Byzantine dynasty founded by Basil I, who came from an Armenian family that settled in Thrace or Macedonia.

According to a legend, originated probably by Photios, the family was descended by the Arsacids, but in fact Basil's parents were simple peasants. He advanced rapidly thanks to his extraordinary physical strength and boldness, murdered his rival, Caesar Bardas, and then his protector Michael III, whose former mistress Eudokia Ingerina was Basil's wife.


The Macedonian dynasty included direct male descendants of Basil I: his sons Leo VI and Alexander, a grandson Constantine VII, a great-grandson Romanos II, and Romanos's sons Basil II and Constantine VIII.


During the minority if Constantine VII the imperial functions and the emperor's title were assumed by Romanos I, who tried to establish his own dynasty, that of the Lekapenoi; his attempt failed.

During the minority of Basil II and Constantine VIII imperial power and the emperor's title were bestowed upon Nikephoros II Phokas and John I Tzimiskes.

Although Constantine VIII died in 1028 without a male heir, the dynasty was continued by a series of emperors, Romanos III Argyros, Michael IV, Michael V, and Constantine IX, all of whom were related to the Macedonian dynasty through ties of marriage to or adoption by Constantine VIII's daughter Zoe.

This emphasis on continuation of the dynasty demonstrates the strength of the ruling family in the 10th and 11th centuries. Michael V's attempt to depose Zoe led to his overthrow; the dynasty became extinct only after its last member, Theodora, died childless.



Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (1991), vol.2, p.1262