John II Komnenos

John II Komnenos (Greek Ἰωάννης Β ' Κομνηνός, * September 13, 1087 in Constantine Opel, † April 8, 1143 in the Taurus mountains ) was Byzantine Emperor from 1118 to 1143.


John II comes from the house of Comnenus, the ruling longest Byzantine ruling family. He was the eldest son of Emperor Alexios I and his wife Irene Dukaina and is also known as Kaloioannes ( the beautiful John).


The beginning of his reign was overshadowed by an intrigue of his sister, Anna Comnena, who wanted to secure the throne for her husband Nikephoros Bryennios. However, John could be relatively easy to enforce, and rewarded his supporters, by forgiving several Titularposten to this.

Due to its gentle and righteous government he was called the Byzantine Marcus Aurelius. By his personal example he caused a marked improvement in the manners of the time, above all, he devoted his time to the restoration of the Byzantine Empire in the former extent, before the disaster at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 ( restorations imperii ).

His victories against the invading Pechenegs ( 1122), Hungary and rebel Serbs secured peace in the European part of the Byzantine Empire and eliminated the threat petschenegische final, so that he could devote himself to recapture the lost territories in Asia. His successes against the Seljuk Turks (1135 ) were able to negate their progress since the Battle of Manzikert in Asia Minor partially and thus secure the Byzantine eastern frontier. His attempts, the Byzantine sovereignty over the small Armenian kingdom in Cilicia ( 1137 ) and the Crusader states, including the Principality of Antioch ( also 1137 ) and to produce the County of Edessa, improved greatly the reputation of his empire. He even tried to advance into Syria against the Arabs, but his surprise attack on Aleppo failed because the inhabitants were forewarned. The siege of Shaizar he had to give up after days of bombardment, but which previously yielded to his luck as his Frankish vassals showed no energy and an army Zengis, the Atabegs of Mosul, marched against him. The advent of the Normans in Sicily under their king Roger II brought John to be with the German kings Lothar III. and Conrad III. to ally in the Treaty of Thessaloniki and support them financially.

His only serious setback he suffered against the Republic of Venice, from which he was dependent on sea power after the collapse of the Byzantine fleet in the 11th century. His efforts to curtail their extensive privileges within the empire that could destroy its economic base over the long term, ended with a humiliating return to the status quo after a series of Byzantine ports of Venice had been looted. However, John ran a very successful fiscal policy.

When hunting for wild boar in the Taurus he retired with an arrow wound to blood poisoning, of which he died. But he could not settle his successor, and set his fourth son, Manuel I Comnenus as Emperor a. His older sons, Alexios and Andronikos had already died before Isaac was, however, passed over in the succession to the throne.

Marriage and children

From this marriage eight children come from:

  • Alexios Komnenos, crowned co- emperor of Byzantium (1119-1142), (* February 1106; † Summer 1142 );
  • Maria Comnena (* February 1106, † 1143/55 );
  • Andronikos Komnenos (c. 1108; † autumn 1142 ), " Serbastokrator " Venerable Regent
  • Anna Comnena (c. 1100)
  • Isaac Komnenos (* 1115, † 1154/74 ), " Serbastokrator "
  • Theodora Comnena, (c. 1116; † as a widow and nun May 12, 1157 )
  • Eudocia Comnena (* 1119)
  • Manuel I Komnenos (* August 15, 1118, † September 24, 1180 ), 1143-1180 Emperor of Byzantium, 1122 " Serbastokrator "