I was worried about the latest Christmas special for 'Doctor Who' since it was going to be dealing with superheroes. Would they totally debunk the Toobworld existence of characters like Superman, Batman, etc? I wasn't looking forward to disarming the Zonks to be caused.
Luckily they gave me a few loopholes. Instead it was a tossed-off line that had real world ramifications which I found more intriguing......
"THE RETURN OF DOCTOR MYSTERIO"
Very good. Right on target.
Trial and error, to be honest.
A few accidental stop-offs along the way.
Where did you get the robes?
I ruled firmly, but wisely.
Of course, a televisiogist such as me own self is going to check a statement like that. Earth Prime-Time is not the same as Earth Prime, and it's radically different at times. But the fictional world should match up as much as possible to the factual world in which we live.
So could Nardole have ruled Constantinople in the 12th Century? I did a little checking and I think the argument could be made that he did.
But not as the Emperor. I think that he would have been more likely to be the power behind the throne rather than the actual ruler. And I have just the candidate for his alias.....
John Axouch or Axouchos, also transliterated as Axuch (flourished circa 1087 – circa 1150) was the commander-in-chief (megas domestikos) of the Byzantine army during the reign of Emperor John II Komnenos (r. 1118–1143), and during the early part of the reign of his son Manuel I Komnenos (r. 1143–1180). He may also have served as the de facto chief of the civil administration of the Byzantine Empire.
He was the emperor's only close personal friend and confidant, and all members of the imperial family were required to make obeisance to him. After foiling a plot against his throne and life by his sister Anna and her husband Nikephoros Bryennios (who betrayed the plot), John II tried to give his sister's confiscated property to Axouch. Axouch wisely refused as he realized that it would have further soured his relations with the imperial family and make him unpopular with the higher aristocracy. Axouch also asked the emperor for clemency for Anna, and the two siblings were reconciled, at least to a degree.
Axouch's ability and character were recognized and lauded by his contemporaries. Thus Michael Italikos called him the "Tower of the Empire of the Romans" and "an invincible rampart", while writers such as Nicholas Basilakes or bishop Nicholas of Methone dedicated works to him. The historian Niketas Choniates, born shortly after Axouch's death, gave the following description of John Axouch's qualities:
"Not only were his hands skilled in war but they were also quick and agile in performing good works. Furthermore, the nobility and liberality of his mind quite overshadowed his humble origins and made Axuch beloved by all."
My guess is that Nardole stepped in to replace Emperor John II Komnenos' childhood friend Axouch upon finding the Megas Domestikos near death in an isolated area, (Narole could have even clipped him accidentally with the TARDIS.) With the use of a shimmer (which the Doctor may have confiscated from the Vinvocci in 2009) to alter his appearance, Nardole then disposed of Axouch's body and passed himself off as the King's Confidante when help finally arrived.
But that's just a theory......