John I of Trebizond

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John I Axouchos
Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans
Emperor of Trebizond
Claimant Byzantine Emperor
Reign1235 – 1238
PredecessorAndronikos I
SuccessorManuel I
FatherAlexios I Megas Komnenos
Motherpossibly Theodora Axouchina

John I Axouchos[1] (Greek: Ιωάννης Α΄ Αξούχος, Iōannēs I Axoukhos) was Emperor of Trebizond from 1235 to 1238. One editor reads the text of the chronicle of Michael Panaretos as stating that John ruled six years; although William Miller follows Fallmerayer in assuming this was a mistake for three years,[2] another possible solution is that John was co-ruler with his predecessor Andronikos I Gidos for three years then ruled alone for three more.

He was the eldest son of Alexios I of Trebizond and a woman the primary sources do not identify; some writers have named her Theodora Axuchina. Miller suggests that he was perhaps a minor at the time of his father's death in 1222, for his father was succeeded by the throne passed to Alexis' son-in-law, Andronikos I Gidos.[3] During the Siege of Sinope, one of the sources states that Alexios has "grown sons in Trebizond who are capable of governing", so it is clear John was born before 1214.[4]

Little is recorded of John's reign, except that John died while playing tzykanion, a variant of polo fashionable among the Byzantine nobility, when he fell from his horse and was trampled to death,[5] his heir apparent was one Ioannikios, who was confined to a monastery and John's second brother Manuel I ascended the throne. Since Fallmerayer, most historians have assume that Ioannikios was John Axouchos' son, but Panaretos' Chronicle does not state how Ioannikios was related to John Axouchos. Rustam Shukurov has argued that Ioannikios was the brother of both John and Manuel.[6]

Older authorities credited John Axouchos with issuing the first silver coins, or aspers of the Empire of Trebizond,[7] but more recent authorities believe these coins better fit with the aspers struck during John II Megas Komnenos on numismatic grounds.[8]


  1. ^ William Miller, opines that "Axouchos" appears to have been a family name of the Komnenos, "for it had been borne by a Persian, who had been Great Domestic at Constantinople". Trebizond: The Last Greek Empire of the Byzantine Era, 1926 (Chicago: Argonaut, 1969), p. 24
  2. ^ Miller, Trebizond, p. 25 and note
  3. ^ Miller, Trebizond, p. 19
  4. ^ A. A. Vasiliev, "The Foundation of the Empire of Trebizond (1204-1222)", Speculum, 11 (1936), p. 27
  5. ^ George Finlay (The History of Greece and the Empire of Trebizond, (1204-1461), (Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1851), p. 338 n. 1) discusses the possible locations of the hippodrome of Trebizond where John died.
  6. ^ Shukurov, "The enigma of David Grand Komnenos", Mesogeios, 12 (2001), pp. 131f (accessed 22 February 2014)
  7. ^ Warwick Wroth, Catalogue of the Coins of the Vandals, Ostrogoths and Lombards and of the Empires of Thessalonica, Nicaea and Trebizond in the British Museum (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1911), pp. lxxviii, 232-235
  8. ^ A.A. Gordus and D.M. Metcalf, "Non-destructive Chemical Analysis of the Byzantine Silver Coinage of Trebizond", Archeion Pontou, 33 (1975-1976), p. 29

External links[edit]

John I of Trebizond
Komnenid dynasty
Born: unknown Died: 1238
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Andronikos I
Emperor of Trebizond
Succeeded by
Manuel I