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Adrianos Komnenos

Adrianos Komnenos

Byzantine military officer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Byzantine military officer
Gender male
Father: John Komnenos
Siblings: Alexios I KomnenosIsaac Komnenos
The details

Adrianos Komnenos (Greek: Ἁδριανὸς Κομνηνός), sometimes Anglicized as Adrian or Latinized as Hadrianus Comnenus, was a Byzantine aristocrat and general, and a younger brother of the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118).


Adrianos Komnenos was the fourth and second-to-last son (and seventh overall child) of the domestikos ton scholon John Komnenos, the younger brother of Emperor Isaac I Komnenos (r. 1057–1059) and Anna Dalassene. According to the historian Nikephoros Bryennios, after John's death, Anna entrusted Adrianos and his younger brother Nikephoros to tutors, and gave them an encyclopedic education.

After Alexios's rise to power in 1081, Adrianos was raised to the new dignity of protosebastos, given the proceeds of the entire Kassandra peninsula in Chalcidice. He was also entrusted with military commands in the campaigns of 1082–1083 against the Normans of Robert Guiscard and Bohemund in Thessaly. In 1086, he succeeded Gregory Pakourianos as domestikos ton scholon of the West, and in 1087, he fought in the Battle of Dristra against the Pechenegs, commanding the Frankish mercenary contingent in the Byzantine centre. The battle ended in a disastrous defeat, and Adrianos barely escaped being captured. Adrianos is mentioned in the Alexiad as having participated in the 1091 campaign against the Pechenegs (along with the protostrator Michael Doukas, he supervised the construction of a bridge over the Evros river), but is not recorded in the final Battle of Levounion.

Shortly after that, Adrianos had a major falling-out with his elder brother, the sebastokrator Isaac: the sebastokrator held Adrianos responsible for the accusations of conspiring against the emperor that were raised against his son John, governor of Dyrrhachium. In 1094, Adrianos presided over the court that tried Nikephoros Diogenes, the son of former Emperor Romanos IV (r. 1068–1071), who had tried to assassinate the emperor. In the same year, he is recorded as having participated in the synod that condemned Leo of Chalcedon.

His date of death is disputed: the commonly accepted date stems from a manuscript which records him retiring to a monastery under the monastic name John, and dying on 19 April 1105. Basil Skoulatos, however, doubts this information, since Adrianos's name is absent from the dead listed in the Kecharitomene typikon (written circa 1118), but is present in the Pantokrator typikon of 1136. Hence, Skoulatos has placed Adrianos's death some time between 1118 and 1136.


Adrianos married the porphyrogenita Princess Zoe Doukaina, the third daughter of Emperor Constantine X Doukas (r. 1059–1067) and Eudokia Makrembolitissa (born circa 1062). A number of scholars, including Paul Magdalino, Jean-Claude Cheynet, and Konstantinos Varzos, identify Adrianos and Zoe with a John Komnenos and Anna "of the Doukai" (the latter being Zoe's supposed monastic name) who are mentioned in tomb inscriptions in the Pammakaristos Church in Constantinople as the church's founders, along with their descendants. If this identity is correct, then Adrianos's children were:

  • Eudokia Komnene, married Alexios Tarchaneiotes.
  • Andronikos Komnenos, married Eudokia Doukaina.
  • Alexios Komnenos, a sebastos. He was betrothed to Irene Axouchina and married Irene Synadene:
    • Anna Komnene, married Alexios Palaiologos (born circa 1100).
      • Georgios Palaiologos (1125–1167), married Princess Aspae of Ossetia (daughter of King David IV of Ossetia).
        • Eirene/Herina Palaiologina, married Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelos (r. 1185–1195 and 1203–1204)?
  • Adrianos Komnenos, a monk.

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