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To the history of the Byzantine army in the 13th century. Reform of akritsky service of Mikhail VIII Paleologa



UDK 94 & #34;04/14"

To the HISTORY of the BYZANTINE ARMY In the 13th century. REFORM of AKRITSKY SERVICE of MIKHAIL VIII PALEOLOGA

© 2009 A. Zolotovsky

Volgograd state university, Volgograd State University,

Universitetsky Ave., 100, Volgograd, 400062 Ave Universitetsky, 100, Volgograd, 400062

One of aspects of reforming of the military organization of Byzantium at the first emperors of a paleolo-govsky dynasty is considered. The akritsky (boundary) service is chosen as an object of a research. As a result of reforming of the border service of an akrita were transferred to a stratiotsky state. There was an increase in tax revenues in treasury that made possible concentration of the main forces of the Byzantine army on the western direction.

Present article is devoted to consideration of one of aspects of reforming of the military organization of Byzantium at the first emperors of Paleologean dynasty. The object of research chose the akrits (frontier guards) service. As the result of research was determined, that as a result of reforming frontier guards service, akrites have been transformed to stratiotic estate. These actions have been directed on increase in tax revenues to treasury, and also have made possible a concentration of the basic forces of the Byzantian army on the western direction.

Numerous, almost permanent military operations on the western direction after taking of Alexey Stratigopula by army of Constantinople predetermined carrying out deep reorganization of a military system, one of objects of which were divisions of akrit - akgit (soldiers frontier guards, from the Greek act - edge, border). Basic data of the last can be gathered from Georgy Pa-khimer's composition. In a plot "History", it reports about carrying out reform of akritsky service. According to G. Pakhimer, fall of 1261 Mikhail VIII Paleolog directed in Anatoly of the eparch Hodin for reorganization of a system of the border service. On arrival in Anatoly he found frontier guards extremely rich. Based on it, in coordination with the emperor, Hodin rewrote all property of akrit, and entered the land plots in lists and taxed [1, page 31-33] which were distributed between "notable soldiers" and monarchic treasury [1, page 33].

Hodin's actions were estimated by Pakhimer negatively. Introduction of taxes on frontier guards and concentration of all forces on the western direction, according to him, led to negative consequences in the east of the empire. It was expressed in absolute lack of attention to regular extortionate attacks of the Turkish groups which led to material exhaustion of border areas [1, page 35]. As G. Pakhimer believed, the choice of the western strategic direction caused reduction of interest of a vasilevs in service of border troops of east possession that affected reduction of the sphere of their fighting application and led to gradual decomposition and degradation [1, page 35, 317].

On questions of the status of akrit before reform and its purposes researchers, with rare exception, preferred to manage general phrases. P. Karanis specified,

that akrita - owners of small grounds, cannot be also defined neither as wigs, nor as stratiota [2, page 133]. A. Pertuzi, allocating akrit in special division, announced their abolition in the 13th century [3, page 280]. V.A. Smetanin, defining the purposes and scales of material inputs on the maintenance of army, without any explanations mentioned harmful consequences of abolition of "akritsky settlements" and replacement of akrit of a proniarama [4, page 117, 122]. According to M. Bartusis, our ideas of akrita as about the military personnel - only unreasonable artificial semantic designs [5, page 3]. A. Kappel specified that the lexeme ak-rit [z], not having strict military maintenance, was used in most cases for designation of the population of border regions of the empire, regardless of their ethnic origin [6, page 48].

In the light of the above the purpose of the present article - consideration of the reasons, contents, tasks and results of reorganization of akritsky service at Mikhail VIII Paleologe. For its achievement it is necessary to analyze the data on akrita which are available in sources and also representations of scientists concerning reorganization of akritsky service.

East boundaries of Byzantium, obviously from 10th century, protected the akrita forming separate category between troops and civilians. Maintenance of safety of boundaries of the empire was a fundamental obligation of akrit. During intense boundary wars with Arabs they possessed, apparently, a considerable share of independence and even some independence of Constantinople that is reflected in the medieval Byzantine epos about Digenis Akrita [7]. Protection of the empire provided to akrita and own welfare.

In vizantinovedchesky literature there was a general idea about the nature of akritsky divisions and them

stories since the formation period before decomposition fem-ache systems. According to J. Heldon, the status of akrit already in the period of Irakli (610-641) government was found by limitana - the boundary soldiers of the pozdnerimsky empire supplied with the earth [8, page 3]. At the same time among soldiers representatives of the next east ethnic groups prevailed in number. Groups of frontier guards from representatives of ethnic communities by the principle of association were completed. The soldiers included in structure of akrit were settled by colonies (settlements), burdened with a conscription. It caused difference of their situation from stratiot. The last were involved in military service only for the period of military campaigns and campaigns. At the same time border troops (akrita) almost constantly were at war, protecting own lands from attack of enemies or making raids on the territory of the opponent.

Burdensome conditions of service made possible and the special relation of emperors to akrita. Not the sort of service, but residence which imposed on boundary soldiers big obligations, than on soldiers whose service was to the temporary, not disturbing peaceful works was the defining factor probably. Thereof akrit had privileges emphasizing their exclusive situation among other categories of soldiers, for example, financial privilege, numerous mentions of which do not leave doubts in its effectiveness.

The author of the treatise of the 10th century, narrating about akrita, specifies that the diligence of soldiers of borders and also their courage entirely depend on lack of taxes and payments [9]. Kekavmen specifies in one of primary councils that it is necessary to expel the tax collectors promoting ruin of borders [10]. For edification it gives news of destruction of the akritsky organization in the east of the empire in the period of Konstantin Monomakh's government [10]. Data relatively of a condition of akrit in the 13th century definitely specify that release from payments, various taxes was the priority privilege granted to them by the Nicaean emperors [1].

After gaining the capital in 1261 the question of the subsequent distribution of forces was particularly acute for Mikhail VIII Paleolog. Created in the west of the coalition threatened not only cross-border security, but also Constantinople. Therefore the emperor concentrated all resources of Byzantium on reconstruction of serf strengthenings of the capital and creation of the efficient regular army focused on military operations on Peloponnese and the Balkans. Transferring of the capital from Anatoly, strengthening of a system of "diplomatic defense" [11, page 470] were the main conditions of formation of the new strategic concept of Byzantium according to which east territories were provided with the balanced system of the passive defense sufficient for reflection of assaults of the separate Turkish groups which were not posing real threat to security of the state. Concerning its Asian part the strategy consisted in preservation of the existing border on the Sangary line - the Meander. Is-

going from Pakhimer's data on geographical localization of east expeditions of paleologovsky army, it is possible to assume that the defensive Sanga-ry line - the Meander made boundaries, boundary with Turks, [1, 12]. For safety the strong line of defense presented by the system of boundary (akritsky) settlements, posts of observation, network of garrisons, the new strengthened points with constant garrison from stratiot and apelat [1, 12, 13] was created. It gave an opportunity to cut down direct military costs of treasury for defense of east possession of Byzantium and was supported with contracts with the Seljuks on friendship [14, page 93-101]. This system provided conditions in order that to direct the income from fertile small and Asian lands of country people of the region and trade to completion of the increasing military expenses for the maintenance of numerous army of professional soldiers mercenaries [15, page 75-89] as main striking power romeev.

For the purpose of increase in the regular tax and podatny revenues in treasury going for completion of military expenses, having directed to fall of 1261 in Anatoly the eparch Hodina, Mikhail VIII carried out a fiskalization of sites of akrit, having transferred them to a stratiotsky state.

The processing land plots ("unknown to treasury"), the akrita using military operations in the enemy territory as a way of enrichment were one of the wealthiest social groups. G. Pakhimer reports about it [1, page 33]. The ten-year period of use by them "lands unknown treasury" contradicted not only the economic interests of the empire, but also a military legal order. According to researchers, during the srednevizantiysky period the rule by which after three years after acceptance of inoplemennik on service the sites cultivated by them were entered in military lists and were assessed with the corresponding taxes [3, page 247 worked; 16, page 238]. Perhaps, this circumstance directly influenced Mikhail VIII Paleologa who made the decision on reorganization of a system of financing of akrit-sky service.

Groups of frontier guards were staffed with the representatives of the settled agricultural population gaining certain income from the land plots which turned with it into use on a condition of execution of military service. In this regard designation of akrit by G. Pakhimer - "border inhabitants, being engaged in agriculture" is characteristic [1, page 259].

Land cultivated by prereform akrita was in the status the designated G. Pakhimerom as "аЮПай" [1, page 29, 31] - uncharged taxes. The special privilege of frontier guards is constantly emphasized with the historian and looks as the classifying social feature. It allows to identify akrit with traditional Byzantine legal group - elef-ter. Proceeding from idea of them [16, page 32], it is possible to assume that in the Nicaean empire, obviously, already during relative stabilization of the relations with the Seldzhuksky sultanate on the Sangary line - the Meander on lands unaccounted by treasury were settled local

inoplemennik (perhaps, Turks). Therefore, before "Hodin's reform" the frontier guards had fiscal privileges. The Nicaean emperors were forced to make similar concessions, using the status of unaccounted lands as means of material motivation of inoplemenny mercenaries. However after taking of Alexey Stratigopula by group of Constantinople in 1261 the strategic need for the maintenance of groups of frontier guards for the former status disappeared, and losses of the related treasury were the main reason for the reform of Hodin authorized by Mikhail Paleolog. Pakhimer specified that earth of frontier guards were rewritten and included in the inventory of state lands [1, page 33]. It follows from this that after cancellation of a state "unknown to treasury", akrity-elefter were transferred to category of peasants, and their land plots are taxed, passing to treasury. The outlined point is confirmed by opinion of P. Mutafchiyev who specified that they automatically passed into the category of state and involved the corresponding obligations [17, page 18]. According to the Byzantine historian, a part of the arriving taxes had to go for payment of service of the most notable of frontier guards, and remained went to treasury [1, page 33]. Here it is necessary to notice that the statement for abolition of akrit (their transfer to a parichesky state) and the creation of "alternative" proniarsky groups specified by V.A. Smetanin [4, page 117, 122] and M. Bartusis [18, page 55-56], have under themselves no reasons. Entering of akritsky lands into the state inventory not necessarily meant transition of akrit to a condition of wigs. Considering special attention of Pakhimer to taxes [1, page 29, 31], it is possible to speak about transfer of akritov-elefter to a free country state.

Due to the question of the legal and social status of akrit there was a wish to pay attention to the following. As "the History of Cyprus" reports, at the end of the 12th century settlers [who] unlike dependent began to arrive to the island "... were called elevator operators, i.e. free" [19, page 337]. According to B.T. Goryanov, the peasants designated as elefter are mentioned in acts. The researcher believes that the last were understood as personally free peasants who did not have the land plots and instruments of production, in this regard exempted from the national taxes and duties. He considers that secular owners and monasteries had the right to settle in the possession free people (elefter) continuing to use exemption from taxes and duties before the first drawing up the inventory where they fitted in then were transferred to the usual provision of wigs [20, page 234]. Obviously, the given reasonings were the basis for the subsequent judgments on akrita as about the faces turned as a result of reform to position of dependent peasants - wigs. It is thought that in a case with akritami-elefter whose lands were included in the inventory the soldiers were attached to the state land in the status of free peasants. The fact that in one of the passages devoted to akrita, the Byzantine authors did not use special terminology demonstrates to it

designating not free population. Besides, from sources we know about free and unpunished leaving of akritov-peasants from the lands included in catalogs [1, page 35, 261]. Proceeding from it, our idea of the pozd-non Byzantine elefter corresponds to A. Layu's opinion more, carrying to them representatives of the poor poor population, a part of whom were time-workers. At the same time often it were provided to them in an earth gift then they turned into category of the free peasantry [21, page 316].

Thus, the lands processed by akrita which were earlier in the status "unknown to treasury" after the corresponding entering into the inventory found the status of state - state lands. Following data of the Byzantine historian, we can assume that they were given to akritam-peasants on a condition of execution of the border service. The fact that messages about frontier guards-farmers are followed by the description of fighting with their participation [1] demonstrates to it.

Except the fiscal privileges operating before reform, akrita were provided with uncertain material contents. As the contemporary reports, low-Asian akrita in the Nicaean empire received "daily imperial gifts". After transfer to a country state the akrity-elefter received "certain payments" (most likely, the same imperial gifts) and served "all that time which to them was paid" [1, page 31, 33]. It is remarkable that the akritsky organization as G. Pakhimer narrates, was finally destroyed after archons (military leaders) stopped giving a salary to boundary groups [1, page 35]. The same way describes N. Grigor's situation, focusing attention that border soldiers refused to serve and left the territory entrusted to them after the termination of annual payments from imperial treasury [22, page 138]. Data of sources specify that the system of payment of a salary to akrita characteristic of the Nicaean empire existed also during the previous eras. According to the author of the treatise of the 10th century, safety of east boundaries directly depended on timeliness of payments of akrit to groups [9].

Despite a frequent mention contemporaries about payment of akritsky service, the provided data do not allow to draw exact conclusions about the sums and the nature of payments to border troops. Pakhimer, reporting about annual a horn of akrit, specifies that it was distributed in "the terms determined by tradition" [1, page 33], it is quite possible that once in a year, as well as traditional for the empire of a horn of court attendants and soldiers [23, page 311]. The fact that the inopportuneness and small scales of a salary repeatedly were the reasons of disorganization of an akritsky system of defense proves that military payments formed considerable addition to income gained by "frontier guards" from land possession. Thus, data of sources with the description of actions of akritov-peasants and definition a horn as one of the main factors of their military service allow to assume that after reform

akrity-elefter were transferred to

to a stratiotsky state.

Proceeding from G. Pakhimer's message, it is possible to draw a conclusion that akrity-stratiota in the military and technical relation made the striking power of local groups of infantrymen. The analysis of sources, shows that the small and Asian border on all extent was protected by akritsky settlements. They were used for military purposes in the extensive territory - from Nicaea to Magnesia and Philadelphia. They represented the contingent of the serf garrisons armed with onions [1, page 261], which had good vocational training and actively using in fighting knowledge of a land relief [1].

In the course of reforming one more change of legal status of akritsky lands was carried out. As G. Pakhimer writes, the decree of Hodin acting on behalf of the emperor in parallel with creation of strati-otsky catalogs by some of akrit granted pro-scientific research institutes. Besides, he employed the most notable soldiers and appointed by him a salary to 40 lanes-perov [1, page 33]. Proceeding from the sum, it is possible to assume with confidence that posotis proniya made the specified sum. The fact of special value established by us a horn confirms that payments in 40 perper intended for the proniar representing the command structure of akritsky division. Such payments had to be made from the sum of the tax cathedrals received from the rewritten lands. The rest had to go to treasury. Therefore, Pakhimer reports about creation of proniya which included the lands belonging to akritam-stratiota [1]. In this regard it should be noted that, according to Mikhail Paleologa's decree, sent to a proniya, the state is called the Supreme owner of land [24, page 173].

Proniara, obviously, carried out functions of the military administrative authority, controlling set and material security of the akritov-stratiot attached to the granted proniya, management by them. Data of sources are contradicted by P. Karani-sa's statement that stratiota were replaced with proniara [2, page 131]. It is represented to us that the stratiotsky service remained during a paleologovsky era, and functions of a stra-tig were transferred to proniara. As Pakhimer writes, not only actually military command, but also payment a horn belonged to duties of archons of post-reform akrit [1, page 35]. Archons here the historian called those "the most notable" soldiers whom Hodin transferred to proniara. In this case we face traditional Byzantine diplomacy again. It is known that in the won territories the Byzantine emperors traditionally put on the leading posts in the won lands representatives of the national nobility, entering them through grant of a title, or pro-scientific research institute into the category of the Byzantine high-ranking hierarchy or the military nobility. Thus probably the considered lands, earlier freely, without restrictions and fiscal obligations the processed akritam, were transferred to akritam-stratiota on a condition of military service, and they were a part of proniya, neogenic Hodin, with

purpose of ensuring team functions of leaders of Acre-tov, true to the empire.

After reform by Ioann Paleologa's armies two military expeditions to east possession of the empire were undertaken. Establishment of an order on border in connection with increasingly frequent sorties of the Turkish groups [18, page 73-74] was their purpose. The attachment of akrit to the earth which was demanding considerably bigger employment economic activity, led to loss of mobility was a factor of easing of defense capability of Byzantium in a border zone. Situation in the east was complicated by increasingly frequent cases of transition of frontier guards to service to the opponent [1, page 35] owing to the general loss of interest in such service. The mutiny of vifinsky soldiers can be an example. G. Pakhimer specified that under the pretext of establishment of the power of the lawful emperor John IV Laskar the soldiers frontier guards organized a performance. After long collisions with the arrived imperial army the revolt was bribery of leaders of troops of opponents, depressed traditional for the Byzantine military practice, [1]. Upon termination of a mutiny a part of the soldiers who received a reward remained in Romaniya, others were cruelly punished [2]. Some of them passed to the Turks who agreed not only to accept rebels, but also to hide the person calling himself John IV [1]. Proceeding from the data provided by the historian, follows that the mutiny initially carried social, but not political character as A.P. Kazhdan specified [25, page 109]. The persons representing command structure of akrit - the organizers of a performance named by G. Пахимером-"вождями", "more visible" [1, page 263], initially set as the revolt purpose enrichment for completion of income which they were deprived as a result of transfer of their subordinates to a stratiotsky state. At the same time the ordinary akrity-stratiota burdened with tax payments pursued the aims of restoration of an economic condition of soldiers of the akritsky divisions characteristic to board Laskarey. About it the promises made by military leaders of imperial army to akrita demonstrate to their resettlement to lands which they will choose [1, page 265].

Gangster raids of the Turks ruining the border cities and rural territories demanded immediate reaction. In view of small number of their groups the threat was liquidated by means of single and short military actions [1, 18]. Thus, it is possible to declare effectiveness of the reorganized boundary defensive system involved in fighting on the western direction with confidence. In the subsequent, obviously, for the purpose of strengthening of defense with small expenses and according to the changed duties of akritov-stratiot Mikhail VIII organized two campaigns for creation of new defensive points and strengthening of the existing fortification system [12]. Thus, except for single actions of imperial army, the defense capability was entirely assigned to the local low-Asian army consisting of groups of stratiot, stra-

tiotov-akrit (frontier guards) who were under control and command of proniar.

Summing up the research results, it is necessary to notice that reform is represented quite logical and long-term action. It was carried out not for a momentary solution, and with a possibility of the subsequent inclusion in reorganization actions of the military organization in general. Change of functions and a role of akrit in the military organization of the rannepaleo-logovsky period can be reasoned with the following provisions:

>- distribution of the earth in conditional possession was widespread practice on eastern frontiers as exactly there lodged persons liable for call-up service of mercenaries. After transferring of the capital to Constantinople and establishments of the diplomatic world with Sultanate of Rum, akritsky groups lost the nature of the regular, annually convoked parts used from now on mainly only for execution of guard and garrison service in the place of resettlement. These changes caused first of all by elimination of threat of military expansion from a sultanate allowed Mikhail VIII to carry out a fiskalization of akritsky sites, having given thereby to them the status stratiotsky and to transfer soldiers to the service provided with royal grant - rogy;

>- the fiskalization of akritsky sites allowed to send tax revenues to treasury which military expenses constantly increased in connection with the active military operations on the western direction provided with service of hired military groups;

>- the sites of akrit entered in lists belonged to proniya which recipients provided the organization and an order of service of akrit and also distributed to a horn, arriving from treasury.

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Came to edition On October 9, 2008

Matthew Eustace
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