Post-classical history

Kinnamos, John

Author of a history of Byzantium covering the period 1118-1176, which was probably composed in 1180-1182.

Kinnamos was born around 1143; although little is known of his early life, he later became secretary to the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos, participated in many of Manuel’s campaigns, and may have been present at the Byzantine defeat by the Saljûqs of Rûm at Myriokephalon in 1176.

The sources for his history, which is written in a simple, straightforward style, were his own observations and the oral communications of his contemporaries. He does not quote from imperial documents, although he was in a position to know of them. He was generally hostile toward westerners, though he gives a favorable account of Raymond of Poitiers, prince of Antioch (Manuel’s father-in-law), and of Louis VII of France’s relationship with the Byzantines during the Second Crusade (1147-1149), which is at odds with the disputes related by the French chronicler Odo of Deuil. Kinnamos’s history was the “official version” of Manuel’s reign and should be compared with the more critical account of Nike- tas Choniates. He died sometime after 1185.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!