/jon/, n. Slang.
1. a toilet or bathroom.
2. (sometimes cap.) a fellow; guy.
3. (sometimes cap.) a prostitute's customer.
[generic use of the proper name]

* * *

known as John Lackland

born Dec. 24, 1167, Oxford, Eng.
died Oct. 18/19, 1216, Newark, Nottinghamshire

King of England (1199–1216).

The youngest son of Henry II, he joined his brother Richard (later Richard I) in a rebellion against Henry (1189). John became lord of Ireland, and, when Richard was imprisoned in Germany on his way back from the Third Crusade, he tried to seize control of England (1193). On Richard's return, John was banished (1194), but the two were later reconciled. Crowned king in 1199, John lost Normandy (1204) and most of his other French lands in a war with Philip II (Philip Augustus). After Innocent III excommunicated him for refusing to recognize Stephen Langton as archbishop of Canterbury, John was obliged to declare England a fief of the Holy See (1213). He launched a military campaign against France in 1214 but made no lasting gains. His heavy taxes and aggressive assertion of feudal privileges led to the outbreak of civil war (1215). The barons forced him to sign the Magna Carta, but the civil war continued until his death.
or John de Balliol

born с 1250
died April 1313, Château Galliard, Normandy, Fr.

King of Scotland (1292–96).

He was one of 13 claimants to the throne but won by primogeniture. John paid homage to Edward I of England but soon refused his request for military aid in Gascony and instead signed a treaty with the French. When Edward invaded Gascony in 1296, the Scots raided northern England. Within months Edward's army had captured strategic castles in Scotland, and John was forced to resign his kingdom to Edward. He was held in the Tower of London until 1299.
(as used in expressions)
John O'Bail
John Lackland
John de Balliol
Abbott Sir John Joseph Caldwell
Adams John Coolidge
Adams John
Adams John Quincy
Alden John
Altgeld John Peter
André John
John Chapman
Arbuthnot John
Arden John
Ashbery John Lawrence
Astor John Jacob
Atanasoff John Vincent
Austin John
Austin John Langshaw
Backus John Warner
Baird John Logie
Bardeen John
Barry John
Barth John
Bartlett John
Bartram John
Baskerville John
Bell John
Belter John Henry
Edgar John Bergren
Berryman John
Betjeman Sir John
Biddle John
Bidwell John
Billings John Shaw
Bishop John Michael
Blow John
Bolingbroke Henry Saint John 1st Viscount
Boorman John
Booth John Wilkes
Borglum John Gutzon de la Mothe
Breckinridge John Cabell
Bricker John William
Bright John
Brown John
Budge John Donald
Bull John
Bunyan John
John Anthony Burgess Wilson
Burgoyne John
Burroughs John
Bute John Stuart 3rd earl of
John Stuart
Cabot John
Cage John
Calhoun John Caldwell
Calvin John
Campbell John Archibald
John William Carson
Cassavetes John
Chamberlain John Angus
Cheever John
Cheke Sir John
Chrysostom Saint John
Clare John
Clayton John Middleton
Cleese John Marwood
Coetzee John Michael
Colet John
Colter John
Coltrane John William
Comenius John Amos
Commons John Rogers
Constable John
Coolidge John Calvin
Copley John Singleton
Corrigan Sir Dominic John
Cotton John
Crittenden John Jordan
Dalton John
Davenport John
de la Mare Walter John
Dean John Wesley III
Deere John
Dewey John
Dickens Charles John Huffam
Dickinson John
Diefenbaker John George
Dillinger John Herbert
Dollond John and George
Donne John
Dos Passos John Roderigo
Dowland John
Dryden John
Dulles John Foster
Duns Scotus John
Dunstable John
Durham John George Lambton 1st earl of
Eales John
Eckert John Presper Jr.
Eckert Wallace John
Ehrlichman John Daniel
Elder John
Eliot John
Elway John Albert
Ericsson John
Erigena John Scotus
William John Evans
Evans Sir Arthur John
Evelyn John
Fante John
Fisher of Kilverstone John Arbuthnot Fisher 1st Baron
Flaxman John
Ford John
Fortescue Sir John
Fowles John Robert
Franklin John Hope
Frémont John Charles
French John Denton Pinkstone 1st earl of Ypres
Fuller John Frederick Charles
Galbraith John Kenneth
Galsworthy John
Garand John Cantius
Garner John Nance
Gay John
Gielgud Sir Arthur John
John Birks Gillespie
Herbert John Gleason
Glenn John Herschel Jr.
Gorey Edward St. John
Gower John
Guare John
Gunther John
Haldane John Burdon Sanderson
Haldane John Scott
Hale John Parker
William John Clifton
Haley Sir William John
Hampden John
Hancock John
Harlan John Marshall
Harrison John
William John Hartack
Hawkins Sir John
Hay John Milton
Heathcoat John
Heinz Henry John
Heisman John William
Hersey John Richard
John Charlton Carter
Heywood John
Hicks Sir John Richard
John Cornelius Hodges
John Henry Holliday
Hoover John Edgar
Houseman John
Howard John Winston
Hume John
Hunter John
Hurt John
Huston John
Irving John Winslow
John Henry Brodribb
Jackson John Hughlings
Jay John
Jeffers John Robinson
Jellicoe John Rushworth Jellicoe 1st Earl
John the Good
John of Aviz
John o'Groat's
John of Damascus Saint
Saint John Damascene
John of Gaunt duke of Lancaster
John Quidort
John the Deaf
John the Baptist Saint
John Augustus Edwin
John Sir Elton Hercules
John Arthur Johnson
Johnson John Harold
Jones John Paul
Kaiser Henry John
Kander John
Kay John
Keats John
Kellogg John Harvey and Will Keith
Kemeny John George
Kendrew Sir John Cowdery
Kennedy John Fitzgerald
Keynes John Maynard Baron Keynes of Tilton
Knowles John
Knox John
John Albert Kramer
Law John
Le Carré John
David John Moore Cornwell
Leech John
John Uhler Lemmon III
Lennon John Winston
Lewis John Llewellyn
Lilburne John
Locke John
Lofting Hugh John
Lomax John
John Griffith Chaney
Lugard Frederick John Dealtry
Lutuli Albert John Mvumbi
Lyly John
Macdonald Sir John Alexander
MacLennan John Hugh
Macleod John James Rickard
Major John
Mandeville Sir John
Marin John
Marlborough John Churchill 1st duke of
Marriott John Willard
Marshall John
Marston John
Masefield John
Mauchly John William
McAdam John Loudon
McCarthy John
McCormack John
McEnroe John Patrick Jr.
McGraw John Joseph
McPhee John Angus
John Herndon Mercer
Mill John Stuart
Millais Sir John Everett
Milton John
John Thomas Miner
Mitchell John Newton
Monsarrat Nicholas John Turney
John Leslie Montgomery
Morgan John
Morgan John Pierpont
Morgan John Pierpont Jr.
Morley of Blackburn John Morley Viscount
Mosby John Singleton
Muir John
Naber John
Napier John
Nash John
Nash John Forbes
Needham John Turberville
Nelson John Byron
Newbery John
Newman John Henry
Norman Gregory John
Northrop John Howard
Northumberland John Dudley duke of
Noyes John Humphrey
John Casey
John Francis Whelan
O'Hara John Henry
O'Mahony John
O'Neill John
John Kingsley Orton
Osborne John James
Percy John
Pershing John Joseph
Pope John
Porter Fitz John
Powell John Wesley
Pratt Edwin John
Pringle Sir John
Pym John
Randolph John
Rankine William John Macquorn
Ransom John Crowe
Raskob John Jakob
Rathbone Philip St. John Basil
Rawlings Jerry John
Rawls John
Ray John
Rayleigh of Terling Place John William Strutt 3rd Baron
Reed John
Rennie John
Apocalypse of John
Rhodes Cecil John
Richardson John
John Stewart earl of Carrick
Rochester John Wilmot 2nd earl of
Rockefeller John Davison
Roebling John Augustus
Rolfe John
Ross John
Tsan Usdi Little John
Ruskin John
Russell of Kingston Russell John Russell 1st Earl
Saint John's
Saint John's wort
Sandwich John Montagu 4th earl of
Sargent John Singer
Sayles John
Schlesinger John Richard
Schuyler Philip John
Sevier John
Sheen Fulton John
Sherman John
Simcoe John Graves
Skelton John
Slidell John
Sloan John French
Smeaton John
Smith John
Soane Sir John
Sousa John Philip
Speke John Hanning
John Rowlands
Stark John
Steinbeck John Ernst
Stephens John Lloyd
Stevens John
Stevens John Paul
Stewart John Innes Mackintosh
Suckling Sir John
Sullivan John Lawrence
Sutter John Augustus
Symonds John Addington
Synge John Millington
Tate John Orley Allen
Taylor John
John Taylor of Caroline
Tenniel Sir John
Thomson John Edgar
Thomson Sir Joseph John
Thorp John
Tolkien John Ronald Reuel
Trumbull John
Trump Donald John
Tyler John
John Constantine Unitas
Updike John Hoyer
Vanbrugh Sir John
Vanderlyn John
von Neumann John
Vorster John
John Peter Wagner
Walker James John
Walter John
Watson John Broadus
Watson Thomas John Sr.
Waugh Evelyn Arthur St. John
Wayne John
Weaver John
Webster John
Peter John Weissmuller
Wesley John
White John
Whitney John Hay
Whittier John Greenleaf
Wideman John Edgar
Wilbye John
Wilkes John
Wilkinson John
Williams John Towner
Wilson John Tuzo
Winthrop John
Witherspoon John
Wyatt John
Wycliffe John
Zenger John Peter
Zorn John
Acton of Aldenham John Emerich Edward Dahlberg Acton 1st Baron
Audubon John James
Chelmsford of Chelmsford Frederic John Napier Thesiger 1st Viscount
Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur
J. Hector St. John
Hoare Sir Samuel John Gurney 2nd Baronet
John of the Cross Saint
John the Apostle Saint
St. John the Divine
St. John the Evangelist
Lawrence John Laird Mair
Noel Baker of the City of Derby Philip John Noel Baker Baron
Philip John Baker
Palmerston of Palmerston Henry John Temple 3rd Viscount
Saint John Perse
Simon of Stackpole Elidor John Allsebrook Simon 1st Viscount
President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
Hopkins Johns
Johns Jasper

* * *

▪ Byzantine emperor
byname  John of Brienne , French  Jean de Brienne 
born c. 1170
died March 1237, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire [now Istanbul, Turkey]

      count of Brienne who became titular king of Jerusalem (1210–25) and Latin emperor of Constantinople (1231–37).

      A penniless younger son of the French count Erard II of Brienne and Agnes of Montbéliard, John passed most of his life as a minor noble until befriended by King Philip II Augustus of France, who arranged for him to marry Mary (Marie) of Montferrat, queen of the Crusader state of Jerusalem, in 1210. John reached the Palestinian town of Acre on September 13, 1210, married Mary the following day, and was crowned at Tyre on October 3. Mary died in 1212, and John was named regent for their infant daughter, Yolande de Brienne, who inherited the crown as Isabella II. In 1214 John married Princess Stephanie of Armenia, daughter of the Armenian king Leo II, and later had a son by her.

      As regent, John arranged a five-year truce with al-Malik al-ʿĀdil, sultan of Egypt and Syria, in July 1212. During the truce he persuaded Pope Innocent III to launch the Fifth Crusade (Crusades) in support of his daughter's kingdom. In 1218 he joined the Crusading force from the West in an expedition against the Egyptian port of Damietta. After quarreling with the Crusade leader, the cardinal legate Pelagius, John left Egypt in February 1220, returning in July 1221 to witness the humiliating defeat of the Crusaders and the abandonment of the siege of Damietta.

      Stephanie died in 1219; John then married Berengaria, daughter of Ferdinand III of Castile, and in 1225 gave his daughter Isabella in marriage to the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II, trying to retain his rights as regent of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Immediately following the marriage, however, Frederick began to contest these rights.

      In 1228 John was invited to Constantinople to be regent and coemperor with the young Baldwin II and arranged a match between Baldwin and his four-year-old daughter by Berengaria. Crowned in 1231, John helped fend off attacks by the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II and the Nicaean emperor John III Vatatzes, but shortly before his death he was forced to appeal to the West for help.

flourished 9th century, Italy

      antipope during January 844.

      A Roman archdeacon well liked by the populace, John was elected by them on January 25 against the nobility's candidate, Sergius II. John withdrew to the Lateran Palace, his stronghold for a brief period. Concurrently, Sergius was consecrated pope at St. Peter's without imperial sanction. John was saved from being murdered by the noble faction through the intervention of Sergius, who then imprisoned him in a monastery. In the following June, Sergius was finally approved by the Frankish emperor Lothar I, and John's subsequent history is unknown.

▪ duke of Burgundy
byname  John The Fearless,  French  Jean Sans Peur 
born May 28, 1371, Rouvres, Burgundy
died Sept. 10, 1419, Montereau, Fr.
 second duke of Burgundy (1404–19) of the Valois line, who played a major role in French affairs in the early 15th century.

      The son of Philip the Bold (Philip II), duke of Burgundy, and Margaret of Flanders, John was born in the ducal castle at Rouvres, where he spent the greater part of his childhood. In 1385 he married Margaret of Bavaria, and in the following decade his father initiated him into the arts of government and warfare, though he was not given any post of responsibility. Even in 1396, at the age of 24, when he became leader of the Burgundian crusade (Crusades) against the Ottoman (Ottoman Empire) Turks in defense of Hungary, his leadership was only nominal. The actual conduct of the expedition, which ended in the disastrous defeat of the crusaders on the battlefield of Nicopolis (Nicopolis, Battle of) and the capture of John by the Turks (an adventure that earned him the epithet the Fearless), was entrusted to a group of councilors and military advisers appointed by Philip the Bold. John evidently benefited from the blunders of these commanders, for his subsequent career showed that he was the only one of the Valois (Valois Dynasty) rulers of Burgundy who knew how to handle an army.

      When John at last succeeded his father in 1404 as duke of Burgundy and count of Burgundy, Flanders, and Artois, he was 33 years old.

      John the Fearless spent most of his time and his considerable political and military energies in France, Paris being his normal place of residence and seat of government. His only significant personal participation as duke of Burgundy in major events outside France took place in 1408, when he led a Burgundian army to aid his beleaguered brother-in-law, the bishop of Liège, John of Bavaria, against the citizens of Liège, who were in open revolt. On the field of Othée, on Sept. 23, 1408, the men of Liège were decisively defeated, and Burgundian influence was extended over the city and over the bishopric of Liège. From the start, then, John found himself involved in French affairs and was in part responsible for provoking a civil war in France with a rival house, headed by his first cousin, the King's younger brother, Louis, duc d'Orléans. Each man sought control of the mad king Charles VI and his queen and of the capital Paris. While the notorious murder by Duke John of his cousin by hired assassins in 1407 enabled John to subdue Paris and the crown, the opposition to the Burgundians by Louis's followers and heirs continued. Their faction was named after its main supporter, Bernard VII, comte d'Armagnac.

      During the five years between 1413 and 1418, in which the Armagnacs succeeded in driving the Burgundians out of Paris, the internal situation in France was further complicated by a new English invasion led by the ambitious king, Henry V. Duke John was one of those French princes who, while pretending to do his best to reach the battlefield of Agincourt (Agincourt, Battle of) to give battle to the English (1415), was unaccountably delayed on the way. His intermittent negotiations with King Henry V did not, however, lead to a firm Anglo-Burgundian alliance, and in the autumn of 1419 John turned instead to the Armagnacs, in the hopes of arranging a truce or even making a firm peace settlement with their youthful leader, the dauphin Charles (the future Charles VII), in an alliance against the English. The two princes, each with 10 companions, met on the bridge of Montereau, some 50 miles southeast of Paris. As the diplomatic parley began, John the Fearless was struck down and killed during a dispute started by the Armagnacs, a political assassination that contemporary evidence shows was almost certainly carefully premeditated.

      John pursued aims similar to those of the other rulers of his day: the consolidation and extension of his own and his family's power. In spite of his lapses into violence, his love of intrigue, his hypocrisy, and his rashness, he was a successful diplomat and military leader; he was more dynamic and more of a reformer than his son Philip the Good and more cunning, though less scrupulous, than his father. Yet he has received less attention from historians than either of them. In the eye of history, especially French history, he has long been regarded as a traitor and assassin. There was, perhaps, a dark and sinister element in his character, but he lived in an age when vice, tyranny, and murder were the common properties of every ruler. If he wrought destruction in France, he also brought peace and prosperity to his own Burgundian lands.

Richard Vaughan

Additional Reading
R. Vaughan, John the Fearless: The Growth of Burgundian Power (1966), deals with the history of the Burgundian state under Duke John and lists relevant literature. Willem Pieter Blockmans and Walter Prevenier, The Promised Lands: The Low Countries Under Burgundian Rule, 1369–1530 (1999), places John in Burgundian historical context.

▪ elector of Saxony
byname  John The Steadfast,  German  Johann Der Beständige 
born June 30, 1468, Meissen, near Dresden, Saxony
died Aug. 16, 1532, Schweinitz, near Wittenberg, Wittenberg

      elector of Saxony and a fervent supporter of Martin Luther; (Luther, Martin) he took a leading part in forming alliances among Germany's Protestant princes against the Habsburg emperors' attempts at forced reconversion.

      After his father's death in 1486, John ruled the lands of the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty of Saxony jointly with his older brother Frederick III the Wise, succeeding his brother as elector in 1525. A firm Lutheran, John immediately created the League of Gotha with Philip the Magnanimous, landgrave of Hesse, and shortly thereafter, the Torgau League with Germany's northern princes. For the first time, German Lutheran rulers were united in a firm alliance. He was leader of the church reformers at the Diet of Speyer (1526) and obtained concessions on the religious question from the emperor Charles V. When these concessions were rescinded at the next diet in 1529, John became one of the original Protestants by signing the minority protest. He accepted the Lutheran Augsburg Confession (1530) and in the winter of 1530–31 was one of the key figures in the formation of the Schmalkaldic League to protect Protestant interests. Charles V, who needed the reformers' aid against the Turks, consequently agreed to the religious Peace of Nürnberg (1532). At the time of John's death, electoral Saxony, staunchly Lutheran, had become the leading Protestant state in Germany.

▪ king of Bohemia
byname  John of Luxembourg , or  John of Bohemia , Czech  Jan Lucemburský , or  Jan S Čech 
born Aug. 10, 1296, Luxembourg
died Aug. 26, 1346, Crécy, France
 king of Bohemia from 1310 until his death, and one of the more popular heroic figures of his day, who campaigned across Europe from Toulouse to Prussia.

      He was born the son of the future Holy Roman emperor Henry VII of the house of Luxembourg and was made count of Luxembourg in 1310. At about the same time, he also was named king of Bohemia, and on Feb. 7, 1311, he was solemnly crowned at Prague. When his father died in 1313, John was too young to succeed him as emperor and supported instead the election of Louis the Bavarian as Emperor Louis IV (1314). John subsequently sided with Louis in his struggle against Frederick of Austria (1322); but in later years he was estranged from the Emperor, especially after Louis's alliance with England against France in the Hundred Years' War. John's own sympathies strongly favoured the French. He had sent his own son, the future emperor Charles IV, to be reared in Paris, and he several times fought in the service of France.

      Throughout his reign, John campaigned variously against the Lithuanians and the Russians, against Hungary, England, and Austria, and in northern Italy and in the Tirol. He extended his Bohemian crownland northward, acquiring parts of Upper Lusatia (1320–29) and Silesia (1327–30), and also made himself master of much of Lombardy. His lavish expenditures, heavy taxation, and incessant peregrinations, however, cost him popularity at home and enhanced the power of the Bohemian nobility.

      John's continuing quarrels with the Emperor brought him into alliance with the papacy; and in 1346, in concert with Pope Clement VI, he secured the formal deposition of Louis IV and the election of his son Charles as king of the Romans (July 1346). He then went to help King Philip VI of France against the English but was killed at the Battle of Crécy.

▪ king of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden
born June 5, 1455, Denmark
died Feb. 20, 1513, Ålborg, Den.
 king of Denmark (1481–1513) and Norway (1483–1513) and king (as John II) of Sweden (1497–1501) who failed in his efforts to incorporate Sweden into a Danish-dominated Scandinavian union. He was more successful in fostering the commercial development of Danish burghers to challenge the power of the nobility.

      John succeeded his father, Christian I, king of Denmark and Norway, in 1481, but only by agreeing to a stringent charter imposed by the Danish nobles to limit royal power. Although he was also recognized as sovereign by the Swedish state council (1483), the Swedish regent, Sten Sture the Elder, was able to postpone John's coronation as king of Sweden. In 1490 John divided the territories of Schleswig and Holstein with his brother Frederick (later king of Denmark as Frederick I).

      Ignoring the royal charter of 1483, John expanded the authority of his office and further offset the nobles' power by supporting the Danish merchant class against its chief rivals, the traders of the Hanseatic League (a north German trading confederation). His anti-Hanseatic policy was furthered by trade agreements with England, the Netherlands (1490), and the merchants of the south German house of Fugger.

      John was able to force Sten Sture (Sture, Sten, The Elder) to resign the regency of Sweden (1497) and was crowned king after allying himself with Ivan III, grand prince of Moscow, in 1493. He then ordered the building of a navy to control the Baltic Sea but suffered a serious military defeat in 1500 in a peasant uprising in Dithmarschen (now in Germany). The defeat helped persuade dissident Swedish nobles to rebel and reinstall Sten Sture as regent of Sweden, but Norwegian and Danish uprisings against John's rule were suppressed.

      John's commercial treaty with England led to a war against Sweden and the Hanseatic city of Lübeck (1510–12), in which the new Danish navy scored repeated victories.

▪ king of England
byname  John Lackland,  French  Jean Sans Terre 
born Dec. 24, 1167, Oxford
died Oct. 18/19, 1216, Newark, Nottinghamshire, Eng.
 king of England from 1199 to 1216. In a war with the French king Philip II, he lost Normandy and almost all his other possessions in France. In England, after a revolt of the barons, he was forced to seal the Magna Carta (1215).

Youth and rivalry for the crown
      John was the youngest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Henry's plan (1173) to assign to John, his favourite son (whom he had nicknamed Lackland), extensive lands upon his marriage with the daughter of Humbert III, count of Maurienne (Savoy), was defeated by the rebellion the proposal provoked among John's elder brothers. Various provisions were made for him in England (1174–76), including the succession to the earldom of Gloucester. He was also granted the lordship of Ireland (1177), which he visited from April to late 1185, committing youthful political indiscretions from which he acquired a reputation for reckless irresponsibility. Henry's continued favour to him contributed to the rebellion of his eldest surviving son, Richard I (later called Coeur de Lion), in June 1189. For obscure reasons John deserted Henry for Richard.

      On Richard's accession in July 1189, John was made count of Mortain (a title that became his usual style), was confirmed as lord of Ireland, was granted lands and revenues in England worth £6,000 a year, and was married to Isabella, heiress to the earldom of Gloucester. He also had to promise (March 1190) not to enter England during Richard's absence on his crusade. But John's actions were now dominated by the problem of the succession, in which his nephew, the three-year-old Arthur I, duke of Brittany, the son of his deceased elder brother Geoffrey, was his only serious rival. When Richard recognized Arthur as his heir (October 1190), John immediately broke his oath and returned to England, where he led the opposition to Richard's dictatorial chancellor, William Longchamp (Longchamp, William). On receiving the news in January 1193 that Richard, on his way back from the crusade, had been imprisoned in Germany, John allied himself with King Philip II Augustus of France and attempted unsuccessfully to seize control of England. In April 1193 he was forced to accept a truce but made further arrangements with Philip for the division of Richard's possessions and for rebellion in England. On Richard's return, early in 1194, John was banished and deprived of all his lands. He was reconciled to Richard in May and recovered some of his estates, including Mortain and Ireland, in 1195, but his full rehabilitation came only after the Bretons had surrendered Arthur to Philip II in 1196. This led Richard to recognize John as his heir.

Accession to the throne
      In 1199 the doctrine of representative succession, which would have given the throne to Arthur, was not yet generally accepted, and following Richard's death in April 1199 John was invested as duke of Normandy and in May crowned king of England. Arthur, backed by Philip II, was recognized as Richard's successor in Anjou and Maine, and it was only a year later, in the Treaty of Le Goulet, that John was recognized as successor in all Richard's French possessions, in return for financial and territorial concessions to Philip.

War with France
      The renewal of war in France was triggered by John's second marriage. His first wife, Isabella of Gloucester, was never crowned, and in 1199 the marriage was dissolved on grounds of consanguinity, both parties being great-grandchildren of Henry I. John then intervened in the stormy politics of his county of Poitou and, while trying to settle the differences between the rival families of Lusignan and Angoulême, himself married Isabella (Isabella Farnese) (August 1200), the heiress to Angoulême, who had been betrothed to Hugh IX de Lusignan. This politically conceived marriage provoked the Lusignans into rebellion the next year; they appealed to Philip II, who summoned John to appear before his court. In the general war that followed his failure to answer this summons, John had a temporary success at Mirebeau in August 1202, when Arthur of Brittany was captured, but Normandy was quickly lost (1204). By 1206, Anjou, Maine, and parts of Poitou had also gone over to King Philip.

      These failures, foreshadowed under Henry II and Richard, were brought about by the superiority of French resources and the increasing strain on those of England and Normandy. Nevertheless, they were a damaging blow to John's prestige, and, equally important, they meant that John resided now almost permanently in England. This factor, coinciding with the death (1205) of the chancellor and archbishop of Canterbury, Hubert Walter, gave his government a much more personal stamp, which was accentuated by the promotion of members of his household to important office. His determination to reverse the continental failure bore fruit in ruthlessly efficient financial administration, marked by taxation on revenues, investigations into the royal forests, taxation of the Jews, a great inquiry into feudal tenures, and the increasingly severe exploitation of his feudal prerogatives. These measures provided the material basis for the charges of tyranny later brought against him.

Quarrel with the church
      John's attention was diverted and his prestige disastrously affected by relations with the papacy. In the disputed election to the see of Canterbury following the death of Hubert Walter, Pope Innocent III quashed the election of John's nominee in procuring the election of Stephen Langton (Langton, Stephen) (December 1206). John, taking his ground on the traditional rights of the English crown in episcopal elections, refused to accept Langton. In March 1208, Innocent laid an interdict on England and excommunicated John (November 1209). The quarrel continued until 1213, by which time John had amassed more than £100,000 from the revenues of vacant or appropriated sees and abbeys. But such a dispute was a dangerous hindrance to John's intention to recover his continental lands. In November 1212 he agreed to accept Langton and the Pope's terms. Apparently at his own behest, he surrendered his kingdom to the papal nuncio at Ewell, near Dover, on May 15, 1213, receiving it back as a vassal rendering a tribute of 1,000 marks (666 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence) a year. He was absolved from excommunication by Langton in July 1213, and the interdict was finally relaxed a year later. John thus succeeded in his aim to secure the papacy as a firm ally in the fight with Philip and in the struggle already pending with his own baronage. But his treatment of the church during the interdict, although arousing little if any opposition among the laity at the time, angered monastic chroniclers, who henceforth loaded him with charges of tyranny, cruelty, and, with less reason, of sacrilege and irreligion.

Baronial rebellion and the Magna Carta
      In August 1212 recurrent baronial discontent had come to a head in an unsuccessful plot to murder or desert John during a campaign planned against the Welsh. Pope Innocent's terms had included the restoration of two of those involved, Eustace de Vesci and Robert Fitzwalter, and, although the barons soon lost papal support, they retained the protection of Stephen Langton. John, skillfully isolating the malcontents, was able to launch his long-planned campaign against the French, landing at La Rochelle in February 1214. He achieved nothing decisive and was forced to accept a truce lasting until 1220. Returning to England in October 1214, he now had to face much more widespread discontent, centred mainly on the northern, East Anglian, and home counties. After lengthy negotiations in which both sides appealed to the Pope, civil war broke out in May 1215. John was compelled to negotiate once more when London went over to the rebels in May, and on June 15 at Runnymede he accepted the baronial terms embodied in a document known as the Articles of the Barons. On June 19, after further revisions of the document, the king and the barons accepted the Magna Carta, which ensured feudal rights and restated English law. This settlement was soon rendered unworkable by the more intransigent barons and John's almost immediate appeal to Pope Innocent against it. Innocent took the King's side, and in the ensuing civil war John captured Rochester castle and laid waste the northern counties and the Scottish border. But his cause was weakened by the arrival of Prince Louis (later Louis VIII) of France, who invaded England at the barons' request. John continued to wage war vigorously but died, leaving the issues undecided. His death made possible a compromise peace, including the restoration of the rebels, the succession of his son Henry III, and the withdrawal of Louis.

      John's reputation, bad at his death, was further depressed by writers of the next generation. Of all centuries prior to the present, only the 16th, mindful of his quarrel with Rome, recognized some of his quality. He was suspicious, vengeful, and treacherous; Arthur I of Brittany was probably murdered in captivity, and Matilda de Braose, the wife of a recalcitrant Marcher baron, was starved to death with her son in a royal prison. But John was cultured and literate. Conventional in his religion rather than devout, he was remembered for his benefactions to the church of Coventry, to Reading Abbey, and to Worcester, where he was buried and where his effigy still survives. He was extraordinarily active, with a great love of hunting and a readiness to travel that gave him a knowledge of England matched by few other monarchs. He took a personal interest in judicial and financial administration, and his reign saw important advances at the Exchequer, in the administration of justice, in the importance of the privy seal and the royal household, in methods of taxation and military organization, and in the grant of chartered privileges to towns. If his character was unreliable, his political judgment was acute. In 1215 many barons, including some of the most distinguished, fought on his side.

Sir James Holt

Additional Reading
Kate Norgate, John Lackland (1902, reprinted 1970), the most exhaustive scholarly biography, is still valuable. W.L. Warren, King John, 2nd ed. (1978), is a lively, modern account. J.C. Holt, King John (1963), discusses both the medieval and modern assessment of the King. For accounts of the reign, see Sidney Painter, The Reign of King John (1949), which is thorough and extensive; J.C. Holt, The Northerners (1961), a study of the baronial opposition, and Magna Carta (1965), for the origins and course of John's quarrel with the barons. D.M. Stenton, English Justice Between the Norman Conquest and the Great Charter, 1066–1215 (1964), has an important essay on King John and the courts of justice. R.E. Turner, The King and His Courts: The Role of John and Henry III in the Administration of Justice, 1199–1240 (1968), a general survey of the King's legal powers and functions, is also valuable. F.M. Powicke, The Loss of Normandy, 1189–1204, 2nd ed. (1961), a definitive study of John's defeat on the Continent, is also useful on financial and military administration.

▪ king of Hungary
original name János Zápolya, or Szápolyai
born 1487, Szepesváralja, Hung.
died July 22, 1540, Szászebes

      king and counterking of Hungary (1526–40) who rebelled against the House of Habsburg.

      John began his public career in 1505 as a member of the Diet of Rákos; it was upon his motion that the Diet voted that no foreign prince would ever again be elected king of Hungary after the death of King Ulászló II, who also was king of Bohemia as Vladislas II. Appointed voivode (governor) of Transylvania in 1511, John brutally suppressed the peasant uprising of 1514 and, thereby, increased his popularity with the gentry. Consequently the second Diet of Rákos appointed him governor of the infant king Louis II. He failed to acquire the appointment as palatine (imperial governor) of Hungary, which was given to István (Stephen) Báthory in 1519, and dissension between the two contributed to the Turkish conquest of Belgrade two years later.

      When the Ottoman sultan Süleyman I the Magnificent invaded Hungary in 1526, and the young king Louis was slain at the Battle of Mohács in August that year, John was accused, probably without justification, of deliberate treachery for failing to reach the king in time with a relief army.

      Nevertheless, the last Turkish regulars had left Hungary by the end of October; and, with the Turks gone, one party of nobles elected John king (Nov. 10, 1526); but Louis II's brother-in-law, Ferdinand, archduke of Austria (and later Holy Roman emperor as Ferdinand I), also claimed the throne in virtue of the Habsburg-Jagiello family compact, and his adherents crowned him, too, in 1527. An internecine struggle, in which Süleyman supported John, went on until 1538, when by the secret Treaty of Nagyvárad, Hungary was divided: Ferdinand took western Hungary with Croatia; John had the remaining two-thirds, with the royal title and his capital at Buda, and Ferdinand was to succeed on John's death. John, however, remarried and had a son, John Sigismund (1540–71), whom on John's death his adherents elected king. Ferdinand asserted his claim, but Süleyman then, posing as John Sigismund's protector, himself occupied most of central and southern Hungary, leaving Ferdinand with only the western portion.

▪ king of Saxony

born Dec. 12, 1801, Dresden, Saxony
died Oct. 29, 1873, Pillnitz, near Dresden

      king of Saxony (1854–73) who was passionately interested in law and in the arts. Under the name Philalethes he published a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy (1839–49).

      John took part in the commission that drew up the constitution of 1831 and succeeded to the throne upon the death of his brother, King Frederick Augustus II. He was persuaded by his minister, Friedrich von Beust, to support Austria against Prussia in the Seven Weeks' War (1866). After Austria's defeat, however, he dismissed Beust and supported Bismarck's North German Confederation. During the Franco-German War (1870–71) Saxony supported Prussia.

▪ king of Scotland [1250-1313]
also called  John De Balliol, or Baliol  
born c. 1250
died April 1313, Château Galliard, Normandy, Fr.

      king of Scotland from 1292 to 1296, the youngest son of John de Balliol and his wife Dervorguilla, daughter and heiress of the lord of Galloway.

      His brothers dying childless, he inherited the Balliol lands in England and France in 1278 and succeeded to Galloway in 1290. In that year, when the heiress to the kingdom of Scotland, Margaret, the Maid of Norway, died, Balliol became one of 13 competitors for the crown. He at once designated himself “heir of the kingdom of Scotland,” clearly anticipating the vindication of his claim, which was derived from his mother, daughter of Margaret, eldest daughter of David, earl of Huntingdon, brother to kings Malcolm IV and William I the Lion. His chief rival was Robert de Bruce (grandfather of King Robert I).

      The English king Edward I met the Scottish baronage at Norham in Northumberland and insisted that as adjudicator between the claimants he should be recognized as overlord of Scotland. His court of 104 persons discussed the rival titles for more than a year, but Balliol's simple claim by primogeniture ultimately prevailed. Edward I confirmed the decision on Nov. 17, 1292, and Balliol was enthroned at Scone on November 30, doing homage to Edward at Newcastle on December 26. John, however, soon proved rebellious; and when in June 1294 Edward demanded military aid from Scotland for his projected war in Gascony, the Scottish reaction was to conclude a treaty of mutual aid with the French. When Edward I sent an army to Gascony in January 1296, the Scots raided northern England. Edward reacted quickly; he took Berwick on March 30. Castle after castle fell to the English king, and at Montrose, John resigned his kingdom to Edward. He was stripped of his arms and knightly dignity in a ceremony which later earned him the nickname “Toom (empty) Tabard.” John was a prisoner in the Tower of London until July 1299, when papal intervention secured his release. Thereafter, he lived in Normandy.

▪ margrave of Brandenburg

born Aug. 3, 1513, Tangermünde, Brandenburg
died Jan. 13, 1571, Küstrin, Neumark, Brandenburg

      margrave of Brandenburg-Küstrin and a German Protestant ruler who remained loyal to the Catholic Habsburg emperors; he fought against his fellow Protestant princes and was conspicuously successful in the government of his territories.

      John was the younger son of Joachim I, elector of Brandenburg, who divided his territory between his two sons. John inherited the eastern lands, the so-called Neumark, while his brother, Joachim II, received the larger, older territories (1535). Although brought up as a strict Roman Catholic, John became a strict Protestant and joined the Protestant Schmalkaldic League, formed to defend the Reformist princes from the Emperor. In 1545, however, having received assurances from Charles that he would not be forced to relinquish his beliefs, he joined the emperor Charles V's (Charles V) side, and his troops contributed to the defeat of the Schmalkaldic League in 1547. After the Augsburg Interim religious agreement of 1548, resulting in the exile of numerous Protestants, John once more opposed the Emperor, but again, impelled by distrust of his fellow princes, returned to the imperial fold. In return, Charles appointed him imperial councilor. John's salary, coupled with wise government of his lands and successful speculations, enabled him to leave a capital of more than 500,000 guilders on his death. Since he did not leave sons, his territories reverted to his brother's son John George.

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Universalium. 2010.

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