Drungary of the Watch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Drungarios of the Vigla)
Jump to: navigation, search

The Drungary of the Watch (Greek: δρουγγάριος τῆς βίγλης/βίγλας, droungarios tēs viglas/viglēs) was originally a senior Byzantine military post, commanding the Vigla or "Watch", one of the elite tagmata regiments of the middle Byzantine period, and in charge of the Byzantine emperor's safety. From ca. 1030, the office was disassociated from its military origin and was transformed into a senior judicial position, thereafter usually referred to as the Grand Drungary of the Watch (μέγας δρουγγάριος τ. β., megas droungarios t. v.). The office continued to exist as a court dignity in the Palaiologan era, until the end of the Byzantine Empire.

Military office[edit]

The Drungary of the Watch was originally the commander of the Vigla ("guard watch") or Arithmos ("number"),[1][2] the third of the tagmata, professional cavalry regiments headquartered in and around Constantinople, and distinct from the provincial or thematic troops.[3]

Judging from the unit's name and the peculiar titles of its officers, it had a considerable ancestry, dating back to the East Roman army of Late Antiquity,[4] but it is unknown exactly when it was constituted as a tagma. The office of the Drungary of the Watch at any rate is first attested ca. 791, when Alexios Mosele is recorded as spatharios and droungarios tēs viglas.[1][5] In comparison to the other tagmata, the Watch and its commanders had special duties related to the safety of the emperor and the imperial palace.[2] Within Constantinople, the Watch provided guards for the palace precinct, and kept a permanent garrison at the Covered Hippodrome (also the Drungary's seat[6]), which remained in the city at all times and accompanied the emperor whenever he was under way outside the palace precinct. The Drungary in particular was always in close attendance to the emperor, and went on campaign only when the emperor himself did so. Then he was entrusted with the safety of the army and the camp, including tasks such as the supervision of the night watch, the advance, rear and flank guards, as well as guarding the prisoners of war.[7] Due to his proximity to the emperor, the Drungary had to be a person of confidence, and was often entrusted with delicate missions such as arrests or executions of high-ranking officials. On the other hand, as R. Guilland remarks, the sensitive nature of the office meant that "the merest negligence, the lightest suspicion could cause his fall", while "the first care of a new emperor ... was to elevate to the post of Drungary of the Watch one of his creatures".[8]

As detailed in the De Ceremoniis, the Drungary always accompanied the emperor and was a frequent participant in various imperial ceremonies, often accompanied by his aide, the akolouthos. His ceremonial dress is indicated as the skaramangion tunic and a red sagion cloak, while on some occasions he bore a sword, a mace and an axe. The latter weapon was highly unusual for a Byzantine officer, and R. Guilland suggests that this was connected to his command of foreign troops via the akolouthos (who later became the commander of the axe-bearing Varangian Guard).[6] In the 10th century, when several holders of the post were scions of the most prominent families of the military aristocracy, including Eustathios Argyros, John Kourkouas and Manuel Kourtikes,[1] the Drungary occupied the 36th place in the imperial hierarchy and usually held the senior court dignities of anthypatos, patrikios or prōtospatharios.[6]

List of known holders[edit]

Note: the list does not include holders known only through their seals but otherwise unidentified, or anonymous holders.
Name Tenure Appointed by Notes Refs
Alexios Mosele ca. 791 Irene of Athens Participated in a revolt against Irene, which ended her regency over Constantine VI, but was imprisoned and blinded soon after. [9]
Petronas ca. 830s Theophilos The exact dates of his tenure are unknown. Under Theophilos' son and successor, Michael III, he held several senior military commands and achieved the great victory at the Battle of Lalakaon. [9]
Aetios ca. 830s Theophilos Later strategos of the Anatolics, was captured by the Abbasids during the Sack of Amorium in 838 and became one of the 42 Martyrs of Amorium. [10]
Constantine Baboutzikios until 838 Theophilos A brother-in-law of Empress Theodora, he was probably the successor of Aetios, he too was captured at Amorium and became one of the 42 Martyrs. [11]
Ooryphas early 840s Theophilos The exact date of his tenure is unknown, as is his identification with one of the other figures bearing this surname at this time. Kedrenos reports that he was charged with the execution of Theophobos. [9]
Constantine Maniakes 842–unknown Michael III An Armenian who had come to the Byzantine court as a hostage, he served as Drungary in the early years of Michael III's reign, during the regency of Theodora. He later rose to become Logothete of the Drome. [11]
Leo Katakalos c. 857/867 Michael III According to the hagiography of the Patriarch Ignatios, he was a son-in-law of Ignatios' great rival, Photios, and persecuted with brutality Ignatios' adherents. [11]
John Androsalites 867–unknown Basil I the Macedonian Brother of the abbot Nicholas, who had sheltered the young Basil on his first arrival to Constantinople, he and his brothers were all given high offices on Basil's accession. [12]
John unknown–894/5 Leo VI the Wise Possibly one of the brothers of Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos, he was dismissed due to negligence in uncovering a plot against Leo. [13]
Pardos 894/5–898 Leo VI the Wise The son of the hetaeriarch Nicholas, he was absolutely trusted by Leo, but was in turn arrested for the failed plot of his brother Basil and the members of the family of Stylianos Zaoutzes. [13]
Eustathios Argyros ca. 909–910 Leo VI the Wise A distinguished general of aristocratic descent, he too was dismissed and sent to exile in his native Charsianon when he fell under Leo's suspicion. He died of poison en route. [14]
Damianos 913–unknown Constantine VII (nominally) Appointed by Empress-regent Zoe Karbonopsina [15]
John Kourkouas ca. 918–922 Constantine VII (nominally) Appointed through the machinations of Romanos Lekapenos, Kourkouas supported the latter in his rise to the throne. In 922 he was rewarded with the high command in the East, which he held for 22 years in which he scored major victories against the Arabs. [16]
Manuel Kourtikes 944/5–unknown Constantine VII Kourtikes was among the conspirators who overthrew Romanos Lekapenos in December 944, leading to the restoration of sole imperial power to Constantine VII a month later. He was named Drungary of the Watch, and died either in a shipwreck or was executed for lèse-majesté. [17]
Symeon 1025–1028 Constantine VIII One of Constantine VIII's favourite eunuchs, he later became Domestic of the Schools before retiring as a monk. [18]

Judicial office[edit]

In ca. 1030, the office changed from military to purely judicial, and was further distinguished by acquiring the epithet "Grand" (megas) in the 1070s.[1][19] It seems that the Drungary took over the Court of the Hippodrome, extant since the mid-9th century and so known after its location in the Covered Hippodrome (or, according to an alternative interpretation, in the substructures of the main Hippodrome of Constantinople).[20] This was followed by the creation of new courts and the restructuring of the Byzantine judicial system, so that in the Komnenian period (1081–1185), the Court of the Hippodrome or Court of the Drungary (τὸ δρουγγαρικὸν δικαστήριον) was one of the seven superior civil courts, alongside those of the Eparch of the City, the dikaiodotēs, the koiaistōr, the epi tōn kriseōn, the prōtasēkrētis and the katholikos, who headed the court for fiscal affairs (dēmosiaka pragmata). The Drungary also served as an appellate court for the decisions of the epi tōn kriseōn.[21][22][23] The holders of the post belonged to some of the most distinguished families of the civil aristocracy, including such men as Eustathios Rhomaios, John Skylitzes and Andronikos Kamateros.[1]

List of known holders[edit]

Note: the list does not include holders known only through their seals but otherwise unidentified, or anonymous holders.
Name Tenure Appointed by Notes Refs
Eustathios Rhomaios shortly after 1030 Romanos III Argyros Possibly the very first holder of the office who presided over the Court of the Hippodrome. The magistros Eustathios Rhomaios is more famous for his collection of fiscal case law, published as the Peira. [18][24]
Anastasios ca. 1030s unknown Mentioned only in a document of Patriarch Alexios Stoudites (1025–1043). [18]
Manuel 1054–unknown Theodora He was rewarded with the post for having helped Theodora gain supreme power for herself. [18]
Machetarios 3rd quarter of the 11th century unknown A correspondent of Michael Psellos, nothing further is known of him. [18]
John Xiphilinos early 1060s Constantine X Doukas (?) Patriarch of Constantinople in 1064–1075. According to Theodore Skoutariotes, he was a magistros and Drungary of the Watch prior to his nomination as patriarch. [18]
Constantine Xiphilinos ca. 1070 Romanos IV Diogenes (?) Another addressee of Michael Psellos, nothing further is known of him. [18]
Constantine Keroularios 1060s/1070s Constantine X Doukas or Michael VII Doukas A nephew of Patriarch Michael Keroularios and cousin of empress Eudokia Makrembolitissa. He was a very influential figure under the Doukas emperors, and is the first known holder of the title of "Grand Drungary". [25][26]
Stephen 1078–1081 Nikephoros III Botaneiates He was dismissed after the deposition of Botaneiates and became a monk and abbot of Xenophontos monastery on Mount Athos. Better known as Symeon the Sanctified. [25]
Michael Keroularios 1081–unknown Alexios I Komnenos Son of Constantine Keroularios, an eminent expert on judicial and financial matters; he rose to become logothetes ton sekreton for most of Alexios I's reign. [25][27]
Nicholas Mermentoulos ca. 1086 Alexios I Komnenos Possibly also nobilissimus and Eparch of Constantinople [18]
John Thrakesios ca. 1092 Alexios I Komnenos Possibly the same as the proedros, Eparch and Grand Drungary John who is mentioned in an act variously dated to 1083, 1098 or 1113, but more usually identified with the historian John Skylitzes. [25][28]
John Zonaras eary 12th century Alexios I Komnenos Better known as a historian, Zonaras held high court positions under Alexios I before retiring as a monk. [29]
Niketas or Nicholas Skleros unknown Alexios I Komnenos Mentioned only in a law promulgated by Alexios I. [30]
Constantine Komnenos ca. 1143 John II Komnenos or Manuel I Komnenos He was probably an admiral (megas droungarios tou ploimou) rather than a m. d. tes vigles [1][30]
Stephen Komnenos ca. 1147/51–ca. 1156 Manuel I Komnenos [30]
John Makrembolites ca. 1158 Manuel I Komnenos [30]
Andronikos Kamateros ca. 1166–ca. 1170 Manuel I Komnenos A leading official and distinguished, author Kamateros was related to the imperial family on his mother's side. [30]
Gregory Antiochos 1187–ca. 1196 Isaac II Angelos A very well-educated man and distinguished author. By the time he was named Grand Drungary, he had enjoyed a long career in public service stretching back to the 1150s. [31]

Palaiologan era[edit]

Following the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the office's continuity was broken, and when it reappears in the sources of the Palaiologan period, it had lost any judicial functions and resembled more its original military character: according to the mid-14th century work of Pseudo-Kodinos, the Grand Drungary of the Watch was a subordinate of the Grand Domestic, charged with the night watch and with supervising the army's scouts.[32] In reality, however, it had become more of a sinecure and was essentially a court dignity devoid of any but ceremonial duties.[31]

In Pseudo-Kodinos' work, the Grand Drungary of the Watch ranks 24th in the imperial hierarchy, between the Eparch and the Grand Hetaeriarch.[33] The Grand Drungary's distinctive court dress, as reported by Pseudo-Kodinos, consisted of a gold-brocaded hat (skiadion), a plain silk kabbadion tunic and a staff (dikanikion) with a gilded knob on top, and covered with golden-red braid below. For ceremonies and festivities, he bore the domed skaranikon, of yellow and golden silk and decorated with gold wire embroidery, and with a portrait of the emperor seated on a throne in front and another with the emperor on horseback on the rear.[25][34]

The dignity survived until the end of the Byzantine Empire. The historian Sphrantzes equated the Ottoman post of chief of the Janissaries to the Grand Drungary of the Watch.[1][35]

List of known holders[edit]

Note: the list does not include holders known only through their seals but otherwise unidentified, or anonymous holders.
Name Tenure Appointed by Notes Refs
Andronikos Eonopolites ca. 1282 Michael VIII Palaiologos Eunuch and military commander. [31]
Demetrios Palaiologos Tornikes ca. 1324, 1330s Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos III Palaiologos
A relative of the imperial family, he is only mentioned in four documents. [36]
Bryennios 1320s Andronikos II Palaiologos Otherwise unknown, he defected to Andronikos III Palaiologos during the Byzantine civil war of 1321–1328. [37]
Nikephoros after 1325 Andronikos II Palaiologos Known only from an act of the Zographou monastery of 1342, by which time he was dead. [37]
Kannaboutzes (?) 1324 Andronikos II Palaiologos A Drungary, it is unclear if he was a Grand Drungary of the Watch [37]
Theodore Palaiologos ca. 1328 Andronikos III Palaiologos A nephew of Andronikos III, he was Grand Drungary of the Watch and governor of Lemnos in 1328 [37]
John Doukas Mouzalon unknown Andronikos III Palaiologos An addressee of the poet Manuel Philes, he is called a "Grand Drungary", most likely of the Watch [37]
Theodore Komnenos Philes early 14th century Andronikos II Palaiologos or
Andronikos III Palaiologos
He is mentioned in an act variously dated to 1302, 1317 or 1332, as being buried in a church at Melenikon [37]
John Gabalas ca. 1341 Andronikos III Palaiologos Originally a partisan of John Kantakouzenos, he was Grand Drungary, probably of the Watch, in 1341. He was persuaded by Alexios Apokaukos to side with the regency during the Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347 and rose to the post of Grand Logothete, but eventually fell out with Apokaukos and was imprisoned. [38]
George Doukas Apokaukos ca. 1342 John V Palaiologos Grand Drungary, probably of the Watch, mentioned in a chrysobull of 1342 with Venice [39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kazhdan (1991), p. 663
  2. ^ a b Bury (1911), p. 60
  3. ^ Bury (1911), pp. 47–48
  4. ^ Bury (1911), pp. 61–62
  5. ^ Guilland (1967), p. 563
  6. ^ a b c Guilland (1967), p. 567
  7. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 564–565
  8. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 565–566
  9. ^ a b c Guilland (1967), p. 568
  10. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 568–569
  11. ^ a b c Guilland (1967), p. 569
  12. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 569–570
  13. ^ a b Guilland (1967), p. 570
  14. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 570–571
  15. ^ Guilland (1967), p. 571
  16. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 571–572
  17. ^ Guilland (1967), p. 572
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h Guilland (1967), p. 573
  19. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 573–574
  20. ^ Magdalino (1994), pp. 98–99 note 26, 106ff.
  21. ^ Guilland (1967), p. 574
  22. ^ Magdalino (1993), pp. 230, 261–262
  23. ^ Magdalino (1994), pp. 106ff., 120ff.
  24. ^ Magdalino (1994), pp. 105–106
  25. ^ a b c d e Guilland (1967), p. 575
  26. ^ Magdalino (1994), p. 106
  27. ^ Magdalino (1994), p. 110
  28. ^ Kazhdan & Cutler (1991), p. 1914
  29. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 576–577
  30. ^ a b c d e Guilland (1967), p. 576
  31. ^ a b c Guilland (1967), p. 577
  32. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 574–575
  33. ^ Verpeaux (1966), p. 138
  34. ^ Verpeaux (1966), p. 158
  35. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 575, 579
  36. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 577–578
  37. ^ a b c d e f Guilland (1967), p. 578
  38. ^ Guilland (1967), pp. 578–579
  39. ^ Guilland (1967), p. 579

Sources[edit]