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John Kantakouzenos (died 17 September 1176) was a military commander and an early member of the House of Kantakouzenos. He distinguished himself in the campaigns of Manuel I Komnenos against the Serbians, Hungarians, and Pechengs in the years between 1150 and 1153. It was during these campaigns that he was severely wounded and lost the fingers of one hand. In 1155 he was sent to Belgrade where he foiled the plot of the inhabitants of that city to hand the city over to the Hungarians. He was killed in the Battle of Myriokephalon fighting alone against the Seljuk Turks of the Sultanate of Rum.[1]

John is known to have been present at the ecclesiastical councils convened at Constantinople in 1157, 1166 and 1170. In the acts of those councils he is described as holding the rank of pansebastos sebastos.[1]

John Kantakouzenos was married to Maria Komnene, daughter of Manuel I's brother Andronikos Komnenos. They had at least one son, Manuel Kantakouzenos, who campaigned against the Turks with Andronikos Angelos, but afterwards offended Emperor Manuel I, who put him in prison where he was blinded.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Donald M. Nicol, The Byzantine family of Kantakouzenos (Cantacuzenus) ca. 1100-1460: a genealogical and prosopographical study (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 1968), p. 4
  2. Nicol, Byzantine Family, p. 5

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