The Organisation and Support of an Expeditionary Force: Manpower and Logistics in the Middle Byzantine Period

Byzantine ArmyThe Organisation and Support of an Expeditionary Force: Manpower and Logistics in the Middle Byzantine Period

John Haldon 

Byzantium at War (1997)

 It is generally recognised that the maintenance of its armies and the recruitment and equipping of its military expeditions constituted one of the heaviest burdens on the finances of the East Roman state[1].    But for much of the period from the seventh to the twelfth century we have very little detailed and direct evidence for how this was managed at a general level, hence the still unresolved debates on the origins of the so-called theme system; still less direct evidence survives on the structure of campaigns undertaken against particular enemies.  There is virtually no contemporary evidence, for example, of the means through which the armies of the emperor Constantine V were raised and supplied in his numerous campaigns into Bulgaria or against the caliphate in the East, except what we can glean from the hazy reports of the Chronographia of Theophanes, or the Brief History of the patriarch Nikephoros. Yet the methods adopted for equipping and supplying armies crucially affect their fighting ability and potential, the planning and execution of campaign strategy, and the speed with which soldiers can be mobilised and then marched to meet the enemy.   The nature of the communications and transport infrastructure and the ways in which a central government is able to maintain or extend it is thus also a crucial element which affects a state’s ability to respond defensively to external threat or to act offensively against a neighbouring power.   Byzantines themselves were clearly aware of these factors and the key role they played, as the Tactica of the emperor Leo VI, compiled in the late ninth or early tenth century, in two brief sections ‘On Logistics’, makes clear[2].

By the ninth century, it is clear that the system of recruiting and maintaining soldiers in what had been the field armies of the late Roman state had undergone a radical transformation, producing the pattern of provincially-based and recruited forces referred to as themata.   We cannot go into the debate on the military lands here, nor pursue the question of the extent to which the themata, as a term for military forces based in the provinces, were effective[3].    But methods of recruitment were not just limited to a hereditary obligation related in some way to an independent (usually landed) income, an impression sometimes given by some of the modern literature.   On the contrary, the state always made use of a range of options, and it is the question of why one particular option dominated at a given moment that should concern us.   At the height of the process of provincialised recruitment and maintenance of troops, for example, during the eighth and first half of the ninth centuries, there is plenty of evidence to show that voluntary recruitment to both elite and provincial forces, compulsory levies in the provinces, and the attraction of non-Byzantine mercenaries co-existed, and were invoked according to the requirements of the moment.   And this sort of question immediately raises other, related issues, about the nature of power-relations between central power-elite and provinces, for example, or about the systems for the extraction, re-distribution and consumption of resources in men and materials.   It is to these latter issues that I now wish to turn[4].

Throughout the period in question the state continued to be able to raise substantial expeditionary forces.  Armies led by the emperors of the ninth and tenth centuries – Basil I, Nikephoros II, John Tzimiskes, for example – may have numbered on occasion as many as 50,000 soldiers, perhaps more, although such figures seem to be exceptions, and there is a great deal of disagreement among historians on the issue, given the often contradictory and partial sources.   On the whole, Byzantine and Arab armies were really quite small compared with the armies mustered in late medieval and early modern times, and all the exact figures we can derive from the sources confirm this impression[5].   But while the question of the numbers of the individual units, as well as that of the total of soldiers available for active service at any given time remains debated, there is no doubt that large numbers of men and materials could be mobilised fairly rapidly, and that this involved a major administrative effort and a complex process which the central government had to manage and to co-ordinate[6].

Military activities and expeditions can be very crudely divided into defensive and offensive operations.  But the differences in scale between a major imperial attack against enemy territory, and a small-scale defensive operation or a raid require very different levels of organisation and can be supported through vastly different means.   In the following, we will examine briefly the basic processes in both cases.

We are fortunate in that an important text, or group of texts, survives from a tenth-century compilation, which throws a good deal of light on the expeditionary practices of the second half of the ninth and the tenth centuries.   These documents, which seem to incorporate material from the reign of Basil I, as well as from the middle of the tenth century, were incorporated eventually into the manuscript of what is now known as the De Caerimoniis or the Ekthesis tês Basileiou taxeôs, probably by accident by a later compiler; and concern aspects of the organisation of an imperial expedition, which is to say, one in which the emperor himself participates.   Two of the documents are based on an earlier treatise ascribed to themagistros Leo Katakylas, and supposedly commissioned by Leo VI.   While it is dangerous to generalise from a context in which an emperor might be involved, the documents nevertheless provide a wealth of valuable information[7].   In addition to these texts, there survive also a further group of documents which appear to originate in the stratiôtikon logothesion, namely those relating to a series of military expeditions to Italy and to Crete in the period between 911 and 949.  These provide statistical data and details of equipment, expenses, methods of raising manpower, as well as of the complements of warships and transports.   While the figures given in the texts are clearly corrupted in one or two cases, and the whole must be used with considerable caution, they again provide invaluable information on the administrative arrangements and structure of expeditionary forces at this period.   In addition to this material, a number of practical handbooks or stratêgika survive from the tenth century, which include important information about armies on campaign[8].  Together with incidental references in histories and hagiographies, as well as the evidence from letters and from sigillographical material, it is possible to piece together a picture of how the middle Byzantine state set about organising, funding and equipping a major campaign army.

But there is additional evidence which can be drawn upon, for it is clear from this middle Byzantine material that the fundamental constraints operating in the ninth to eleventh centuries were very similar to those operating in the fifth and sixth centuries; and that it is, in consequence, possible to use the evidence from the Codex Iustinianus and the Novels of emperors from this earlier period to help reconstruct the structures of the later period.   We shall deal with the various aspects in the formation of a military expedition under several separate headings: first, the means whereby a campaign was supplied and supported; second, the methods through which soldiers were recruited and equipped; and third, the relationship between the armies and the provincial populations.

First, then, the process whereby an expedition was supplied with provisions, materials and shelter.  According to the treatise on military expeditions compiled by the magistros Leo Katakylas, and referring almost certainly to the campaign practice of the emperor Basil I[9], it is noted that the prôtonotarios of each thema through which the imperial force passes must provide certain supplies in kind from the aerikon and the synônê.  If this is not sufficient, then the prôtonotarios should obtain the necessary produce from the eidikon[10].  The passage is compressed and by itself difficult to interpret in more than a very general sense.  But this account is supplemented by a slightly different version of the process in a much extended and re-worked version of the treatise compiled at the behest of Constantine VII himself, perhaps in the 950s[11].

These two passages describe in effect a process very close indeed to that set out in Novel 130 of the emperor Justinian.  According to these sixth-century regulations, the provincial officials are to be given advance notice of the army’s requirements in foodstuffs and other goods, which are to be deposited at named sites along the route of march.  The materials, food supplies and other requirements demanded by the provincial authorities on behalf of the central government were referred to as embolê, and meant simply that part of the regular tax assessment owed by each tax-payer (whether an estate, an individual peasant freeholder, or whatever) not paid in coin.     Exact records of the produce supplied by the tax-payers asembolê, were to be kept and reckoned up against the annual tax owed in this form; if more supplies were provided than were due in tax, then the extra was to be supplied by the tax-payers, but this was then to be paid for, at a fixed rate established by the appropriate state officials, out of the cash revenues already collected in the regular yearly assessment of that particular province.  In other words what was known as a  coemptio in Latin, or synônê in Greek, was applied.   If the provincial treasuries in question had insufficient local cash revenues left over to pay for these extra supplies, then they were to be paid for instead either from the general bank of the praetorian prefecture, in other words, the coemptio was still applied; or they were to be collected anyway and then their value (at the prices fixed by the state) deducted from the following year’s assessment in kind[12].

The account in the two versions of the treatise on expeditions, which describes the situation in the ninth and tenth centuries, is similar: the thematic prôtonotarios is to be informed in advance as to the army’s requirements, which are to be provided from the land-tax in kind and the cash revenues of the thema and stored at appropriate points along the route of march. An exact account of the supplies is to be kept, so that (where the thematic tax-payers provided more than their yearly assessment demands) the amount can be deducted (from the assessment for the following year).   Both passages note that, where supplies cannot be paid for out of the local fiscal revenues, the cash (or the supplies – the text does not specify which, although the former would be far more likely) is to be taken from the bureau of the eidikon, just as in the sixth century the cash was taken from the general bank of the prefecture.  The second text notes that the final accounts are worked out, after the expedition has been stood down, in the eidikon[13].

It is clear from these texts that the basic fiscal mechanisms in the sixth and the ninth centuries were almost identical:  the terminology had changed, and the administrative relationships between the different departments responsible for the procedure was slightly different, but in essentials the later system was very obviously derived from the earlier.  The process by which the evolution of the later process out of the earlier occurred nicely illustrates the degree of systemic continuity between late Roman and middle Byzantine practices.   In fact, there are a number of other issues which are connected with these developments, notably the change in meaning  of the word synônê, although I will not pursue that issue here[14].  The question of the thematic prôtonotarioi is worth attention, however, for this official appears only during the first half of the ninth century (or possibly in the last years of the eighth)[15].   His role in the later ninth century, as a thematic representative of the sakellion, has been discussed already; but he seems to have replaced earlier officials, eparchai, who were the successors of the ad hoc praetorian prefects despatched by the department of the Praetorian Prefect in the fifth and sixth centuries, responsible for liaising between the army and its demands, on the one hand, and the provincial fiscal officials in whose area the army was operating, on the other[16].   These officials seem still to have been functioning in the 840s, although it is clear that they were being replaced by the prôtonotarioi by that time[17].    Whatever the exact details of the administrative changes – one of which certainly involved an extension of the supervisory authority of the thematic stratêgoi - the continuity in the structures of supplying field forces between the sixth and ninth-century is undeniable, and we may reasonably assume that they applied also to the earlier ninth and eighth centuries.

The documents dealing with the preparations for the expeditions to Crete and Italy can now be used to fill in some of the details of the system I have just outlined.   Fragments of four documents survive, incorporated into the second part of the De Caerimoniis, probably intended originally for a separate dossier on military expeditions, perhaps that which would also originally have included the three documents on imperial expeditions noted already.   Document 1 is a list of the troops and armaments for the expedition to Crete under Himerios in 911[18].   Documents 2 and 3 deal briefly with the vessels and troops sent under the prôtospatharios Epiphanios to the thema of Lombardy by Romanos I in the 8th year of the indiction (i.e. 935)[19]; and the gifts sent to the King of the Lombards to encourage his support against rebels in the theme of Lombardy[20].   Document 4 presents a detailed, if jumbled account, of the armaments, costs and troops sent on the expedition to Crete in 949[21].

Documents 1, 2 and 4, and especially 1 and 4, provide an enormous wealth of information, and a proper analysis of their contents, the internal contradictions they contain, and the technical language in which they are written would far surpass the limits of this paper.  But it is possible to summarise briefly what they tell us about the organisation of an expedition.  In the first place, it is clear that in addition to the regular supplies to be provided by the thematic prôtonotarioi, extra supplies in foodstuffs and in kind had to be raised.   The large amounts of coined gold and silver required seem to have been supplied through the eidikon, for the fitting out of the ships involved, and from the other revenue-producing departments through thesakellarios, whose supervisory capacity permitted him to exercise a general control over expenditures[22];  the theme prôtonotarioi were made responsible for raising additional supplies for the expedition, working presumably with officials of the genikon, a point supported by evidence from the earlier ninth century[23].   In certain circumstances, imperial officials were despatched to the themata to assist in collecting and transporting the supplies: an imperial officer – described simply as ‘a certain basilikos‘ – was sent to the Anatolikon region in 910/911 to raise barley, biscuit, corn and flour for the Kibyrrhaiot forces.  Specific directions were given for the route by which it was to be transported[24].   The military officers, through their own officials, were commissioned with raising the necessary extra weapons and military equipment[25];  and the departments of the eidikon and the vestiarion appear as major repositories and suppliers of a whole range of requirements for the fleet and the army[26].    Armies were usually accompanied by a supply-train;  the late tenth-century treatise on campaign organisation stipulates a basic supply of 24 days’ rations of barley for the horses, which according to other sources was similarly to be put aside by the thematic prôtonotariosfor collection by the army en route[27]; and historians’ accounts of campaigns frequently mention the baggage-train or the supplies and fodder it carried[28].   Not all these supplies were derived from the regular land-tax, however: depending on the local circumstances, much of it must also have been raised through compulsory exactions, as in the late Roman period. This was certainly the case when the emperor was present[29].  Similarly, the prôtonotarioi of the affected themes had to provide supplies which could be transported by wagon or mule to the army on enemy territory, if the surrounding districts had been devastated.  But smaller units clearly foraged for their own fodder and supplies, whether in enemy territory or on Roman soil, which must have caused some hardship to the communities affected; while once on hostile terrain the commander must either have arranged to keep his supply-lines open by detaching small units to hold key passes and roads[30], or let the army forage for all its requirements once the supplies had run out[31].   Some incidental evidence from the contemporary historians illustrates these methods in operation[32].

The burden of supporting soldiers passing through on campaign had always been onerous, as a number of sources from the later Roman period through to the tenth century testify.  This was not just because of the demands made by the army on local productive capacity, but reflected also the fact that state intervention into local exchange relations on such a large scale could adversely affect the economic equilibrium of an area.   In the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries there is very clear evidence of the distortion of prices by these means: either through the state’s fixing artificially low prices for the sale of produce to the army, thus harming the producers; or by sudden heavy demand driving prices, for non-state purchasers, upwards.   Even more telling is the evidence of the sixth-century legislation on the situation in Thrace and the combined effects of barbarian inroads and military supply demands on the economy of the region.   The establishment of the quaestura exercitus was aimed at resolving one element of this problem, for through the administrative linkage between the Aegean islands and coastal regions concerned with the Danube zone the troops in that theatre could be supplied from relatively wealthy productive areas by sea and river transport.   Yet the problem remained acute enough for Maurice to attempt to have his armies winter on the non-Roman side of the river in 593 and 602[33].   Leo VI advised generals to carry sufficient supplies with the army and to forage on enemy territory rather than prey upon the citizens of the empire[34];  the need to avoid harming the provincials by permitting the army to forage and extract supplies without proper administrative controls is often repeated – although even where such controls were established, the presence of a large force of soldiers, their animals and their followers will rarely have been welcome[35].   The provincial administrators do seem to have tried to minimise the effects of passing military forces, and one should not over-exaggerate the problem.   But several letters of the ninth-tenth centuries appeal to state officials against the burden imposed upon them, or their clients, through the imposition of mitatonand related expenses; these are on several occasions related explicitly to the effects of the presence of soldiers on campaign.  And while we must allow for some degree of hyperbole on the part of the more privileged and literate elements in society, some of the complaints are on behalf of those less fortunate than the writers themselves[36].


One of the factors rarely discussed in this context is the rate of march of Byzantine forces[37], the amount of supplies that would be needed, the carrying capacity of the pack-animals accompanying an expedition, and the feed and fodder required in turn for the baggage train.   Although one obvious reason is the relative dearth of hard evidence, it is possible to arrive at some fairly reliable figures in respect of some of these questions, and on this basis to obtain some idea of the effects on the regions through which the armies passed.

Nikephoros Phokas considered a march of 16 miles (approx. 24km.) to be both long and tiring for men and horses[38], and although this rate could have been maintained as an average in some cases, terrain, weather and the quality of the roads, tracks or paths used by the army will all have played a role, so that very considerable variations must have been usual[39].  The average length of a day’s march for infantry or combined forces was probably rarely more than twelve – fourteen miles, which has been an average for most infantry forces throughout recorded history; and this figure would more often than not be reduced if very large numbers, which had to be kept together, were involved[40].  The average can be increased when no accompanying baggage train is present[41]; and increased yet again for forced marches, although there is an inverse relationship between the length and speed of such marches and the loss of manpower and animals through exhaustion[42].   The distances at which supply dumps could be established or stops made to feed and water men and animals was also directly related to the distance covered in a day’s march and how much provisions and water could be carried before re-supply was necessary[43].

In hostile territory, light cavalry scouts were sent ahead to spy out the army’s line of march, the position of enemy forces and fortifications, the availability of wood and water, fodder and food, and were responsible for providing the commanders of the Roman forces with sufficient information for them to plan their route and the marching camps[44].    In Roman territory, in contrast, the route of march for large forces was generally prepared in advance and supplies provided through the activities of the local prôtonotarios of each district affected.    Large concentrations of provisions seem to have been deposited at a few key locations, in granaries or storehopuses according to the ninth-century report of Ibn Khurradadhbih, from which they were collected by the army and loaded onto pack-animals, carts and the soldiers themselves as they passed through[45].   This is clearly the system described in one of the tenth-century treatises on imperial military expeditions.   We will return to this question below[46].

In the fifth century, it was recommended that soldiers be trained to carry a load of up to sixty Roman pounds (about 42.3 lbs./19.6 kilos)[47].   This presumably included the traditional seventeen days’ worth of rations[48], although regulations in the Codex Theodosianus state that soldiers on the march should carry twenty days’ worth of rations with them.  But there is some question as to whether this amount was regularly carried by the troops, except when rapid movement was required in hostile territory; in Roman territory the greater part was probably transported by accompanying pack-animals[49], a point borne out in the late sixth century Stratêgikon, which also recommends that cavalry soldiers carry three to four days’ supply with them in their saddle bags[50].

Rations were consumed on a three-day rotation in the late Roman period: bucellatum (hard tack) for 2 days in 3, bread for 1 day in 3, salt pork for 1 day in 3, mutton for 2 days in 3, wine and sour wine on alternate days; as well as a number of additional substances such as fish, cheese and oil, depending on context and availability[51]. The amount (weight) of such rations varied, but the figure of 1 lb. (11.28 oz/327 g) of meat and/or 2 – 3 lbs (1.41 lbs/654 g – 2.1 lbs/981 g) of bread per diem per man given in one document for stationary troops seems to have been standard into the seventh century in Egypt; and there is no reason to doubt that, however it was actually made up (and whether or not the rotation of provisions was maintained beyond the first half of the seventh century), this figure represented a constant in the preceding and following periods[52].    Given that the meat element would be reduced to a minimum or to nothing under most campaigning conditions, this may seem too little to provide adequate nutrition, in view of the relatively low protein element in grain.  But ancient strains of wheat and barley had considerably higher protein content than modern strains, so that – regardless of the protein loss inevitable in the process of baking milled grain to produce bread or biscuit – the bread ration of soldiers in ancient and medieval times provided adequate nutrition even without meat[53].

This campaign ration would give the maximum sixty-(Roman) pound load per man for about twenty days; although under normal marching conditions much of the individuals’ supplies would be transported by pack-animal or wagon, as noted above[54].   A fifteen-thousand man army would thus require a minimum of some 900,000 (Roman) lbs. (i.e. 634,500 lbs or 288,400 kilos) of provisions, excluding drinking water/wine and necessary ‘extras’, such as lard and/or oil, cheese or fish, and so on, and not including fodder for the horses and the pack-animals, for a period of between two and, in exceptional cases, three weeks.       Assuming an average rate of march for infantry and cavalry together of between twelve and fourteen miles per day in good conditions (an optimistically high figure compared with the majority of known military marches from pre-industrial contexts)[55],  such a force could thus travel some 240-280 miles in a three-week march, which provides a very crude guide to the distances at which supply dumps would have had to be established in advance.   This figure is confirmed by the tenth-century treatise on campaign organisation, which notes that ‘it is not feasible, in turn, for an army to transport more than a twenty-four days’ supply of barley from its own country for its horses’, which suggests the recognised maximum period for a cavalry force[56].

Such a rate of march, of course, excludes wheeled vehicles, so that the amount of fodder required by pack-animals would itself add enormously to the supply problem.   Horses and mules require considerably more in weight of provisions than soldiers, and are relatively economically inefficient animals, requiring proportional to their carrying capacity a much greater weight of supplies than men.   Roman military mounts required something in the order of 20 lbs (9 kg) of fodder per day under non-campaign conditions: some 5-6 lbs (2.2 – 2.7 kg) barley and a further 10-15 lbs (4.5 – 6.8 kg) hay or grazing[57].  The area required for grazing depended on several factors – quality of pasturage, seasonal variations, and so forth.   Horses need at least four – five hours’ grazing per day, and it has been calculated that twenty horses would graze one acre of medium-quality pasture; on campaign, they were probably fed less. They require an average of 5 – 8 (UK) gallons (22.75 – 36.4 ltr) of water (the amount varying according to heat, intensity of work etc.)[58].  The availability of grazing obviously depends upon regional and seasonal variations:  where fodder had to be transported in addition to grain,  mobility would be drastically limited and transport costs increased.

The mules and pack-horses of the expeditionary armies of the tenth century had to carry their own grain rations as well as the equipment or provisions for the soldiers, although the loads seem to have been strictly controlled[59].   Three categories of load are specified: (a) saddle-horses carrying a man and their own barley were loaded with four modioi each;  (b) unridden saddle-horses carried eight modioi; (c) pack-animals loaded with barley carried ten modioi each.  But it is unclear what the weight of the modios in this context should be.   As we have seen, there were several modioi, the two most relevant for the purposes of the present calculations being the standard ‘imperial’ basilikos modios, of 40 Roman pounds (28.2 lbs/12.8 kg); and the smaller annonikos modios (the modius castrensis), assessed at two-thirds the weight of the former, i.e. 26.5 Roman pounds (18.6 lbs/8.5 kg).   If we take the largermodios, we get the following results (excluding weights for riders, saddles and pack-saddles):

for group (a) of animals: a load of  160 Roman pounds = 112.8 lbs (51.2 kg);

for group (b) a load of 320 Roman pounds = 225.6 lbs (102.5 kg); and

for group (c) 400 Roman pounds = 282 lbs (128.18 kg).

Taking the smaller figure, the same loads would be:

for group (a) 106 Roman pounds = 75 lbs (34 kg);

for group (b) 212 Roman pounds = 150 lbs (68 kg); and

for group (c) 265 Roman pounds = 187 lbs (85 kg)[60].

Now the approximate maximum weight a horse or mule can carry over any distance is about 250 lbs (114 kg), or in Roman/Byzantine measures, 282 pounds i.e. 7 ‘imperial’ modioi, or 10.5 annonikoi modioi .   Given that the sagma or pack-saddle and associated harness weighed between 50 and 60 Roman pounds (35 – 42 lbs/16 – 19 kg)[61], this would permit loads of up to about 200 lbs (91 kg), which is to say 225 Roman pounds (i.e. 5.6 basilikoi modioi or 8.5 annonikoi modioi).   Bearing in mind the totals thus suggested by the figures in the tenth-century treatise on imperial expeditions, we may reasonably conclude that the measure used for loading pack-animals and, therefore, for assessing the tax collected in kind by the thematic prôtonotarioi, was indeed the annonikos modios, equivalent to the older modius castrensis, the lesser volume, rather than the larger ‘imperial’ modios, which would have impossibly overloaded the animals (and thus illustrating once again the degree of continuity in fiscal administrative practice from the late Roman period).   Animals in each of the three categories in question would, in consequence, be carrying as follows (weights in modern measures):

for group (a) load: 75 lbs (34 kg), plus saddle: 40 lbs (18 kg), plus rider: 140 lbs (64 kg) = 255 lbs (116 kg);

for group (b) load: 150 lbs (68 kg), plus pack saddle: 40 lbs (18 kg) = 190 lbs (86.3 kg); and

for group (c) load: 187 lbs (84 kg), plus pack-saddle: 40 lbs (18 kg) = 227 lbs. (103.2 kg).

This is not the place to go into the question of the breeds and types of horse available in the middle Byzantine period[62].   But these are substantial burdens in view of the mean carrying capacity of the animals in question.  And while horses and mules of the breeds most probably available in the late Roman and Byzantine world can carry up to 300 lbs (136.4 kg) for short distances, the figures given in our text represent loads for long journeys, and the concern expressed in the document regarding overloading, and punishments meted out for overloading, are not surprising, echoing similar sentiments in the late Roman legislation on the loads for animals of the cursus publicus[63].  It is probable that the imperial saddle horses were not constantly ridden, but led, and that when they were ridden their loads were removed.  Their better ration – they received a triple ration, in contrast to the double ration issued to the other animals – may also have enabled them to bear a somewhat heavier load for short distances[64].

Since a horse will consume between 15 – 25 lbs per day (6.81 – 11.36 kg), as noted above (the lower figure being an absolute minimum requirement, the mean – 20 lbs (9.09 kg) – representing the figures derived from late Roman sources, and the higher representing the feed of cavalry horses in the European theatre during the early nineteenth century)[65], of which at least 5 lbs (2.27 kg) was barley or ‘hard feed’, the 75 lbs (34.09 kg) barley feed carried by the higher-quality horses for their own consumption will have been sufficient for a march of about fifteen days (75 ÷5).   The treatise (C) on imperial expeditions is quite explicit that it is barley which is to be carried, rather than hay or other fodder, as is the tenth-century treatise on campaign organisation (which reflected an interest particularly in the Balkan theatre) and it is to be supplied by the various prôtonotarioi of the different themata through which the army passes, deposited in advance according to the route planned by the commander[66].   From the descriptions in both the treatises and the historians’ accounts it is clear that the normal campaigning seasons were in the spring or late summer, when pasturage would be available for the horses’ grazing requirements.   Special arrangements were made for the grazing of the animals of the baggage train and for the imperial riding horses[67].   In Roman territory, security was less important, although grazing horses and pack-animals were supervised.   In enemy territory, the perimeter of the camp was laid out to accommodate and protect all the animals.   The epeiktês, an official on the staff of the komês and the chartoularios of the stable, was responsible for the pasturage as well as for the feed of the animals[68].   We may conclude that major supply dumps were needed at stages of approximately 200 – 250 miles, although under very good conditions and with smaller numbers imperial forces may have moved more rapidly than this and needed re-supplying less frequently; fast-moving cavalry forces will have been even less demanding, although ample fodder and water will have been essential.   On the basis of these admittedly somewhat approximate calculations, the 1086 pack-animals of the imperial household baggage described in the tenth-century treatise we have referred to[69] will have required a basic 5,430 gals (1,133 ltr) of water, 543 acres (280 ha) of pasture, and 5,430 lbs (2,468 kg) of barley feed per day.   In practice, the amount of green fodder acreage – grazing – required will have fluctuated fairly sharply acording to local conditions; while water-consumption will likewise have varied according to temperature, size of load, speed of movement and similar factors.   Nevertheless, these averages give some idea of the quantities of supplies involved.    A cavalry force of similar strength will have required about the same for the horses of each soldier; but we must then add supplies for re-mounts and pack-animals, so that the total provisions necessary for the animals of a fast-moving cavalry force of 1,000 men will have amounted to at least half as much again, expanded exponentially as the distance over which supplies had to be transported increased, along with the number of pack-animals thus entailed: the greater the number of pack-animals, the greater the total amount of fodder, since they will themselves have consumed a portion of their loads; the longer the journey, the greater the relative rate of consumption, until the expedition becomes a logistical impossibility[70].    Multiply these figures by (at least) fifteen for the imperial cortège alone, and the amount of provisions which each prôtonotarios will have had to arrange at the appropriate re-supplying points can be deduced.  Where barley feed was not available for short periods, the amount of pasturage required will have increased substantially.  And an expedition which set off in seasons when pasturage was not available will have needed to carry dry fodder with it, thus enormously increasing the overall demand for pack-animals exponentially.    With these quantities in mind, and bearing in mind also the very problematic nature of many of the figures and statistics offered above, the magnitude of the administrative and logistical task facing thematic officials in filling the storehouses referred to by Ibn Khurradadhbih is nevertheless very apparent.

But travelling across Anatolia presented a number of difficulties, even before entering hostile territory.   From Constantinople as far as Dorylaion, which at 792 m above sea-level is situated near the northern limit of the Anatolian plateau, fodder will have been relatively easily obtained.  Thereafter, as Crusader accounts make clear, armies will have had to carry much of their provisions and fodder with them until they reached the more fertile region around Ikonion, passing through only occasional and small cultivated areas in more sheltered minor river valleys.   Similar considerations apply to forces moving south-west from Koloneia towards Kaisareia, and then beyond either south-west or south-east; and then for those forces moving south-east from Ikonion towards Cilicia.   These were the districts in which the role of the prôtonotarioi of the themata will have been most crucial, for without their support – and as the Crusading forces found in 1097 – the collecting and organising of supplies sufficient for a middling-sized force of some 5 – 10,000 will have been exceedingly difficult[71].   It is worth noting, in passing, that the main imperial aplêkta as they are listed in a garbled list of the tenth century and as confirmed by historical accounts of ninth-century campaigns, form an arc running across the north-western and northern edges of the central Anatolian plateau – at Malagina, Dorylaion and Kaborkin for the westerly route towards Amorion and then on to Ikonion; at Dazimon, Koloneia and Kaisareia for the northern route.  Bathys Ryax, south-west of Koloneia and south of Dazimon was established as a base near Sebasteia for the march towards either Kaisareia or Tephrike, further to the East[72].    This arc marks the limits of what has been identified as the area most exposed to Arab raiding and attacks during the second half of the seventh and the eighth centuries, and would appear in consequence to represent a logical response to the needs of both defending the areas beyond it, to north and west, as well as to the needs of counter-attacking forces[73].   Thereafter, fodder and supplies will have had to be transported or collected at camps established en route, which will necessarily have been situated at the distances appropriate for the troops concerned – cavalry only, infantry only, mixed forces, and so on.   And once into hostile or devastated territory, twenty-four days’ supplies was the standard limit before foraging will have become unavoidable.  Such logistical factors set very specific limits to the possibilities for mounting military operations.


Horses and mules were raised from a variety of different sources.   If the imperial household was involved, then all the main state departments, the leading civil and military officers, the metropolitanates and the monastic houses of the empire had to provide a certain number of mules or other pack-animals to transport the household and its requirements[74].   For regular non-imperial campaigns the main sources for the army were imperial stud-farms in Asia Minor[75]; requisitions from the estates of the Church[76],  requisitions from secular landholders (ekthesis or epidosis monoprosôpôn, which may also have included the animals provided by the Church)[77]; and the soldiers themselves, who either brought their own animals or were required to purchase their requirements on the market using their salaries and campaign payments[78].

The soldiers themselves came from an equally wide range of sources, and for the period from the early ninth until the later tenth century may briefly be classified as follows.  First, the regular thematikoi, soldiers entered on the kôdikes held in each theme and in the military logothesion.  These seem to have been further classified into (a) those who could actually afford to appear for duty with the requisite equipment and supplies; (b) those who could afford to pay for their service, but preferred not to serve in a personal capacity: in their case, they had to provide the equipment, provisions and the soldier (or, as an alternative, the equivalent value in cash) to send to the muster, or adnoumion[79]; and (c) those who could not, and had to be maintained by the thematic administration.   This seems to have been done in one of three ways (or a combination thereof): through what was termed syndosis, whereby a number of tax-payers were grouped together and made responsible for the cost of equipping and supplying the soldier; or by making a wealthy but unwilling stratiôtês (from among those in category (b) mentioned already) responsible for their equipment and provisions; as well as by paying and equipping the soldiers directly through thematic or centrally-raised taxes[80].   In addition, by the middle of the tenth century, it is clear that considerable numbers of landed properties which had earlier been classified as adequate to maintain and provide a soldier had been split up due to inheritance, and that the various parcels into which the registered holding had since been subdivided were now responsible for a proportional burden, paid to the local military administration to support an outsider recruited for the campaign in question.  This procedure overlaps with that described under the term syndosis already mentioned.   Most of these regular thematic troops seem to have served on a seasonal basis[81].

This system of raising and equipping soldiers evolved fairly quickly during the tenth century as the pressures on the state’s resources increased in parallel to the demands of the wars of reconquest, particularly from the time of Romanos II and Nikephoros II.  The Arab chronicler Ibn Hawkal describes the methods of raising troops for expeditionary forces from an outsider’s perspective during the reign of Nikephoros II, which accords with much of what we can extract from the documents dealing with the Cretan expedition, and with references to earlier precedents, for example, in the provinces of the West and the Peloponnese in the time of Romanos I:  each household pays a certain rate according to the type of service it has to support, the resources thus extracted going to the maintenance of a soldier or sailor.  Ibn Hawkal records that from the wealthy, a mounted soldier with all his equipment was required[82].   But the central government could vary the demand: a particular cash sum from each registered household, or a contribution in livestock, cavalry mounts and equipment, and so on, could also be required[83].   This has in turn been connected with the more generalised fiscalisation of the strateia which seems to have been especially stimulated by the policies of Nikephoros II, and as reported by Zonaras[84].

Secondly, there were the full-time, core troops based in each thema, in key fortresses and with the stratêgos in his headquarters.   These are the standing units of the thematic armies, presumably made up from registered holders of a strateia who were able to (or wished to) serve on a permanent basis, and from other less well-off persons in each thema subject to thestrateia and registered on the military rolls, but supported by the state on a full-time basis from the income derived from the fiscalised strateia.  All these different categories of soldier enjoyed the same privileges of military status.   By the early eleventh century such regular thematic units were often also called tagmata (of such-and-such a district or theme)[85].   There is some debate as to how numerous these were in the eighth and ninth centuries; they may always have been paid through the methods for fiscalising strateia referred to already, but there was probably always an element of their pay from central resources: the tariff of pay described by Ibn Khurradadhbih[86], the fact that the state seems regularly to have despatched officers from Constantinople with the salaries of the thematic forces[87], and the fact that this was done in the later ninth century at least on a three- or four-yearly rotational basis makes this clear[88].  The relationship between these standing contingents and the thematic militias, for that is in effect what they were, remains unclear[89].  What is clear is that as the tenth century progressed the state increasingly preferred to raise cash from the commutation of military service which it could then invest in the more professional and permanent units of the themes – units which will have included the heavy cavalry referred to in the legislation of the emperor Nikephoros II[90].   It was these core elements of the thematic forces which became the tagmata, or permanent units, of the provinces and themes of the later tenth and eleventh centuries.

Finally, there were the troops which may broadly be defined as ‘mercenary’ units, although these may again be subdivided into several categories, the first of which overlaps to a large extent with the previous category: (a) units made up of individual Romans and non-Romans attracted to serve for a particular length of time or particular campaign, at specific rates, and equipped by the state, drawn both from the regular registered stratiôtai and others: the four imperial tagmata may be seen in this light[91], as well as the units occasionally recruited by emperors for special service, such as the special naval troops raised by Michael II, the Tessarakontarioi, or the Athanatoi established under John Tzimiskes; as well as the numerous other special tagmata referred to for the later tenth and eleventh century[92]; and (b) units made up of non-Romans from a particular ethnic group or region – some sections of the Hetaireia, for example, the Chazars and Pharganoi serving at court, or the Ethiopian unit raised during the reign of Theophilos.  These seem normally to have come under Roman command[93].

Last of all, the various foreign units serving under their own leaders for a particular length of time or campaign become a standard element of the military establishment – the Rus or Varangians with their boats in the campaigns of 935 to Italy, and 949 and 965 against Crete, for example[94].    Their numbers increased dramatically during the eleventh century as the provincial soldiery was neglected and the strateia fiscalised; although it should be emphasised that the use of mercenaries in large numbers need not in itself be an indicator of ‘decline’, political or economic: as has recently been pointed out, they continued to be employed throughout the twelfth century and well after the stabilisation of finances and political arrangements achieved by Alexios I and his immediate successors[95].

Once in hostile territory, it was assumed that the army would encamp and entrench, and several treatises refer, in one case in considerable detail, to the procedures to be adopted in establishing a suitable position, in laying out and in fortifying the encampment.   Details also survive of the order in which the tents of the different units were to be laid out, the distances between them, the system employed for establishing watches and picket lines, passwords and camp security, and so forth[96].   To what extent these theories were put into practice clearly varied according to circumstances, but the evidence of the tenth- and eleventh-century historians suggests that the standard precautions were indeed taken when in enemy territory.  The accounts of Leo the Deacon for the campaigns of Nikephoros Phokas, John Tzimiskes and the young Basil II, of John Skylitzes and Michael Attaleiates for the same period and for Romanos IV both before and during the Mantzikert campaign, make this very clear[97].   Some of these encampments were obviously substantial, able to ward off major attacks by the enemy at times; while the army needed to be able to set up such an encampment under the most difficult conditions[98].    Anna Comnena feels the need to explain why on one occasion her father did not entrench and fortify his encampment; so that we may assume that the practice was generally followed[99].   By the same token, Byzantine writers note occasions when careless or ignorant commanders failed either to establish a secure camp or, having done so, fail to ensure adequate supplies in the locality or maintain adequate guards and piquets to warn of hostile attack[100].   In Roman territory, in contrast, the army could be housed either in marching camps of this sort, or in the several military base camps, or aplêkta, situated at key points along various major military routes[101].   Alternatively, soldiers and officers could also take lodgings with the civilian population, as the evidence from tenth- and eleventh-century documents makes clear (the imposition of mitaton and aplêkton on local populations), and as at least one ninth-century hagiography, describing how a soldier was billeted in an inn, testifies[102].

The order of march varied according to the size of the army and the nature of the terrain, of course, as well as whether or not the emperor was present.   Instructions for camps and the order of march are much more carefully set out in the latter case.   When the imperial tagmata were present they were given specific positions in camp and on the march[103]; when they were not present, commanders were recommended to pay attention to the relative disposition of mounted and infantry units.   Again, the order of march for large forces was very different from that for smaller detachments or raiding parties, clearly set out for the latter in the treatise on skirmishing warfare[104].    All the treatises agree that only the minimum of baggage should accompany the force into hostile regions; the greater part was to be left in home territory, and the prôtonotarios of the theme from which the army enters the lands of the enemy should take charge of it[105].

In the document dealing with imperial military campaigns, most of the information from which probably dates from the time of Basil I, the army consists entirely of thematic units and the imperial tagmata.    By the time of the Cretan expeditions, and partly reflecting social changes in the rural population of the empire, it is clearly quite normal to raise extra units on a mercenary and short-term basis to make up the deficit in numbers and in professional esprit in the thematic militia forces – an imperial officer was despatched to the district of the so-called Plataniatai, in the Anatolikon region, for example, to raise 500 selected soldiers, to be equipped from their salaries or from requisitions in the thema[106].   Unlike the provision of foodstuffs, which could be taken as part of, or an advance on, the regular land-tax, such requisitions do not appear to have been compensated, and were especially burdensome.   From the later tenth century and at an increasing rate through the first half of the eleventh century, the balance between thematic militias on the one hand and their core professional units and other ‘tagmata‘ shifted decisively in favour of the latter, which in turn had important consequences, not just for the ways in which armies were supplied and maintained, and for the relationship between military units and the provincial populations; but also for the whole fiscal administration of the state.

The basic structure which had evolved from the late Roman system described in the fifth and sixth-century evidence, continued to develop and to respond to the demands and pressures placed upon it during the period of imperial expansion and reconquest after the middle of the tenth century.   Two points can be emphasised at the outset.  First, the considerable increase in the number of mercenary units maintained on a full-time basis, both indigenous and foreign, seems also to have increased the economic pressures on the rural population who had to support them.   Second, one of the results of this is an increase in the number of requests for exemptions from the extra burdens which accompanied the presence of such troops in the provinces, with the consequence that the evidence from documents throwing some light on the actual mechanisms of extracting supplies and support for the soldiers becomes a little clearer[107].


There is no evidence to suggest that the pattern of administration of expeditionary forces changed very markedly between the later tenth and later eleventh centuries.   We can assume that preparations were made as before, informing thematic officials of the necessary requirements, which had to be prepared in advance ready for the army to collect, and that supplies provided were set against the annual tax demand for the region in question.  On the other hand, the majority of the soldiers were no longer stood down for much of the year and called up only for such expeditions, or when an attack threatened, a system which had the obvious advantage, from the point of view of the management and distribution of resources, that soldiers thus supported themselves and constituted no extra burden on the tax-payers.   Under the changes which have been referred to, the presence of soldiers all year round must more often have been the case, and such soldiers would need to be fed, housed, their animals catered for, and so on, throughout the year.

The lists of impositions in imperial grants of exemption give some idea of what sort of demands were made.   These burdens were, in themselves, not new: the imposition of billeting and feeding soldiers and officers, grinding corn and baking bread, and providing extra supplies for units passing through or based in a district, providing craftsmen and artisans for public and military works, burning charcoal, providing labour for the maintenance or construction of roads and bridges, had existed from Roman times and are still found, sometimes under slightly different names, in the eleventh century[108].   But in addition, from the middle of the seventh century and certainly by the tenth and eleventh centuries a group of new impositions had evolved, including the provision or fabrication of weapons and items of military equipment, a reflection of the break-down of the late Roman system of fabricae or state arms factories.   After the period of the initial Arab conquests in the 630s and 640s, most of the late Roman workshops were outside the imperial frontier; of those that remained within the state – at Sardis, Nicomedia, Adrianople, Caesarea, Thessaloniki – virtually nothing is known.    But some evidence of continuity is provided by the reference to exkoussatoi of an imperial armamenton at Caesarea in the tenth century, noted already, which may suggest that other establishments did survive[109].   Arms workshops continued to exist in Constantinople; but whether the official in charge of these – the archôn tou armamentou - was in charge of the provincial establishments as well as these is unclear[110].

The provision of raw materials for weapons had been achieved in the late Roman period through the regular taxation (iron ore, for example, formed part of the tax-burden - synteleia - of those who extracted ore in the Taurus mountain region)[111] together with compulsory levies in wood and other materials.   The tenth- and eleventh-century evidence suggests that a similar combination of levies (wood, charcoal etc.) and purchases (or compulsory purchases) was operated.   The production of different types of weapon was commissioned and passed on to provincial craftsmen and manufacturers of items such as spears, arrows, bows, shields and so forth[112].   For other materials, cash could be issued from the eidikon with which to purchase iron or similar requirements from provincial sources for the production of specialised items, for example, for  naval construction[113].   During the eleventh century, a number of landlords, both lay and monastic, succeeded in obtaining exemptions for their estates from the levy of weapons and other supplies.   Furthermore, since units of mercenary or tagmatic soldiers were often based permanently in a particular location through the winter season - eis paracheimasian as it is called in the sources – such demands may have occurred both more frequently and on a more arbitrary basis, according to the needs of individual units and their commanders, than hitherto[114].

The earliest extant grants of exemption make no specific mention of military exactions: that issued by Basil I in 883 simply forbids anyone to ‘vex’ the monks of Athos and the monastery of John Kolobos at Hierissos, although this may have included demands from the military[115].   Leo VI issued a judgement in 908 similarly freeing the monks from any ‘vexation’ (or imposition) and ‘harm’; and in 934 Romanos I frees a monastic house near Athos from impositions, corvées and exactions from civil or episcopal authorities[116].   More explicitly in a document of 945/946 (not extant), confirmed in a  sigillion of 975[117];  and in documents for 957/958, 959/960, 974 and 995, freedom from explicitly military impositions is granted, including kastroktisiamêtaton and chorton (supplying fodder)[118].   In the case of the document of 995, it is worth noting that it was issued by the military commander of the troops in the region in the context of the series of Bulgar raids and the presence of large numbers of Byzantine troops from the Armeniak and Boukellarion  themata, and gives a good idea of the effects on the local economy of the presence of large bodies of soldiers[119],  effects reported in the later account of the wars of the second half of the tenth century penned by the historian Skylitzes[120].     In the eleventh century Michael Psellos writes a letter about the weight of the burden of state exactions in the form of demands for livestock, probably horses, which were needed when the army was present; and the anonymous author of the Logos nouthetêtikos is aware of the burden imposed upon the tax-payers when the imperial cortège and troops pass through a region[121].

In the period before the changes of the later tenth century, it is likely that the overall burden on the rural population of the provinces was fairly evenly distributed, and that, although the transit of imperial forces did involve unusually heavy demands on the communities closest to the routes used by military detachments, such demands were neither frequent nor regular, the more so since the emperor’s seem to have maximised their use of the system of base-camps or aplêkta as points for the concentration of smaller forces from a wide area.  Thus very large armies marching across imperial territory will have been comparatively unusual – and hence also the much more devastating consequences when civil strife broke out (as in the war between Michael II and Thomas the Slav, for example).

The presence of many more full-time units, whether indigenous or foreign, needing supplies, fodder, housing and other necessities throughout the winter and possibly all year round, and who could not draw upon their families and their own resources, must have considerably increased the overall burden on the rural populations which provided these provisions.   The result was, in effect, the extension of the traditional system for maintaining armies on campaign, which had been in operation from late Roman times, and which had affected most provinces only occasionally[122], into the standard or regular means of maintaining imperial forces.  In contrast to the general situation in the ninth and earlier years of the tenth century[123], the bulk of the provincial soldiery could no longer be said to support itself over the greater part of the year.   Furthermore, unlike the older thematic ‘militia’, these soldiers will generally have had no common interest with the provincials who supported them.  Monastic charters and exemptions are particularly instructive for, as Oikonomidès has shown, the number of groups of foreign mercenaries alone who were dependent upon rights of billeting and provisioning at the expense of local communities and landlords increases very sharply from the 1040s[124].   But this process seems already to have got under way from about 950, so that from that time and with increasing rapidity during the first half of the eleventh century, the most expensive units and a greater proportion numerically of the armies had to be maintained at the direct expense of a rural or sometimes urban population.  Of course, there must have been considerable regional variations, evidence for which is lacking, so that some districts, especially those from which the imperial forces conducted operations over several seasons, will have been more drastically affected.   The amount of state resources extracted by these means was probably considerable, a development illustrated by the fact that the value of the antikaniskion (the monetised equivalent of the kaniskion, a render of produce to imperial officials in the course of carrying out their duties) and related demands made on some properties of the monastery of Vatopedi in the later eleventh century was actually greater than the rate of land-tax imposed[125].

At the same time, of course, the fiscalised strateia was still collected by state officials as a further source of revenue for the maintenance of the armies[126]; so that it is not correct to suggest that the registers of thematic stratiôtai were entirely neglected – it was from these that the regular tagmata of the themes were recruited, and upon the basis of which the fiscalisedstrateia was also extracted.   By the time of the Mantzikert campaign, however, and as a result of imperial neglect and reductions in military salaries[127], the regular or Roman tagmatic forces recruited from each thema were reduced in number and poorly equipped: emperors had not taken to the field themselves for many years, and the revenues from the strateiai had been employed for other than military expenditures[128].   In some frontier regions where the state had traditionally preferred regular military service for those registered, for example, Constantine IX, as is well known, disbanded many units and extracted the tax equivalent[129].     And in spite of the fact that landlords with access to imperial patronage, both secular and monastic, attempted to free themselves from such extra impositions through obtaining grants of exemption of one sort or another, it is clear that in many cases the needs and demands of the local military meant that privileges were often ignored entirely[130].    Although the amount of resources lost to the state through grants of exemption remains a point for discussion, the fact that Isaac I was diligent in cancelling such concessions suggests that it cannot have been negligible, for he was himself, as a member of the military elite, particularly aware of the needs of the army in the provinces[131].     It has been suggested that the state lost very little through such concessions; that exemptions went primarily to those few bodies or individuals who enjoyed imperial favour; and that the few secular landlords who benefited in this way were exceptionally privileged[132].   The lack of clear documentary evidence makes a convincing and definite conclusion impossible, of course.   Yet this argument ignores the explicit testimony of Attaleiates in this matter, for he is quite clear that ‘many private persons’ (my emphases) who held privileges confirmed in chrysobulls had their privileges ignored or withdrawn, to the benefit of the fisc, and this surely implies more than a mere handful of close associates of the emperors.  He goes on to remark on the recovery by the state of substantial revenues ceded to monastic houses or communities, and that this had beneficial results in two ways: first, it relieved the monks of worldly cares; second, it freed the rural communities from the burdens which they owed to these landlords[133].   In addition, it is unlikely that high-ranking imperial officials such as Attaleiates and Pakourianos were entirely untypical – the military-political elite may well have been numerically small, but it controlled a disproportionate amount of landed property[134].

The basic requirements for the organisation of military expeditions and campaigns in the eleventh century remained the same as in the preceding centuries.  What changed were the conditions under which those requirements had to be met.  Although evidence is limited, some information for the process of supplying and maintaining forces in the field is to be found in the details of some eleventh-century campaigns, including the campaigns of Romanos IV in 1068 and that which led up to the battle of Mantzikert in 1071, and in the preparations made by Alexios I to deal with the passage through imperial territory in the Balkans of the Crusader armies.

In the campaign against the Turks conducted by Romanos IV after his accession, the regular entrenched camps[135], the accompanying supply-train and the supplies carried with the army are all referred to[136].   Such supplies were raised by the various fiscal and military officials mentioned in the exemptions granted to monastic landlords.   In Byzantine territory, and presumably when the army arrived in a district which was not warned in advance, troops were sent out to purchase corn and other requirements from the local populations[137].   As we have seen, even if this did not directly damage the local economy, it seems always to have had a distorting effect on prices and exchange relationships.  In hostile territory, the army foraged for its own supplies[138]; although commanders had to make sure that they took the army into districts where supplies could be found[139].   The military treatises of the tenth century and the historians’ accounts of many of the campaigns of this period show that foraging for supplies was one of the most risk-laden activities which the commander had to organise – failure to guard against surprise attack, on the one hand, and the failure of the foragers to locate and secure adequate provisions could prove disastrous[140].

As regards recruitment of soldiers, Romanos IV seems to have been able to raise a substantial army for his first campaign by mustering the reduced and straitened thematic tagmata(and presumably also the eastern detachments of the tagmata proper) and recruiting a new draft of young men (presumably on the basis of the military registers).   But as several contemporary sources note, the soldiers raised from the provinces on the basis of their stratiotic obligations were quite unfitted for warfare, not having been mustered for many years, their service being commuted for a cash sum; nor having been paid or supplied with their traditional provisions: the older men, who had some experience of fighting, were without mounts and equipment; the newer draftees had no experience at all and were quite without training[141], the emperor having to mix them with the more experienced soldiers[142].   The majority of the army was nevertheless collected from indigenous forces, a mixture of regular mercenary units from the different parts of the empire and the older thematic soldiers registered in the provincial kôdikes.    The tagmata of the West, perhaps because they had been less neglected than their eastern counterparts, were regarded much more highly: the ‘fivetagmata of the West’ were classed by Attaleiates alongside the western mercenaries in respect of their military value[143].    No mention is made of their eastern detachments; but the poor state of the eastern forces stems in part also from the effects of the civil wars of 1047-1048 and 1057[144].   For the Mantzikert campaign,  Romanos could raise as many as some 60,000 men in all, according to a recent estimate[145],   although Attaleiates notes that many of these deserted or were left behind as too unreliable at the beginning of the campaign[146].   He seems also to have been able to rely on the traditional means of raising and distributing supplies for his troops while they were en route to confront the Seljuk forces, although the arrangements did not always work especially well:  Attaleiates notes that the troops, and the foreign mercenary forces in particular, caused considerable damage to the region around Krya Pêgê[147].   His supply train was considerable, as the presence of a large number of wagons with siege equipment appears to testify, suggesting that the central armouries, the local provincial officials and the commanders of the army were able effectively to co-operate on the traditional pattern for the provisioning and equipping of the imperial troops[148].   Once in territory which had been in hostile hands, however, he was forced to forage for provisions: the Franks under Roussel de Bailleul based near Chliat were ordered to seize the harvested crops; the troops from Theodosioupolis were ordered to provide two months’ supplies for themselves[149]; and Matthew of Edessa notes that some 12,000 troops were sent towards Abkhazia to find supplies[150].

The later tenth- and eleventh-century sources, especially the documents granting exemptions, suggest that a wide range of state impositions on the rural population was maintained to ensure the adequate arming, equipping and provisioning of troops.  They likewise list many of the officials responsible for these arrangements in the provinces.   The synônarioi,strateutaichartoularioi of the themata, and many others such as epoptai, are referred to, officials responsible for raising the supplies needed for the army, for registering or raising the soldiers in each province, and related issues[151].   Their existence illustrates the continued effectiveness of the central authorities in extracting resources for its troops.    Some of the letters of Theophylact of Ochrid, referred to already, mention these officials and their exactions[152].   It was these officials who will have been responsible for the arrangements made by Alexios in the 1090s for the passage and provisioning of the Crusader forces, arrangements whose success demonstrates the continued efficiency of the imperial military and provincial administration in catering for its armies at this time[153].

A number of changes in the administrative arrangements for central supervision of the supplying of the armies did, however, take place between the middle of the tenth and the later eleventh century, although they do not appear to have affected the practicalities of extracting resources in terms of provisions, livestock and hospitality.   One of the most significant is the extension of the authority of the thematic kritai, and the corresponding reduction of the importance of the prôtonotarioi[154], a process which reflects the efforts made by the central government from the later tenth and into the eleventh century to extend the definition of the fisc, and consequently the judicial authority of the fiscal departments, in order to retain control over its taxable resources.   It must also reflect the relatively rapid decline in importance of the traditional thematic forces during this period, and in particular the stratêgoi of the older themata and the militarised administration with which they were so closely associated[155].

The enormous demands made upon the ordinary population of the empire when a military expedition was undertaken required an administrative structure which could deal with all facets of the armies’ needs, whether in terms of raising and equipping new recruits or in respect of supplying the vast number of men, horses, mules and other animals which an army on the march needed.   Some of the difficulties faced by expeditionary forces become clear when we examine some of the campaigns launched against its enemies by the empire in the period from the ninth to eleventh centuries.   What is evident, and important to recognise, is that the basic structures which had evolved by the late Roman period retained their relevance in the early and middle Byzantine period; but it is also apparent that those structures continued to evolve and to develop in response to the changed context, different fiscal organisational needs, and changed political emphases of the period after the sixth century.   By the middle and later eleventh century, the structures of internal political power, together with a very different international context, had evolved sufficiently for substantial changes in fiscal and military administration to take place or, to express things somewhat differently, to become inevitable.  These changes become apparent in the years following 1071, but especially during the early reign of Alexios I.

End Notes

[1] E.g., M.F. Hendy, Studies in the Byzantine Monetary Economy c.300-1450 (Cambridge 1985) 157ff., 221ff.

[2] See Leonis imperatoris tactica (in: PG 107, 672-1120), Epilog. lvii, lxiv.   The better edition – ed. R. Vári, Leonis imperatoris tactica I (proem., const. i-xi); II (const. xii-xiii, xiv, 1-38) (Sylloge Tacticorum Graecorum III, Budapest 1917-1922) was unfortunatly never completed, and this section is not included.

[3] See the valuable discussion of W.E. Kaegi, jr., Some Reconsiderations on the Themes: Seventh-Ninth Centuries, JÖBG 16 (1967) 39-53.

[4] Recent overviews and discussions of these issues:  W.E. Kaegi, Byzantine Logistics: Problems and Perspectives, in Feeding Mars: Logistics in Western Warfare from the Middle Ages to the Present, ed. J.A. Lynn (Boulder-San Francisco-Oxford 1993) 39-55 and idem, The Capability of the Byzantine Army for Military Operations in Italy, in Teodorico e i Goti tra Oriente e Occidente, ed. A. Carile (Ravenna 1995) 79-99; J.F. Haldon, The Army and the Economy: the Allocation and Redistribution of Surplus Wealth, Mediterranean Historical Review  7/2  (1992) 133-153; and Military Service, Military Lands and the Status of Soldiers: Current Problems and Interpretations, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 47  (1993) 1-67 (repr. inState, Army and Society in Byzantium: Approaches to Military, Social and Administrative History, 6th-12th Centuries [London, Variorum 1995] VI, VII).  See also idem, Pre-Industrial States and the Distribution of Resources: The Nature of the Problem, in Averil Cameron, L.A Conrad, eds., States, Resources and Armies: Papers of the Third Workshop on Late Antiquity and Early Islam (Princeton 1995) 1-25.   General discussions: M. Van Crefeld, Supplying War: Logistics from Wallerstein to Patton(Cambridge 1977); and the chapter Logistics and Supply, in J. Keegan, A History of Warfare(London 1993) 301-315.

[5] See most recently the sensible comments of J.-C. Cheynet, Les effectifs de l’armée byzantine aux Xe-XIe s., Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, Xe-XIIe siècles 38/4 (1995) 319-335; and the discussion in W. Treadgold, Byzantium and its Army 284-1081 (Stanford 1995), 43ff.   For some figures from tenth-century sources, see J.F. Haldon, Byzantine Praetorians: an administrative, institutional and social survey of the Opsikion and Tagmata, c. 580-900 (Poikila Byzantina 3.  Bonn 1984), 629-633, where relatively low figures are suggested, borne out by the figures from the two expeditionary forces sent to Crete in 911 and 949 – respectively totalling just over 17,000 (excluding oarsmen) and just over 10,000 (although the complete tally of soldiers for the 949 expedition is not given): see De Cer., 651.14-656.18; 664.7-669.14.   Field armies of from 3,000 – 8,000 cavalry plus infantry, perhaps giving an absolute maximum of as many as 25,000 soldiers, can be adduced from the military treatises of the second half of the tenth century (see note 8 below).  See the useful comments in M. Whittow,The Making of Orthodox Byzantium 600-1025 (London 1996) 181-193, casting considerable, and justifiable doubt, on the figures given in the Arab geographers’ accounts, with which I am in complete agreement.  See also F. Winkelmann, Probleme der Informationen des al-Garmi über die byzantinischen Provinzen, BSl 43 (1982), 18-29; and J.F. Haldon, Kudâma Ibn Djacfar and the Garrison of Constantinople, Byz 48 (1978), 78-90.

[6] I will be taking up the issues discussed in the present article in more detail, along with a number of other aspects of Byzantine military organisation, in my forthcoming book Warfare, State and Society in the Byzantine World (sixth – fifteenth century) (UCL Press, London 1999).

[7] Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Three Treatises on Imperial Military Expeditions.  Introduction, text, translation, commentary (Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae, vol. 28, Vienna 1990)

[8] The key texts are the mid-tenth-century treatise on skirmishing or guerilla tactics, written by a close associate of the Phocas clan; and an anonymous treatise on campaign organisation, dating probably from the reign of John Tzimiskes or Basil II.  See G. Dagron, H. Mihaescu, in: Le traité sur la Guérilla (De velitatione) de l’empereur Nicéphore Phocas (963-969). Texte établi par Gilbert Dagron et Haralambie Mihaescu, trad. et comm. par G. Dagron (Paris 1986) (text 28-135);  Eng. trans. and edn.: G.T. Dennis, in: Three Byzantine Military Treatises.  Text, transl. and notes (CFHB 25 = DOT 9, Washington D.C. 1985) 137-239 (text 144-238); and Incerti scriptoris Byzantini saec. X. Liber De Re Militari, ed. R. Vári (Leipzig 1901); Eng. trans. and edn.: Campaign Organisation and Tactics, ed. and trans. G.T. Dennis, in: Three Byzantine Military Treatises, 241-335 [text 246-326].   In addition to these three other handbooks contain some material of relevance: the late ninth/early tenth-century Tactica of Leo VI, referred to already ; the mid-tenth-century Sylloge taktikôn: see A. Dain, ed.,Sylloge Tacticorum, quae olim ‘inedita Leonis Tactica’ dicebatur (Paris 1938); the so-called Praecepta militaria ascribed to Nicephorus II and the Tactica of the general Nikephoros Ouranos.  The former is edited by I. Kulakovskij, Nicephori Praecepta militaria e codice Mosquensi, in: Zapiski Imperatorskoj Akademii Nauk, viii ser., 7 (1908) no. 9; and by E. McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth.  Byzantine Warfare in the Tenth Century (DOS XXXIII. Washington D.C. 1995), 3-59 (text), 61-78 (notes) (cited here).  Chapters 56-65 of the latter are now edited in McGeer, op. cit., 88-163 (text), 165-167 (notes); chapters 63-74 are edited by J.-A. de Foucault, Douze chapitres inédits de la Tactique de Nicéphore Ouranos, TM 5 (1973) 281-312.

[9] See Const. Porph., Three Treatises  54ff.

[10] Ibid., (B) 101-106.

[11] Ibid., (C) 347-358.

[12] See CI X, 27.2 (a. 491-505) (Codex Iustinianus, ed. P. Krüger [CIC II. Berlin 1919]).  See A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire 284-602. A Social Economic and Administrative Survey (Oxford 1964), 235; and Just., Nov. cxxx, 1-5 (Iustiniani Novellae [CIC, III, Berlin 1928]).

[13] Const. Porph., Three Treatises, (B) 101-106; (C) 347-358.

[14] On the synônê, see J.F. Haldon, Synônê:  Re-Considering a Problematic Term of Middle Byzantine Fiscal Administration, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 18 (1994) 116-153 (repr. in State, Army and Society in Byzantium, VIII); with idem,  Aerikon/aerika: a Re-Interpretation, Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 44 (1994) 135-142.

[15] The prôtonotarios was clearly the link between the provincial thematic fiscal administration and the centre.  He belonged to the department of the sakellion (see N. Oikonomidès, Les listes de préséance byzantins des IXe-Xe siècles [Paris 1972] 315; Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Three Treatises, 167 and 236); but he works with the eidikon , as is clear from these texts, as well as, presumably, with officials who could relay his needs to the local dioikêtai and other officials of the genikon, responsible for the general land-tax and related state demands.   This was most probably done by officials of the thematic chartoularios, an officer of the stratiôtikon logothesion, who, it is asumed, held the lists of registered soldiers in thethema and who would in the normal course of events have to liaise with the dioikêtai in rspect of that element of the thematic army not maintained through its own resources.   On the different fiscal departments mentioned here, see Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Three Treatises, 168 and 236 with literature; and Oikonomidès, Listes, 313ff..

[16] For the question of the thematic protonotarioi, see e.g., G. Ostrogorsky, Geschichte des byzantinischen Staates (Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft xii, 1.2 = Byzantinisches Handbuch 1.2, Munich 31963), 205-206, and esp. E. Stein, ‘Ein Kapitel vom persischen und vom byzantinischen Staate’, BNJ 1 (1920) 50-89, 79ff., followed by e..g. W.E. Kaegi, Two Studies  in the Continuity of Late Roman and Byzantine Military Institutions, BF 8 (1982) 87-113, 109ff.  For a slightly different interpretation see J.F. Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century: the Transformation of a Culture (Cambridge 1990), chapt. 5.

[17] For the first references to thematic prôtonotarioi, see Ignatius diac., Epp. (Ignatios diakonos, Epistolai, ed. M. Gedeon, in Nea Bibliothêkê Ekklêsiastikôn Eggrapheôn I, 1 [Constantinople 1903] 1-64) , nos. 7, 8 (the spatharios Nikolaos);  Theod. Stud., Epp. (Theodori Studitae Epistulae, ed. G. Fatouros [CFHB 31/1-2. Berlin-New York 1992]), no. 500 (theprôtospatharios Hesychios), both dated to the 820s.   See also V. Ioannicii, 368A (AS Nov. ii/1, 384-434 [BHG 936]) (for the reign of Theophilos, 829-841); V. retr., 125 (La vita retractata et les miracles postumes de saint pierre d’Atroa, ed., trad. et comm. V. Laurent  [Subsid. Hag. 31, Brussels 1958] [BHG 2365]) (for the reign of Michael II, 820-829).   For seals, see F. Winkelmann, Byzantinische Rang- und Ämterstruktur im 8. und 9. Jahrhundert (BBA 53, Berlin 1985), 120-121, 122ff. with full lists.   But note Winkelmann’s comment, p. 24, regarding the fact that Zacos and Veglery based their dating of the seals of prôtonotarioi on the fact that they are not listed in the T.Usp.   Since some prôtonotarioi at least existed before this time, as the letters of Ignatius and Theodore demonstrate, their dating of all the seals of prôtonotarioi to the period after 842/3 must be revised.

[18] De Cer. (Constantini Porphyrogeniti imperatoris De cerimoniis aulae byzantinae libri duo, ed. J.J. Reiske [Bonn 1829]), 651.14-660.12.

[19] De Cer., 600.13-661.6

[20] De Cer., 661.7-662.11

[21] De Cer., 664.4-678.10; with 662.11-664.2.   The accounts of the expeditions have been used by several scholars to elucidate different aspects of imperial military structures, fiscal history and diplomatic history:  see in particular H. Antoniadis-Bibicou, Études d’histoire maritime à Byzance, à propos du Thème des Caravisiens (Bibliothèque Générale de l’École Pratique des Hautes Études, VIe section) (Paris 1966) 91-95 (docs. 1 and 4); Hendy, Studies in the Byzantine Monetary Economy, 268 (doc. 3); and appropriate sections in H. Ahrweiler,Byzance et la mer: la marine de guerre, la politique et les institutions maritimes de Byzance aux VIIe-XVe siècles (Paris 1966); or E. Eickhoff, Seekrieg und Seepolitik zwischen Islam und Abendland (Berlin 1966).

[22] De Cer., 673.12ff. (for 649): the largesses and cash sums for expenses other than regular pay made to the troops are specifically mentioned as derived from the eidikon and administered by the eidikos and sakellarios (e.g. Three Treatises, [C] 261-266).  The cash for the expeditionary payments was probably supervised by these two officials also, although this is nowhere explicitly stated (eg. 667.12-669.14); but it could also be supplemented from the koitôn, under the parakoimômenos (see Oikonomidès, Listes, 305): see Three Treatises, [C] 287-289; De Cer. 668.14-18.  For the sakellarios, see Oikonomidès, Listes, 312.   The eidikon was similarly the source for cash sums for other expenditure for the 949 campaign: seeDe Cer., 673.12ff.

[23] Ignatios diakonos, Epp. 7.20-26; 8.10-12, for the raising of extra supplies through the synônê in the early ninth century;  De Cer., 658.8-16 for the supplies for the expedition to be prepared by the prôtonotarios of the Thrakesion theme (20,000 modioi of barley, 40,000 modioi of corn, biscuit and flour, 30,000 measures of wine, 10,000 beasts for slaughter: cf. Three Treatises, [C] 141ff. and p. 202f.; as well as hardware and raw materials for the warships.  The ship-fitting materials were to be collected at Phygela (nr. mod. Kusadasi: see ODB 3, 1672), the point of departure of the expedition.

[24] De Cer., 659.7-12.  The supplies were to be delivered to Attaleia rather than to Kalon Oros.

[25] De Cer., 657.12-14 (stratêgos of Thessaloniki to provide 200,000 arrows, 3,000 spears, and as many shields as he could manage); 657.15-17 (kritês of Hellas to prepare 1,000 spears – which he had done – and others, to be transported wherever required); 657.17-20 (similar commissions to other officers in Hellas and the Peloponnese); 658.17-22 (the stratêgos of Samos was to obtain cash from the prôtonotarios - of his own theme, presumably – to pay for the production of nails for the ships, to be deposited at Phygela).  The list continues from De Cer., 658.22-659.7.  The production and supply of weapons seems to have been within the competence of the eidikon: the archôn of the armamenton played an important role in organising this productive effort: see De Cer., 673.20ff. and Oikonomidès, Listes, 317; Haldon, Praetorians, 318ff.     Until the Arab invasion of the seventh century, the production of weapons was managed through a series of state-run manufactories (Jones, Later Roman Empire, 834-39 for the arms factories).  These must have suffered in the following period, but in the tenth century, an arms-producing workshop at Caesarea in Cappadocia may have been operational again: imperial armourers are mentioned in a mid-tenth-century letter.  See R. Cantarella, Basilio Minimo. II, BZ 26 (1926) 3-34 (letter to the emperor Constantine VII) and  see below.

[26] See, e.g., De Cer., 672.1ff., 676.18ff. and cf. Three Treatises, [C] 131-35.  Leo the deacon refers to the transportation of military supplies, including arms, to the army setting out on the campaign against the Russians in 972: Leo diac. (Leonis diaconi Caloensis Historiae libri decem, ed. C.B. Hase [Bonn 1828]), vii, 9.

[27] §21.21-23 (Dennis p. 302f.); cf. Three Treatises, [C] 347-352.

[28] E.g. Attaleiates (Michaelis Attaliotae Historia, ed. I. Bekker [Bonn 1853]), 118.4-5; 151.9 (1071).  Cf. Leo diac., x, 8 (171.19-21:the supplies brought by Basil II’s forces are exhausted and the army has to forage in enemy territory).

[29] For the fifth century, see Vegetius, Epitome rei militaris, ed. C. Lang (Leipzig 1885), iii, 3; for the tenth-century,Three Treatises, (C) 557-559.

[30] Campaign Organisation and Tactics, §21. 36-42 (Dennis, p. 302f.).

[31] Campaign Organisation and Tactics, §§21, 32; De vel. bell., 16.1 (Dagron/Mihaescu p. 93; Dennis p. 200).  See the reference to Basil II’ supplies running out in 975 (n. 24 above).

[32] See, for example, the reference to the organisation of supplies for the campaign against the Rus in 972:  Leo diac., vii, 9.

[33] See esp. P. D Jonge, Scarcity of Corn and Cornprices in Ammianus, Mnemosyne 4 ser., 1 (1948) 238-245; Jones, LRE, 629, on the effects of the presence of a large expeditionary force at Edessa in 503 and 504 (while an exception, the example is nevertheless useful in giving some idea of the problem the presence of a large army created); and 630, for the evidence for price-fixing.   For Thrace, see CI X, 27.10 (a. 491-505).  On compulsory purchase and fixed prices see Haldon, Synônê.  For the quaestura exercitus, see Jones, LRE, 482f., and for Maurice’s order and the context, see Kaegi, Military Unrest, 106-113.

[34] Tactica, ix, 1-3; xvii, 36.

[35] E.g. Maurice, Strat., i, 9 (Das Strategikon des Maurikios, ed. G.T. Dennis, trans. E. Gamillscheg [CFHB 17, Vienna 1981]).

[36] The wealthy and powerful were most likely to succeed in gaining exemption: cf. a letter of the general Nikêphoros Ouranos to the kritês of the Thrakêsion theme appaling for exemption from mitaton, which he claimed was crippling his household (J. Darrouzès,  Epistoliers byzantins du Xe siècle [Archives de l'Orient chrétien 6. Paris 1960], no. 42.241-242); or the letter of the patriarch Nikolaos Mystikos on behalf of the widow of a drouggarios of the ViglaEpistoliers, no. 31.120-121.  See especially Nicholas I, Patriarch of Constantinople, Letters, ed. and trans. R.J.H. Jenkins, L.G. Westerink (Dumbarton Oaks texts II. Washington D.C. 1073), nos. 92. 10-26; 94. 31-40 (extraordinary impositions for the Bulgarian war); 150; 183 (concerning the imposition of military burdens and renewed general imposition of extraordinary levies on Church lands and clerics).

[37] Two exceptions are J. Nesbitt, The Rate of March of Crusading Armies in Europe.  A Study and Computation, Traditio 19 (1963), 167-181, and McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 340-341.   I have avoided here the issue of the extent to which wheeled vehicles were used in transporting Byzantine military (or indeed non-military) supplies and goods.   In general, the evidence suggests that wheeled transport was used on a less widespread basis after the sixth century, partly in response to the decline in the maintenance of hard road surfaces attested by archaeological data from some urban contexts.  On the other hand, imperial expeditionary forces clearly were accompanied by wagons or carts on occasion: see the account and analysis of the 1176 campaign under Manuel I in R.-J. Lilie, Die Schlacht von Myriokephalon (1176), REB 35 (1977) 257-275, where some 3,000 wagons carried the imperial baggage and siege-equipment.   For some useful discussion, see R.W. Bulliet, The Camel and the Wheel (Cambridge, Mass. 1975).

[38] De vel. bell., 13.2 (Dagron/Mihaescu p. 79; Dennis p. 189).  Horses can move more rapidly and cover much greater distances than this, of course, and Phokas’ figure must assume that the horses are carrying more than simply their riders.

[39] See the discussion in McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 340-341.

[40] See McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 341; Van Creveld, Supplying War, 29; and especially D. Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army (Berkeley 1978) 154-156 for detailed figures and averages derived from the marches of Alexander’s army across Greece, Anatolia, Iran and into northern India.   Two crucial points emerge very clearly:  the speed at which large forces can move varies very considerably according to the terrain: anything between 7 or 8 miles per day and eighteen or twenty.   Cavalry by themselves can cover distances of up to forty or fifty, provided the horses are regularly rested and well nourished and watered.   Small units can move much faster than large divisions: distances of up to thirty miles per day for infantry can be attained.  The average marching speeds for infantry are 3 miles per hour on even terrain, 2 1/2 on uneven or broken/hilly ground.  See esp. C. Neumann, A Note on Alexander’s March Rates, Historia 20 (1971) 196-198; and F. Maurice, The Size of the Army of Xerxes in the Invasion of Greece, 480 B.C.,JHS 50 (1930) 210-235, at 229.

[41] As for Roman troops carrying most of their immediate requirements in equipment and provisions, where twenty Roman miles per five hours (18.4 miles), on metalled roads or good tracks, and in good weather, was normal.  A faster pace, intended to cover twenty four Roman miles in five hours, was also practised: see Vegetius, Epitome rei militaris, i, 9 and G. Watson, The Roman Soldier (London 1969) 54-55 for further discussion and evidence.  Watson concludes that these times must also have included resting periods in every hour to permit the speed represented in these figures.   For more recent examples, cf. some of the campaigns of Frederick II of Prussia in 1757-1758: Van Creveld, Supplying War, 28-29.

[42] Cf. the example quoted by McGeer of Basil II’s forced march in 995 from Constantinople to relieve Aleppo: see J.H. Forsyth, The Byzantine-Arab Chronicle (938-1034) of Yahya b. Said al-Antaki (Diss. Univ. Michigan 1977), 492ff.  The emperor set out with a force of 40,000; the journey, normally taking some 60 days, was completed in a quarter of the time, but only 17,000 men and their mounts or pack-animals arrived at Aleppo.  Horses need regular rest and regular breaks for grazing (at least one day in six, or the equivalent), if they are not to develop sores and damage to their feet and backs, such that they are temporarily (and if not rested and cared for, permanently) useless.  The drop-out rate in Basil’s forces was probably due in large part to these factors.  See F. Smith, The Relationship between the Weight of a Horse and its Weight-Carrying Power, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics 11 (1898) 287-290; idemA Manual of Veterinary Hygiene (New York 1906) 144ff.; Maurice, The Size of the Army of Xerxes, 212.

[43] The marching camps of the general Agricola during his campaign in eastern Scotland in A.D. 83-84 were established at distances of between 10 and 13 miles apart: see D.J. Breeze, The Logistics of Agricola’s Final Campaign, Talanta 16-19 (1987-1988) 7-22; although this represents strategical requirements in respect of maintaining lines of communication as well.

[44] Evidence and discussion in McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 331-332, 211-212, 300-302.

[45] See Abû’l-Kâsim cUbayd Allâh b. cAbd Allâh b. Khurradadhbîh, Kitâb at-Masâlik wa’l-Mamâlik, in: Bibliotheca Geographorum Araborum, ed. M.-J. De Goeje (Leyden, 1870ff.); nunc continuata consultantibus R. Blachère (etc.) (Leyden 1938ff.), VI, Fr. transl. 76-85, at 83 (discussing the way in which the land tax was collected: a cash payment based on the price of grain, a tax collected in kind [grains] for the provisioning of the army, and placed in granaries or storehouses, and the kapnikon).

[46] Three Treatises, (C) 347-352.

[47] See Vegetius, Epitome rei militaris, i, 19.

[48] Cf., for example, Ammianus Marcellinus, Works, ed. and trans. J.C. Rolfe, 3 vols. (London-Cambridge, Mass. 1935-1937), xvii, 9.2.

[49] See Watson, The Roman Soldier, 62-66 for figures and evidence.

[50] Cf. Maurice, Strat., i, 9.2 and v, 4: troops camped between 6 and 10 days’ march from the enemy should take 20-30 lbs of hard tack each when they march to battle; and i, 2.4 for the saddle bags.

[51] CTh vii, 4.4 (a. 361); 5; 6; 11 (a.360) (Theodosiani libri xvi cum constitutionibus Sirmondianis, edd. Th. Mommsen, P. Meyer et al. [Berlin 1905]).

[52] P. Oxy. 2013-4 (The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, edd. B.P.Grenfell, A.S. Hunt et al. [London 1898f.]).  See J. Gascou, La table budgétaire d’Antaeopolis (P. Freer 08.45 c-d), in Hommes et richesses dans l’Empire byzantin 1:  IVe-VIIe siècle (Paris 1989) 279-313, at 290-292; and see Jones, LRE, 629 for higher figures for soldiers on garrison.   It is important to stress that the size of the annonae and capita issued to stationary or garrison troops as pay in the late Roman period (whether in kind or as cash commutations) reflected not simply what the soldiers and their animals consumed, but also an allowance for dependents.  They were thus not subsistence issues, but what have been referred to as ‘distribution allowances’:  see L. Foxhall, H.A. Forbes, Sitometreia: The Role of Grain as a Staple Food in Classical Antiquity, Chiron 12 (1982) 41-90, esp. 73.  We should thus assume a substantial difference between the minimal subsistence rations issued to soldiers on campaign, and those issued to troops in peacetime: the capitum issued to cavalry soldiers in the mid-sixth-century at Antaeopolis in Egypt amounted to some 12 lbs/5.4 kg per day, for example: see Gascou, La table budgétaire d’Antaeopolis, 294; and the discussion with further literature in C.E.P. Adams, Supplying the Roman Army: O. Petr. 245, Zeitschrift für papyrologie und Epigraphik 109 (1995) 119-124, at 122.   The consumption of bread per soldier per day while on campaign was still assessed at 2 lbs per head in the European wars of the seventeenth and eighteenth century: see Van Creveld, Supplying War, 24, 34; and the useful analysis in V. Aksan, Feeding the Ottoman Troops on the Danube, 1768-1774, War and Society (13/1 (1995) 1-14.   Similar figures obtained for the Macedonian forces under Alexander as well as, more recently, US soldiers during the American civil war.   See the discussion with literature in Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, 123-126.    The rate at which the newly-installed Muslim soldiers were paid in kind in Syria, Palestine and Egypt in the years immediately after the conquest seems to reflect the minimal basic ration for individual soldiers, of between 2 – 3 lbs of wheat (rather than baked bread) per day (in Egypt), somewhat less in Syria, plus an allowance of oil, vinegar and honey:  see the documents cited in P. Mayerson, ‘An Additional Note on Rouzikon (Ar. rizq)’, Zeitschrift für papyrologie und Epigraphik 107 (1995) 279-281.

[53] In general on grains and the areas where the different strains were produced, see the relevant sections in K.D. White, Roman Farming(London 1970), and on nutritional values, P.J. Reynolds, Iron-Age Farm: the Butser Experiment (London 1979).

[54] See Praecepta, ii.1.

[55] See Nesbitt, art.cit.; and cf. Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, 112f.

[56] Campaign Organisation and Tactics, §21. 22-23 (trans. Dennis, p. 302f.).   Ibn Khurradadhbih notes (Fr. transl., 85):  ‘there is no market in the Roman camp. Each soldier is obliged to bring from his own resources the biscuit, oil, wine and cheese that he will need.’

[57] See Ann Hyland, Equus. The Horse in the Roman World (London 1990) 90.  She underestimates the amount of barley required, however:  the figures given in P. Oxy. XVI 2046 (6th century) are 1/10 artaba of barley and 1/6 of a load of hay per horse.  The relationship between the artaba and the modios varies in the sources for the late Roman period, most information coming from Egyptian documents.  See R.P. Duncan-Jones, The Size of the Modius Castrensis, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 21 (1976) 53-62.    The Byzantineannonikos modios was equal to 26.6 Roman pounds = 18.6 lbs/8.5 kg; but there was also a larger basilikos modios (40 Roman pounds = 28.2 lbs/12.8 kg), as well as a range of smallermodii in use in Egypt and elsewhere in the late Roman period.   At the rate of 1 Roman/Byzantine pound = 11.2-3 oz. or approx. 320-27 g., and using an artaba:modios ratio of 1:3.3 (to be preferred, as that used in the Egyptian military annona and also, as we shall see, fitting better with the figures from the tenth-century document for the loads of the pack-animals), we arrive at a figure substantially higher than that quoted by Hyland.   One tenth of 3.3 modioi of 26.5 Roman pounds each = 8.7 Roman pounds = 6.1 lbs or 2.78 kg, rather than the 3.5 lbs/1.59 kg suggested by Hyland.   As a result, Hyland’s figures for grain feed need revising upward by some 50%.

All the figures presented here must be treated with caution, of course, especially since units of measurement such as the capitum, which represented a specific unit of ration, also functioned as a measure, of uncertain quantity, for straw; although these figures are to some extent borne out by figures in several other Egyptian documents: for example, in P. Freer08.45 c-d (mid-sixth century), col. II, 30: 60 donkeys and 6 camels of the public post receive a total of 4,170 modioi of barley and 13, 177 capita of straw, for 243.3 days.   Camels consume half as much again as mules or donkeys; but very roughly this gives a daily ration of about 7.5 Roman pounds per animal for barley, which is 5.3 lbs or 2.4 kg., assuming again that the modius castrensis is meant, which is by no means certain).

The exact value of the litra, which fluctuated from 324 g. in the 4th century to 319 g. in the later Byzantine period, remains a point of discussion: see E. Schilbach, Byzantinische Metrologie (Handbuch d. Altertumswiss. xii, 4 = Byz. Handbuch iv. Munich 1970), 174; K. Pink, Römische und byzantinische Gewichte (Baden bei Wien 1938) no. 21; but 327.45 g is the generally-accepted standard for the Roman pound, upon which these calculations have been based: see R.P. Duncan-Jones, The Choenix, the Artaba and the Modius, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 21 (1976) 43-52, at 52.  For the value of the artaba in modioi, see ibid.  (Schilbach, Byzantinische Metrologie, 95 n. 6 is unreliable); Gascou, La table budgétaire d’Antaeopolis, 286-287; and esp. D. Rathbone, The Weight and Measurement of Egyptian Grains, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik53 (1983) 265-275.   The results of these calculations are, of course, complicated by the fact that the rations issued under the heading of annonae and capita need to be understood as maximal allowances, and not simply as the amount consumed, as noted already (see note 52 above).

[58] The modern equivalent is twelve horses per acre, but this reflects different priorities for animals bred under modern conditions.  See I.P. Roberts, The Horse (New York 1905) 360ff. For water requirements: Hyland, Equus, 96; Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, 127.

[59] Three Treatises, (C) 411-414.   Although in more recent times, horses and mules have been loaded with a standard pack of up to 200 lbs (see, e.g., W.B. Tegetmeir, Horses, Asses, Mules and Mule Breeding [Washington DC 1897] 129), Roman and Byzantine allowances seem to have been smaller.  For similar calculations and figures for the medieval West, see B.S. Bachrach, Animals and Warfare in Early Medieval Europe, in L’Uomo di fronte al mondo animale nell’alto Medioevo (Settimane di Studio del Centro Italiano di Studi sull’alto Medioevo 31, Spoleto 1983.  Spoleto 1985) 707-751, at 716-720.

[60] Three Treatises, (C) 549-553.   For the middle and later Byzantine modios (there were at least four different measures thus named) see Schilbach, Byzantinische Metrologie, 95-96, 97-108; and the literature in note 57 above.

[61] See CTh viii, 5.47 and CJ xii, 50.12.   For the carrying capacity of horses, ponies and mules, see W.C. Schneider, Animal laborans. Das Arbeitstier und sein Einsatz im Transport und Verkehr der Spätantike und des frühen Mittelalters, in L’Uomo di fronte al mondo animale nell’alto Medioevo, 457-578, at 493-554.

[62] For an introduction, see the useful survey of A. Hyland, The Medieval Warhorse: from Byzantium to the Crusades (Stroud 21996).

[63] See e.g. CTh. viii, 5. 8; 17; 28; 30 etc.  Cf. Cassiodorus, Variae  (MGH [AA)] xii, 1-385) iv, 47.5; v, 5.3, where mules are given a total burden of 110 – 116 lbs (50-53 kg).   For late Roman and Byzantine horses, as well as the isue of Arab, Persian and steppe influence on breeds and availability, see Hyland, The Medieval Warhorse, 18ff., 85ff.

[64] Three Treatises, [C] 125, 362-363, 398-399.

[65] See Van Creveld, Supplying War, 24; and esp. Hyland, Equus, 91. Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, 126-127, gives similar figures for fodder (hay and straw), but – in contrast to Hyland – greatly overestimates the weight of grain required, since he ignores the considerable differences between the nutritional values of the ancient grains which would have been used, and modern grains, noted already.   The figures in P. Oxy. XVI  2046 give an explicit weight, upon which the present calculations are based.

[66] Three Treatises, (C) 347-352, 549-553; Campaign Organisation and Tactics, §21. 22-23 (Dennis, p. 302-303).

[67] Three Treatises, (C) 583-586, 605-606; McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 357.

[68] Three Treatises, (C) 395-401; McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 349-354; 358.

[69] Three Treatises, [C] 392-394, and commentary (pp. 238f.).

[70] See the discussion and figures presented in Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, 18-22.

[71] See for the chief routes in particular J.G.C. Anderson, The Road System of Eastern Asia Minor with the Evidence of Byzantine Campaigns, JHS 17 (1897) 22-30; W.M. Ramsay,Historical Geography of Asia Minor (London 1890) 254ff.; and the useful F. Stark, Alexander’s Minor Campaigns in Turkey, Geographical Journal 122 (1956) 294-305; and for the climatic conditions, J.C. Dewdney, Turkey, an Introductory Geography (New York 1971) 50ff., 219-235; and the relevant sections in A Handbook of Asia Minor II (Naval Staff Intelligence Dept. London 1919).  The Crusaders’ experiences are summarised briefy by Hendy, Studies, 40-44.

[72] For the aplêkta, see Three Treatises, text (A); and commentary, 155-157 for their location and further literature.

[73] See R.-J. Lilie, Die byzantinische Reaktion auf die Ausbreitung der Araber(Miscellanea Byzantina Monacensia 22. Munich 1976) 189 (map) and preceding discussion.

[74] Three Treatises, [C] 67ff. and relevant commentary.

[75] The mêtata of Asia and Phrygia are the most prominent in the middle Byzantine period (see Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Three Treatises, comm. to (C)61ff.).  That from Phrygia is known especially from a late Roman inscription, according to which it was situated in the triangle formed by the small towns of Synnada, Dokimon and Polybotos.  See W.H.C. Frend, Angareia in Phrygia, JRS 46 (1956) 46-56; and also C. Foss, Byzantine Malagina and the lower Sangarius, Anatolian Studies 40 (1990) 161-183 (repr. in idemCities, Fortresses and Villages of Byzantine Asia Minor [Aldershot 1996] VII).  But there seem also in the eighth and ninth centuries, at least, to have been  mêtata in Lydia: cf. V. Ioannicii (AS Nov. ii/1, 332-383  [BHG 935]) 368A.   Close co-operation between the logothetês tôn agelôn, in charge of these herds, the military logothete, the komês tou stablou and his representatives at Malagina, and other fiscal departments, must have been essential, and is implicit in the text (C) referred to already, compiled partly from ninth-century material during the middle years of the tenth century.   See also V. Laurent, Le Corpus des sceaux de l’empire byzantin, II: l’administration centrale (Paris 1981), 289-299, 487-497.   In the sixth century there had also been military stock-raising estates in Thrace as well as eastern Asia Minor (see Procopius, De bello Vandalico, i, 12.6; De bello Gothico, iv, 27.8; and Theophyl. Sim., iii, 1).   Imperial stud-farms in Cappadocia had raised race-horses, and may have specialised in other types of animal also.  The best-known such estates were the Villa Palmati, near Tyana (see O. Cuntz, ed.,Itinerarium Burdigalense in Itineraria Romana [Leipzig 1929] 86-102, at 93), and the estate of Hermogenes in the Pontos: cf. CTh., vii, 6; x, 7.6 (CJ xi, 76); CTh., xv, 10.1.

[76] Cf. DAI cap. 52 with commentary (p. 204f.).

[77] See De Cer., 658.7-8; there are many examples of the term from documents of the tenth and eleventh centuries.  See the brief discussion in H. Ahrweiler, Recherches sur l’administration de l’empire byzantin aux IXe-XIe siècles, BCH 84 (1960) 1-109, 5 and n. 7.

[78] For soldiers purchasing their own horses or equipment with the salaries issued to them, see De Cer., 658.4-8; and cf. De vel. bell., 19.4 (Dagron/Mihaescu p. 108; Dennis p. 214f.).  On the mêtata see Three Treatises, 161-162; 184; 187.

[79] Leo VI recommends that the general select the well-to-do but unwilling (military) households and demand from them the fully-equipped soldier and his mount: Leo, Tact., xviii. 129; xx. 205.  Note Ahrweiler, ‘Recherches’, 5 who, however, interprets the terms  mh strateuomenoi and strateuesqai to mean not registered or not willing to be registered at all on the thematic kôdikes.   In fact, it should be understood to refer to those who, while registered, were not willing to serve themselves (strateuomenoi) or be enlisted for the campaign in question.  See Haldon, Recruitment and Conscription, 56; Military Service, Military Lands and the Status of Soldiers: Current Problems and Interpretations, 32.   Instead of personal service, the wealthy stratiôtai registered on the kôdikes were to provide the resources for the person who actually fulfilled the service, the strateuomenos (the terminology is confusing partly because many such strateuomenoi might be impoverished stratiôtai in their own right).

[80] Cf. Leo, Tact., c. 717, 720f, 805; and compare c. 977.

[81] This is not the place to take up these issues in detail.  For recent surveys of the literature and the evidence, see R.-J. Lilie, Die zweihundertjährige reform: zu den Anfängen der Themenorganisation im 7. und 8. Jahrhundert, BSl 45 (1984), 27-39, 190-201; Haldon, Military Service, Military Lands and the Status of Soldiers: Current Problems and Interpretations, 20-41; and M. Kaplan, Les hommes et la terre à Byzance du VIe au XIe siècle.  Propriété et exploitation du sol (Paris 1992) 231-249.

[82] Ibn Hawkal, La configuration de la terre [Kitab Surat al-Ard], trans. J.H. Kramers, E. Wiet (Beirut-Paris, 1964), 194; and Ahrweiler, Recherches, 20-21; Haldon, Recruitment and Conscription, 61f.; Dagron, Mihaescu, Le traité sur la Guérilla, 278ff.

[83] See Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperio, I:  Greek text ed. Gy. Moravcsik, Eng. transl. R.J.H. Jenkins.  New revised edn. (CFHB 1 = DOT 1, Washington D.C. 1967) §51. 199-204; §52; most recently discussed by N. Oikonomidès, The Social Structure of the Byzantine Countryside in the First Half of the Xth Century, Symmeikta 10 (1996)105-125, esp. 108-112.

[84] Zonaras (Ioannis Zonarae epitomae historiarum libri XIII usque ad XVIII, ed. Th. Büttner-Wobst [CSHB, Bonn, 1897]), iii, 504.12-16; Cedrenus (Compendium historiarum, ed. I. Bekker [CSHB, Bonn, 1838-39]), ii, 368.7-10.   For the generalised fiscalisation of the strateia, see Zonaras, iii, 505.16-506.10, and the discussion of Ahrweiler, Recherches, 22-23, and Kaplan, Les hommes et la terre, 252ff. on the implications for the differentiation between military and non-military households.

[85] See Zonaras, iii, 293 (tagmata of the themata).  For ethnic/regional names for such units, see Ioannis Scylitzae Synopsis Historiarum, ed. J. Thurn [CFHB, 5. Berlin-New York, 1973], 487.34-488.1, for Cappadocian troops; 488.50-54 for Pisidian and Lycaonian contingents, the ‘two tagmata of the Anatolikoi’; 491.28 for tagmata from Koloneia and Chaldia, and 491.39-40 for Armenian units from Sebasteia, Melitene and Tephrike. Other examples: Cedrenus ii, 527.19-528.6; 543.17ff.; 660.14-20; 662.12-17 (indigenous tagmata and localthemata); 694.2 and 692.10  (cf. Attaleiates, 122.7-11) – the contrast between indigenous troops and the misthophorikon (Franks, Uzes and others) in 1071; Attaleiates, 93.7-11; 95.14-96.1; 155.6-7 (local and tagmatic troops again). For the differences in status between indigenous provincial soldiers and foreign mercenaries, see Haldon, Military Service, Military Lands and the Status of Soldiers: Current Problems and Interpretations, 61-62 n. 147.  For a list of such provincial tagmata, with sources, see Ahrweiler, Recherches, 34f.   It is unclear from the language used in the sources whether the ‘five tagmata of the West’ (see Attaleiates, 122.7ff.; 123.8-10) are actually tagmatic units of the older type (scholai, exkoubiton etc.), which seems more probable (see the literature in n. 141 below) or merely regular thematic regiments.   See H.-J. Kühn, Die byzantinische Armee im 10. und 11. Jahrhundert (Vienna 1991).

[86] Kitâb al-Masâlik wa’l-Mamâlik, Fr. transl. 84-85.  This scale was based on information from the earlier writer al-Jarmi: see W.T. Treadgold, Notes on the Numbers and organisation of the Ninth-Century Byzantine Army, GRBS 21 (1980), 269-288; Winkelmann, Probleme der Informationen des al-Garmi über die byzantinischen Provinzen, 18-29 (see note 5 above); and Treadgold, Byzantium and its Army 284-1081 (Stanford 1995) 64ff.

[87] E.g. Theoph. (Theophanis Chronographia, ed. C. de Boor, 2 vols. [Leipzig 1883, 1885]), 484-485 (for 809) and 489 (for 811), when Bulgar and Arab forces respectively captured the thematic rhogai despatched from Constantinople.  Cf. Scylitzes, 487.34-488.1; Attaleiates, 54.1-4 (Bryennios, the stratêgos of Cappadocia and supporter of the successful rebel Isaac Komnenos in 1057, sent to distribute the pay of the Cappadocian units in the Anatolikon, and wishing to issue a more generous payment than that offered by the emperor, seizes the imperial official sent with him, along with the pay for the soldiers).

[88] See Ibn Khurradadhbih, 84; Three Treatises, (C) 647-652; discussion ibid., 256; Hendy, Studies, 183-184, 646-651; Treadgold, Byzantium and its Army, 137-138; and N. Oikonomidès, Middle Byzantine Provincial Recruits: Salary and Armament, in: Gonimos. Neoplatonic and Byzantine Studies presented to Leendert G. Westerink at 75, eds. J. Duffy, J. Peradotto (Buffalo, N.Y., 1988), 121-136.  Pace Treadgold, loc.cit., the fact that the text at Three Treatises (C) 647ff. refers to the stratêgoi of the themes  after stating that ‘the themata‘ were paid on this cyclical basis should not be understood to mean that it was the generals who were thus paid: on the contrary, the generals are mentioned since it was they or theiroffikion which would receive and be in charge of the distribution of the salaries in question.

[89] See Lilie, Die zweihundertjährige Reform, 199f.; Haldon, Recruitment and Conscription, 65-66, 76, 79; Praetorians, 219-220.   In a recent article, M. Grigoriou-Ioannidou, Themata et tagmata. Un problème de l’institution des thèmes pendant les Xe et XIe siècles, BF 19 (1993) 35-41, has underlined the fact that the terms taxatoi and sometimes taxatiôna which appear frequently in the sources for the period before the middle of the tenth century, refer most probably to such troops (see esp. 39-40).

[90] Lilie, Die byzantinische Reaktion auf die Ausbreitung der Araber, 316ff.; Haldon, Recruitment and Conscription, 79-80 and notes; Dagron, Mihaescu, Le traité sur la Guérilla, 262.  Leo VI notes that the thematic administration should arm and equip the less well off but militarily more useful at the expense of the better-off, although the general was encouraged to select the best from among those registered on the thematic kodix.  See Leo, Tact., iv, 1; xviii, 129f.; xx, 205.  This process was probably that described already of syndosis.  In contrast, the whole strateia could be commuted, as occurred in the Peloponnese and other western provinces in the reigns of Leo VI and Romanos I on several occasions, as we have seen: cf. DAI, 51.192-204; 52.12-15.   In the case of the Peloponnese, a sum of 100 lbs gold was required in lieu of service, which was demanded at the rate of 5 nomismata per head from all those registered for military service.  For Nikephoros’ legislation, see Jus Graecoromanum, edd. I. and P. Zepos, 8 vols. (Athens 1931/Aalen 1962), i, coll. iii, nov. xxii, 255-256 (new edn.: N. Svoronos, Les novelles des empereurs macédoniens concernant la terre et les stratiotes, éd. posthume P. Gounaridis [Athens 1994])  (cf. F. Dölger, Regesten der Kaiserurkunden des oströmischen Reiches 565-1453 [Corpus der griechischen Urkunden des Mittelalters und der neueren Zeit, Reihe A, Abt. I] i-iv [Munich-Berlin 1924-1965]; ii, 2nd edn. ed. P. Wirth [Munich 1977], no. 721).  See the brief discussion in N. Oikonomidès, The Social Structure of the Byzantine Countryside in the First Half of the Xth Century, 109-111; and Kaplan, Les hommes et la terre, 251ff.

[91] That some of the soldiers of the imperial tagmata seem also to have been subject to the strateia and to have been proprietors of land in their own right seems clear:  see Haldon,Praetorians, 297-298.  Service in the imperial tagmata was open to regular registered stratiôtai of the themata, as several examples suggest: cf. the story of the soldier from the Opsikionarmy who wished to be enrolled as a scholarios in the time of Theophilos (Haldon, Praetorians, 299 and nn. 894-895); or of the mid-ninth-century soldier in the tagmata who lived on his rural property, which may have been connected with a family obligation (although he appears to have no-one else to help him, and must ask his friend the village priest to look after his horse while on duty in Constantinople: see La vita retractata et les miracles postumes de saint pierre d’Atroa, ed. Laurent, 110.1-5, and Haldon, Praetorians, 325).   Contrary to Kaplan, Les hommes et la terre, 235 (and idem, La place ds soldats dans la société villageoise byzantine [VIIe-Xe siècles], in Actes du XVIIIe Congrès de la Société des Historiens médiévistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur Public [St. Herblain 1991] 45-55, at 46-47), however, I do not think the text can be understood to suggest that he was relatively poor and that he cultivated his land: a period of absence on duty with no-one to maintain his property (as the text makes clear was the case) and, presumably, tend his crops , is difficult to reconcile with any regular agricultural production; while his tagmatic income alone would have raised him above the economic level of the average rural populace.

[92] Genesius (Iosephi Genesii Regum libri quattuor, edd. I. Lesmüller-Werner, I. Thurn [CFHB 14, Berlin-New York 1978]) 35; Th. Cont. (in Theophanes continuatus,  Ioannes Caminiata, Symeon Magister, Georgius Monachus continuatus, ed. I. Bekker [CSHB, Bonn 1825], 1-481), 81.6f.; Ps.-Symeon (Symeonis Magistri ac Logothetae Annales a Leone Armenio ad Nicephoram Phocam, in: Theophanes continuatus, 603-760), 623-24 for the Tessarakontarioi (and Bury, ERE, 143, n.7); and Leo Diac., 107.11f., 132.17-18 for theAthanatoi.  See Ahrweiler, ‘Recherches’, 27f.

[93] See Acta Martyr. Amor., 27.9-11(De XLII martyribus Amoriensibus Narrationes et carmina sacra, ed. B. Wassiliewsky, P. Nikitine, in: Mémoires de l’Acad. impériale de St. Petersburg, classe phil.-hist., viii sér., 7 [1905] no. 2, 22-36: de Callisto  [BHG 1213]) and Haldon, Praetorians, 518 n. 681; Klet.Phil. (Klêtorologion tou Philotheou, in Oikonomidès,Listes, 81-235), 209.20-21; Three Treatises, [C] 378f.; De Cer., 576.8; 661.1f.  On the Hetaireia, see Haldon, Praetorians, 252 and n. 683.

[94] De Cer., 660.18; 664.15f.; Th.cont., 480.

[95] See, for example, the soldiers under the mercenary leaders Pappas (Bryennios, 169.13-14) (Nicephori Bryennii Historiarum libri quattuor, ed. P. Gautier [CFHB 9. Brussels 1975]), Roussell de Bailleul (Zonaras, III, 709.12-13; Bryennios, 147.23f., and 146 note 8; Anna Comnena, Alexiad, I, 2ff.[ed. B. Leib, Anne Comnène, Aléxiade, 3 vols. (Paris, 1937-1945)]), Crispin (Bryennios, 134 note 2, 148, note 1, 147.23f.; Attaleiates, 122, 22ff.), and Hervé (Scylitzes, 467.5-6, 485.53-54).  For other units, see Ahrweiler, Recherches, 34.   In 1057 Katakalon Kekaumenos marched to support Isaac Komnenos with five tagmata, two indigenous units from the themata of Chaldia and Koloneia; one unit of Rus, and two of Franks; in addition, units from the themata of Melitene, Tephrike and Sebasteia were also present: Scylitzes, 490.15-491.41; Cedrenus ,ii, 625f. For a recent discussion of the role and effectiveness of such units in the eleventh century, see J. Shepard, The Uses of the Franks in Eleventh-Century Byzantium, Anglo-Norman Studies 15 (1993)275-305.   On the tendency to view mercenaries as a ‘bad thing’, see 275-276.

[96] Details of encampments: Campaign Organisation, §§1-9; De vel. bell., §15.   Cf. Three Treatises, [C] 420ff., 540-543, 570-579.  See G. Kolias, Peri aplêktou, EEBS 17 (1941) 144-184.

[97] Leo Diac., i, 3; 9; ix, 1; x, 8; x, 9  (note that at ix, 1 [p. 143.6-7] Leo notes that the Romans customarily fortify their camps with a ditch and bank surmounted by spears, a technique described exactly in the military treatises (see McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 350, 353-354).  He refers frequently to Roman generals throwing up earthworks around besieged cities or fortresses, suggesting that the Roman forces were thoroughly accustomed to such undertakings: cf. iii, 10; iv, 3; iv, 10; iv, 11 for example);  Attaleiates 109.5-7 (Romanos IV sets up an entrenched camp ‘according to the usual fashion’); and 117.11ff.; 118.13ff.; 119.12f.; 120.9-10  for a series of entrenched marchging camps set up during the campaign and the emperor’s withdrawal to Roman territory.  Cf. ibid., 151.8-10: Romanos sets up an entrenched camp near Mantzikert ‘in the customary fashion’. These and a number of other references in the tenth- and eleventh-century historians’ accounts of campaigns at this time, illustrative of the usual practice of establishing a fortified camp, are discussed in McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 347-357, with an analysis of the prescriptions of the various contemporary military treatises.  For the earlier literature on marching camps, see ibid., 347 n. 30.

[98] Attaleiates, 111-113; cf. 117.22-118.13, where the Roman forces establish and entrench their camp in good order while under attack; Scylitzes, 470.69-70 for the construction of a deep ditch around the Roman camp during a campaign against the Pechenegs; and 470.87-471.7 for the defeated Roman forces besieged inside their encampment.   See also Scylitzes, 467.11-12, for a camp in which the baggage and supernumeraries were left; and the capture of the camp by the Pechenegs after the Roman defeat -  469.48-50.

[99] See Alexiad, i.4. Attaleiates (126.4) similarly mentions an obviously unusual occasion when the emperor Romanos IV did not entrench his camp.

[100] Discussed in McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 358-359.  Cf. Attaleiates, 32.6-33.10 (and cf. Kek. §64 [Wassiliewsky-Jernstedt, 22. 25ff.; ed. G. Litavrin, ed., Sovety i rasskazy Kekavmena [Moscow 1972]) for the inexperienced commander appointed by Constantine IX to lead an expedition against the Pechenegs in 1049, who failed to encamp or rest his troops, with disastrous results.

[101] See Three Treatises, text [A] and notes for a list of the most used aplêkta; and [C] loc.cit.

[102] On these two aggareiai or epêreiai, state impositions, see the brief refs. in ODB, 1, 131; 2, 1385 and the fuller discussion with sources in Haldon, Praetorians, 599-601, n. 993; and Hendy, Studies, 610-611.  For the hagiography (a story relating to events before Nicephorus I’s defeat at the hands of the Bulgar Khan Krum in 811, see Relatio Nicolai ex milite monachi, in: Synax. CP, 341-344 (BHG 2311; cf. BHG Auct., App. IV, 1317h), 341.22f.; and cf. Vita Nicolai Stud. (PG 105, 863-925  [BHG 1365]), 893f.   See L. Clugnet, Histoire de S. Nicolas, soldat et moine, ROC 7 (1902) 319-330 (repr. in Bibl. Hag. Or., 3 [Paris 1902] 27-38).

[103] Three Treatises [B] 107-115, 134ff.; [C] 474ff.; Campaign Organisation, § 10.

[104] See the commentaries of Dagron, Le traité sur la guérilla, 215ff. and McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 332-338; and cf. Campaign Organisation, §§ 10, 12-15 and Three Treatiseslocc.cit.

[105] Three Treatises, [B] 128-133; [C] 561ff.;  De vel. bell., §16.1-13; Campaign Organisation, §§ 15, 17.  See now the discussion of McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 330-347.   

[106] De Cer., 657.21ff.

[107] For discussion and sources, see N. Oikonomidès, L’évolution de l’organisation administrative de l’empire byzantin, TM 6 (1976) 125-152, esp. 144.  For the general increase in the rate of demand and issue of exemptions at this period, see See G. Ostrogorsky, Pour l’histoire de l’immunité à Byzance, Byzantion 28 (1958) 165-254; for the nature of the demands, see A. Harvey, Economic Expansion in the Byzantine Empire 900-1200 (Cambridge 1989) 105ff.   Even if, as is certainly probable, the greater prominence of exemptions among the extant documentary sources reflects also the greater prominence and growth of the landed wealthy in the empire during the tenth century and after, this would naturally bring with it a disadvantageous redistribution of state burdens onto those not able to obtain such exemptions.

[108] See CTh., xi, xvi, 15.18 (laws of 382 and 390); and cf. F. Dölger, Beiträge zur Geschichte der byzantinischen Finanzverwaltung besonders des 10. und 11. Jahrhunderts(Byzantinisches Archiv 9, Munich 1927/Hildesheim 1960) , 60-62; A. Harvey, Economic Expansion in the Byzantine Empire 900-1200 (Cambridge 1989) 105-109 for the tenth- and eleventh-century Byzantine equivalents.

[109] Haldon, Byzantine Praetorians, 318ff.  and Cantarella, Basilio Minimo. II, BZ 26 (1926) 3-34.

[110] See T.Usp., 57.26; 61.14 (in Oikonomidès, Listes, 47-63); Klet.Phil., 155.2; De Cer., 673.20ff.; further sources and literature in Haldon, Praetorians, 319-321 with nn. 972-977.

[111] CTh., xi, 7.7 (a. 424); Basil, Ep. (in PG 32, 219-1112), no. 110.

[112] See note 25 and refs. above.

[113] Thus for 949 the prôtospatharios and archôn of the armamenton, Joacheim, was issued with 6 lbs 34 nomismata and 3 miliaresia in cash for purchasing materials for the imperial fleet: De Cer., 673.20-674.7.  For the naval arsenal in Constantinople, see N. Oikonomidès, To  katô armamenton , Archeion Pontou (1964) 193-196; and cf. Ahrweiler, Mer, 424, n. 4.

[114] See Ioannis Scylitzae Synopsis Historiarum, ed. J. Thurn (CFHB 5, Berlin-New York 1973), 485.53-54 (Frankish troops in winter stations in the Armeniakon district); Cedrenus, ii, 508.19-20 (Varangians in the thema Thrakêsiôn); ibid., 608.18-19 (Franks and Varangians in winter quarters in Iberia and Chaldia).  Cf. Attaleiates, 122.7-11, where Romanos IV returns from his Syrian campaign in mid-winter and disperses his mercenary forces and the ‘western tagmata‘ in winter quarters in the Anatolikon region.

[115] See Actes du Prôtaton, ed. D. Papachryssanthou (Archives de l’Athos VII, Paris 1975), 1 (p. 180).

[116] Actes de Prôtaton, 2 (p. 184-185) and 3 (p. 187).

[117] See Actes d’Iviron,I: des origines au milieu du XIe siècle, edd. J. Lefort, N. Oikonomidès, D. Papachryssanthou (Archives de l’Athos XIV, Paris 1985), 2 (p. 112-113) (the burdens ofaplêkton and mêtaton are specifically mentioned.  Reference to the contents of the original document:  Actes d’Iviron II, no. 32.

[118] 957/958 and 959/960:  see Actes d’Iviron II, no. 32 (for 1059);  974: Actes de Lavra, I: des origines à 1204, edd. P. Lemerle, N. Svoronos, A. Guillou, D. Papachryssanthou (Archives de l’Athos V, Paris 1970), 6 (p. 110); 995 (confirming the act of 959/960): Actes d’Iviron,I, 8 (p. 153-154).

[119] See the commentary of the editors,  Actes d’Iviron,I, p. 153.

[120] Scylitzes, 274.46-51, referring to the hardships casued by the presence of troops during the reign of Nicephorus II and the demands made on the rural population for extra provisions and taxes.

[121] Psellos’ letter describes the plight  of a widow subject to the epidosis monoprosôpôn: see  K. Sathas, Mesaiônikê Bibliothêkê, 7 vols. (Venice 1872-1894), v, 363.  For the Logos nouthetêtikos, see Cecaumeni Strategicon, edd. Wassiliewsky-Jernstedt, 103.33-104.2.

[122] In the later Roman period, for example, regions such as Thrace illustrate the effects of the constant presence of imperial troops, regions which could no longer afford to supply the troops through the usual system of taking what was needed from the annual tax return in kind or cash and balancing the accounts from the following year; but where instead a system of permanent coemptio or compulsory purchase had to be enforced.  See CJ X, 27.2/10.

[123] See the letters of Nikolaos I referred to above, for example.  The military situation and Bulgar war clearly promoted exceptional circumstances.

[124] Although this increase may have set in some time before this date, when the first document to list such units which has survived was issued.  See Oikonomidès, L’évolution de l’organisation administrative de l’empire byzantin, TM 6 (1976) 125-152, see 144.

[125] See M. Goudas, Byzantiaka eggrapha tês en Athô ieras monês tou BatopediouEEBS 3 (1926) 113-134, at 125-126 and discussion in G. Ostrogorsky, Pour l’histoire de l’immunité à Byzance, Byzantion 28 (1958) 165-254, at 190f.  The kaniskion and its monetary equivalents were carefully controlled: see Harvey, Economic Expansion in the Byzantine Empire, 105f.

[126] Harvey,  Economic Expansion in the Byzantine Empire, 110f.; Haldon, Military Service, Military Lands and the Status of Soldiers: Current Problems and Interpretations, 38-40.  It is important to note, however, that the fiscalised strateia was extracted only from those households which were entered as military households - stratiôtikoi oikoi - on the thematic registers: see an early eleventh-century document from Byzantine southern Italy, ed. F. Nitti, Le pergamene di S. Nicolo di Bari. Periodo greco (939-1071) [Bari 1902/repr. Bari 1964] 26-28 no. 13, where strateia clearly refers to a fiscalised imposition, but retains a definite hereditary connection with a particular family and its land.

[127] Attaleiates, 77.4-7, 11-13; 78.10-12; 78.22-79.6.

[128] Attaleiates, 103.4-104.3; Cedrenus, ii, 668; Zonaras, iii, 689.  Note that Kekaumenos (§59) warns against permitting this state of affairs to develop.  It is not entirely clear to which categories of troops these authors are referring: while they may be describing all those registered in the thematic registers as subject to the strateia, this would include also the regular, nominally full-time thematic tagmata supported by the other strateia-holders in each theme, and this would better relate to the description in Attaleiates of these run-down, under-equipped forces as the formerly renowned regiments of the Roman army.   For brief summary of the effects of these  policies see Sp.Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London 1971), 85ff.

[129] Although the system of recruiting and maintaining soldiers in many of these regions, which had only relatively recently been incorporated into the empire, must have been rather different.  See Kek., §50; Scylitzes, 476.51-53; note that Attaleiates, 44.19ff. states that the emperor cancelled the provisions and support the soldiers received from the districts in which they were  based; while Kekaumenos says that the imperial official Serblias was sent to carry out a census and to impose taxes  ‘which the people in those regions had never before seen’. Together, the two statements suggest that military service had hitherto been based upon customary obligations supported from local revenues, both aspects of which were henceforth fiscalised.

[130] Cf. the letters of Theophylact of Ochrid for the rapacity of imperial officials and the inability of the state to supervise them efffectively: P. Gautier, ed., Théophylacte d’Achrida, Lettres (Thessaloniki 1986), nos. 12, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 31, 55, 61, 85, 96, 98; and A. Harvey, The Land and Taxation in the Reign of Alexios I Komnenos: the Evidence of Theophylact of Ochrid, REB 51 (1993) 146.

[131] See Attaleiates, 60-62.

[132] R. Morris, Monastic exemptions in tenth- and eleventh-century Byzantium, in Property and Power in the Early Middle Ages, eds. W. Davies, P. Fouracre (Cambridge 1995), 200-220.

[133] Attaleiates, 61.6-8; 61.17-62.4.  Oikonomidès has attempted to compute the relative proportions of free peasants and paroikoi in the Peloponnese and in the Thrakesion region in the tenth century, and concluded that paroikoi probably outnumbered the former.  If the results of these calculations are accepted, it would suggest that, contrary to Morris’s argument, the number of landlords potentially in a position to obtain exemptions of some sort was very considerable: see Oikonomidès, The Social Structure of the Byzantine Countryside, 120-124.

[134] See J.-C. Cheynet, Pouvoir et contestations à Byzance (963-1210) (Paris 1990), 207-237.   A further point needs to be borne in mind, for the question of where such property or holdings were located is crucial.   Exemptions were most likely to be asked for in just those regions where the burden of state impositions was felt to be most onerous, whoever the landlord.  Whether they were always granted cannot be known.  But freeing a property in a region in which soldiers were based would inevitably have repercussions for the rest of the producing population, since the reduction of resources from one group of taxpayers would mean an increase for others.  The example of the Athonite communities, close to the Bulgarian borders, always within a ‘frontier’ region or its hinterland, as were the properties of the monastery of St. John the Theologian on Patmos, are cases in point.    Athonite communities may indeed be exceptional in their privileges; but this may reflect their relatively exposed position as much as their imperial patronage.   For Attaleiates and Pakourianos, see P. Gautier, Le typikon du sébaste Grégoire Pakourianos, REB 42 (1984) 5-145; and idem, Le diataxis de Michel Attaliate, REB 39 (1981) 5-143.   And it is contemporary historians and chroniclers, such as Attaleiates and Psellos, for example, both of whom had some knowledge of state affairs, as well as those of later writers such as Zonaras, who suggest that the total resources alienated through grants of immunity, however limited individual grants may have been, was considerable (iii, 667-668).

[135] E.g. Attaleiates, 109.5-7, with 111-113 (hostile attacks on the encampment); 117.11ff.; 119.12; 133.19-20; 135.14-18; 151.8ff.; 184.5-6, etc.

[136] See Attaleiates, 117.1; 126.5; 134.13-14; 140.7-8; etc.

[137] E.g. Attaleiates, 107.23-108.1 (a detachment sent off to purchase corn); 126.14-15 (the rearguard lags behind the main body of the army in order to protect those sent to purchase supplies).

[138] Cf. Attaleiates, 116.18-19; and see 146.18-22, where Roman and mercenary forces cause much damage to the locality of Krya Pêgê in their search for supplies and fodder.

[139]   E.g. Attaleiates, 136.5-8: the army of Romanos IV cannot march to Melitene since its hinterland offers no support.

[140] See the examples discussed by McGeer, Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth, 357-358, in particular the disastrous campaign of Romanos III to Syria in 1030.

[141] Attaleiates, 78.23-79.6; 93.5-11; Cedrenus ii, 668-669.

[142] Attaleiates, 104.13-20.

[143] Attaleiates, 122.7ff.; 123.8-10.  Cf. 104.16-18 (new officers and soldiers brigaded with experienced western units).   The five western tagmata may be identified with the detachments of the ScholaiExkoubitoiVigla,Hikanatoi and the Athanatoi, based in Macedonia, Thrace and Hellas.   See Oikonomidès, Listes, 329-333; Ahrweiler, Recherches, 26ff. Their eastern detachments seem to have suffered during the civil war culminating in Isaac I’s victory at Nicaea in 1057, although there are occasional mentions of the Scholai andExkoubitoi up to 1071 and 1082 respectively: see Cedrenus, ii, 602 (the Scholai and their topotêrêtês at Adrianople in 1050); Attaleiates, 112.12; Cedrenus, ii, 675 (the syntagma of theScholai with Romanos IV in 1068/69); Anna Comnena, Alexiad, iv, 4 (the Exkoubitoi at Dyrrhachion with Alexios in 1081/82).    On the other hand, Attaleiates refers to the Scholaialongside a more recently-formed unit, the Stratêlatai (Attaleiates, 112. 8-10; cf. Cedrenus, ii, 417; Cedrenus, ii, 673.   The term may similarly have included other units created in the late tenth and first half of the eleventh century, such as the Megathymoi.  Cf. Kühn, Die byzantinische Armee, 247ff.

[144] See Attaleiates, 29.2ff.; Cedrenus, ii, 562; 625ff.

[145] J.-C. Cheynet, Mantzikert: un désastre militaire?, Byzantion 50 (1980) 410-438, see 425f.; and idem, Les effectifs de l’armée byzantine aux Xe-XIIe s., Cahiers de civilisation médiévale 38/4 (1995) 319-335, at 332.

[146] Attaleiates, 145.21-146.4.

[147] See n. 135 above.

[148] Attaleiates, 151.13ff.

[149] Attalaeiates, 150.7-9; 148.14-17.

[150] Mathieu d’Edesse, Chronique,  ed. Dulaurier (Paris 1879), 168.

[151] See, e.g., Zonaras, iii, 505 (for the various oficials responsible for carrying through the military registration programme under Nicephorus II).  For discussion, see Dölger, Beiträge, 21, 60-62; N. Oikonomidès, L’évolution de l’organisation administrative de l’empire byzantin, TM 6 (1976) 125-152, esp. 144; and Harvey, Economic Expansion, 105ff.

[152] References in n. 128 above.

[153] Cf., for example, Anna Comnena, Alexiad, x.5.

[154] See in particular Oikonomidès, Listes, 344ff., 354-363; idem, L’évolution de l’organisation administrative de l’empire byzantin, 135-141, 148ff.; H. Ahrweiler, Recherches, 46-67, 82-88; Cheynet, Pouvoir et contestations, 336, 387f.; N. Svoronos, Société et organisation intérieure dans l’empire byzantin au XIe siècle: les principaux problèmes, in Etudes sur l’organisation intérieure, la société et l’économie de l’empire byzantin (London 1973) IX, 1-17.

[155] See esp. P. Magdalino, Justice and Finance in the Byzantine State, Ninth to Twelfth Centuries, in Angeliki E. Laiou, Dieter Simon, eds., Law and Society in Byzantium: Ninth-Twelfth Centuries (Washington D.C. 1994) 93-115.


This entry was posted in Articles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.