1st Edition

Byzantine Military Rhetoric in the Ninth Century A Translation of the Anonymi Byzantini Rhetorica Militaris

    104 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    104 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Byzantine Military Rhetoric in the Ninth Century is the first English translation of the ninth-century Anonymi Byzantini Rhetorica Militaris. This influential text offers a valuable insight into the warrior ethic of the period, the role of religion in the justification of war, and the view of other military cultures by the Byzantine elite. It also played a crucial role in the compilation of the tenth-century Taktika and Constantine VII’s harangues during a period of intense military activity for the Byzantine Empire on its eastern borders. Including a detailed commentary and critical introduction to the author and the structure of the text, this book will appeal to all those interested in Byzantine political ideology and military history.


    Introduction 1

    Part A: the author and the work 1

    Syrianos magistros and the compendium of Anonymus Byzantinus 1

    Assigning a name to Anonymus Byzantinus 3

    Assigning a date to the compendium of Syrianos 6

    Dating the compendium and the geo-political background of the period 11

    A note on the sources 21

    The manuscript tradition 25

    Part B: the contents of the work 28

    The history of exhortation and exhortative speeches 28

    The “practicalities” of exhortation speeches: where, when, how 35

    The skills of a commander as a public speaker 37

    Rhetorical topoi in building morale 39

    Note on the translation 55

    Hortatory public speeches: drawing their arguments from various sources 57

    For the zeal for the faith 61

    For the fatherland 62

    For the love for our compatriots 62

    For the punishment of evildoers 63

    Other made-up arguments 67

    From religion 70

    From the mode of life 70

    From the slander of the enemy army 70

    From [the right] time 70

    From the place 70

    From the cause 70

    From the past, in this way 71

    From the present, such as 71

    From the future, such as 71

    From the fabrications, such as 71

    The achievements of the audience 72

    The achievements of the ancestors of the audience 73

    The achievements of others 73

    More examples about the useful 77

    The preparation of weapons 77

    The training in war tactics 78

    Bravery 79

    The endurance of pain 79

    The obedience to the commanders 79

    The study of the glorious 80

    The study of the possible 80

    The study of the outcome of the battle 81

    Example of a consolatory speech, in the absence of the transposition of the cause [when the reproach

    takes place, then the transposition of the cause is missing] 87

    Bibliography 88



    Georgios Theotokis is a lecturer of European history at Ibn Haldun University, Turkey. His publications include Norman Campaigns in the Balkans, 1081–1108 ad (2014) and Byzantine Military Tactics in Syria and Mesopotamia in the Tenth Century (2018).

    Dimitrios Sidiropoulos is currently PhD Student in Byzantine History (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).