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Role fy in state system of the Nicaean empire

UDK 94 (495).04


© 2009 Yu.G. Sokolov

Volgograd state university, Volgograd State University,

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

Evolution of one of the Byzantine state institutes in the Nicaean empire is considered. The term "fe-m" designates military and territorial unit of the empire. The author comes to a conclusion that the femny system was restored after 1204 in four stages. However military function fy in the Nicaean empire was considerably reduced. Thus, the femny system in the Nicaean empire is the system of civil management of provinces of Asia Minor.

The article deals with the evolution of one of the state institutes of Byzantium in the Nicaean Empire. & #34; Theme & #34; is a term for a military division and for a territorial unit of the Empire. The author concludes that the system of themes was reestablished after 1204 in four stages. However the military function of themes in the Nicaean Empire largely diminished. Thus the system of themes in the Nicaean Empire is a system of civil administration of the provinces of Asia Minor.

It is represented that it is reasonable to begin consideration of this subject with an explanation of the sense standing behind the concept "fem". In Byzantium the term "fem" (9etsa) originally designated: 1) military unit; 2) the territory operated by the strategist who combined both the military, and civil power. Actually military units were called fema just because they were formed in the territory of various fy. There were they in Byzantium most likely in the 7th century, perhaps, as a result of administrative reforms of the emperor Irakli (610-641) [1, river of 2034-2035].

Thus, fema represented the territorial divisions of the Byzantine empire created first of all with the military purposes. As well as many other Byzantine state institutes, fema had big viability and existed during the long period. However they did not remain invariable.

The Byzantine history is rich in shocks, but even on this background is allocated 13th century at the beginning of which as a result of capture by participants of the fourth crusade of Constantinople in the territory of the empire uniform before a number of the independent states which were forced to create the structure was formed, relying on the Byzantine traditions, but correlating them to new conditions. Whether led it to changes in a femny system and if brought, then to what? This problem is considered in this article through a prism of history of the Nicaean empire, the largest of the states successors of Byzantium which managed to achieve as a result its restoration after vozvrashche-

a niya of Constantinople in 1261

Fy in the Nicaean empire the historians already addressed study. D. Angelov raised a question of governors fy in the Nicaean empire and the Epirsky despotat [2], M. Engold tried to reconstruct completely state system of Nicaea [3], P.I. Zhavoronkov and M. Bartusis mentioned in the works military aspects of a femny system [4-6]. However, in our opinion, some provisions in their works are represented either disputable, or insufficiently worked therefore the understanding of a role which developed at the moment in a historiography fy in state system of the Nicaean empire needs adjustment.

It was already noted that the femny system underwent certain changes throughout a long story of the existence. In the 8th century of a fema played the destabilizing role in the Byzantine state, acting as the centers of revolts therefore in the 9th century for the best control they were reduced in sizes [1, p. 2035]. During an era Komninov and Angelov in situation fy occurred a number of remarkable changes. First, the institute of civil management of a femama (such governors were called by krita, pretors, duka) extended more and more though they under the leadership of strategists and arkhistratig continued to exist [7, p. 121; 1, p. 2035].

Secondly, the quantity fy and their value changed. By the end of the 11th century owing to gaining the Turkish Seljuks and territorial losses the femny system was in crisis. Emperors of a dynasty Komninov returned a considerable part small

Asian territories also tried to restore a femny system, placing at the same time emphasis on its defensive aspects. So, the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (1143-1180) created in the field of Hee-lara cities, Pergamum and Adramittiya for protection her from the Seljuks to fy Neokastr, having strengthened it numerous fortresses (actually the name fe-we and is translated as "new locks") [8, river 126]. However at the end of the 12th century during board of a dynasty of Angels the femny system endured the decline: the number fy within several years reached 60, their defensive value fell, decentralization processes developed [7, river 127].

In general in the 12th century the territorial device of the Byzantine empire looked as follows. In the European part of the state there were fema: Thrace-Macedonia, Paristrion, Fi-lippopol, Sardika, Smolenon, Streamion, Bulgaria, Dalmatia, Thessaloniki, Dirrakhy, Nikopol, Elaas Pelopones, Crete, Cyclades, Chersonese-Gotiya. Separately the capital of the empire Constantinople coped [9]. However a considerable part from these territories was lost till 1204

History fy in an Asian part of the empire during this period was even more difficult. At the end of the 11th century of Byzantium in a northern part of Asia Minor fema Optimaton, Bukellarion, Paphlagonia, Armeniakon, Chaldea (Trebizond) belonged. On the coast of the Aegean Sea there were the Aegean fema, Samos. Besides, in the east there were fema Neokast-ra, Frakesion, Opsikion, Melassa-Melanudion, Kibiration, Selevkiya, Cappadocia, Podanos, Cilicia, Laodikey, Anatoly, Dorileum [7, river 123]. The most part of these fy at the end of the 12th century was also lost.

And still the biggest territorial changes during this period were connected with the IV crusade. As a result of it Byzantium as the uniform state ceased to exist. Its territory was a subject of contentions and the conflicts between various states at the head of which stood as crusaders and their descendants (considerable part of the Balkan Peninsula and Peloponnese, Constantinople and its vicinities, the island of the Aegean Sea), and the Greek governors. As for the last, under their management were: The Epirsky state (West of the Balkan Peninsula), the Trebizond empire (the southern and northern coast of the Black Sea, the territory fy Kherson and Chaldea) and the Nicaean empire formed in Asia Minor. Let's note also that at the beginning of the 13th century there was a number of the territories which were operated by own, independent authorities: Savva Asiden governed in Sampsone (the valley of river. A meander), Feodor Mankafa - in Philadelphia, certain Glories - in Melenik (Macedonia) [10, river 15, 39]. Except

that, Bulgarians, and from the middle of the 13th century and Serbians actively applied for the European parts of Byzantium.

To define how in these conditions there was an administrative-territorial device of the Nicaean empire, a task important, but also difficult. The condition of istochnikovy base, unfortunately, does not allow us to make a fair idea of fema in the Nicaean state. The conclusion made by the Romanian researcher M. Sesan concerning the Byzantine historians of the 12th century that coverage of the events connected with the central power, emperors, wars which they waged and a mention about concrete the Byzantine territories was their main task was accidental and not quite clear [7, river 120], it is possible to carry rightfully and to the 13th century. Therefore the main sources on the history of the Nicaean empire - Georgy Akropolit [10] and Georgy Pakhime-r [11] compositions - contain only sporadic mentions of fema. Assembly material could provide more exact picture, however it is well presented only concerning the southern part of Asia Minor, the region close Smyrna [12].

Formation of the territory of the Nicaean empire, in our opinion, took place in several stages. The first stage (1205-1214) began actually right after capture of Constantinople by crusaders. Feodor Laskar, the first Nicaean emperor (1205-1221) supported by the supporters, having the base originally to Mr. Prus and Nicaea (in XII. fema of Optima-ton, Bukellarion were located here), gradually broadened the territories during military collisions with latinyana, Greek competitors and the Seljuks. He seized Philadelphia, region of river. Meander, femy Neokastra [10, river 15-16]. In 1211 broke the Seljuks in the battle of Antioch (on Meandra), having secured thereby the eastern and southern frontiers [10, river 17]. And, at last, in 1214 Feodor took Paphlagonia belonging before to David Comnenus to the brother of the Trebizond emperor Alexis I Comnenus [10, river 18-19]. However fight of Laska-rya against latinyana was not so successful. By the end of this period in Asia Minor they still owned femy Opsiky, Aegean femy and strategically important fortified city of Adramit-ty [10, river 11-12].

It is known that at this stage in the Nicaean empire existed already mentioned fema of Ne-okastra and also a fem Frakesion and a fem Meandra. Fima Frakesion was revived in the Nicaean state (during an era of Angels it was shattered into a number of smaller fy). About her thanks to acts of the monastery of the virgin Lemviotissa [12] which is located near Smyrna most of all data remained. So, there are mentions that

in 1212 the fema had a number of fortresses which needed to be protected from begun the campaign latinyan [12, p. 35]. History of a fema of Frakesion is well studied. In particular, E. Arveyler provides the list of governors of this fema (duk) in the Nicaean empire [13, p. 136-141].

Fima Meandra was for the first time created in the Nicaean empire. The first mentions of it belong to 1213-1214 [14, p. 13-14]. Possibly, its emergence is connected with need to strengthen management for successful opposition to the Seljuks (it passed just in this region).

Perhaps, near Nicaea there was also some fema. For this period of similar data did not remain, but, describing later events, Akropolit calls this area Vifiniy [10, p. 134]. In this territory really till 10th century Vee-finiya fema was located, but later it was divided into fema Op-timaton and Opsikion [13, p. 244]. Probability also the fact that in the annexed Paphlagonia the fema of the same name was revived is high.

During the second stage (1214-1225) there were no changes of the territory of the Nicaean empire. To the forefront during this period there is a process of arrangement of low-Asian provinces. The fema Milasa-Milanudion [12, p is mentioned in the document dated 1217. 291], existing in the 12th century

The third stage (1225-1246) is connected with the beginning of active gaining the Nicaean empire. The new emperor John III Duca Vatats (1221-1254) broke Latin troops in 1224 in fight at Pimaniona, having opened thereby the road to the western part of Asia Minor which is still in hands of aggressors. As Akropolit writes, after this battle "the great growth of the romeysky power and decline and also reduction of the state of Italians" [10, p began. 34]. Later short time Vatats took fortresses Pimanion, to Lentian, Harior, Berbeniak, and then and subordinated all sea coast (in this territory was located in the 12th century of a fem of Opsi-ky) [10, p. 34-35].

Not less important the fact that Ioann Vatats began process of accession of the European provinces of the Byzantine empire. He undertook the first attempts (the truth, unsuccessful) in 1227. However full-scale offensive at the western territories was developed since 1235. It crowned capture in 1246 of the second largest and to value of the Byzantine city of Thessaloniki and also practically all Thrace and Macedonia [10, p. 51-79]. Thus, during this period the territory of the Nicaean state grew more than twice.

we Will note

that some changes occur -

whether and in fema of Asia Minor. In the act of 1235 it is said about Frakesion and Philadelphia's fema that confirms temporary integration of this fema (further an increase Philadelphia from the name disappears) [12, river 18].

During the fourth stage (1246-1261) the system of provincial management in the Nicaean empire took rather complete form. However we will note that because of wars which the Nicaean emperor Feodor II Laskar (12541258) waged in the Balkans at first with Bulgarians and then with Epirus, at the end of this period it was not stable. The fourth stage together with the end of the most Nicaean empire and restoration of the Byzantine state in 1261 Mikhail VIII Paleolog was completed (1259-1282).

The device the fy 13th century in the first half is rather fully studied by historians therefore we will stop only on some of its aspects. It is known that in an Asian part of the Nicaean empire for designation of the governor of a fema the term "duk" was most often used, and it distinguished it from the previous period in which femam could direct and other officials, for example strategists [2, river 58; 3, river 250-252]. Representatives of nobility were appointed to this post, many of them were closely connected with the yard (all persons holding this position had court titles, as a rule, of the pansevast of the sevast) and in some cases were close people or relatives of vasilevs [2, river 62]. However it did not disturb the last (especially to John III Duca Vatatsu) to pursue purposeful policy on frequent change duk, probably, not to allow strengthening of their local authorities. So, in Frakesion Duca's fema changed nearly annually [2, river 63; 13, river 136-141].

According to M. Engoldu, two groups of employees submitted to duka: his personal assistants and officials appointed the emperor. Governors of the cities and fortresses and also stratopedarkh, perhaps, ranking second in administrative facilities the fy ambassador duk are among the last [3, river 252]. Obviously, such order also limited autocracy of governors fy.

As for concrete activity duk, does not raise doubts that in fema they executed administrative and judicial functions, however idea that Duca headed the military organization fy, looks much less plausible. This representation was created by M. Engold who believed that Duca not only headed the military organization fy, but also ordered femny troops during military campaigns [3, river 255]. Supported this statement and known spetsia-

a leaf on military science of late Byzantium M. Bar-tusis [6, river 30]. However, in our opinion, the assumption stated by D. Angelo-vy [2, river 64] and P.I. Zhavoronkov [5, page 63] is more right that Duca fy fulfilled only civil duties.

The situation is complicated by the fact that about the military organization fy very few data remained and they have contradictory character. Actually the assumption of military functions duk is under construction on assumption at almost full silence of sources. The only argument which is adduced by M. Engold in own favor is interpretation of one of episodes in G. Akropolit's "History". He writes that when the governor of Rhodes Island (it entered the Nicaean empire) Ioann Gavala together with Ioann Vatats reflected attacks latinyan in Nicko mussel (North of Asia Minor), Rhodes was attacked by genoeses. For fight against them the small group under the leadership of du-ki of a fema of Frakesion Ioann Kantakuzin was directed to the island. After the main forces were tightened, the Nicaean troops were headed protosevast by Feodor Kondoste-fan [10, river 86-87].

It is represented that this episode cannot serve as the instruction on the fact that the management of troops fell within the scope of duties duk. This case is the exception, a sudden call which demanded extraordinary measures. Addressed Ioann Kantakuzin who is in close proximity to Rhodes forcedly somehow to detain the enemy and as soon as the main forces were tightened, command was transferred to the professional commander.

Thus though the military organization ma-loaziysky fy, of course, existed in the form of network of fortresses and the strengthened cities with garrisons, she most likely submitted not to duka, and directly to emperors or commanders appointed by it. For example, at Feodor II some time Mikhail Paleolog operated Mesofiniya's fortresses and Opti-mat [11, river 34].

A little differently the situation was in the European provinces of the Nicaean empire. These territories won by John III Duca Vatats, constantly remade during numerous military collisions with the epirsky state, Bulgaria, the Serbian kingdom were never stable education. Besides, they were difficult to be operated because of power of the local nobility, archons with whose influence it was necessary to reckon [3, river 284]. Therefore it is no wonder that the management of the European provinces unlike of Asia Minor fy in the Nicaean empire in general had military character.

Andronicus Paleolog was the first governor of these territories who is known to us great domestik. After capture of Thessaloniki in 1246 it remained in the city as the main thing over all chiefs of the western areas of the empire. And these chiefs (generally heads of fortresses) had to obey all its orders and execute all instructions [10, river 8384]. After Andronicus Paleolog's death in 1247 on its place Feodor Phil [10, p was put. 83-84], and during Feodor II Laskar's government the Nicaean high-erudite official Georgy Akropolit [10, river 142-143] became the leading person in the western provinces with a position of a pretor. Tells Akropo-litas about powers of a pretor. He writes what within his power was to give orders to imperial officials of level of the trapezit, to send to officials of an entalma (the document addressed by the high-ranking official to the subordinate for conducting any affairs) with statement of their powers, to change the tax officials and also the persons executing public affairs, who are at the head of groups and having the power over areas [10, river 142-143]. As we see, its powers were both civil, and military. However Akropolit was not an autocratic governor in the territories entrusted to him. In the decisions he consulted (possibly, through letters) on the emperor. And, explaining the acts during the war with Epirus, he specifies: "so ordered me majestic" [10, river 149].

It is curious that the pretor position which was received by Akropolit existed in the 12th century. The information about governors of some Balkan fy - pretors, however, being full exclusively civil functions unlike the Nicaean official remained [15, river 148-149]. It seems that Feodor II decided to revive a traditional control system in Thrace and Macedonia, however owing to political circumstances he modernized it a little, having given to a pretor military functions.

As it was already told, the femny system initially had military character. It is possible to assume though that does not have direct certificates that folding fy in Asia Minor was defined except other and defensive tasks (we will remember an example of a fema Meandra). There is one more aspect connected with military character fy which it is necessary to mention - femny troops.

In our opinion, the representation which developed in a historiography about a role of femny troops in structure of the Nicaean armed forces needs significant correction. The foundation of this representation was laid by M. Engol-

house. It allocates in ground forces of the empire "field army" and "provincial troops" (the same, as femny troops). And though it notes that divisions of "provincial" army constantly were involved in combat operations of "field" army and the difference between them is not absolutely clear, M. Engold does not refuse the distinction [3, river 189190].

The same structural division on central (tagma) and provincial (femny troops) armies is found in armed forces of the Nicaean empire by M. Bartusis. He specifies that femny troops (according to him, at that time they were called by "allagiya") were unimportant and almost imperceptible, but finally did not disappear. Presumably femny troops protected eastern frontiers and were in garrisons in Asia Minor. The difference between femny and field army begins to be erased by the end of existence of the Nicaean empire [6, river 29-33].

P.I. Zhavoronkov at first believed that femny troops were included into a so-called "ellinikon" which was one of parts of regular army [4, page 146]. However then it completely accepted the point of view of M. Bartusis. P.I. Zhavoronkov considers that the Nicaean ground forces were divided into standing army (tagma) and provincial fem-ny troops (they were called allagiya). He also believes that the Nicaean historian Akropolit clearly distinguishes these two types of military forces. Tagma, consisting generally of mercenaries, included also imperial guard [5, page 59-60].

In our opinion, the idea of division of the Nicaean troops into standing army which was fixed in a historiography and provincial troops is based on some misunderstanding. It is known that in the Nicaean empire really there were femny troops. In Akro-polit's "History" it is directly told about troops of a fema of Neokastr [10, river 123]. Besides, data remained that in the Balkans paflagonets, Macedonians, archers who, perhaps, were natives from Anatoly were involved in the military operations [10, river 105, 145, 170]. It is possible to identify all these groups (especially paflagonets) with a big share of confidence as femny. However sources do not contain opposition tagm and femny groups anywhere. In episodes of the composition of Akropolit [10, the river 123, 156, 170] to which P.I. Zhavoronkov refers, is told only separately or about femny troops, or about tagma, without any comparison. In all known mentions of femny troops in the Nicaean empire it is about their participation in military campaigns, along with other parts of the Nicaean army, but not about some specific forms of activity of "provincial" troops.

Thus, idea of division of armed forces of the Nicaean empire into "constant" and "provincial" army has no confirmation in sources. Moreover, all available data testifies against this speculative division. In our opinion, femny troops were included into "tagma", also as well as mercenaries or Polovtsian groups. Only they had the specifics. The fact that in sources all mentions of femny groups belong to the second half of existence of the Nicaean empire should not confuse. As we remember, the femny system developed in Nicaea by no means not at once, and up to the middle of the 20th of the 13th century all empire was limited to space of three - four fy, and their armies, completed probably from stratiot (the free peasants living in fema and obliged to bear military service) [1, river of 1965], could not play the defining role in army, certainly. Besides, such unevenness of mentions, perhaps, is connected with the identity of the chief historian of the Nicaean empire Georgy Akro-polit who began to be present directly at the main political events of the state only from 1240th. Our point of view is confirmed indirectly by the fact that the difference between tagma and femny troops was erased probably in the 12th century [1, river of 2007].

Summing up our reasonings on a role fy in state system of the Nicaean empire, it is possible to note that, despite disintegration of Byzantium after 1204, the Nicaean empire tried to restore its structure of provincial management (fema) in the limited territories which are available for it. And the device not of times of decline of the empire at Angels was restored, and times of its blossoming at Manuel I Comnenus. There took place this process of restoration, in our opinion, in four stages. Military functions fy in the Nicaean empire remained, but were minimized: Duca (governors fy) most likely were deprived of military powers, and femny troops did not play a crucial role in army of the state. All this shows evolution which was made by a femny system not only in comparison with times of its creation, but also from 12th century. In the Nicaean empire it, having lost the initial sense, turned into a system provincial, mainly civil justices - the line. Therefore it is not casual that in the European part of the Nicaean empire where there were continuous wars and the military authorities were required, the power was under construction on other bases. Though, perhaps, at the time of Feodor II Laskar a short-term attempt of unification provincial justices - was made

the line connected with introduction of a position of a pretor. Besides, there are bases to speak about rather high extent of centralization of the Nicaean state and about dense control of her governors over provincial administration and armed forces of the empire.


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