John II Komnenos

   1) Emperor (q.v.) from 1118-1143 whose capable leadership consolidated the successes of his father Alexios I Komnenos (q.v.). During the first part of his reign, John campaigned in the Balkan Peninsula (q.v.), first against the Pechenegs (q.v.), winning a decisive victory over them in 1122. In 1129 he forced Serbia (q.v.) to acknowledge Byzantine overlordship, and he checked the expanding power of Hungary (q.v.), Serbia's chief ally. Only after 1130 was he able to turn his attention to Asia Minor (q.v.), where he campaigned against the Danishmendids (q.v.). The Rubenids (q.v.) of Armenian Cilicia (Armenia Minor) he conquered in 1137, and in 1138 he besieged Antioch (q.v.), forcing Raymond of Poitiers (q.v.) to take an oath of fealty as a sign of his submission to Byzantium (q.v.). However, John was forced to reaffirm Venetian commercial privileges in 1126. His plans to restore Byzantine power throughout the Near East, as unrealistic they may have been, ceased abruptly with the emperor's death in a freak hunting accident with a poisoned arrow. There is a portrait of John II and his wife Irene in the mosaic (q.v.) panels in the south gallery of Justinian I's Hagia Sophia (qq.v.).
   2) Emperor of Trebizond (qq.v.) from 1280-1297. However, in 1282 Michael VIII (q.v.) persuaded him to relinquish his imperial title in favor of despot (q.v.), after first being rewarded with marriage to Michael VIII's daughter Eudokia. Despite this, John II's successors again assumed the imperial title.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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