The Emperor John II Komnenos (1118–1143) has been overshadowed by both his father Alexios I and his son Manuel I. Written sources have not left us much evidence regarding his reign, although authors agree that he was an excellent emperor. However, the period witnessed territorial expansion in Asia Minor as well as the construction of the most important monastic complex of twelfth-century Constantinople. What else do we know about John’s rule and its period? This volume opens up new perspectives on John’s reign and clearly demonstrates that many innovations generally attributed to the genius of Manuel Komnenos had already been fostered during the reign of the second great Komnenos. Leading experts on twelfth-century Byzantium (Jeffreys, Magdalino, Ousterhout) are joined by representatives of a new generation of Byzantinists to produce a timely and invaluable study of the unjustly neglected figure of John Komnenos.
Preface; Life and reign of John II Komnenos (1118-1143): a chronology, Rodriguez Suarez / John II Komnenos: a historiographical essay, Stathakopoulos / John II Komnenos before the year 1118, Stanković / Narratives of John II Komnenos’ wars: comparing Byzantine and modern approaches, Stouraitis / The political ideology of John II Komnenos, Papageorgiou / The triumph of 1133, Magdalino / Emperor John II’s encounters with foreign rulers, Vučetić / From Greek into Latin: western scholars and translators in Constantinople during the reign of John II, Rodriguez Suarez / Literary trends in the Constantinopolitan courts in the 1120s and 1130s, Jeffreys / Seeking a way out of the impasse: the Filioque controversy during John’s reign, Bucossi / Architecture and patronage in the age of John II, Ousterhout / Imperial impersonations: disguised portraits of a Komnenian prince and his father, Linardou / Coinage, numismatic circulation and monetary policy under John II, Papadopoulou / Bibliography, Rodriguez Suarez.
"Bucossi and Rodriguez appear to have succeeded in their aim to provide a multifaceted picture of an important transformative period for Byzantium, the Near East and Mediterranean Europe. Their book offers a variety of inputs and ideas, which may prove valuable for readers with different interests and backgrounds. (...) This book represents a real advancement for Byzantine scholarship and a commendable reading."
- Luisa Andriollo, Bamberg in Plekos 19, 2017
"John II Komnenos, Emperor of Byzantium: In the Shadow of Father and Son is a worthy contribution to the study of the Komnenian dynasty and will help to raise awareness of the often glossed-over reign of the second emperor."
- K.S. Parker, University of London