Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
IV: Byzantium and the Crusades, 1081-1204, pp. [unnumbered]-151 PDF (14.1 MB)
132 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II brought it great wealth, though also great unpopularity. John's attempt to reduce Venetian influence resulted in attacks on Byzantine territory, particularly the islands, during the years 1122-1126. Finally he judged it expedient to make peace and in 1126 renewed the privileges granted by his father. He had to recognize that Venetian enmity would damage his position in Italy. He did, however, attempt to establish good relations with Venice's rivals, Pisa and Genoa. Pisa, which was being approached by Roger II of Sicily, was courted by a Byzantine embassy in 1136, followed by the confirmation of the trading privileges, which had been granted it by Alexius Comnenus. The Genoese, who were to play so important a role in the later empire, also wished for a share in imperial trade, and they appear to have been in Constantinople in 1 142 for purposes of negotiation. At the opening of John's reign affairs in Germany and Italy were not unfavorable to him. Emperor Henry V of Germany and pope Gelasius II were at loggerheads and Apulia was rent by feuds. But when Roger II united the Norman lands in southern Italy and Sicily in 1127 and was crowned king in 1130, danger threatened. John sought to counter this by a rapprochement with the German rulers, first Lothair II, who followed Henry in 1125, and then his successor, Conrad III. Throughout he also kept in touch with the popes, who were precariously placed between the Normans and the Germans; he approached first Calixtus II in 1124, and then Honorius II in 1126,8a with the prospect of ecclesiastical reunion. In particular, he suggested an understanding whereby the pope would have the spiritual, and the "Roman" (Byzantine) emperor the secular, supremacy, though the actual wording of this famous letter is so vague as to defy precise elucidation (which was perhaps what was intended). With his position to some extent safeguarded by his network of alliances in the west, John in 1136 judged it opportune to attempt the extension of his authority in the east by striking at both Moslem and Christian powers. His goal was full control of Antioch and the implementation of the treaty of Devol, which his father had made with Bohemond in 1108. Apart from constant vigilance towards his Selchükid neighbors at Iconium (Konya), John's more particular concern in Anatolia at this time was the rising power of the Danishmendids, who had in 1125 captured Melitene. They had penetrated into Cilicia, compelling the Roupenids to pay tribute, and 8a Some scholars suggest the years 1139 and 1141 in Innocent II's pontificate. See Lamma, Comneni e Staufer, I, 28.
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