chapter  1
10 Pages

John II Komnenos: a historiographical essay

ByDionysios Stathakopoulos

John Kinnamos (before 1143-after 1185), who wrote under John’s son, Manuel I, dedicated around a tenth of his Epitome to the reign of John.6 He acknowledges that his account is brief and second hand.7 The largest part of the narrative is an almost breathless concatenation of John’s numerous campaigns.8 Like his father before him, the emperor led his armies personally and is portrayed as a cunning tactician – not least when conducting numerous sieges. Kinnamos supplies little else that could be useful in characterizing John: he was sometimes prone to anger9 and was pious10 – trivial facts, hardly comparable to Anna’s masterly portraits of Alexios I, his family and key members of his court as well as his enemies.