Logothetes tou dromou

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The logothetēs tou dromou (Greek: λογοθέτης τοῦ δρόμου), in English usually rendered as Logothete of the Course/Drome/Dromos or Postal Logothete, was the head of the department of the Dromos, the Public Post (Latin: cursus publicus, Greek: δημόσιος δρόμος, dēmosios dromos, or simply ὁ δρόμος), and one of the most senior ministers (logothetes) of the Byzantine Empire.

History and functions[edit]

The exact origin and date of institution of the office is unclear. The office is explicitly attested for the first time in circa 762, and is commonly held to be the evolution of the old curiosus cursus publici, the inspector of the Public Post attested in the late 4th-century Notitia Dignitatum under the magister officiorum (Pars Orientalis, XI).[1][2] As the once-wide ranging duties of the magister officiorum were gradually removed, the office came to control not only the Public Post, but also the Byzantine Empire's foreign affairs, handling collection of intelligence on foreign peoples, correspondence with foreign princes and the reception of ambassadors.[1][3]

Gradually, the office evolved into the senior minister and principal advisor to the Byzantine emperor, until superseded in the 12th century by the logothetēs tōn sekretōn.[3] It is indicative of his pre-eminence that in the Byzantine sources of the 9th–10th centuries, when there is mention of "the logothetēs" without further qualification, it refers usually to the logothetēs tou dromou.[1] As befitting his importance, he was received in audience every morning by the Byzantine emperor. Furthermore, according to the De Ceremoniis of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (r. 913–959), the logothetēs tou dromou also had significant ceremonial duties: he presented the senior officials at award-giving ceremonies, and obviously had a prominent part in the reception of foreign embassies, as well as the exhibition of captives.[4] After the reforms of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118), in circa 1108 the dromos ceased to exist as a department, but the logothetēs remained, now responsible for official communications and for supervising foreigners resident in Constantinople.[5]

Subordinate officials[edit]

The subordinates of the logothetēs tou dromou were:

  • The prōtonotarios tou dromou (πρωτονοτάριος τοῦ δρόμου), his senior deputy.[4]
  • The chartoularioi tou [oxeos] dromou (χαρτουλάριοι τοῦ [ὀξέος] δρόμου), who were clerks with the rank of spatharios, combining the functions of the Roman curiosi of the provinces and of the officials in charge of the scrinium barbarorum, the "Bureau of Barbarians".[4]
  • A number of episkeptētai (ἐπισκεπτῆται), officials in charge of the various imperial estates (episkepseis).
  • Translators (ἑρμηνευταῖ, hermēneutai), also attested (interpretes diversarum gentium) in the Notitia Dignitatum.[6]
  • The kouratōr tou apokrisiareiou (κουράτωρ του ἀποκρισιαρείου), in charge of the apokrisiarieion, a building in Constantinople that housed foreign envoys.[6]
  • Various inspectors, the diatrechontes (διατρέχοντες, the old Roman cursores) and messengers (μανδάτορες, mandatores).[6]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bury 1911, p. 91.
  2. ^ Kazhdan 1991, p. 1247.
  3. ^ a b Kazhdan 1991, p. 1248.
  4. ^ a b c Bury 1911, p. 92.
  5. ^ Magdalino 2002, p. 229.
  6. ^ a b c Bury 1911, p. 93.

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]