Comnenus (kŏmnēˈnəs) [key], family name of several Byzantine emperors—Isaac I, Alexius I, John II, Manuel I, Alexius II, and Andronicus I—who reigned in the 11th and 12th cent., and of the historian, Princess Anna Comnena. Though unable to turn back the forces that contributed to the eventual downfall of the Byzantine Empire, they were generally able rulers. Hellenism was revived during the family's reign, and contact with the West was increased. A branch of the family founded the empire of Trebizond (see Trebizond, empire of) after the fall of Constantinople in 1204.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


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