The Byzantine Aristocracy and its Military Function: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Byzantine Aristocracy and its Military Function

1st Edition

By Jean-Claude Cheynet


380 pages

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The first four studies in this volume by Jean-Claude Cheynet, specially translated from French for publication here, present a broad-ranging analysis of the Byzantine aristocracy of the 8th-12th centuries. Along with the other articles in the first part, they examine the evolution of aristocratic families and the composition of this group, the relative importance of landholding and public office, the notion of 'civilian' and 'military' families, and patterns of inheritance. In the second part, the focus is on the Byzantine army, with studies looking both at the position of aristocrats within it, and more generally at the effectiveness of the army itself, notably in the campaigns in Asia Minor against the Arabs and the Turks.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction. The Aristocracy in Byzantine Society: The Byzantine aristocracy, 8th-13th centuries; The Byzantine aristocracy in the 10th-12th centuries: comments on the book by A. Kazhdan and S. Ronchey; Aristocratic anthroponymy in Byzantium; Aristocracy and inheritance, 10th-12th centuries; Fortune et puissance des grandes familles (Xe-XIIe siècle); Dévaluation des dignités et dévaluation monétaire dans la seconde moitié du XIe siècle. The Aristocracy and the Byzantine Army: Official power and non-official power; Basil II and Asia Minor; Philadelphie, un quart de siècle de dissidence, 1182-1206; La politique militaire de Basile II à Alexis Comnène; Du stratège de thème au duc: chronologie de l'évolution au cours du XIe siècle; Les effectifs de l'armée byzantine (Xe-XIIe s.); Mantzikert: un désastre militaire?; La résistance aux Turcs en Asie Mineure entre Mantzikert et la Première Croisade. Addenda; Index.

About the Author

Jean-Claude Cheynet is Professor of Byzantine History at the Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), France, and Director of the Centre de recherche d’Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance, at the Collège de France, France.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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