BOROVKOV D.S. From the History of Byzantine Servile Aristocracy: Chalkoutzes Family in the 10th–11th Centuries


Dmitriy S. Borovkov

Candidate of Sciences (History), Head of Scientific and Exposition Department,

Ural Regional Institute of Museum Projects,

Shartashskaya St., 19, 620075 Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation

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Abstract. The article is devoted to the genus Chalkoutzes, whose representatives occupied a strong position in the Byzantine aristocracy during the 10th–11th centuries. The author, analyzing documentary, narrative and data of lead seals, presents data on more than twenty five representatives of the genus. In the early period, the second half of 10th – the beginning of the 11th centuries, members of the family served mainly in the armed forces. In particular, according to historical writings, Nikitas (10th c.) and Leo (the second quarter of 11th c.) was strategos. However most of currently known members of the genus were civilian officials. Information about them is contained in sphragistic sources and legal acts. Apparently, the flowering of Chalkoutzes as a civil aristocratic clan falls in the middle – the second half of the 11th century. Most members of the family were tax officials, serving in the state treasury (sakellion) and performed judicial duties, both in the capital and in the provinces. Some of them held positions in institutions, which was responsible for the logistic support of the army (logothesion ton agelon, logothesion tou stratiotikou). In the last third of the 11th century Chalkoutzes were a strong “bureaucratic clan”, occupying positions in several departments at the same time. This is clearly demonstrated by the acts of the monastery of St. John the Theologian on the Patmos island by 1087 1088 years: among all the officials, mentioned in the documents, three belong to the Chalkoutzes family. However after 1088 this family disappeared for more than a century from sources. At the turn of the 12th–13th centuries Chalkoutzes were large landowners in Euboea island and Hellas and, most likely, after 1204 lost their possessions and status. Several members of the genus, known from sources of the 13th–15th centuries, were mainly representatives of the clergy of lower rank.

Key words: Byzantium, Chalkoutzes family, servile aristocracy, Byzantine bureaucracy, Byzantine administration, sphragistics, prosopography.

Citation. Borovkov D.S. From the History of Byzantine Servile Aristocracy: Chalkoutzes Family in the 10th–11th Centuries. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2017, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 142-148 (in Russian). DOI:

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From the History of Byzantine Servile Aristocracy: Chalkoutzes Family in the 10th–11th Centuries by Borovkov D.S. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 

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