ZOLOTOVSKIY V.A. The Theme System and Byzantine Provincial Armed Forces at the Early Palaeologian Period (1259–1328)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.18

Vladimir A. Zolotovskiy

Candidate of Sciences (History), Head of the Department of Service and Tourism,

Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4259-8851


Abstract. Introduction. The purpose of the paper is to reveal the state, nature and the leadership system of stratiotic forces as part of the Byzantine provincial armed forces of the Early Palaeologian period. The paper aims to determine the methods of organizing Byzantine provincial armed forces in the context of the characteristic of the early Palaeologian armed forces and the institute of pronoia. The author defines the military-strategic, social and economic characteristics of the stratiotic military service.

Methods. Critical use of elements of civilizational, formational and systemic approaches is the methodological basis of this study. It should be noted that the system approach is used to determine the specificity of the relationships within all essential structural elements of the military organization. It also makes it possible to identify the factors of its modernization in connection with social and state processes. It allows to reveal the functional features of the military organization elements.

Analysis and Results. The analysis of act materials and narrative sources shows a clear social difference of soldiers-stratiotes from the rest of the empire’s population, including proniares. The author determines that the sources contain information about all economic institutions that characterize stratiotes in their traditional, early byzantine military-technical definition. The statements of Byzantine historians about the participation of stratiotes in military actions clearly indicate the preservation of the military-administrative function of “theme organization”. Act materials do not contain information about a specific number of stratiotes. This makes it difficult to determine the total number of stratiotic formations. However, the participation of stratiotic detachments in almost all military operations of the Byzantine army is a well-known fact. Narratives indicate their number. All this makes it possible to draw a reasonable conclusion about the preservation of stratiotic armed forces and the traditional system of their recruitment.

Key words: History of Byzantium, Early Palaeologian period, military organization, stratiotes, proniares.

Citation. Zolotovskiy V.A. The Theme System and Byzantine Provincial Armed Forces at the Early Palaeologian Period (1259–1328). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 231-244. (inRussian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.18.

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The Theme System and Byzantine Provincial Armed Forces at the Early Palaeologian Period (1259–1328) by Zolotovskiy V.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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