The short reign of Michael follows that of the troubled one of Nicephorus. As Nicephorus fell in battle, Michael fled the battlefield with his men back to the safety of Constantinople. Stauracius, associate emperor under Nicephorus, also managed to escape and became the nominal emperor but was crippled in the escape and was viewed with contempt by both his subjects and the church leaders. Michael was instead viewed as the next savior of the empire and Stauracius, unable to do anything about it, was sidelined and stripped of his titles which were then conferred upon Michael.
He turned out to be a poor leader and became a spineless puppet of the patriarch who, not surprisingly, shaped his goals to favor policies beneficial to the church and its institutions. Meanwhile, the Bulgars continued nibbling away at the various Byzantine possessions to the west of Constantinople and not much was done about it. At long last an army was thrown together and a halfhearted expedition mounted against the Bulgars. When this quickly fell apart Michael hurried home to quit his imperial titles in exchange for the safety of a life in a monastery.
SB 1618, DOC III 8 (Michael II) AE Follis Obv: Crowned facing busts of Michael and Theophylactus.
Rev: Large M, flanked by XXX NNN A and cross. (Constantinople).