Manuel Erotikos Komnenos

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Manuel Erotikos Komnenos
Native name Μανουήλ Ερωτικός Κομνηνός
Born 955/60 [1]
Died 1020
Rank strategos autokrator
Battles/wars Nicaea, 978
Relations Komnenos dynasty

Manuel Erotikos Komnenos (Greek: Μανουήλ Ερωτικός Κομνηνός) was a Byzantine military leader under Basil II, and the first fully documented ancestor of the Komnenos dynasty.


Manuel was a member of the Erotikos family, possibly by maternal ancestry, his branch of the family appears to have changed their habitual surname to Komnenos. Other branches retained the name Erotikos into the 12th century.[2] It has been suggested that Manuel's father was a senior army officer named Isaac (Isaakios), who is recorded as being the strategos (military governor) of Thrace and Macedonia during the conquest of Bulgaria by John I Tzimiskes.[3]

Manuel was named strategos autokrator of the East under Emperor Basil II[4] in order to defeat the rebel Bardas Skleros.[5] As a reward for his defence, in 978, of Nicaea against Skleros, Basil gave him lands around Kastamone in Paphlagonia, where he built the castle Castra Komnenon.[6]

Manuel originated in Thrace and spoke Greek as his native language;[7] according to Steven Runciman he was either Greek or a Hellenized Vlach.[6] It is also possible that the family name was derived from the city of Komne, which is located near Philippopolis in Thrace.[4]


By a conjectured first marriage,[8] Manuel had the following son:

  1. Nikephoros Komnenos, protospatharios, governor of Vaspurakan (after 1021) under Emperor Basil, blinded by Constantine VIII (after 1026).

By a (second) marriage after 1005, Manuel had the following children:

  1. Emperor Isaac I Komnenos (1005/10 – 1061), who married Catherine of Bulgaria of the Royal House of Cometopuli.
  2. a daughter (born 1012), who married Michael Doukeianos (died 1050)[9]
  3. John Komnenos, (1015 – 12 July 1067), who married Anna Dalassene and fathered Alexios I Komnenos.


  1. ^ His birth is conjectured (S. De Jongh, p 2, d. 2) on the basis that he ought to have been no younger than 18 when in command of the defence of Nicaea, and no older than 60 at the birth of John Komnenus, though neither figure is absolute.
  2. ^ Cameron, p. 48
  3. ^ Cheynet, p. 287
  4. ^ a b Kazhdan, p. 1143
  5. ^ Alexiad, 271
  6. ^ a b Runciman, S. (1951, 1952 and 1954) A History of the Crusades (Penguin Books, 1978), Vol 1, pp. 45-55
  7. ^ Konstantinos Paparregopoulos, History of the Greek Nation
  8. ^ Sturdza, M. D. (1999) Dictionnaire Historique et Généalogique des Grandes Familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople (2e edition Paris), p. 274
  9. ^ Commonly deduced from Alexiad, "a certain Docianus nephew of the former Emperor, Isaac Comnenus", p 12


  • Cameron, Averil (Ed.) (2003) Fifty Years of Prosopography: The Later Roman Empire, Byzantium and Beyond, Oxford University Press.
  • Cawley, Charles (ed.), "Byzantium 1057-1204", Medieval Lands 
  • Cheynet, Jean-Claude (2000) L'aristocratie Byzantine (VIIIe - XIIIe siècle). In: Journal des Savants. 2000, N°2, pp. 281–322. doi : 10.3406/jds.2000.1638
  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991), Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6 
  • Runciman, Steven (1951) A History of the Crusades, Vol. I: The First Crusade, Cambridge University Press.
  • Varzos, Konstantinos (1984). Η Γενεαλογία των Κομνηνών [The Genealogy of the Komnenoi] (in Greek). Thessaloniki: Byzantine Research Centre. , Vol. A1