1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Comnenus

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COMNENUS, the name of a Byzantine family which from 1081 to 1185 occupied the throne of Constantinople. It claimed a Roman origin, but its earliest representatives appear as landed proprietors in the district of Castamon (mod. Kastamuni) in Paphlagonia. Its first member known in Byzantine history is Manuel Eroticus Comnenus, an able general who rendered great services to Basil II. (976–1025) in the East. At his death he left his two sons Isaac and John in the care of Basil, who gave them a careful education and advanced them to high official positions. The increasing unpopularity of the Macedonian dynasty culminated in a revolt of the nobles and the soldiery of Asia against its feeble representative Michael VI. Stratioticus, who abdicated after a brief resistance. Isaac was declared emperor, and crowned in St Sophia on the 2nd of September 1057. For the rulers of this dynasty see Roman Empire, Later, and separate articles.

With Andronicus I. (1183–1185) the rule of the Comneni proper at Constantinople came to an end. A younger line of the original house, after the establishment of the Latins at Constantinople in 1204, secured possession of a fragment of the empire in Asia Minor, and founded the empire of Trebizond (q.v.), which lasted till 1461, when David Comnenus, the last emperor, was deposed by Mahommed II.

For a general account of the family and its alleged survivors see article “Komnenen,” by G. F. Hertzberg, in Ersch and Gruber’s Allgemeine Encyklopädie, and an anonymous monograph, Précis historique de la maison impériale des Comnènes (Amsterdam, 1784); and, for the history of the period, the works referred to under Roman Empire, Later.