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The Byzantine Successor State

Oxford Handbooks Online


The Byzantine Successor State
John F. Haldon
The Oxford Handbook of the State in the Ancient Near East and
Mediterranean
Edited by Peter Fibiger Bang and Walter Scheidel
Print Publication Date: Feb 2013 Subject: Classical Studies, Social and Economic History
Online Publication Date: Jan 2013 DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195188318.013.0017

Abstract and Keywords


This chapter examines the history of state formation in the Byzantine Empire, or the
eastern Roman Empire, during the fourth century to the fifteenth century CE. It explains
that the Byzantine successor state evolved out of Roman institutional arrangements
structured as a hierarchy of administrative levels and that it was a complex bureaucracy
which required a substantial degree of more-than-minimal clerical literacy for its day-today administration. The chapter also chronicles the growth of the town-based landlord
elite or gentry that was associated with the economic expansion and growth of the
period, and which had critical implications for state control over the distribution of
resources.
Keywords: Byzantine Empire, state formation, Roman Empire, Byzantine successor state, complex bureaucracy,
landlord elite, institutional arrangements, economic expansion, state control, distribution of resources

Introductory Observations
The term Byzantine empire refers by convention to the eastern Roman empire from the
fourth (or sixth, as some prefer) century to the fifteenth century CE, that is to say, from
the time when a distinctively eastern Roman political formation began to evolve, with the
recognition of the cultural divisions between Greek East and Latin West in the
empires political structure, to the fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453 at the hands of
the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II. And although within this long period there were many
substantial transformations, the elements of structural continuity are marked enough to
permit such a broad chronological definition.

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The Byzantine Successor State

Straddling the Balkan peninsula and Asia Minor, with a few outlying territories in
southern Italy and the Adriatic and Aegean areas, the Byzantine empire represented
merely a rump of the eastern part of the Roman empire (Laiou and Morrisson 2005, 8
22). In many respects, it can be called an empire only because it presented itself to the
outside world as such, yet it was territorially always quite restrictedat its height,
including the Balkans and much of Anatolia, but little more. It evolved out of the collapse
of eastern Roman political power following the Arab attacks and conquests of the years
634650, themselves events that formed part of a much broader process of economic,
cultural, and political transformation affecting the late ancient world from the Atlantic to
northern India and beyond. By the year 700, all its North African and western
Mediterranean provinces had also been lost, with the possible exception of a tenuous
Roman presence in the

(p. 476)

Balearics. Yet the regions that it retained were among the

least wealthy of its former provinces, among which Egypt had contributed as the most
productive, the main source of grain for Constantinople, and a major source of the states
tax income. From figures given by a range of late Roman sources for the eastern half of
the empire (thus excluding Italy and Africa, which anyway contributed only one-eighth or
so of the total), it has been calculated that Egypt contributed something like one-third of
the state income (both gold and grain) derived from the prefectures of Oriens and
Illyricum together; that the dioceses of Asiana, Pontica, Macedonia, and Oriens together
contributed about four-fifths of the gold revenue, with Pontica and Oriens (which
included the frontier regions and their hinterlands) providing a further proportionover
50 percentof the grain levied for the army. Comparing these figures with more detailed
budgetary details from the sixteenth-century Ottoman records, it can be suggested that
the income of the Balkan region up to the Danube and that of Ottoman Anatolia were very
approximately equal. While there are some disparities in coverage between these regions
in their late Roman and Ottoman forms, this gives a crude idea of the relative economic
value of the two regions. In the late Roman period, however, the bulk of the states
income outside of Egypt had been derived from the rich provinces of Syria, Mesopotamia,
Euphratensis, Osrhoene, Phoenicia, Palestine, and Cilicia, all lost after the 640s and only
partially, in their northern perimeter, recovered in the tenth century. With the loss of
Egypt and these eastern provinces, therefore, and with effective control over all but the
coastal periphery of much of the southern Balkans lost during the later sixth century and
first half of the seventh century, the overall income of the state collapsed to a fraction of
the sixth-century figure: one figure plausibly suggested is that it was reduced to a quarter
(Jones 1964, 462464; Hendy 1985, 164ff, 616620; Laiou and Morrisson 2005, 2342;
See Map 16.1).
The Church and the theological system it represented (from the late fourth century
Christianity was the official religion of the Roman state and, probably by the mid-sixth
century, the majority religion within the empire) played a central role in the economy of

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The Byzantine Successor State

the Roman worldit was a major landowneras well as in imperial politics, in


influencing the moral and ethical system of the Roman world, and in directing imperial
religious policy. Emperors were inextricably involved in the conflicts generated by
theological disagreements, given the prevailing view that the emperor was chosen by
God, that he had to be Orthodox (however that was defined), and that his role was to
defend the interests of Orthodoxy and the Roman, that is, Christian oikoumen (the
inhabited, civilizedRomanworld). The political implications were such that heresy was
construed as treason, and opposition to the (orthodox) emperor could effectively be
treated as heresy (Dagron 1993, 167296; Whittow 1996, 126133; Haldon 1997, 281
286, 324ff.).

Click to view larger


Map 16.1 The Byzantine Empire and Its Neighbors
circa 840 CE

The Byzantine successor


state evolved out of Roman
institutional arrangements
of the period up to the
fourth and fifth centuries,
structured as a hierarchy
of administrative levels: at
the top was the emperor,
understood to be Gods
representative,
surrounded by a palatine
and household apparatus,
the center of imperial

government and administration. Civil and fiscal government was delegated

(p. 477)

(p. 478)

until the middle of the seventh century from the emperor to the Praetorian prefects,
whose prefectures were the largest territorial circumscriptions in the state; each
prefecture was further divided into dioecesae or dioceses, which had a predominantly
fiscal aspect; and each diocese was divided into provinciae or provinces, territorial units
of fiscal and judicial administration. These were further divided into self-governing poleis
or civitates, the cities, each with its territorium or hinterland (which might be more or
less extensive, according to geographical, demographic, and other factors). The late
Roman state was thus a complex bureaucracy requiring a substantial degree of more than
minimal clerical literacy for its day-to-day administration, rooted in and imposed upon a
series of overlapping social formations structured by local variations on essentially the
same social relations of production across the whole central and east Mediterranean and
Balkan world. Social and political tensions were exacerbated by religious divisions, local
economic conditions, imperial politics, and the burden placed upon the tax-paying
population as a result of the states needs in respect of its administrative apparatus and,
in particular, its armies (Haldon 2005).
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The Byzantine Successor State

The loss to Islam during the seventh century of the eastern provinces that had evolved
heterodox traditions marked a real break with the Roman past (Donner 1981; Kennedy
1986; Kaegi 1992). Here, versions of Christianity had evolved (in particular
monophysitism, the belief in a single divine nature of God) that did not conform to the
dyophysite dogma (belief in two inseparable and indivisible natures) which, by the 630s,
had become the orthodoxy of the emperors. The result had been a cycle of persecution
and opposition, and although it is no longer believed that these differences meant an
easier victory for the invading Muslim armies, such disaffection clearly played a role in
the general situation. As a result, early Byzantine state and society were able to evolve a
series of identifying characteristics crucial to their later history: neo-Chalcedonian (i.e.,
dyophysite) orthodoxy, the Greek language of bureaucracy and army, the concept of the
Romans as the Chosen People (a role forfeited by the Jews for their failure to recognize
and acknowledge the Messiah), and the geopolitical coherence, centralized bureaucratic
administrative structure, and traditions of the empire, as well as the symbolic function of
Constantinople. All these features acted as unifying elements that enabled a muchreduced late ancient state system to survive well into the medieval period, and to endow
the social formation which that state sheltered with a particular character and sense of
its own special identity, a sense that survived the collapse of the state itself (Jones 1964;
Hussey 1966, part 1; Ostrogorsky 1968; Brown 1971; Winkelmann 1980; Angold 1984;
Gray 2005).
Late Roman and Byzantine society were dominated throughout their history by tributary
relations of production. That is to say, surplus was appropriated through a variety of
forms of tax and rent, which represented the prevailing and usual forms of surplus value
or surplus labor. This does not mean that they were the only existing forms of surplus
appropriation in this particular social formation. Slavery continued to exist, but even as
early as the fourth century in the east seems to have played only a very limited role in
production and, more importantly, in the

(p. 479)

production of the wealth of the

dominant class. There is plenty of imperial legislation to suggest that from this time on
agricultural slaves were being rapidly turned into the equivalent of coloni adscripticii,
that is to say, free personsnominallybut bound to their estate or tenancy. The legal
definition of a slave as an unfree person continued in use, of course, and reduction to
slave status remained a punishment throughout the Byzantine period. But as agricultural
slaves came to approximate more and more to various degrees of tied but free tenants,
the economic reality of slavery disappears: rent and tax, not the intensive, plantationbased exploitation of chattel-slaves, seem to be the main form of surplus appropriation
from the later third century and afterward. Domestic and small-scale industrial slavery
continued to exist, too, but this hardly affects the dominant mode of surplus
appropriation. And even when large numbers of prisoners were taken in war and

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The Byzantine Successor State

enslaved, they were often then given state or other land to cultivate, and expressly
freed for a specific period from state taxation in order to allow them to bring their plots
into productionhardly the typical treatment of slaves in the classical sense of the term.
In spite of some exaggeration in certain sources, therefore, slaves do not appear to have
played a significant role in overall production, and in particular in the production of
surplus wealth, in the late Roman and Byzantine world after the fourth century.
The various institutional forms that surplus appropriation could take were many. Private
landlords normally collected rent in cash or kind, according to the nature of the contract
or lease and according to the economic conditions of the time or area, or both
(availability of market exchange was clearly essential). There is some evidence, although
sparse, of wage-laborers tied to estates and paid in cash or kind also, apart from the
journeymen and day-laborers typical of urban environments. Until the last two centuries
of the empire, however, this sector of the economy appears to have been fairly marginal.
The state exacted surpluses in both cash and kind (for the regular taxes on land, for
example), as well as through a variety of labor-services: maintenance of the postal
stations and horses, for example, or the production of iron ore, woven cloths, and so on,
which would be calculated according to centrally determined tables of equivalence.
Equally, local communities were on occasion required to help with the building of roads
and bridges or fortifications, and to billet and feed soldiers and their officers, imperial
officials and messengers, and so on. By the ninth century, and probably from the seventh
century, the state demanded the production of weapons and various items of military
equipment from the appropriate craftsmen among the provincial populations, imposed as
additional corves; extraordinary levies in food or grain were common; while military
service itself, though not meriting exemption from the chief land- and hearth-taxes, did
bring freedom from extraordinary levies and similar impositions. But the crucial point
about all these forms of surplus appropriation, except for the wage-labor sector, is that
they were obtained without exception through noneconomic coercionwhether
customary obligations and the force of law, as in most cases, backed up ultimately by
imperial military might, or by simple threats and bullying by state officials, Churchmen,
or private

(p. 480)

landlords. This was an agrarian society of peasants and rural artisans,

and they were the only realistic source of surplus wealth production on a large scale for
the state. Private commerce and exchange was extensive after the economic recovery of
the mid-ninth to early eleventh centuries, but the state appears to have had only limited
access to its profits. Only at the very end of the Byzantine period, when the state was
reduced to a few districts in the southern Balkans and the Aegean islands, did commerce
become a significant element in the state economy. But by then the Byzantine empire was
itself an insignificant political force in the eastern Mediterranean (Haldon 1993, 109ff.;
1997; Oikonomides 1996).

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The Byzantine Successor State

Political-Historical Overview
In spite of the problems faced by the eastern half of the empire in the middle and later
fifth century, its greater structural cohesiveness and flexibility enabled it to survive both
external attacks as well as the disruption of economic and trading patterns. Indeed, in the
late fifth and early sixth centuries a major reform of the bronze coinage was undertaken
that was to provide the basic framework for the monetary system of the empire until the
twelfth century. The strength of the empire enabled it during the sixth century, under the
emperor Justinian I (527565), to take the offensive and to recover large regions that had
been lost to invaders or settlers, including North Africa from the Vandals, Italy from the
Ostrogoths and southeast Spain from the Visigoths. Although the cost of this
expansionism was very great, the eastern Roman state in the early 630s still embraced
North Africa, Egypt, modern Syria, western Iraq, and western Jordan, along with Lebanon
and Palestine, Anatolia, much of the Balkans, Sicily, Sardinia, and considerable areas of
Italy. Most of the Balkans was out of effective central control, dominated by Slav or other
invaders, albeit this reality was not recognized in official imperial pronouncements on the
region. But these gains were short-lived: the Lombard occupation of much of northern,
central, and southern Italy from the late 560s, the inability of the empire to maintain
effective military forces in the western Mediterranean, and the distraction and threat of
warfare in the east meant that most of these territorial gains had been lost well before
the end of the seventh century. A major war with the Persian kingdom of the Sassanid
dynasty, stimulated by the usurpation of the tyrant Phocas (602610) and murder of the
emperor Maurice, lasted until the Byzantine victory achieved by the emperor Heraclius in
627. But both states were exhausted by the long years of warfare and economic
dislocation.
When, therefore, the Arabs emerged in the 630s from the Arabian peninsula under the
banner of Islam and the holy war, imperial resistance was little more than token. By 642
all of Egypt and the Middle Eastern provinces had been lost, Arab forces had penetrated
deep into Asia Minor and Libya, and imperial forces had been withdrawn into Asia Minor,
to be settled across the provinces of the region as

(p. 481)

the only available means of

supporting them. Within a period of some twelve years the empire lost something over
half its area and three-quarters of its resourcesa drastic loss for an imperial state that
still had to maintain and equip a considerable army and an effective administrative
bureaucracy if it was to survive at all. While many of the developments that led to this
transformation were in train long before the seventh-century crisis, it was this
conjuncture which served to bring things to a head and promote the structural responses
which followed.

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The Byzantine Successor State

The defeats and territorial contraction that resulted from the expansion of Islam from the
640s in the east, on the one hand, and the arrival of the Bulgars and establishment of a
permanent Bulgar Khanate in the Balkans from the 680s, on the other, radically altered
the political conditions of existence of the eastern Roman state and established a new
international political context. The evolution of this context was characterized by the
political, cultural, and economic relations between the empire and its neighbors, on the
one hand, and by the fluctuations in imperial political ideology and awareness of these
relations, on the other. At the same, the cultural imperialism of Byzantium, and the
powerful results of this in the Balkans and Russia, had results that have influenced, and
continue to influence, the Balkans and Eastern Europe until the present day (Obolensky
1971; Franklin and Shepard 1996).
The eastern Roman empire struggled throughout its existence to maintain its territorial
integrity. Its greatest problem was posed by its geographical situation, always
surrounded by potential or actual enemies: in the east, the Sassanid Persian empire until
the 620s, then the Islamic Caliphates, and finally the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks; in the
north, various groups of immigrant Slavs (sixth to seventh centuries), along with nomadic
peoples such as the Avars, Bulgars, Chazars, Hungarians (Magyars), and Pechenegs; and
in Italy and the western coastal region of the Balkans the Lombards and Franks, and later
both Saracens (from North Africa and Spain) and Normans (later tenth to mid-twelfth
centuries). Finally, from the twelfth century, various Italian maritime powers vied in
competing to maximize their influence over Byzantine emperors and territory.
Overambitious (although sometimes initially very successful) plans to recover former
imperial lands, and a limited and relatively inflexible budgetary system, were key
structural constraints that affected the history of the empire. From the eleventh century,
and especially from the later twelfth century, the empires economy was gradually
overtaken by the rapidly expanding economies of western Europe and the Italian
peninsula. The capture and sack of Constantinople by the fourth crusade in 1204, and the
partition of its territory among a variety of Latin principalities and a Latin empire, a
rump of the former Byzantine state, spelled the end of Byzantium as a serious
international power. In spite of the reestablishment of an imperial state at Constantinople
from 1261, the growth of Balkan powers such as the Serbian empire in the fourteenth
century, and the Ottomans in both Anatolia and the Balkans thereafter, were to prevent
any reassertion of Byzantine power in the region. By the time of its final absorption into
the Ottoman state, the empire consisted of little more than Constantinople, some
Aegean islands, and parts of the

(p. 482)

southern Peloponnese in Greece (Angold 1984;

Whittow 1996; Haldon 2000; Gregory 2005).

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The Byzantine Successor State

Structure and Dynamic of the Byzantine State:


Political System
As a representative tributary polity, the major systemic tension within the Byzantine state
was that between the elite and the central political authority. For tributary systems,
analyzing the relationship between states and their elites offers particularly useful
insights into the ways in which such states actually work, and under what conditions
centralized state power and authority is liable to break down. Unlike in modern industrial
states, for example, primary surplus appropriation in preindustrial social formations can
take place only through rent or tax, in their various forms, and is thus directly carried out
by the state or dominant elite. In modern state formations, in contrast, taxation is the
means whereby the state redistributes surplus value already produced and distributed
between the owners or controllers of the means of production, on the one hand, and
those who sell their labor power in return for a wage/salary. In both cases, the nature of
social and economic contradictions and tensions between exploiters and exploited, as
well as the nature of the political relations of distribution of surplus within the dominant
or ruling elite, is determined by two features. First, by competition over the distribution
of resources between potentially antagonistic elements in this equation; and second, by
the institutional forms taken by tax and rent, and through which surplus is appropriated.
Both state centers and ruling elites in premodern formations thus have an equally
powerful vested interest in the maintenance of those social and economic relations to
which they owe their position. The state (as embodied in a central or ruling
establishment) must appropriate surplus itself, or ensure that an adequate portion of
such surplus is passed on to it, to be certain of survival. But there has historically always
been a tendency for the functionaries entrusted with these duties to evolve, however
gradually, their own independent power base, thus representing a competitor with the
state for resources. The relationship between the ruler or ruling elite and those who
actually appropriate surplus on their behalf is in consequence always contradictory and
potentially antagonistic because, as indicated already, dominant socioeconomic groups
and states function at the same level of primary appropriation: since there is no real
difference, except in scale and administrative organization, between the extraction of tax,
and that of rent, whatever the form it takes. The antagonism is a structural antagonism
it need not necessarily be expressed through any awareness on the part of the individuals
or groups in question. Furthermore, this relationship is generally not a simple one-to-one
equation: the state may be embodied in a particular power elite, which may or may not
originate from a dominant social class or aristocracy, for example, so that

(p. 483)

whole complex of interwoven social, economic, and political vested interests is involved.

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The Byzantine Successor State

But the ability of the state to extract surplus depends ultimately upon its power to limit
the economic and political strength of such potentially competing groups. The only real
way to achieve this has been to create, or attempt to create, a totally loyal, because
totally dependent, governing class that is identified entirely with the interests of the
central establishment. Byzantine emperors were enabled to achieve this, for a while
(although they may not have had this intention), by the circumstances peculiar to the
seventh century. By way of comparison, it is worth noting that Ottoman rulers attempted
the same in establishing the devshirme (the conscription of boys from Christian
households to be brought up in an Islamic context and drafted into the Janissary corps),
just as earlier Islamic rulers had employed slaves as a nonpartisan and loyal elite through
which they could exercise power in either the military or administrative sphere. This
structured relationship was crucial both to the failure of the Byzantine state to resist
economic challenges from elsewhere (a consequence in part of the slow transformation of
the state elite of the later seventh and early eighth centuries into an economically and
politically more autonomous aristocracy by the twelfth century), as well as to the success
of the Italian commercial republics in respect of their own social and economic
organization (Haldon 1993).

Apparatus
The loss of control over much of the Balkans, and the conquest by the Arabs of the
oriental provinces south of Asia Minor as well as the fertile Cilician region by the early
eighth century, signaled, as is generally recognized, a major change in the empires
conditions of existence. The government was compelled to restructure the methods by
which it extracted resources as well as the means of distributing them. It also had to
reduce expenditure to conform to the reduced resource-base at its disposal. The effects of
invasions and warfare on population numbers in the most affected regions, and therefore
on productive capacity; on irrigation systems in more arid regions that had been turned
over to arable exploitation in Hellenistic and Roman times; and on lines of communication
and the states ability to maintain a system of postal relay stations and heavier
transportation were all first order shifts in the conditions in which the Roman state found
itself. But a whole range of second order changes followed: the bureaucratic processes
for ensuring the extraction of resources were modified, as well as that for the
maintenance and support of military units, while the power relations between the central
government and its representatives at various levels in the provinces also changed. The
fiscal apparatus was centralized and managed through the evolving military provinces,
named for the armies now based there, with taxes collected in cash and forwarded to
Constantinople as well as in kind and consumed locally by the local armies.

(p. 484)

The

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older diocesan level of fiscal administration faded away, although the traditional
provincial structures survived until the early ninth century, subsumed within a group of
new military commands (from the early ninth century known as themes [themata])
reflecting the regions into which the field armies of the pre-Islamic conquests were
withdrawn after the period 640s660s. Roman law still provided the framework for the
resolution of issues of inheritance, private property, personal disputes, and individual and
corporate responsibilities and rights, although increasingly interpreted within a Christian
moral framework. And although the Church certainly played an informal role in the
administration of justice before this time, it was only in the later eleventh century that
the emperors formally transferred legal authority to the Church in matters such as
marriage and related law, and even later that the Church adjudicated in civil and criminal
matters more widely.
While there are some divergences of opinion about the exact results of the political,
military, and consequent economic crises that affected the Byzantine state during the
seventh and eighth centuries, it is generally agreed that it was only from the very end of
the eighth century that the beginnings of a recovery can be detected. But the
transformed political and social geography of the empire meant an expansion of the
states ability effectively to tax and a consequent increase in imperial revenues. From the
later ninth century there was an increasingly successful military action against external
foes, a gradual recovery of urban economies in terms of market functions and small-scale
commodity production, and increasing monetization of exchange activity. The
deurbanization that was a consequence of both longer-term developments and warfare
and economic dislocation was reversed, although the ruralization of Byzantine society
was only marginally affected (Whittow 1996, 96133; Liebeschuetz 2001; Laiou and
Morrisson 2005, 4389).
At the same time, both literary and archaeological evidence show the preeminent position
taken by Constantinople. The establishment of a new imperial capital on the site of the
ancient city of Byzantion in the year 330, with the imperial court, a senate, and the social,
economic, and administrative consequences thereof, had far-reaching consequences for
the pattern of exchange and movement of goods in the Aegean and eastern
Mediterranean basin, a point well-attested by the distribution of ceramics. By the
decades preceding the political and economic crisis of the mid-seventh century, the
regionalized nature of exchange activity within the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean,
focused on a number of key centersConstantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, among the
most importantwas becoming increasingly accentuated. In the Balkans and northern
and western Asia Minor, with a few exceptions, social interest for the investment of
personal wealth and the accretion of prestige and status was increasingly focused on
Constantinople as the best way of ensuring a niche within the imperial system. With the

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The Byzantine Successor State

loss of the eastern provinces to Islam this picture became even more pronounced. For
none of the cities or urban centers of Anatolia or the Balkans could compete with the
imperial capital, which was henceforth and until the thirteenth century at least the single
most important center of administrative, productive, and commercial activity in the
region (Mango 1985).
(p. 485)

In spite of the continued existence of a strong, centrally managed bureaucracy,

power relations in the Byzantine world were still highly personalized. Patrimonial
relations were fundamental to social and political advancement, although it is also true
that the system was relatively open until the twelfth century, permitting people of very
humble origins to rise to great power and wealth. From the middle of the seventh century
the social elite of the empire had entered a period of transformation. The so-called
senatorial aristocracy of the later Roman period was replaced by a state elite selected by
the emperors and their advisers, an elite that undoubtedly included some members of the
older establishment but was more directly dependent on its personal association with
emperor and court. Yet as a result of its increasing grip on state positions and the lands it
accrued through the rewards attached to such service, this state pseudo-meritocracy
soon turned into an aristocracy. During the eighth and ninth centuries it was still very
dependent on the state, and during the tenth and especially the eleventh centuries it was
increasingly independent. Kinship and clan identity became ever more central to an
individuals identity, the appearance of family names being a clear indicator of this
development. The statethat is to say, the power elite focused around the ruler and the
imperial courthad henceforth to compete directly with a social class whose enormous
landed wealth and entrenched position in the apparatuses of the state meant that it posed
a real threat to central control of fiscal resources (Brandes 2001; Haldon 2004; Cheynet
2006).

Urbanism
Consequent upon the stabilization of the political and military situation in Asia Minor
after the early ninth century, many urban centers recovered their fortunes, chiefly those
that had an obvious economic and market function for their locality. Thebes in Greece
provides a good example of an urban center that made a good recovery in the later
period, for by the middle of the eleventh century it had become the center of a flourishing
local silk industry: local merchants and landowners had houses there, attracting artisans,
peasant farmers with goods to sell, and the landless looking for employment, thus further
promoting urban life. In addition, this urban regeneration is also connected with the
growth of a middle Byzantine aristocracy or social elite of office and birthlater referred

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The Byzantine Successor State

to as a group as archontes (perhaps loosely translated as gentry)which possessed the


resources to invest in agricultural and industrial production, in the context of competition
for imperial favor and economic preeminence (Angold 1984; Bouras 2002; Dagron 2002).
Thus during the later tenth and especially in the eleventh and twelfth centuries towns
became economically much more important. This reflects in part the improved conditions
within the empire for trade, commerce, and town-country exchange-relations to flourish.
It also reflects the demands of Constantinople on the cities and towns of its hinterland for
the provision of both foodstuffs and other

(p. 486)

goods. Concomitantly, towns began to

play a central role in political developments, so that whereas in the later seventh through
the mid-eleventh century most military revolts had been based in the countryside and
around the headquarters of the local general, during the eleventh century and thereafter
such political opposition to the central government is almost always centered in towns,
whose populace also appear in the sources as a body of self-aware citizens with specific
interests. Communal identity did not go much beyond this (although Byzantine Italy
presents some exceptions, especially in connection with local efforts to attain a degree of
local self-determination: the revolt of Bari in 1009/1010, although led by the imperial
officer Mleh, was clearly associated with local aristocratic and urban desires for a greater
degree of autonomy: Martin 1993, 520), for Byzantine towns also fell under the sway of
local magnates who held both landed wealth as well asand this is particularly important
in the Byzantine contextimperial titles and offices. In itself, this development is no
different from that found elsewherein Italy, for example, where it was the local elites
that were the basis for the evolution of urban communal identities. In Byzantium, it is
partly also a reflection of the military organization of the empire from the middle of the
tenth century and after, when many towns became the seats of local military officers and
their soldiers; in turn, it is also a reflection of the improved ability of the state after the
crisis of the seventh and eighth centuries to supply and provision its soldiers through
cash payments only, relying upon the existence of local market-exchange relationships to
do the rest. Finally, it reflects the increasing domination of the countryside by these
magnates, who gradually absorb considerable numbers of formerly free peasant holdings
into their estates. The consequence was a reversal of the process of ruralization of
economic and social life that typifies the seventh and eighth centuries (Bouras 2002;
Matschke 2002). Nevertheless, in the context of the Byzantine state apparatus and
political ideology, and the continued power and attraction of a Constantinople-centered
government, court, and hierarchical system of precedence, as well as the states fiscal
administrative structure, the attentions of the Byzantine elite remained focused in and on
the state and its apparatus, hindering the evolution of a more highly localized aristocracy
that invested in the economy and society of its own towns rather than in the imperial
system (Laiou and Morrisson 2005, 90165).

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The Byzantine Successor State

Military Organization
The Byzantine state continued to maintain a considerable army, which consumed a very
large portion of the states annual revenue income in one form or another. During the
period circa 640660 the evidence suggests very strongly that the state almost ran out of
cash. But it still had to maintain its armies. The solution was to distribute the soldiers
across the provinces, so that they could be maintained directly through taxes on agrarian
produce raised and redistributed in kind, rather than by paying salaries that could then
be exchanged on the market or by garrisoning them

(p. 487)

in cities and bringing the

supplies to the soldiers (an expensive process requiring considerable organizational


investment). It should be emphasized that there is no evidence at all that soldiers were
given land by the state, nor even, at this stage, that where they did come to support their
military service, the state recognized this with special privileges. On the contrary,
soldiers continued to enjoy the privileges they already possessedas soldiersin respect
of exemption from extraordinary state burdens and taxes. Only during the later ninth and
tenth centuries is there any concrete evidence that soldiers landsmilitary lands
acquired a particular legal status. Major urban centers were fortified and garrisoned, and
small cash payments continued to be paid to all soldiers. The former field armies became
increasingly provincialized and locally rooted, becoming over time a militia that needed
to be reinforced by centrally maintained professional units, based at first in and around
the capital and later, as their number increased in the context of the offensive warfare of
the tenth and eleventh centuries, dispersed across the provinces. From the middle of the
tenth century more and more such professional units were required to prosecute
offensive warfare in the east and in the Balkans; the provincial militias became
increasingly ineffective, and were only revived, in a much-altered form, during the
Comnenian period and after the imperial recovery from the loss of central Anatolia to the
Turks after the 1070s (Haldon 1999). Local militias based in towns as strongpoints,
stiffened by a core of mercenaries and professionals, both foreign and indigenous, and
based in and around the capital, became the norm, both during the twelfth century and
after the fourth crusade in the successor-states of Nicaea, Trebizond, and Epiros and,
after 1261, in the reestablished but territorially much smaller Byzantine state until its fall
in 1453.

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The Byzantine Successor State

State and Economy


The state played a crucial role in the Byzantine economy. Indeed, the events of the
seventh century entailed a reassertion of central state power over late Roman tendencies
to decentralization. The state was both limited by, and in turn to a degree defined, the
nature of key economic relationships, in particular those that determine the nature of the
appropriation, distribution, and consumption of surpluses. This is particularly clear in
respect of the issue and circulation of coin, which, even if we take into account the
considerable fluctuations in both the purity of the gold nomisma and its fractions, and the
distribution and quality of the bronze coinage of account, remained the basic mechanism
through which the state converted social wealth into transferable fiscal resources. Coin
was issued chiefly to oil the wheels of the state machinery; paid to maintain the armies,
the fiscal apparatus, and the elite; and then partially recovered through taxation. There
were periods when this system was constrained by circumstancesthe seventh century in
particular. But the overall effect of this state monopoly on the distribution and circulation
of coin, and the weight of the fiscal apparatus on the producing population,

(p. 488)

was that, in a society in which all forms of social status and advancement were connected
with the state (including the self-identity of the aristocracy), it was an important
(although probably not the most important) factor in inhibiting investment in commercial
exchanges and the expansion of that part of the economy not connected with the fiscal
process. This situation itself fluctuates, of course: the increase in agricultural investment
and in population, and in consequence, of the tax base of the state during the tenth,
eleventh, and twelfth centuries, appears to have been accompanied by a corresponding
increase in local and longer-distance commercial activity and petty commodity
production. But even here the demands of the states apparatus and the fact that the
social elite remained closely bound up with it served as a damper on the development of
market relationships entirely free from state intervention. The effects of the survival of
late ancient state centralism can clearly be seen (Hendy 1985; Morrisson 2002).
The central position of the state is likewise evident in the history of its efforts to retain
control of its fiscal resources. The tension between central authority and landowning
elite, which inflects how the state could assess, raise, and distribute tax, is symptomatic
(Winkelmann 1987; Cheynet 1990). The ability of the state in the seventh and eighth
centuries to implement full control over its tax base directly determined the way in which
the middle and late Byzantine aristocracy evolved. Similarly, the civil wars and the fiscal
crisis of the central government in the later tenth and eleventh centuries especially, the
corresponding shifts in both the mode of recruitment and source of manpower for the
army, as well as changes in provincial and central civil and fiscal administration can all

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The Byzantine Successor State

be connected to the nature of the states relationship with its fiscal base. There can be no
doubt that the demands of the state and its relationship to the producing population and
to the social elites it itself maintained or even engendered were determining features in
the way the economy functioned. Social transformation and conflicts that occurred
through and in the state, therefore, were indeed made possible because of the state. One
can exaggerate these relationships, and we must remember that in a preindustrial society
there were a thousand ways in which state control at the microstructural level of social
existence had little obvious effect. But the existence of the eastern Roman state
profoundly affected the structure of eastern Roman economy and society. Neither can
properly be understood without the other (Hendy 1985, 602ff., 662ff.; 1989; Kaplan
1992; Oikonomides 2002).

Political Ideology and Symbolic Universe


The evolution of Byzantine culture and self-definition went hand-in-hand with the
evolution of these facets of eastern Roman civilization, of course, and fundamentally
influenced its trajectory and appearance. The structure of Church institutions

(p. 489)

and the notion of philanthropy were part of both the ideological as well as the
socioeconomic pattern of relationships within Byzantine society, for the Church was both
a representative of a belief system and a major landlord, second only to the imperial state
itself. Imperial power politics were enmeshed with ecclesiastical politics, issues of dogma
and theology, and the relations within the dominant social elite, from whom the majority
of higher imperial and ecclesiastical officials were drawn by the tenth century. Political
loyalty was understood and interpreted within the confines of notions of orthodoxy that
only very rarely allowed provincial challenges to central power to succeed. The
imposition and maintenance of a single, orthodox (i.e., neo-Chalcedonian) Christianity
was always a central issue for the rulers, even if interpretations of this varied, and even if
pragmatics intervened more often than not to dilute imperial responses to heresy.
Internal strife over issues of dogma could shake the empire to its foundations; while the
search for right belieforthodoxydirectly affected individual and group actions and
identities. Conflicts with the papacy similarly served to reinforce eastern Roman
certainties about the Roman past and their Rhomaic identity. Rome was
Constantinople, the second Rome, not the seat of the papacy in Italy, a tradition and
heritage transmitted to the Russian Orthodox Church and state at Moscow, which after
the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 became the third Rome, under its own
version of the dynastic tradition embodied in the House of Romanov (Obolensky 1971;
Mango 1980; Angold 1995).

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It was through this political theology that the extraction and distribution of surplus
which is to say, in effect, the continued existence of the statewas legitimated: in effect,
a set of ideological narratives that highlighted the necessary duty of the state and its
rulers to defend the faith and to promote the variety of associated activities that this
entailed. At the same time, the rulers had to be seen to reinforce and reaffirm their
particular symbolic universe through ritualized expressions of faith and the redistribution
of considerable amounts of surplus wealth to religious foundations of various types or
through certain ideologically legitimating ritual actions. In the Byzantine world, the
complex ceremonial of the imperial palace, the close relationship between the emperor
(with the state) and the Church, and the supervision by the Church of popular beliefs and
kinship structures created an impressive ideological and symbolic system of legitimation.
The social elite of the empire followed suit and were thus locked into a particular
structural system by both economic and symbolic-ideological means. This is not unique,
quite the contrary, for similar networks can be seen in the Islamic world, in western
Christendom, in the Chinese empire(s), and in Indiaamong many examples.
Furthermore, in the case of both Christianity and Islam, ritual incorporation (that is to
say, conversion) served as a fundamental tool of political integration and domination
(Haldon 1993).
The iconoclastic controversy, over the appropriateness or not of venerating icons or holy
images, while it does not seem in the light of recent research to have had the effects
during the eighth century ascribed to it by both later Byzantine writers and modern
historians, nevertheless threw up a whole series of questions

(p. 490)

about the Byzantine

identity and its Roman heritage that produced, in the ninth century, a reclamation of the
classical past in a highly inflected late ancient form, shaping the orthodox Byzantine
identity thereafter and influencing the evolution of the Orthodox Church and Greek
culture up to the present day. In essence, iconoclasm was a complex of factors whose
roots lay well before the eighth century: the weakening of imperial authority, in
ideological terms, as a result of political and military failures in the period circa 630700;
the concomitant growth of a debate about the efficacy of divine intervention in human
affairs and the vested power of relics, saints cults, and, derivatively, of holy images; the
related question of free will as opposed to divine foresight; the dependence of the
emperors on a narrow clique of military and civil officials; and the local rootsthat
reflected also local beliefs and fearsof the former field armies in the provinces and
around Constantinople. All these factors combined to produce a variety of responses to
the need to define the boundaries between orthodox and heterodox, between what would
bring peace, stability, and military success to the empire and what had been the cause of
defeat and humiliation, seen, of course, as a punishment visited upon Gods Chosen
People by the Creator himself for their sins. The violent earthquake and eruption on the
island of Thera in 726 was taken as the final warning in this sense. But in the event, it

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would appear that Leo III (717741) introduced a relatively mild form of iconoclasma
term coined only by those who later vilified him and his successorsarguing that images
should be removed from those parts of Church or public buildings where they might
inadvertently be taken to be objects of veneration. In spite of occasional persecutions and
the proclamation of an official iconoclasm at a church council held by the emperor
Constantine V in 754, iconoclasm seems to have remained an entirely imperial
phenomenon, attracting the full support of the church because it was imperial policy but
apparently little popular interest or indeed opposition. Official imperial iconoclasm faded
away without resistance after the death of the emperor Theophilos in 842. In the
meantime, however, it had served as the ideological vehicle for the recovery of imperial
fortunes in warfare against both Bulgars and Arabs, for the strengthening of a specifically
Byzantine concept of God-given imperial authority, and for the development of a more
politicized monastic community within the Byzantine orthodox world (Mango 1977; Stein
1980; Speck 2003; Auzpy 2007).
One of the most striking differences between the position of the leaders of the East
Roman or Byzantine Church and the remaining Christian communities in the medieval
world after the sixth century was the simple fact that during the course of the seventh
century the major sees of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem fell outside of Roman
political authority and power, so that these four patriarchates had to defend their
interests independent of, and sometimes in opposition to, the state power. This had
advantages, of course, since it meant that the Church could, where necessary or
appropriate, pursue a policy independent of the state in issues of dogma and
ecclesiastical politics. In the case of Rome in particular, this meant in the long term a
successful assertion of ecclesiastical political primacy (and led to the formulation by
Byzantine theologians and churchmen of the theory of the

(p. 491)

pentarchythe

nominal equality of the five patriarchates). In contrast to the other sees, however, the
patriarch at Constantinople was able to call on the full authority and force of the state to
implement Church policy; yet he also labored under the disadvantage of having
constantly to maintain a pragmatic modus operandi with the secular authority. The
emperor was Gods vice-gerent on Earth; and while he was responsible for defending,
maintaining, and expanding the orthodox community, he was not responsible for actually
settling issues of dogma, which was the responsibility of the theological authority within
the ecclesiastical hierarchy. From the later eighth century a monastic voice was also to
be heard, often very loudly, in such matters; but this division of responsibility between a
secular defender of orthodoxy and a religious authority inevitably led to clashes,
symptoms of a structural or systemic tension or fault line brought into the open by a
variety of possible moments: a clash of personalities, differences between
Constantinopolitan and other ecclesiastical authorities in which interests of Church and
state were not seen as consonant, and so forth. The Byzantine imperial Church

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nevertheless represented a remarkably close and, for the most part, successful, if often
very conservative and backward-looking, partnership between secular and religious
authority. But it was no caesaropapism, a concept that radically misconstrues the
position of the Church in Byzantium and the power and authority, prestige, and wealth it
could deploy. Emperors could not manipulate or bend to their will either the Church as a
whole or Christian dogma and theology, no more than the religious and spiritual leaders
of the eastern Church were mere instruments of imperial power (Hussey 1986, 297368;
Dagron 1993, 167240; 256279;).

The Failure of the State


The failure of the Byzantine state can be traced to a combination of three key factors.
First, the organizational advantages it had possessed vis--vis its neighbors in the
Balkans, in Italy, and in central Europe had been eroded as they had evolved the political
control and military resources to enable them to compete effectively. In terms of resource
management, effective political control and military organization, and ideological selfrepresentation, states such as the kingdom of Hungary and the Norman kingdom of Sicily
were easily the equals of the Byzantines by the middle of the twelfth century. Second, the
changing political environment in the Islamic world, notably the arrival of the Seljuks, the
rise of the Fatimids in Egypt, and, later, of the Ottomans in northwest Anatolia, impacted
on Byzantine ability to maintain equilibrium on its eastern front. There were also
economic implications in terms of trade and commerce, but this factor in particular
represents the third crucial factor, namely the rise to political and economic
independence of the Italian maritime cities, whose ability to effectively monopolize the
carrying trade in the eastern Mediterranean basin (Venice in particular) and later in the
Black

(p. 492)

Sea (Genoa) damaged both Byzantine state income and seaborne

commerce. This rise was in part facilitated by the empire, which came to depend on the
political loyalty and naval resources of Venice in particular in its western foreign policy,
and in return for military support awarded various concessions in respect of commercial
privilegesquite minimal at first, increasingly important as time went on. Genoa entered
the picture as Byzantine rulers found they needed a counterweight to Venetian power
and influence. Even though the imperial governmentuntil the early years of the
fourteenth century at any ratewas still able to exert some influence over the
distribution of resources within the limited territories it controlled, it now competed not
just with an indigenous aristocracy or landed elite (under which heading we must also
understand the Church and monastic landholders) but, much more importantly, with the
commercial and shipping activities of the Italian maritime cities. Indigenous merchants
were an active and important element in urban economies by the eleventh century,

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playing an important role in the distribution of locally produced commoditiesas


illustrated by the fact that monastic landlords were keen to protect their rights to ship
their goods uninhibited by state restrictions and corves. But although they appear to
have gained an increasingly significant role in the process of wealth redistribution as a
whole, they played no role in ideological terms in the maintenance of the empire and in
the social order as it was understood. The close association between the imperial court
and the system of social precedence and esteem, and the enormous financial rewards
that could accrue to individuals through the imperial system, meant that investment in
commercial wealth was seen as neither an economic nor an ideological priority. The
social elite had no interest in commerce, except as a source of luxury items, on the one
hand, and as a means of selling off the surpluses from their own estates in local towns or
regular fairs, or in the capital, on the other. And the evidence makes it clear that it was
more often than not the landlords own agents who did the selling and buying, rather
than independent middlemen. In other words, it was the structure of the state and its
functional requirements, in conjunction with the relationship between the state center
and the dominant social-economic elite, which rendered commerce marginal in both
practical economic and ideological terms (Laiou 2002; Matschke 2002; Laiou and
Morrisson 2005, 133165).
That there was a flourishing commerce is clear. Trade across the borders of the state
could be considerable: Basil IIs threat to impose an embargo on the export of Byzantine
agricultural produce to northern Syria in the last years of the tenth century was enough
to extract a favorable political and economic deal out of the Fatimid rulers of the region
(Farag 1980). And it has also been argued that long-distance trade by Byzantine
merchants before 1204 must have been substantial, given the number of trading ports
around the Black Sea, for example, from which Italians were excluded before the fourth
crusade (Hendy 1985, 561ff.; Harvey 1989, 208f.; Ferluga 1992b). Nevertheless,
exchange was dominated by the presence of a complex and exploitative state fiscal
apparatus, by the states requirements, and by the existence of Constantinople (Harvey
1989, 235236; Lilie 1984, 285f., 291; Hendy 1985, 570590; Laiou 1990; Ferluga 1992b;
1987; Laiou and Morrisson 2005, 200230).

(p. 493)

Investment in commerce was thus

ideologically marginalized. There is every reason to think that there existed a flourishing
and successful merchant class in the Byzantine empire during much of the ninth, tenth,
and eleventh centuries, but little is known about it. Yet whatever its position with regard
to internal trade, there is no evidence that it actively colonized trade routes and markets
outside the limits of the immediate political influence of the empire, except possibly in
the brief period from the 1030s to 1080s when merchants and commerce attained a
slightly higher status than had been usual under emperors who needed to build up a
metropolitan political base. Even in the Black Sea, it was state policy that protected
Byzantine commerce, not merchants themselves (Lilie 1984, 136144).
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This marks a crucial difference from the Italian maritime merchant cities with which the
Byzantines did business in the later eleventh and twelfth centuries, especially Venice,
Genoa, and Amalfi, where elite involvement in trade brought social status and wealth and
was intimately associated with access to political power (Lopez 1937; 1938; Hussey
1966, 251274; Hyde 1973; Martin 1988; Abulafia 1987). The economic and political wellbeing of the city as state was to a large extent coterminous with that of the social elite
and its dependents, the two inextricably bound together through the myriad market
relationships that successful commercial investments generated in the home context.
Italian commercial infiltration of the Byzantine economic and exchange sphere during the
twelfth century, culminating in the concessions achieved under the emperors following
Manuel 1, was facilitated because Italian commerce was on a small scale and regarded as
unimportant to the economic priorities of both state and aristocracy. Demographic
expansion in Italy stimulated the demand for Byzantine grain and other agrarian produce,
which meant that Venetian and other traders slowly built up an established network of
routes, ports, and market bases, originally based on carrying Byzantine bulk as well as
luxury goods and Italian or western imports to Constantinople, later expanding to a
longer-distance commerce to meet the needs of a growing Italian market (Lemerle 1977,
309; Lilie 1984, 290302; Ferluga 1988, 4041; Martin 1988).
Byzantine failure to evolve as a commercial power at a time of widespread economic and
commercial expansion was the result of a complex interaction of statist cultural and
political-economic structures and the interests of the dominant social-economic elite.
Indeed, from a sociological perspective, it offers a classic example of the ways in which
sets of established sociocultural practices rooted in perceived vested interests and
determined by a specific cultural logic failed to compete with more powerful and dynamic
competitors, and in which perceptions of how to compete misrecognized the dynamics
and potential of the established arrangements. Given the particular problems faced by
Byzantine rulers both before 1081 and after the reorganization of central government
and fiscal administration under the first rulers of the Komnenos dynasty (especially
Alexios I, 10811118), Byzantine ways of understanding the world rendered an interest in
commerce both economically and politically irrelevant. While this may at times have been
a conscious or willed rejection, it is important to understand that it was conditioned by
the particular evolutionary trajectory of Byzantine society and state structures

(p. 494)

over several centuries. It is less the fact that interest in trade and commerce did not
exist, because at some levels of society it clearly did; but rather that, for those at the top
of the social scale, it was perceived as both economically unimportant and socially and
culturally demeaning, while for those who were involved in trade it brought no social
advancement. There are no Byzantine merchant aristocrats in the period before the
fourth crusade.

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The events of 1204 shattered the old order; and when after 1261 a reconstituted central
imperial state was revived, it inhabited a very different world indeed, not simply in terms
of the well-established political presence of western powers in the eastern Mediterranean
and Aegean regions but also in terms of the ability to maintain itself. The reduced income
derived from the appropriation of surplus through tax on a much smaller, and constantly
shrinking, territorial base; the fragmentation of territory and political authority; and the
lack of a serious naval power with which to defend its interests were fundamental.
Income derived from taxes on commerce played a proportionately larger role in real
terms as well as in the eyes of the central government. Yet the traditional elite, with few
exceptions, was still based on the income from land, while the state itself was unable to
compete with Italian and other commercial capital and shipping. Byzantine attempts to
challenge Venetian or Genoese power were met with aggression and the destruction of
Byzantine ships and facilities. On the whole, and with a few exceptions, Byzantines or
Greeks played a generally subordinate role to Italians, as very small-scale
entrepreneurs, as middlemen, and as wholesalers; rarely as bankers or major investors,
still more rarely in major commercial contracts. And in the course of the thirteenth
century the market demands of Italian-borne commerce began also to influence the
patterns of production within the empire. Byzantine governments no longer had any
effective role in managing or directing the production of wealth (Lilie 1984; Angold
1984a; Laiou 1990; Laiou and Morrisson 2005, 155165, 224230).

Conclusion
In a broader perspective, the internal articulation of relations between central
governments or power-elites, and elites more generally, is especially relevant when the
effects of an expanding economy upon the fiscal structures of centralized (or relatively
centralized) bureaucratic states are considered. This is especially so where there may be
an increase in commercial activity both within and, much more importantly, across
political boundaries. In the Byzantine case, to begin with, the growth of a local, townbased landlord elite or gentrythe archontes of the eleventh century and afterwardhas
been reasonably associated with the economic expansion and growth of that period. Such
developments clearly had critical implications for state control over the distribution of
resources. The central government and its fiscal apparatus were faced with a more
diverse, and

(p. 495)

therefore more complex, tax base. They were also presented with a

challenge over the appropriation of surplus wealth, the distribution of such surpluses,
and the way in which they might be invested. The state wanted as much as it could lay its
hands on to support its own apparatus and existence. Private landlords and others were
thus in competition with the state, even if this was not always explicitly so (Angold 1984b;
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Harvey 1989, 74f., 216f.). And it was the form taken by the competition between state
center, local gentry, and magnate elite in the particular context of the institutional
organization and ideology of Byzantine economy and society that determined the
possibilities open to rulers to reorganize the fiscal apparatus and methods of direct
control over resources and territory. The Byzantine state survived as long as it did
because its established state elite and aristocracy as well as the evolving provincial and
urban elites of the period from the eleventh and twelfth centuries onward fully bought
into the values of the established, imperial orthodox and Constantinopolitan-centered
political and ideological system, with all the advantages as well as all the constraints that
followed.
It is clear that the empires internal history can only be understood in its international
context. Therefore, the dissolving effects of commercial activity on a heavily
bureaucratized state, with relatively inflexible command economy methods of
assessing, collecting, and redistributing surplus wealth based predominantly upon
agrarian production, contrast strongly with the dynamic of the Italian trading cities. But
the latter did not themselves escape the same structural difficulties. During the sixteenth
century, and as a result of their success and the growth of their international political and
cultural identity, these merchant elites were increasingly drawn into an aristocratic and
anticommercial culture, a development that had important consequences for their later
development in respect of the relationship between finance, trade, and political power
(Davis 1962; Georgelin 1978; and, in a wider context, Braudel 1972, esp. 725ff.).

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Subscriber: Eotvos Lorand University; date: 11 October 2016

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John F. Haldon

John F. Haldon is Professor of History and Hellenic Studies at Princeton University.


His research focuses on the history of the early and middle Byzantine empire; on
state systems and structures across the European and Islamic worlds from late
ancient to early modern times; and on the production, distribution, and consumption
of resources in the late ancient and medieval world, especially in the context of
warfare.

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The Byzantine Successor State

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