MEKHAMADIEV E.A. Persians-Khurramites in the Byzantine Military Service During 833–839/840: Military Rank and Functions of Persian Military Units

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.6.16 

Evgeniy A. Mekhamadiev

Candidate of Sciences (History), Senior Lecturer,

Medieval History Department, Saint Petersburg State University,

Universitetskaya Emb., 7/9, 199034 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

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http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1823-4588 


Abstract. Introduction. The scope of this paper is 1) to consider the forms of military service of the Persians within the Byzantine army during the first half of the 9th c., 2) to arrange the chronological order of events related to the involvement of the Persians in Byzantine military service as precisely as possible. The author means the Persians called Khurramites who were representatives of the anti-Islamic and anti-Arabic national movement at the north-west of Iran (territories of modern provinces of East Azerbaijan and Khamadan in the Republic of Iran).

Methods. The author considers the single events (Byzantine military campaigns, in which the Persians took part, and also the facts of Persians’ arriving in Byzantium) in a more or less strict chronological order. The researcher turns to an analysis of event history and makes a step-by step, consecutive representation of the process of Persians’ arriving to Byzantine military service. The sources were works of Arabic, Armenian, Georgian and Greek authors (chroniclers, geographers, hagiographers) and seals (evidence of sigillography).

Analysis. In 833/834 Byzantine Emperor Theophilos received a group of Persian refugees, who escaped from the Arabs and came to Byzantium. These Persians were headed by two chiefs, Theophobos and Naser, obviously, Naser was Theophobos’ father. Part of the Persians with Naser as a chief located in the Byzantine theme (a military-administrative and territorial district) of Anatolikoi, while another part subordinated to Theophobos located in the theme of Armeniakoi. In 837 Theophilos hosted another group of the Persians, who were commanded by Babek.

Conclusions. The analysis shows that both in 833/834 and 837 Theophilos established regular military units of the Persians called thourmai, while Persian leaders mentioned above became Byzantine military officials, that are tourmarchoi, i.e. that were those Persian leaders who commanded over Persian ethnic tourmai. These ethnic units continued their existence up to the mid-10th c.

Key words: Persians-Khurramites, Theophilos, Byzantium, Arabs, tourmai, tourmarchoi, seals, chronicles.

Citation. Mekhamadiev E.A. Persians-Khurramites in the Byzantine Military Service During 833–839/840: Military Rank and Functions of Persian Military Units. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2020, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 211-221. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.6.16

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Persians-Khurramites in the Byzantine Military Service During 833–839/840: Military Rank and Functions of Persian Military Units by Mekhamadiev E.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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