"...Vsevolod Long-Arms, Prince of Crimea in his youth, was perhaps the most aggressively expansionist Emperor the Byzantines had seen in a long time. At the head of the strongest state in Europe, he launched wars at any target of opportunity, without much regards to religion of the opponent. He strengthened the institution of the guard tagmata and partially replaced feudal obligation with a tax in men (which would be trained and armed by the state) in order to create a more reliable infantry component to the Byzantine army. His generals conquered or brought into Constantinople’s orbit places as distant as Provence, Sicily and Denmark, Lithuania and the Alan lands in the Caucasus. He rewarded his war-leaders with grants of land and rulership of semi-independent states – the Tzardoms (after Kaisar - Kzar – a lesser royal title than that of the Basilevs), which had the effect of decentralizing the Byzantine state even further; he was also the first Emperor to acknowledge the republican nature of Novgorod’s government. His nickname alludes to his ability to manipulate events far away from his centre of power; he repeatedly engineered conflicts with European powers, secure in the knowledge that if ever the conflict should come to him, his armies were capable of defeating the opponent. To that end, he switched his alliance several times between the Hungarian King and the Emperor of the Germans, gaining territory from both over several campaigns. He is perhaps most famous in Byzantine history for his long and vicious struggle with the Church - a struggle he could never win, but didn’t lose either. Accused of not taking care of spreading heresies (an Imperial City – Vidin – was very visibly a centre of the heretical movement) and therefore being heretical himself, he retaliated by taking out his opponents within the church and replacing them with his own partisans where possible; this of course hurt his standing with both the church and the nobility. He spent the last few years suppressing rebellions that arose out of the religious conflict, sometimes unsuccessfully, like in the case of the Mescheran princes. His son, Alexander, who was a prominent general ever since teenage years, became Emperor with the support of the army and over the objections of some prominent churchmen after his father’s death..."
|Predecessor:||Basil IV Monomach-Rurikovich (Barbarian Empire)||Successor:|
|Theodore II||Basil IV
|Mikhail I|| Vsevolod III