chapter  3
15 Pages

Narratives of John II Komnenos’ wars: comparing Byzantine and modern approaches Ioannis Stouraitis

If John II Komnenos has remained in the shadow of his father Alexios and his son Manuel, this is certainly not due to his insignificance as an emperor. It is rather due to the fact, already noted elsewhere in this volume, that unlike the other two great Komnenian emperors, John II did not have a Byzantine historian focusing on his reign. Both the histories of Kinnamos and Choniates, the main Byzantine accounts of John’s reign, begin with the statement that the narration of the emperor’s deeds will be brief, because the authors had not witnessed the events of this period.1 Nonetheless, modern-day historians have paid due attention to the information of both Byzantine and non-Byzantine sources in an effort to illuminate the foreign and military policies of the imperial city-state of Constantinople under John II during the first half of the twelfth century.2