) κινηθεὶς τοῖς λόγοις ἐκεῖνος τῶν αὐτῷ πιστοτάτων ἕνα...πρὸς τὴν Ἰλλυρίδα ἐκπέπομφε, παραγγείλας αὐτῷ λάθρα τὰ περὶ τῶν μηνυθέντων ἐξακριβώσασθαι Bryennios 215.24-29
  • Knowing nothing of the pact and oaths between Bryennios (Ioannes 61) and Basilakes (Nikephoros 61), he appointed Basilakes doux of Illyricum ordering him to arrest, if possible, Bryennios (Nikephoros 62) and send him in chains to Constantinople (:) ἀγνοήσας...τὰς μεταξὺ τοῦ Βρυεννίου καὶ τοῦ Βασιλάκη συμβιβάσεις καὶ τὰ ὅρκια δοῦκα...ἐξαπέστειλε, παραγγείλας αὐτῷ, εἰ οἷόν τε, κατασχεῖν τὸν Βρυέννιον καὶ δεσμώτην τοῦτον ἐκπέμπειν Bryennios 225.10-14
  • Complaints about his incompetence in dealing with the empire's problems increased; there was a general sense that the Byzantine state had already withered, and that something must be done (:) Manasses, Chronicle 6550-6553
Emperor Nikephoros III Botaneiates (Nikephoros 3)
  • Not only did he fail to convince the emperor (Michael 7) to mend his ways, but he caused his displeasure and hatred for his wise advice, and he took up alone the struggle against the barbarians for the salvation of the Christians (:) μόνος ὑπέρχεταί τε καὶ ἀναδύεται Attaleiates: History 214.16-21 / 157.8-12
  • Revealed to God and men his good intentions and aims, started to assist the Romans ignoring the emperor (Michael 7)'s deep madness, but was advised by his men not to attempt anything before putting on the imperial insignia (:) εἰ μὴ καὶ τῶν παρασήμων τῆς βασιλείας ἐπενδύσηται τὴν λαμπρότητα Attaleiates: History 214.21-215.4 / 157.12-17
  • Was upset and could not bear seeing the entire East ruined by the enemy, the great Constantinople suffering from the injustice of those in power, and the western lands laid waste by the barbarians and by harmful plans (:) περίλυπος ἦν ταῦτα ὁρῶν Attaleiates: History 213.9-15 / 156.11-16
  • Considering his ancestors' contribution to the prosperity of the empire and not wishing to be unworthy of them, he decided to become a zealot consumed by fire and to put his life at the disposal of Christ's flock and of his holy nation (:) ζηλωτὴς διαπυρώτατος γίνεται Attaleiates: History 213.15-23 / 156.16-22
Nikephoros Basilakes, usurper [1078] (Nikephoros 61)
  • Agreed on the plot with Ioannes 61 Bryennios who went home, and he remained in Constantinople (:) εἰς τὸ Βυζάντιον ἔμεινεν Bryennios 217.22-23
  • Appointed doux of Illyricum by Michael 7 and ordered to arrest Bryennios (Nikephoros 62) and send him in chains to Constantinople, he hastened to Dyrrachion in order to seize Bryennios but came across him by Thessalonike, which he had reached first (:) πρὸς τὸ Δυρράχιον ἐπειγόμενος ἐκεῖ καταλαβεῖν τὸν Βρυέννιον ἔσπευδε, συνέβη τούτους ἀπαντῆσαι περὶ Θεσσαλονίκην, τοῦ Βασιλάκη προκατειληφότως τὸ ἄστυ Bryennios 225.10-19
  • Rebelled against the emperor Michael 7 (VII Doukas): in association with Nikephoros 3 and Nikephoros 62 (:) κατὰ τοῦ βασιλέως Μιχαήλ Bryennios 61.25-27
  • Arrived (to Constantinople) from Paphlagonia thinking that he would receive certain gifts from the emperor (Michael 7), for he was a capable military man, but his hopes were dashed and for this reason he was distressed and upset (:) ἀπετύγχανε δὲ καὶ οὗτος τῶν κατὰ σκοπὸν καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἠνιᾶτο καὶ ἤσχαλλεν Bryennios 217.8-11
  • Met up with Bryennios (Ioannes 61), discussed and complained about the emperor (Michael 7)'s stinginess and the logothetes (Nikephoros 63)'s harshness and exchanged oaths to consider what is best for themselves and the empire, keeping their plan secret (:) πολλὰ κατεβόων τῆς τοῦ βασιλέως ἀνελευθερίας καὶ τῆς τοῦ λογοθέτου σκληρότητος Bryennios 217.11-16
  • Agreed with Ioannes 61 Bryennios to summon Bryennios (Nikephoros 62) from Illyricum at once and put him at the head of their plot to overthrow the stingy and incompetent ruler (Michael 7) and to replace him with a man graced with many virtues (:) Ἐδόκει οὖν αὐτοῖν ὡς τάχιστα τὸν Βρυέννιον ἐξ Ἰλλυρίδος μεταπέμπεσθαι κἀκεῖνον ἀρχηγὸν τοῦ σκέμματος καθιστᾶν Bryennios 217.16-21
  • His attack opposed by Bryennios (Nikephoros 62) who killed many of his men, he fled shutting himself up in the city (Thessalonike) and sent envoys requesting the renewal of the treaties and oaths he had agreed on with Bryennios's brother (Ioannes 61) (:) εἰς φυγὴν τέτραπτο καὶ τῆς πόλεως ἐντὸς συνεκλείετο. Ἐκεῖθεν οὖν πρέσβεις ἐκπέμψας, ᾔτει ἀνανεωθῆναι σφίσι τὰς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ συνθήκας τε καὶ τὰ ὅρκια Bryennios 225.22-26
  • Seeing that Bryennios (Nikephoros 62) had brought with him a limited force much smaller than his, he advanced against him, apparently forgetting the oaths and pact between himself and Bryennios's brother (Ioannes 61) (:) τῶν ὁρκίων ὥσπερ ἐπιλαθόμενος καὶ τῶν πρὸς τὸν ἐκείνου αὐτάδελφον συνθηκῶν ἐξώρμησε κατ ᾿ αὐτοῦ Bryennios 225.19-22
  • Appointed to succeed Bryennios (Nikephoros 62, as doux of Dyrrachion) he came across him at Thessalonike, and had he handled the situation there capably he would have subdued him while the rebellion was still at an early stage (:) εἴ γε δεξιῶς ἐχρήσατο τοῖς πράγμασιν Skylitzes Continuatus 173.10-13
Nikephoros Bryennios usurper [1077] (Nikephoros 62)
  • Dismissed from his post as doux of Dyrrachion, he rose in rebellion in the West, proclaimed himself emperor and advanced towards Adrianople with his troops and supporters (After the end of October:Τοῦ δὲ ὀκτωβρίου μηνὸς παρεληλυθότος) βασιλέως ἑαυτῷ περιέθηκεν ὄνομα Attaleiates: History 242.12-18, 243.1-3 / 175.15-19, 175.23-25
  • Received letters from his brother (Ioannes 61) urging him to rise in rebellion, was worried not knowing what to do, and struggled with his thoughts procrastinating for a long time, although urged by his brother's frequent letters (:) πλήρης ἦν ὁ ἀνὴρ φροντίδος, οὐκ ἔχων ὅ τι καὶ δράσειε ... τούτοις παλαίων τοῖς λογισμοῖς διέμεινε μέχρι πολλοῦ Bryennios 219.6-12
  • Declared that the following day (?) he would summon the officials and generals with the commanders to present his plan and discuss with them what would be advantageous to all, and thus restrained his brother (Ioannes 61)'s and the officials' impulse (:) ἀπεφαίνετο γὰρ ἐς νέωτα συναθροίζειν ἄρχοντάς τε καὶ στρατηγοὺς ἅμα καὶ λοχαγοὺς καὶ βουλὴν προθεῖναι καὶ ζητῆσαι κοινῇ τὸ πᾶσι συμφέρον Bryennios 227.12-17
  • He considered rebellion a terrible thing that would cause great evil, while to expose himself to obvious risk and ignore everything he thought to be unworthy of a good, wise and brave man (:) τό τε γὰρ πρὸς ἀποστασίαν χωρῆσαι δεινὸν ῳ῎ετο καὶ μεγίστων κακῶν αἴτιον Bryennios 219.8-11
  • Informed that the emperor (Michael 7) had appointed Nikephoros 61 Basilakes doux of Illyricum and sent him to arrest him, he thought that he could no longer remain (in Dyrrachion) and left to return home (to Adrianople) taking with him a small escort (:) δεῖν ᾠήθη μηκέτι μένειν, ἀλλ ᾿ ἐξορμᾶν καὶ οἴκαδε ἀπιέναι. Ἐξῄει οὖν ὀλίγην τινὰ μεθ ᾿ ἑαυτοῦ ἐπιφερόμενος δύναμιν Bryennios 225.14-16
  • Rebelled against Michael 7 (VII Doukas): in association with Nikephoros 3 and Nikephoros 61 (:) κατὰ τοῦ βασιλέως Μιχαήλ Bryennios 61.25-27
  • Rose in rebellion at Dyrrachion, gathered an army, reached Adrianople where he was proclaimed emperor, and advanced against Constantinople but accomplished nothing because the city supported Botaneiates (Nikephoros 3) (:) οὐδὲν ἤνυσεν Glykas 615.18-616.1
  • Received most kindly Eustathios 124, endeared himself so much to him that he was told the purpose of the mission (to verify reports of his rebellion), felt pain in his soul, was seized by fear but did not get angry, held back and considered how to act (:) ἐδάκνετο τὴν ψυχὴν καὶ εἰς δέος ἐνέπιπτεν· οὐ μέντοι καὶ πρὸς ὀργὴν ἐκινεῖτο, ἀλλ ᾿ ἐπεῖχε τέως καὶ ἐσκόπει τί ποτ ᾿ ἂν δράσειεν Bryennios 215.29-217.4
  • He had rebelled against Michael 7 before the accession of Nikephoros 3, and continued his rebellion against the new emperor (:) Anna Komnene 18.14-17
  • On learning that he had been removed from his command, he also revolted, assumed the insignia of empire and, escorted by the regiments who were there, set out for Adrianople, which was in fact his place of origin (:) Zonaras 18.17.19
  • At Thessalonike he came across and challenged Basilakes (Nikephoros 61), who had been appointed to succeed him as doux of Dyrrachion, and advanced to Traianoupolis where he met his brother (Ioannes 61) and the latter's Frankish and Macedonian troops (:) περὶ τῆς ἀρχῆς ἠμφισβήτησε Attaleiates: History 246.9-23 / 178.4-15
Nikephoritzes (Nikephoros 63)
  • Was annoyed by Ioannes 61 Bryennios who returned to Constantinople having defeated the Pechenegs, demanding his reward for the victory (:) ᾔτει οὖν ἐκ βασιλέως τῆς ἀριστείας τὰς ἀμοιβάς, τῷ λογοθέτῃ δι ᾿ ὄχλου γινόμενος Bryennios 217.5-6