- Emperor (q.v.) from 969-976. Born in Armenia (q.v.), he became a renowned general under Nikephoros II Phokas (q.v), who he assassinated in 969 with the aid of Nikephoros II's wife Theophano (q.v.). This proved a great victory for the church, for in return for the patriarch Polyeuktos's (q.v.) support Tzimiskes sent Theophano into exile. Tzimiskes also rescinded Nikephoros II's legislation against the growth of church and monastic estates. John I ejected Svjatoslav from Bulgaria (qq.v.) in 971, and the next year made an alliance with Otto I (q.v.) that softened the hostility engendered by Nikephoros II's relations with the German empire. In 972 the princess Theophano (q.v.), niece of John I, was betrothed to Otto II (q.v.), and Otto I was recognized as basileus of the Franks (qq.v.). John spent much of his reign campaigning in Syria (q.v.), the Holy Land, and Mesopotamia (q.v.), in effect consolidating previous victories won under Nikephoros II, establishing Byzantium (q.v.) as the preeminent power in the Near East.
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .