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John Cinnamus (Ιωάννης Κίνναμος )(12th century) was a Byzantine historian. He was imperial secretary (most likely a post connected with the military administration) to Emperor Manuel I Comnenus (1143-1180), whom he accompanied on his campaigns in Europe and Asia Minor and appears to have outlived Andronicus I Comnenus, who died in 1185.

Cinnamus was the author of a history that covered the 1118-1176, thereby continuing the Alexiad of Anna Comnena, and covering the reigns of John II Comnenus and Manuel I, up until Manuel's unsuccessful campaign against the Turks, which ended with the disastrous Battle of Myriokephalon and the rout of the Byzantine army. He was probably an eye-witness to the events of the last ten years that he describes.

Cinnamus's work breaks off abruptly, though it is highly likely that the original continued to the death of Manuel. There are also indications that the present work is an abridgment of a much larger work. The hero of the history is Manuel, and throughout the history Comnenus attempts to highlight what he sees as the superiority of the Eastern Empire to the West. Similarly, he is a determined opponent of what he perceives as the pretensions of the papacy. Nevertheless, he writes with the straightforwardness of a soldier, and occasionally admits his ignorance of certain events. The work is well organized arranged, and its style, modeled on Xenophon, is simple, especially when compared with the florid writing of other Byzantine authors.

References

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

Works of Cinnamus Greek Text

Ancient Greece

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Modern Greece

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