Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

Byzantium and the Crusades

External relations under John II 


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader
Page 3

The tendency of Hungary (Ugria) to extend its possessions towards the Adriatic coast had already rendered Alexius Comnenus discontented and strained his relations with the Hungarians. It seemed that the marriage of John to a Hungarian princess should improve relations. But that intercourse, said the Russian historian C. Grot, could not destroy the feeling of mutual distrust and rivalry that, in the course of time, formed in both neighbor states. Besides the establishment of the Hungarians (Magyars) on the Dalmatian coast, which was dangerous to Byzantium, the increasing rapprochement between Hungary and Serbia was a source of dissatisfaction to the Empire. The Serbs who, along with the Bulgars, had been forced to come to Byzantium at the beginning of the eleventh century under Basil II Bulgaroctonus, had already begun by the middle of this century to revolt. The end of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelfth was the time of the first liberation of Serbia from Byzantine power. Under John may be noticed a particular rapprochement between Serbia and Hungary, which was ready to help Serbia in obtaining its independence. A Serbian princess was given in marriage to a Hungarian prince. Thus, towards the end of the reign of John, in the northwest a new cause for alarm to Byzantium was created in the close connection of Hungary and Serbia.

John's military operations against them were fairly successful but had no definite result. An anonymous panegyrist of John, however, praised his military activities in the Balkan peninsula in these bombastic words: How glorious are your campaigns against the European peoples! He (John) defeated the Dalmatians, terrified the Scythians and Nomads, the whole people living in wagons and unorganized; he coloured the waters of the Danube with much gore and many strong-flowing rivers of blood.

Previous / First / Next Page of this section

A History of the Byzantine Empire - Table of Contents

Next Chapter : Policies of Manuel I and the Second Crusade

Previous Chapter : The First Crusade and Byzantium



Medieval West * The Making of Europe
Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Learned Freeware


Reference address :