Manuel II, Byzantine emperor

Manuel II (Manuel Palaeologus), 1350–1425, Byzantine emperor (1391–1425), son and successor of John V. In his youth he was taken captive by the Turks, and during his reign the Ottomans reduced the empire to Constantinople and its dependencies in the Peloponnesus. After the failure of the crusade of Sigismund of Hungary (later Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund) at Nikopol (1396), Manuel appealed to the West for aid and made a futile European journey (1399–1402) for that purpose. His nephew, John VII, was coemperor during that time and, with Boucicaut, defended Constantinople against the siege by Sultan Beyazid I. The victory of Timur over Beyazid at Ankara, in the same year, temporarily saved Constantinople. By 1422 the Turks were again strong enough to attack Constantinople, and in 1425 Manuel was forced to pay tribute to the sultan. Afflicted with partial paralysis in his last years, Manuel devoted himself to religious writing, entrusting the government to his son and successor, John VIII.

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