On December 15, 1025, Constantine VIII finally became the sole emperor of the Byzantine Empire. In 962 CE, at the tender, toddling age of 2, Constantine was originally named as co-emperor along with his father Romanus II. Before being named sole emperor, 63 years later, Constantine had to wait for his father Ramonos II to die, then his stepfather Nikephoros II Phokas to die, then his uncle John I Tzimiskes to die, and finally, for his brother Basil II to die, without progeny. During this entire time, Constantine was the ‘junior’ emperor and his dad, stepdad, uncle, and brother were the senior emperors. When Constantine was finally able to assume the throne unhindered, his three-year reign was acknowledged as an unmitigated disaster resulting in the collapse of the military power of the Byzantine Empire. Did his subjects and advisors at the time know this was going to happen? Yes. Yes they did and were relieved when he died three years later so his more competent daughter could take over.
He had 61 years to prepare and still wasn’t ready? I’m sure Emperoring isn’t an easy job, but you’d think all those years as Apprentice Emperor would’ve at least taught him something. Share this post, if you wonder if the Emperor Penguins in Antarctica have this problem.