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John Tzimiskes

By Oznerol-1516
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The nephew of Nikephoros Phokas ("The Pale Death of the Sarracens"), and of armenian origin, John Tzimiskes seized the throne in a coup d'etat, with the help of Nikephoro's wife. Once in the power he successfully led many campaigns securing (more less) the northern frontier, defeating the forces of Sviatoslav of Kiev. And in the eastern one he waged wars against the Abassid to whom he conquered extense territories in Syria and Mesopotamia. A good (but usurper, as the rightful one was Basil II) emperor, he died too soon, in strange circunstances, maybe poisoned by a corrupt officer, who then crowned Basil II.
This drawing is based upon the Gunthertuch, a silk cloth, posibly a labarum or imperial banner, which posibly depicts John, the face is build upon his coins portraits, wich show him bearded.

Edit: Updated with accurate colour hair! Thanks Aemilianus

Regards

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© 2013 - 2020 Oznerol-1516
Comments19
anonymous's avatar
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Gustavhistory's avatar
fascinante cuadro
MoonyMina's avatar
LOVE this!!!! the colors are really gorgeous, and they add depth to the whole piece!!
Oznerol-1516's avatar
Thanks! Glad you think my colours are gorgeous, as I don't really know if my coloured art looks good at all, nor even depth as you say. But I think this Tzimiskes is my best painted artwork to the date.
BlueRoseKelly's avatar
Wow this looks amazing. :)
AMELIANVS's avatar
And By the way nice little update and I think it suits him even more this way :-)
Oznerol-1516's avatar
Thanks! Glad you liked the new hair colour! There's a Basil waiting you!
And also something else... You'll see...
AMELIANVS's avatar
Hey,that was quick.Its masterfuly Beautiful!
Oznerol-1516's avatar
Yes, so I thought, but I usually draw very fast, if not I may left it unfineshed, I'm easy to tire with artworks...
Thanks for the compliment!
AMELIANVS's avatar
And one historical note so you could do it even more historicaly perfect-John was dirty blond with some reddish shades in hairs and beard.
Oznerol-1516's avatar
He was? I didn't know it! Interesting, I thought he was more middle-eastern looking... Which chronicle covers his reign?
I will recolour it, historical accuracy is a must-have!
AMELIANVS's avatar
I believe it is mentioned in the work of Johannes Skylitzes or Leo the deacon.Both authors are also very good and Leo as Psellos after him was very close to some events hed described,beign an eyewithnes of Tzimiskes campaign against prince Svyatoslav of Kiev and also participated in the first disastrous campaign oy young Basil against Bulgarians.

Red-blond hair certainly werent typical color for an average Byzantine(who were generally as Romans before and Mediterranean people until this day rather dark haired).An interresting theory came on my mind in relation with this-because Basil the second is also mentioned by some major Byzantologist as being red haired(although I dont know where they got this information from,personally Ive never encoutered this in any medieval chronicle...) so if this is truth and if we know he was also of short stature and round face(as also Tzimiskes was) I thought:what if Basil was in fact Tzimiskes son?Ive never saw no one mentioned such theory although even if physical resemblance of these two is so obvious and some Byzantine historians in fact claims Basils Mother had an relationship with Tzimiskes already at the time of Romanus II death-so it is not so hard to imagine she was in love with him even little bit earlier in the months before Basil was born.

We also have somewhat conflicting description of Nicephoros Phokas.Biased and hateful description of the western diplomat Liutprand of Cremona claims he was black haired while Byzantine sources says Brown haired.So rather Liutprand choose on purpose the color which was seen in negative connotations even in his days as is still today in Europe, to damage Nicephorus whom he hated (and rest of his description would have corresponded with such ulterior motives)or truth is somwhere between and Nicephoros was of very dark brown hairs.

Liutprand also describes Nicephorus skin as Being "an Ethiopeian in color".I bealive he does so actually to link him again to wrong connotations from western point of view to link him to "infidels" and Muslims rather then real Christians although I think it is partialy truth in this case and Nicephorus as most of the Byzantines would had indeed darker skin then most people from western Europe.

Funny thing is he might been too dark skinned for the westerner but not so much dark skinned for the eyes of the arabs who nicknamed him as you already mentioned "the pale death of the saracens" :-).
Oznerol-1516's avatar
As Leo the Deacon is a must I have obtained it! I shall read it whole, soon.
I'm planning about buying Skylitzes' work in Kindle, it would be a nice read. In fact Psellos conceived his work as a continuation of Leo's, I think, as it beggans after the death of Tzimiskes.
Curiously Psellos did not give any fact about Basil's hair, which is strange, as sometimes tell us someone is blond, fair or dark haired. That is an interesting theory, and not very difficult to imagine, as Theophano was someone to behold. And Tzimiskes is said to be a very apollinean, with striking beauty (well at least in X century standards).
Yes, I've read that about Nikephoros! Liutprand was surely exaggerating, and was greatly biased. I don't also think he was so morbdily fat, if we think he did a lot of campaigns throught the empire, and that implies hours of riding and marching, and not with the conditions of Contantinople's Imperial Palace commodities.

It's a mistery for us, like Edward "The Black Prince", some said that he was dark-skinned (in a pejorative way, as Nikephoros, and would be even more strange if we see his genealogy), others told that is nicknamed for his brutality with the french, or for his blackened armour... Nikephoros may be symilar! But a fair-skinned Phokas it's something credible.

Regards
AMELIANVS's avatar
And apart from your usual amount of details there is nicely outlined movement with pearls hanging from the Emperor's crown.
Oznerol-1516's avatar
And thanks for leaving comments! Their are always welcome!
Oznerol-1516's avatar
Yes, I love details, even if its exhausting. Glad you liked the outlined movement, as you say, I may do another one, with the same mood, but mirrored (to be the pair, like a dyptich), about Basil II in triumphant gear (with the peacok feathers crown, which I love...).

Regards

Ps: Suggestions about byzantine themed scenes are always welcome, have you any?
lordhadrian's avatar
Beautiful and very Byzantine :)
Oznerol-1516's avatar
Thanks, and so I tried, he's the emperor noneless!
anonymous's avatar
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