Nikephoros Bryennios

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Nikephoros Bryennios ( Middle Greek Νικηφόρος Βρυέννιος ; * around 1081; † 1136 in Constantinople ) was a Byzantine military , politician and historian . He was highly regarded for his knowledge, had a pleasant appearance and an engaging demeanor, won the favor of Emperor Alexios I and the hand of his daughter Anna Komnena with the title Panhypersebastos , one of the dignities newly created by Alexios (see offices and titles in Byzantine Empire ). To 1111 Bryennios became the Kaisar transported, the third stage in the Byzantine hierarchy at that time.

Bryennios successfully defended the walls of Constantinople in 1097 against the attacks of the crusader Gottfried von Bouillon during the First Crusade , led the peace negotiations between Alexios and Bohemond of Taranto ( Treaty of Devol , 1108) and also played an important role in the defeat of the Seljuk prince Malik Shah in 1116 Role.

After Alexios' death, he refused to join the conspiracy led by his mother-in-law and wife to depose John II Comnenus , son of the late emperor, and put him on the throne himself. His wife called his refusal cowardice, but from some passages in his own work it appears that he considered it a crime to rise up against the rightful heir. The only reproach that can be made is that he did not nip the conspiracy in the bud.

He had very good relations with John II, whom he accompanied on his Syrian campaign in 1136. However, for health reasons he had to return to Constantinople, where he died in the same year. In his place Johannes Roger Dalassenos was appointed emperor .

At the suggestion of his mother-in-law, he wrote a story from 1057 to 1081 entitled Hyle Historias ( Materials for a Story ), from Isaac Komnenus' victory over Michael VII to the deposition of Nikephorus III. by Alexios. The work is more of a family story with the aim of glorifying the Komnenes . Part of the introduction may be added later.

In addition to the information that older contemporaries gave him (such as his father and father-in-law), Bryennios also used the work of Michael Psellos , Johannes Skylitzes and Michael Attaleiates . As expected, his view is skewed by personal mentions and his relationships with the imperial family, which had given him unusual opportunities to evaluate material. His role model was Xenophon , which he imitated with some success. He refrains from excessive use of similes and metaphors ; his style is concise and simple.



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  • Alexios G. Savvides, Benjamin Hendrickx (Eds.): Encyclopaedic Prosopographical Lexicon of Byzantine History and Civilization . Vol. 2: Baanes-Eznik of Kolb . Brepols Publishers, Turnhout 2008, ISBN 978-2-503-52377-4 , pp. 163-164.
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  • Warren Treadgold : The Middle Byzantine Historians. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke et al. 2013, ISBN 978-1-137-28085-5 , p. 344 ff.