From the earliesthistory of Constantinople there were certain picked companieswhose duty was to guard the city and palace, and the person of the Emperor; these formed part of the Tagmata, the section of thearmy stationed in and around the capital.2 The companies knownäs the Schools (Candidati), the Excubitors and the Arithmos wereincluded in this from very early days, and the Hikanatoi wereadded äs a fourth cavalry Company by Nicephorus I in the earlyninth Century. Let us now look at the changes involved in more detail.The Intention behind the division may have been to keep Christiansand non-Christians, or men from very different backgrounds,apart.1 The Captain of the Guard was the Grand Hetairearch, anoffice probably created by Michael III in the mid-ninth Century. This reflects the change in the official language of the empire from Latin, traditional language of the Roman empire, to Greek, language of Constantinople and the Hellenistic east; a change dating from the time of Justinian. However, in general terms the change can bedescribed as follows: at the beginning of the seventh century the empire was divided into provinces ruled by civil governors who, though appointedby the emperor, were responsible to the relevant praetorian prefect (theprovinces being grouped into four prefectures), and the army was organisedquite separately; at the end of the eighth century the empire was dividedinto districts called themes (themata), which were governed by a militarycommander (strat¯egos) who was responsible for both the civil and militaryadministration of the province, and directly responsible to the emperor. Although we have a fairly clear picture of early seventhcentury Byzantine administration, for the late eighth century the pictureis less clear; and because the evidence is both sparse and open to diverseinterpretations, the nature and pace of administrative change in this periodis still a matter of debate.But even if it seems that the reference is to territory, wecannot be sure that such a reference is not an anachronism, since oursources date from the ninth century when territorial themes were in place.As with the changes in civil administration already discussed, it is possible –indeed likely – that the two sets of arrangements overlapped; even thoughthere are references to strat¯egoi and themes in the seventh century, thereis still mention of provinces (eparchiai), governors, and use of such titlesas magister militum well into the eighth century.The position of the sakellarios perhaps gives a clue to the nature of thechanges.In charge of the emperor’s personal treasury, this official’s eventualrise to pre-eminence was a function of his closeness to the emperorand suggests a shift from an essentially public administration, its structuredetermined by the need to administer a far-flung empire, to an administration focused on the court, in which the empire is almost reducedto the extent of an imperial command.
Military administration The reforms of the Roman army by Diocletian and Constantine separatedit from the civil administration, so that governors of provinces no longercommanded a provincial army, although they were still responsible forraising funds to support it.The background to this is the dramaticshrinking of the empire in the first half of the seventh century.Theloss of the eastern provinces followed by North Africa and, by the end of theeighth century, Italy too, together with the Slavs’ occupation of the Balkansand the emergence of the Bulgar realm south of the Danube, meant that the Byzantine empire had shrunk to the rumps of two prefectures, of the Eastand Illyricum.By the ninth century a quite different system had emerged, with thearmy divided into divisions called themes, based in provinces also calledthemes (themata), each under the command of a strat¯egos.There is nogeneral agreement about how quickly this change took place, or why: wasit the result of some planned reorganisation, or simply a fumbling reactionto the problems of the seventh and eighth centuries? By the end of the eighth century quite different forms of administrationwere in place. administrative change At the beginning of the seventh century the administration of the empire,both civil and military, was essentially what had emerged from the reformsof Diocletian and Constantine in the late third and early fourth centuries.The years following the defeat saw continual raiding by Muslim forcesinto Anatolia, leading finally in the 660s and 670s to a concerted attemptby Mu‘awiya to advance across Asia Minor and take Constantinople (seeabove, pp. They would have beenprovisioned in the traditional way, by a levy raised by the local governorsfrom the civilian population.The areas that came to be called the themesof the Armeniakoi and the Anatolikoi were the groups of provinces wherethe armies commanded by the magistri militum per Armeniam and per Orientem took up their stands. Other specialcompanies were created from time to time, especially in theeleventh Century. The distinction between the public and the ‘sacred’ (i.e.pertaining to the person of the emperor) had gone, and instead of the resprivata, the sacrae largitiones and the prefectures, there were a number ofdepartments, or sekr¯eta, of more or less equal status. There were also two infantry companies, the Numeri and the Optimati, who guarded the walls. By the end of the eighth century, the fiscal administration was organisedrather differently.