John I Tzimskes vs Baldwin I of Jerusalem

John Tzimskes vs Baldwin I

  • Baldwin I

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Mar 2018
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Both of the kings were masterful commanders, they both greatly expanded their and stabilized their holdings and are considered one of the greatest rulers of their respective kingdoms/empires.

But which one was better? As a general and as a king.


Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
What did John actually conquer? His military record isn't in doubt, but he seems to have done a lot of power projection and very little annexation.
Jan 2016
Victoria, Canada
In the Kievan war Tzimiskes ended up annexing a region with an area and population roughly comparable to that of contemporary England, so that's a pretty big mark in his favour (even if Basil would lose and have to retake most of it), and John did keep a few of the cities taken on his romp in the Levant, albeit concentrated along a fairly narrow strip of land south of Antioch. The power he projected into the fertile crescent also itself proved vital to the maintenance of Roman stability and the integrity of Roman borders through the late 10th century -- had Tzimiskes not cemented the reputation of the Roman army as invincible, its success not just a fluke of the Phokades, Basil's civil wars might have prompted more direct involvement and aggression by neighboring powers, perhaps even another debacle along the lines of Thomas the Slav, but as it stood Islamic powers only gave minor non-committal support to one side at most.

For comparison, Bulgaria overlaid on top of England:

Add Dobruja and subtract 100 km or so from the west (here facing south) and you essentially have the conquests of John Tzimiskes.

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