Anastasius I Dicorus
Anastasius I was Byzantine Emperor from 491 to 518. He made his career as a government administrator, he came to the throne in his sixties after being chosen by the wife of Zeno. His religious tendencies caused tensions throughout his reign, his reign was characterised by improvements in the government and bureaucracy in the Eastern Roman empire. He is noted for leaving the imperial government with a sizeable budget surplus due to minimisation of government corruption, reforms to the tax code, the introduction of a new form of currency. Anastasius was born at Dyrrachium, he was born into an Illyrian family, the son of Pompeius, a nobleman of Dyrrachium, Anastasia Constantina. His mother was a believer in Arianism. Anastasius had one eye black and one eye blue, for that reason he was nicknamed Dicorus. Before becoming emperor, Anastasius was a successful administrator in the department of finance. Following the death of Zeno, there is strong evidence that many Roman citizens wanted an emperor, both a Roman and an Orthodox Christian.
In the weeks following Zeno's death, crowds gathered in Constantinople chanting "Give the Empire an Orthodox Emperor!" Under such pressure, Zeno's widow, turned to Anastasius. Anastasius was in his sixties at the time of his ascension to the throne, it is noteworthy that Ariadne chose Anastasius over Zeno's brother Longinus, arguably the more logical choice. It was not appreciated by the circus factions, the Blues and the Greens; these groups combined aspects of street gangs and political parties and had been patronised by Longinus. The Blues and Greens subsequently rioted, causing serious loss of life and damage. Religiously, Anastasius' sympathies were with the Monophysites; as a condition of his rule, the Patriarch of Constantinople required that he pledge not to repudiate the Council of Chalcedon. Ariadne married Anastasius on 20 May 491, shortly after his accession, he gained popular favour by a judicious remission of taxation, in particular by abolishing the hated tax on receipts, paid by the poor.
He displayed great energy in administering the affairs of the Empire. Under Anastasius the Eastern Roman Empire engaged in the Isaurian War against the usurper Longinus and the Anastasian War against Sassanid Persia; the Isaurian War was stirred up by the Isaurian supporters of Longinus, the brother of Zeno, passed over for the throne in favour of Anastasius. The battle of Cotyaeum in 492 broke the back of the revolt, but guerrilla warfare continued in the Isaurian mountains for several years; the resistance in the mountains hinged upon the Isaurians' retention of Papirius Castle. The war lasted five years, but Anastasius passed legislation related to the economy in the mid-490s, suggesting that the Isaurian War did not absorb all of the energy and resources of the government. After five years, the Isaurian resistance was broken. During the Anastasian War of 502–505 with the Sassanid Persians, the Sassanids captured the cities of Theodosiopolis and Amida, although the Romans received Amida in exchange for gold.
The Persian provinces suffered and a peace was concluded in 506. Anastasius afterward built the strong fortress of Daras, named Anastasiopolis, to hold the Persians at Nisibis in check; the Balkan provinces were denuded of troops and were devastated by invasions of Slavs and Bulgars. He converted his home city, into one of the most fortified cities on the Adriatic with the construction of Durrës Castle; the Emperor was a convinced Miaphysite, following the teachings of Cyril of Alexandria and Severus of Antioch who taught "One Incarnate Nature of Christ" in an undivided union of the Divine and human natures. However, his ecclesiastical policy was moderate, he endeavoured to maintain the principle of the peace of the church. Yet, in 512 emboldened after his military success against the Persians, Anastasius I deposed the Patriarch of Chalcedon and replaced him with a Monophysite; this violated his agreement with the Patriarch of Constantinople and precipitated riots in Chalcedon. The following year the general Vitalian started a rebellion defeating an imperial army and marching on Constantinople.
With the army closing in, Anastasius gave Vitalian the title of Commander of the Army of Thrace and began communicating with the Pope regarding a potential end to the Acacian schism. Two years General Marinus attacked Vitalian and forced him and his troops to the northern part of Thrace. Following the conclusion of this conflict, Anastasius had undisputed control of the Empire until his death in 518; the Anonymous Valesianus gives an account of Anastasius attempting to predict his successor: Anastasius did not know which of his three nephews would succeed him, so he put a message under one of three couches and had his nephews take seats in the room. He believed. However, two of his nephews sat on the same couch, the one with the concealed message remained empty. After putting the matter to God in prayer, he de
Stratopedarchēs, sometimes Anglicized as Stratopedarch, was a Greek term used with regard to high-ranking military commanders from the 1st century BC on, becoming a proper office in the 10th-century Byzantine Empire. It continued to be employed as a designation, a proper title, of commanders-in-chief until the 13th century, when the title of megas stratopedarchēs or Grand Stratopedarch appeared; this title was awarded to senior commanders and officials, while the ordinary stratopedarchai were henceforth low-ranking military officials. The term first appears in the late 1st century BC in the Hellenistic Near East, its origin is unclear, but it is used as a translation, in some inscriptions, for the contemporary Roman legionary post of praefectus castrorum. Josephus uses the term to refer to the quartermaster-general of all camps, while Dionysius of Halicarnassus used it to refer to the role of a primus pilus in a legion that had lost its commander, it occurs in the Bible, where it has been interpreted as referring to the praetorian prefect, the commander of the camp and garrison of the Praetorian Guard in Rome, or the subordinate officials praefectus peregrinorum and princeps castrorum.
From the 1st century AD, it was used in a broader sense as a literary term to refer to generals, i.e. as a synonym of the older title stratēgos. Thus in the 4th century, the bishop and historian Eusebius writes of the "stratopedarchēs, whom the Romans call dux". In the early 5th century, Ardabur was called "stratopedarchēs of both forces" by Olympiodorus of Thebes, while the acts of the Council of Chalcedon refer to Zeno, "patrikios and stratopedarchēs of both forces of the East"; this is an obvious translation of the Latin term magister utriusque militiae as the contemporary historian Eunapius records that the stratopedarchēs was "the greatest of offices". Other Greek-language authors translate Ardabur's title more with stratēlatēs or stratēgos; the German historian Albert Vogt suggested that the stratopedarchai were military intendants, responsible for army supplies and managing the fortified assembly bases, the mitata. However, as the Byzantinist Rodolphe Guilland commented, references to a stratopedarchēs are rare before the 10th century, always seem to be a different way of referring—often anachronistically—to a magister militum, or a thematic stratēgos.
Such references exist to emperor Jovian, a general before his rise to the throne, by Theophanes the Confessor. 650, by Theophanes. A prōtospatharios Constantine, whose seal mentions him as a stratopedarchēs, can not be further identified. In the middle Byzantine period, the term stratopedon came to signify more the army on campaign, rather than the camp itself; the term acquired a technical meaning in 967, when Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas named the eunuch Peter as stratopedarchēs before sending him with an army to Cilicia. The Escorial Taktikon, written a few years shows the existence of two stratopedarchai, one of the East and one of the West; this arrangement parallels that of the two domestikoi tōn scholōn, a fact that led Nicolas Oikonomides to suggest that the post was created as a substitute of the latter office, barred to eunuchs. During the 11th and 12th centuries, this precise arrangement is no longer in evidence; the title megas stratopedarchēs was instituted c. 1255 by the Emperor Theodore II Laskaris for his chief minister and confidante, George Mouzalon.
Theodore II states in a decree that he "established the dignity anew", but no other holder of the office is known before that time. The mid-14th century Book of Offices of pseudo-Kodinos places the megas stratopedarchēs as the ninth-most senior official of the state below the Emperor, ranking between the prōtostratōr and the megas primmikērios. Kodinos reports that he was "supervisor of the provisioning of the army, food and all necessities". In reality, during the Palaiologan period the stratopedarchēs was most an honorific court title, did not entail an active military command. Like many other titles in the Palaiologan period, the post could be held by two people simultaneously. According to Pseudo-Kodinos, the ceremonial costume of the megas stratopedarchēs was identical to the offices superior to it: a rich silk kabbadion tunic, a golden-red skiadion hat decorated with embroideries in the klapōton style, without veil, or a domed skaranikon hat, again in red and gold and decorated with golden wire, with a portrait of the emperor standing in front, another of him enthroned in the rear.
Only his staff of office differed, with all the knobs except the topmost in silver, golden engraved knots. Pseudo-Kodinos further reports the existence of four subordinate stratopedarchai, occupying the 65th to 68th rank in the imperial hierarchy respectively; these were: The stratopedarchēs of the monokaballoi. Kodinos explains th
A dromon was a type of galley and the most important warship of the Byzantine navy from the 5th to 12th centuries AD, when they were succeeded by Italian-style galleys. It was developed from the ancient liburnian, the mainstay of the Roman navy during the Empire. Middle English dromond and Old French dromont are derived from the dromon, described any large medieval ship; the appearance and evolution of medieval warships is a matter of debate and conjecture: until no remains of an oared warship from either ancient or early medieval times had been found, information had to be gathered by analyzing literary evidence, crude artistic depictions and the remains of a few merchant vessels. Only in 2005–2006 did archaeological digs for the Marmaray project in the location of the Harbor of Theodosius uncover the remains of over 36 Byzantine ships from the 6th to 10th centuries, including four light galleys of the galea type; the accepted view is that the main developments which differentiated the early dromons from the liburnians, that henceforth characterized Mediterranean galleys, were the adoption of a full deck, the abandonment of the rams on the bow in favor of an above-water spur, the gradual introduction of lateen sails.
The exact reasons for the abandonment of the ram are unclear. Depictions of upward-pointing beaks in the 4th-century Vatican Vergil manuscript may well illustrate that the ram had been replaced by a spur in late Roman galleys. One possibility is that the change occurred because of the gradual evolution of the ancient shell-first mortise and tenon hull construction method, against which rams had been designed, into the skeleton-first method, which produced a stronger and more flexible hull, less susceptible to ram attacks. By the early 7th century, the ram's original function had been forgotten, if we judge by Isidore of Seville's comments that they were used to protect against collision with underwater rocks; as for the lateen sail, various authors have in the past suggested that it was introduced into the Mediterranean by the Arabs with an ultimate origin in India. However, the discovery of new depictions and literary references in recent decades has led scholars to antedate the appearance of the lateen sail in the Levant to the late Hellenistic or early Roman period.
Not only the triangular, but the quadrilateral version were known, used for centuries in parallel with square sails. Belisarius's fleet during the Vandalic War, as described by Procopius of Caesarea, was at least fitted with lateen sails, making it probable that by that time the lateen had become the standard rig for the dromon, with the traditional square sail falling from use in medieval navigation; these 6th-century dromons were single-banked ships of 50 oars, arranged with 25 oars on each side. Again unlike Hellenistic vessels, which used an outrigger, these extended directly from the hull. In the two-banked dromons of the 9th and 10th centuries, the two oar banks were divided by the deck, with the first oar bank was situated below, whilst the second oar bank was situated above deck; the Greek scholar Christos Makrypoulias suggests an arrangement of 25 oarsmen beneath and 35 on the deck on either side for a dromon of 120 rowers. The overall length of these ships was about 32 meters. Although most contemporary vessels had a single mast, the larger bireme dromons needed at least two masts in order to maneuver assuming that a single lateen sail for a ship this size would have reached unmanageable dimensions.
The ship was steered by means of two quarter rudders at the stern, which housed a tent that covered the captain's berth. The prow featured an elevated forecastle, below which the siphon for the discharge of Greek fire projected, although secondary siphons could be carried amidships on either side. A pavesade, on which marines could hang their shields, ran around the sides of the ship, providing protection to the deck crew. Larger ships had wooden castles on either side between the masts, similar to those attested for the Roman liburnians, providing archers with elevated firing platforms; the bow spur was intended to ride over an enemy ship's oars, breaking them and rendering it helpless against missile fire and boarding actions. The four galeai ships uncovered in the Yenikapi excavations, dating to the 10th–11th centuries, are of uniform design and construction, suggesting a centralized manufacturing process, they have a length of about 30 metres, are built of European Black Pine and Oriental plane.
By the 10th century, there were three main classes of bireme warships of the general dromon type, as detailed in the inventories for the expeditions sent against the Emirate of Crete in 911 and 949: the ousiakon, so named because it was manned by an ousia of 108 men. In Constantine VII's De Ceremoniis, the heavy dromōn is said to have an larger crew of 230 rowers and 70 marines.
Constans II called Constantine the Bearded, was emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 641 to 668. He was the last emperor to serve as consul, in 642. Constans is a nickname given to the Emperor, baptized Herakleios and reigned as Constantine; the nickname has become standard in modern historiography. Constans was the son of Constantine Gregoria. After the death of Constantine III's father Heraclius, Constantine ruled with his half-brother Heraklonas through Heraclius' second marriage to Martina. Due to rumors that Heraklonas and Martina poisoned Constantine III, Constans II was named co-emperor; that same year his uncle was deposed, Constans II was left as sole emperor. Constans owed his rise to the throne to a popular reaction against his uncle and to the protection of the soldiers led by the general Valentinus. Although the precocious emperor addressed the senate with a speech blaming Heraklonas and Martina for eliminating his father, he reigned under a regency of senators led by Patriarch Paul II of Constantinople.
In 644 Valentinus failed. Under Constans, the Byzantines withdrew from Egypt in 642, Caliph Uthman launched numerous attacks on the islands of the Mediterranean Sea and Aegean Sea. A Byzantine fleet under the admiral Manuel occupied Alexandria again in 645, the Alexandrians hailed him as a liberator, since the caliphate levied heavier taxes and showed less respect for their religion, but Manuel squandered his time and popularity in plundering the countryside, the Arab army managed to force him to embark for home. The situation was complicated by the violent opposition to Monothelitism by the clergy in the west and the related rebellion of the Exarch of Carthage, Gregory the Patrician; the latter fell in battle against the army of Caliph Uthman, the region remained a vassal state under the Caliphate until civil war broke out and imperial rule was again restored. Constans attempted to steer a middle line in the church dispute between Orthodoxy and Monothelitism by refusing to persecute either and prohibiting further discussion of the natures of Jesus Christ by decree in 648.
This live-and-let-live compromise satisfied few passionate participants in the dispute. Meanwhile, the advance of the Caliphate continued unabated. In 647 they had entered sacked Caesarea Mazaca. In the same year, they killed Gregory. In 648 the Arabs raided into Phrygia, in 649 they launched their first maritime expedition against Crete. A major Arab offensive into Cilicia and Isauria in 650–651 forced the Emperor to enter into negotiations with Caliph Uthman's governor of Syria, Muawiyah; the truce that followed allowed a short respite and made it possible for Constans to hold on to the western portions of Armenia. In 654, Muawiyah renewed his raids by sea, plundering Rhodes. Constans led a fleet to attack the Muslims at Phoinike in 655 at the Battle of the Masts, but he was defeated: 500 Byzantine ships were destroyed in the battle, the Emperor himself was killed; the sea battle was so devastating that the emperor escaped only by trading clothes with one of his men. Before the battle, chronicler Theophanes the Confessor says, the Emperor dreamed of being at Thessalonika.
Caliph Uthman was preparing to attack Constantinople, but he did not carry out the plan when the first Fitna broke out in 656. In 658, with the eastern frontier under less pressure, Constans defeated the Slavs in the Balkans, temporarily reasserting some notion of Byzantine rule over them and resettled some of them in Anatolia. In 659 he campaigned far to the east, taking advantage of a rebellion against the Caliphate in Media; the same year he concluded peace with the Arabs. Now Constans could turn to church matters once again. Pope Martin I had condemned both Monothelitism and Constans' attempt to halt debates over it in the Lateran Council of 649. Now the Emperor ordered his Exarch of Ravenna to arrest the Pope. Exarch Olympius excused himself from this task, but his successor, Theodore I Calliopas, carried it out in 653. Pope Martin was brought to Constantinople and condemned as a criminal being exiled to Cherson, where he died in 655. Constans grew fearful that his younger brother, could oust him from the throne.
Constans' sons Constantine and Tiberius had been associated on the throne since the 650s. However, having attracted the hatred of citizens of Constantinople, Constans decided to leave the capital and to move to Syracuse in Sicily. From there, in 663, he launched an assault against the Lombard Duchy of Benevento, which encompassed most of Southern Italy. Taking advantage of the fact that Lombard king Grimoald I of Benevento was engaged against Frankish forces from Neustria, Constans disembarked at Taranto and besieged Lucera and Benevento. However, the latter resisted and Constans withdrew to Naples. During the journey from Benevento to Naples, Constans II was defeated by Mitolas, Count of Capua, near Pugna. Constans ordered Saburrus, the commander of his army, to attack again the Lombards, but he was defeated by the Beneventani at Forino, between Avellino and Salerno. In 663 Constans visited Rome for twelve days—the only empero
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine the Great. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire. In Greek sources, the term is translated either as stratelates; the title of magister militum was created in the 4th century, when Emperor Constantine the Great deprived the praetorian prefects of their military functions. Two posts were created, one as head of the foot troops, as the magister peditum, one for the more prestigious horse troops, the magister equitum; the latter title had existed since Republican times, as the second-in-command to a Roman dictator. Under Constantine's successors, the title was established at a territorial level: magistri peditum and magistri equitum were appointed for every praetorian prefecture, and, in addition, for Thrace and, Africa. On occasion, the offices would be combined under a single person styled magister equitum et peditum or magister utriusque militiae.
As such they were directly in command of the local mobile field army of the comitatenses, composed of cavalry, which acted as a rapid reaction force. Other magistri remained at the immediate disposal of the Emperors, were termed in praesenti. By the late 4th century, the regional commanders were termed magister militum. In the Western Roman Empire, a "commander-in-chief" evolved with the title of magister utriusque militiae; this powerful office was the power behind the throne and was held by Stilicho, Flavius Aetius and others. In the East, there were two senior generals, who were each appointed to the office of magister militum praesentalis. During the reign of Emperor Justinian I, with increasing military threats and the expansion of the Eastern Empire, three new posts were created: the magister militum per Armeniam in the Armenian and Caucasian provinces part of the jurisdiction of the magister militum per Orientem, the magister militum per Africam in the reconquered African provinces, with a subordinate magister peditum, the magister militum Spaniae.
In the course of the 6th century and external crises in the provinces necessitated the temporary union of the supreme regional civil authority with the office of the magister militum. In the establishment of the exarchates of Ravenna and Carthage in 584, this practice found its first permanent expression. Indeed, after the loss of the eastern provinces to the Muslim conquest in the 640s, the surviving field armies and their commanders formed the first themata. Supreme military commanders sometimes took this title in early medieval Italy, for example in the Papal States and in Venice, whose Doge claimed to be the successor to the Exarch of Ravenna. 383-385/8: Flavius Bauto, magister militum under Valentinian II 385/8-394: Arbogast, magister militum under Valentinian II and Eugenius 383–388: Andragathius after 383-408: Flavius Stilicho 422-?: Asterius? – 480: Ovida 411 – 421: Flavius Constantius 422 - 425: Castinus 425 - 430: Flavius Constantius Felix 431 - 432: Bonifacius 432 - 433: Sebastianus 433 – 454: Flavius Aetius 455 - 456: Avitus & Remistus 456 – 472: Ricimer 472–473: Gundobad 475: Ecdicius Avitus 475–476: Flavius Orestes 352–355: Claudius Silvanus 362–364: Flavius Iovinus, magister equitum under Julian and Jovian?
– 419: Flavius Gaudentius 425–430: Flavius Aetius 435-439: Litorius 452–458: Agrippinus 458–461: Aegidius 461/462: Agrippinus? - 472: Bilimer 441-442: Asterius 443: Flavius Merobaudes 446: Vitus?-350: Vetranio, magister peditum under Constans 361: Flavius Iovinus, magister equitum under Julian 365–375: Equitius, magister utriusquae militiae under Valentinian I 395-? Alaric I 448/9 Agintheus. 468–474: Julius Nepos 477–479: Onoulphus 479–481: Sabinianus Magnus 528: Ascum 529–530/1: Mundus 532–536: Mundus c. 538: Justin c. 544: Vitalius c. 550: John 568–569/70: Bonus 581–582: Theognis c. 347: Flavius Eusebius, magister utriusquae militiae 349–359: Ursicinus, magister equitum under Constantius 359–360: Sabinianus, magister equitum under Constantius 363–367: Lupicinus, magister equitum under Jovian and Valens 371–378: Iulius, magister equitum et Peditum under Valens 383: Flavius Richomeres, magister equitum et peditum 383–388: Ellebichus, magister equitum et peditum 392: Eutherius, magister equitum et peditum 393–396: Addaeus, magister equitum et peditum 395/400: Fravitta 433–446: Anatolius 447–451: Zeno 460s: Flavius Ardabur Aspar -469: Flavius Iordanes 469–471: Zeno 483–498: Ioannes Scytha c.
503–505: Areobindus Dagalaiphus Areobindus 505–506: Pharesmanes?516-?518: Hypatius?518–529: Diogenianus 520-525/526: Hypatius 527: Libelarius 527–529: Hypatius 529–531: Belisarius 531: Mundus 532–533: Belisarius 540: Buzes 542: Belisarius 543–544: Martinus 549–551: Belisarius 555: Amantius 556: Valerianus 569: Zemarchus 572–573: Marcian 573: Theodorus 574: Eusebius 574/574-577: Justinian 577–582: Maurice 582–583: John Mystacon 584-587/588: Philippicus 588: Priscus 588–589: Philippicus 589–591: Comentiolus 591–603: Narses 603-604 Germanus 604-605 Leontius 605-610 Domentziolus Valerian Dagisthaeus Bessas 377–378: Flavius Saturninus, magister equitum under Valens 377–378: Traianus, magister peditum under Valens 378: Sebastianus, magister peditum under Valens 380–383: Flavius Saturninus, magister peditum under Theodosius I 392–393: F
East Roman army
The East Roman army refers to the army of the eastern section of the Roman Empire, from the empire's definitive split in 395 AD to the army's reorganization by themes after the permanent loss of Syria and Egypt to the Arabs in the 7th century during the Byzantine-Arab Wars. The East Roman army is the continuation of the Late Roman army of the 4th century until the Byzantine army of the 7th century onwards; the East Roman army was a direct continuation of the eastern portion of the late Roman army, from before the division of the empire. The East Roman army started with the same basic organization as the late Roman army and its West Roman counterpart, but between the 5th and 7th centuries, the cavalry grew more important, the field armies took on more tasks, the border armies were transformed into local militias. In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian I, who reigned from 527 to 565, sent much of the East Roman army to try to reconquer the former Western Roman Empire. In these wars, the Eastern Roman Empire reconquered parts of North Africa from the Vandal Kingdom and Italy from the Ostrogothic Kingdom, as well as parts of southern Spain.
The power of the army diminished in his reign owing to the Plague of Justinian. In the 7th century, Emperor Heraclius led the East Roman army against the Sasanian Empire, temporarily regaining Egypt and Syria, against the Rashidun Caliphate, his defeat at the Battle of Yarmuk would lead to the Islamic conquest of Syria and Egypt, would force the reorganization of the East Roman army, leading to the thematic system of Byzantine armies. Much of our evidence for the East Roman army's deployments at the end of the 4th century is contained in a single document, the Notitia Dignitatum, compiled c. 395-420, a manual of all late Roman public offices and civil. The main deficiency with the Notitia is that it lacks any personnel figures so as to render estimates of army size impossible. However, the Notitia remains the central source on the late Army's structure due to the dearth of other evidence; the Strategikon of the Emperor Maurikios, from the end of the 6th century, describes the cavalry tactics and equipment of the East Roman army towards the end of this period.
The De re militari of Vegetius from the beginning of the 5th century, calls for reform of the West Roman army, similar to the east Roman army. However, the De re militari emphasizes the revival of earlier Roman practices, does not provide a clear view of the tactics and practices of any branch of the late Roman army; the histories of Ammianus Marcellinus provide a glimpse of the late Roman army before the division of the Roman empire. Those of Procopius his Wars and parts of his Buildings, written while accompanying the magister militum Belisarius during the emperor Justinian's wars against the Sassanid empire and the barbarian successor kingdoms, provide a view of the east Roman army in the period, its campaigns; the histories of Agathias and Menander continue those of Procopius. Another major source for the East Roman army includes the legal codes published in the East Roman empire in the 5th and 6th centuries: the Theodosian code and the Corpus Iuris Civilis; these compilations of Roman laws dating from the 4th century contain numerous imperial decrees relating to the regulation and administration of the late army.
In 395, the death of the last sole Roman emperor, Theodosius I, led to the final split of the empire into two political entities, the West and the East. The system of dual emperors had been instituted a century earlier by the great reforming emperor Diocletian, but it had never been envisaged as a political separation, purely as an administrative and military convenience. Decrees issued by either emperor were valid in both halves and the successor of each Augustus required the recognition of the other; the empire was reunited under one emperor under Constantine I, after 324, under Constantius II, after 353, under Julian, after 361, Theodosius himself, after 394. The division into two sections recognized a growing cultural divergence; the common language of the East had always been Greek. This was not per se a significant division, as the empire had long been a fusion of Greek and Roman cultures and the Roman ruling class was bilingual, but the rise of Christianity strained that unity, as the cult was always much more widespread in the East than in the West, still pagan in 395.
Constantine's massive reconstruction of the city of Byzantium into Constantinople, a second capital to rival Rome, led to the establishment of a separate eastern court and bureaucracy. The political split became complete with the collapse of the Western empire in the early 5th century and its replacement by a number of barbarian Germanic kingdoms; the Western army was incorporated into the barbarian kingdoms. The Eastern empire and army, on the other hand, continued with gradual changes until the Persian and Arab invasions in the 7th century; these deprived the East Roman empire of its dominions in the Middle East and North Africa Egypt. Warren Treadgold estimates that the east Roman army had about 3,500 scolae or guards, 104,000 field army soldiers, with an uncertain number of sailors, 195,500 border army soldiers, again with an uncertain number of sailors, in 395. Treadgold estimates that the east Roman army had about 150,000 field army soldiers, with an uncertain number of sailors, in 559, late in the period of Justinian.
Treadgold estimates that the east Roman army had about 80,000 field army soldiers, with an uncertain number of sai
Byzantine army (Komnenian era)
The Byzantine army of the Komnenian era or Komnenian army was the force established by Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos during the late 11th/early 12th century, perfected by his successors John II Komnenos and Manuel I Komnenos during the 12th century. From necessity, following extensive territorial loss and a near disastrous defeat by the Normans of southern Italy at Dyrrachion in 1081, Alexios constructed a new army from the ground up; this new army was different from previous forms of the Byzantine army in the methods used for the recruitment and maintenance of soldiers. The army was characterised by an increased reliance on the military capabilities of the immediate imperial household, the relatives of the ruling dynasty and the provincial Byzantine aristocracy. Another distinctive element of the new army was an expansion of the employment of foreign mercenary troops and their organisation into more permanent units. However, continuity in equipment, unit organisation and strategy from earlier times is evident.
The Komnenian army was instrumental in creating the territorial integrity and stability that allowed the Komnenian restoration of the Byzantine Empire. It was deployed in the Balkans, Hungary, Anatolia, the Holy Land and Egypt. At the beginning of the Komnenian period in 1081, the Byzantine Empire had been reduced to the smallest territorial extent in its history. Surrounded by enemies, financially ruined by a long period of civil war, the empire's prospects had looked grim; the state lay defenceless before internal and external threats, as the Byzantine army had been reduced to a shadow of its former self. During the 11th century, decades of peace and neglect had reduced the old thematic forces, the military and political anarchy following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 had destroyed the professional Imperial Tagmata, the core of the Byzantine army. At Manzikert, units tracing their lineage for centuries back to the Roman Empire were wiped out, the subsequent loss of Anatolia deprived the Empire of its main recruiting ground.
In the Balkans, at the same time, the Empire was exposed to invasions by the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, the expansionist activities of the principality of Dioclea and by Pecheneg raids across the Danube. The death knell of the traditional Byzantine army was at the Battle of Dyrrachion in 1081, where Alexios I was heavily defeated by the Normans of southern Italy; the nadir of the Byzantine army as a professional fighting force was reached in 1091, when Alexios managed to field only 500 soldiers from the Empire's regular soldiery. These formed the nucleus of the army, with the addition of the armed retainers of Alexios' relatives and the nobles enrolled in the army, plus the substantial aid of a large force of allied Cumans, which won the Battle of Levounion against the Pechenegs. Yet, through a combination of improved finances, skill and years of campaigning, Alexios and Manuel Komnenos managed to restore the power of the Byzantine Empire, constructing a new army in the process; these developments should not, however, at least in their earlier phases, be seen as a planned exercise in military restructuring.
In particular, Alexios I was reduced to reacting to events rather than controlling them. The new force had a core of units which were both disciplined, it contained guards units such as the Varangians, the vestiaritai, the vardariotai and the archontopouloi, foreign mercenary regiments, units of professional soldiers recruited from the provinces. These provincial troops included kataphraktoi cavalry from Macedonia and Thrace, plus various other provincial forces. Alongside troops raised and paid for directly by the state the Komnenian army included the armed followers of members of the wider imperial family, its extensive connections, the provincial aristocracy. In this can be seen the beginnings of the feudalisation of the Byzantine military; the Komnenian period, despite constant warfare, is notable for the lack of military treatise writing, which seems to have petered out during the 11th century. So, unlike in earlier periods, there are no detailed descriptions of Byzantine tactics and military equipment.
Information on military matters in the Komnenian era must be gleaned from passing comments in contemporary historical and biographical literature, court panegyrics and from pictorial evidence. There are no surviving reliable and detailed records to allow the accurate estimation of the overall size of the Byzantine army in this period, he noted that while Alexios I had difficulty raising sufficient troops to repel the Italo-Normans, John I could field armies as large as those of the Kingdom of Hungary and Manuel I assembled an army capable of defeating the large crusading force of Conrad III. Other historians have, made attempts to estimate overall army size. During the reign of Alexios I, the field army may have numbered around 20,000 men. By 1143, the entire Byzantine army has been estimated to have numbered about 50,000 men and continued to remain about this size until the end of Manuel's reign; the total number of mobile professional and mercenary forces that the emperor could assemble was about 25,000 soldiers while the static garrisons and militias spread around the empire made up the remainder.
During this period, the European provinces in the Balkans were able to provide more than 6,000 cavalry in total while the Eastern provinces