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Nikolaos Kanabos or Nicolaus Kanabus was elected Emperor of Byzantium on 25 or 27 January 1204 by an assembly of the Byzantine Senate, priests, and the mob of Constantinople in opposition against co-emperors Isaac II and Alexius IV[1]. Nicolas was a young noble (probably a relative of Angeli emperors[2]) who was chosen after three days of sorting through numerous unwilling candidates, and he refused to accept the election. Though popularly chosen, he never wielded significant imperial power, and refused to leave the Hagia Sophia. Alexius V "Murzuphlus", who had deposed Emperors Isaac II and Alexius IV, offered him a prominent position in his own administration, but Nicolas refused to accept his terms. On 5 February, Murzuphlus imprisoned him and had him strangled (or possibly decapitated) on the same day as Alexius IV.[3]

The historian Niketas Choniates described Nicolas as a gentle and intelligent man.


  1. ^ Chambers's Encyclopaedia, vol. II, London, 1868, p. 471 ; Busk, William, Mediaeval Popes, Emperors, Kings, and Crusaders, Or, Germany, Italy, and Palestine, From A.D. 1125 to A.D. 1268, vol. III, London, 1856, p. 35.
  2. ^ Cheynet, Jean-Claude, Pouvoir et contestations à Byzance (963-1210), Paris, 1990, p. 142.
  3. ^ Phillips, Jonathan. The Fourth Crusade and the Siege of Constantinople. 2004. pp. 222-226.


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