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Organization of defensive system and army units in Constantinople

Author(s) : Papageorgiou Angeliki (7/31/2008)
Translation : Daskalaki Photini

For citation: Papageorgiou Angeliki, "Organization of defensive system and army units in Constantinople",
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Constantinople
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=11812>

Στρατιωτικά σώματα και οργάνωση της άμυνας στην Κωνσταντινούπολη (6/29/2007 v.1) Organization of defensive system and army units in Constantinople (6/29/2007 v.1) 



A term that during Byzantine times denoted a wide array of ecclesiastic, civil and military officials. In church hierarchy the domestikoi were in charge of special groups connected with liturgical rites, such as lectors, sub-deacons but mainly cantors. In the military chain of command during the 6th, 7th and 8th century the domestikoi were the commanders of the tagmata, the regiments under the direct command of the Emperor.

domestikos ton scholon
Commander of the regiment of scholae. The first officer with this title appears in 767/8. In the 10th C the domesticos became very powerful among the army of the themata; in mid-10th C the office was divided in two, domestikoi ton scholon of the East and those of the West, commanders in chief of the eastern and the western provinces´ army respectively.

praefectus urbi (prefect of the city)
(later referred to as the eparch of the city) Αdministrator and virtual governor of Constantinople in the Early/Middle Byzantine Era. He was responsible for the surveillance and the harmonius life of the Capital. One of his responsibilities was to control the commercial and manufacturing activities of Constantinople. After 1204, however, the office began to diminish, while from the 14th century, his responsibilities were assumed by two officers, the so-called kephalatikeuontai of the capital.

scholae palatinae
Scholae palatinae were created by Diocletian (284-305). They were corps of the imperial guard, and to be more precise they formed the personal army of the emperor. They served under the magistri officiorum and later on under the Domesticos ton Scholon. Seven regiments were stationed in the East and five in the West. Justinian I (527-565) introduced four more short-lived regiments.

tagmata (pl.)
Military units stationed in Constantinople and its outskirts during the Middle Byzantine period. The most important tagmata were that of the Scholae, the Excubitors (these originated from respective units of the Early Byzantine period and were organized into an imperial guard and a central strike force by Constantine V), the Vigilia (established by Irene the Athenian) and the Hikanatoi (established by Nicephorus I).


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