John the Scythian

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John the Scythian (Latin: Iohannes Scytha, Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Σκύθης; floruit 482–498) was a general and a politician of the Eastern Roman Empire who fought against the usurper Leontius (484–488) and in the Isaurian War (492–498).

Biography[edit]

John was an officer of the East Roman army. In 482 he was sent to Illyricum together with Moschianus to fight the Ostrogoths of Theodoric the Amal.

In 483 the Emperor Zeno decided to get rid of his magister militum per Orientem ("Commander in Chief of the East") Illus, replacing him with John.

In 484 Illus rebelled and opposed to Zeno the civil officer Leontius, whom he appointed emperor. John and Theodoric, with a large army, defeated Illus and Leontius near Antioch in September of that year. Illus and Leontius fled to Isauria[1] and locked in the fortress of Papurius. John laid siege to the fortress; towards the end of the 484 he captured and killed Trocundus, the brother of Illus who had gone out to seek reinforcements. The siege lasted until 488, when the fortress fell to the treachery and both Illus and Leontius were put to death.

During the reign of Emperor Anastasius I, John fought in the Isaurian War (492–498), obtaining the joint command of the army are with John the Hunchback. He was one of Roman commanders in the battle of Cotyaeum of 492, while in 497 defeated the Isaurians, capturing and killing their leaders Longinus of Cardala and Athenodorus, and sending their heads to Constantinople.

Anastasius was very pleased with the victory in the war and honoured his generals: John Scythian was appointed consul for 498.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Note that both Zeno and Illus were of Isaurian origin.

Bibliography[edit]

Preceded by
Flavius Anastasius Augustus II,
II post consulatum Viatoris (West)
Consul of the Roman Empire
498
with Flavius Paulinus
Succeeded by
Flavius Iohannes Gibbus,
Post consulatum Paulinii (West)