John was the son of the great Emperor Alexius I Komenenos; it was Alexius who single handedly saved the Eastern Roman Empire from nearly 40 years of neglect and military disasters. This was good news for John as he inherited a secure Empire. Though secure, the Turks still held large swaths of the Anatolian country side. This was unacceptable to John and one of the first things he did was to make war against them. John's go to guy and commander of the field armies that was to lead the attack was confusingly named John. Though this John was a Turkman who had been captured as a child in the early stages of the first crusade. Ironically enough they were best of friends and Emperor John intrusted John the Turk with running the army and civil bureaucracy. Both Johns personally led the armies and managed to make substantial gains against the Seljuk Turks and recovered a large chunk of Anatolia that had been lost decades before. Emperor John also retook Tarsus and numerous other cities from the crusader states. The remaining principalities swore to become vassals of the Roman Empire in fear of being attacked. In the west Emperor John made war with the Venetians and Hungarians, the results were mixed, but they did stabilize the Western boarders. The most successful war undertaken in the west was against a group of nomadic barbarians called the Pechenegs. The war went well for the Romans and at the battle of Beroia the pechenegs were destroyed as an ethic unit. At Beroia John personally led 480 Varangian guardsmen against the pechenegs wagon train and hacked through all that stood in their way. Clearly Nova Roma wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. John died from an infection due to a wound he had sustained from a hunting trip, he was 55 years old. He deservingly ranks as one of the greatest Eastern Roman Emperors and certainly the best leader from the time period he lived in. At the time of his death he left the treasury full and the army well garrisoned, which is impressive if you consider that his father had inherited a bankrupt and armyless Empire. Emperor John was succeeded by his youngest son, Manuel Komenenos. Manuel continued his father's policy of military expansion and for the most part he was successful. He continued to expand into Anatolia and hold the conquered territory there despite a defeat by the Turks in the final years of his reign. Manuel is considered to be the last capable Emperor with the military and economic means to exert Roman influence across the Mediterranean. After his death the Empire would begin its slow and painful decline. Part of this was because the man who came after him, had Manuel's son killed and seemed like the reincarnation of Caligula. Due to the fact that the next two Siliquae I plan to purcahse will set me back a lot, I have decided to put a temporary hiatus on expensive Siliquae for the rest of the year. To fill this void I think I will collect these little cup coins(Trachies). They have a ton of history behind them and were the last decent looking coins the Romans would ever make. And they are cheap! So with out further interruption: Emperor John II Komenenos Billon Aspron Trachy. Constantinople mint 1137-1143 CE Obverse: Facing bust of Christ, raising hand in benediction, holding Gospels Reverse: Facing bust of John, wearing loros and crown with pendilia, holding scepter and globus cruciger SB: 1944 Size: 26mm, 2.61g One of the best silvered ones I have seen! And 4.16g The Virgin seated on a throne, facing. She holds a nimbate head of the infant Christ facing "MP ThV" Manuel standing facing, wearing a crown. Holding a labarum and globus surmounted by a cross "MANVHL DECPOTHC SB 1964 What John looked like And his son Manuel The Empire by the end of Manuel's reign. What the soldiers of the Komenenian army looked like.