Nicholas Kanabos

Nicholas Kanabos was elected Byzantine emperor during the Fourth Crusade on 27 January 1204 by an assembly of the Byzantine Senate, priests, and the mob of Constantinople in direct opposition to co-emperors Isaac II and Alexios IV.[1] Nicholas was a young noble who was chosen after three days of sorting through several unwilling candidates and refused to assume the lofty position. Though popularly chosen, he never accepted imperial power, and took sanctuary in the bowels of Hagia Sophia.[1] Alexios V Doukas, who had deposed Emperors Isaac II and Alexios IV, offered him a prominent position in his own administration, but Nicholas adamantly rejected these terms. After rebuffing an imperial summons, Nicholas and his wife were arrested and put into a dungeon.[2]

Nicholas Kanabos
Νικόλαος Καναβός
Emperor-elect of the Byzantine Empire
Reign27 January – 2 February 1204
PredecessorIsaac II and Alexios IV
SuccessorAlexios V

The contemporary historian Niketas Choniates described Nicholas Kanabos as a man "gentle by nature, of keen intelligence, and versed in generalship and war."[1] According to the Novgorod Chronicle, he "reigned" for six days and six nights.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Choniates 1984, pp. 307–309.
  2. ^ a b Savignac 2020, pp. 4–9.


  • Choniates, Niketas (1984) [1207]. Annals of Niketas Choniates. Translated by Harry J. Magoulias. Wayne State University Press.
  • Savignac, David (2020). "The Medieval Russian Account of the Fourth Crusade - A New Annotated Translation". (Novgorod Chronicle)
  • Cheynet, Jean-Claude (1990). Pouvoir et contestations à Byzance (963–1210). p. 142.