Talk:Byzantine bureaucracy and aristocracy

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I just wanted to note, I wasn't entirely sure what this article should be called, so I came up with this. I was trying to think of something that reflected the administration of the empire, and "Byzantine titles" didn't seem right, even though that's pretty much what the article amounts to. Anyway, if someone can think of something better, go ahead. Adam Bishop 07:09, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)

The Parakoimomenos was, by the age of Middle Byzantium certainly, the chief eunuch in the imperial palace and one of the most important men at court. Additionally, alongside the Protovestiarios I think mention should be made of the Ostarios (Keeper of the Door) and Nipsistarios (the Holder of the Imperial Washbasin), all of whom were significant positions. On the military side, the Drungarios ton Ploimon was in many ways and equal to the Domestikos of the Scholai in tems of prestige and often competed with the latter in the Byzantine machinations of the period. (Anatole Pang)

Roger de Flor[edit]

Was Roger de Flor a kaisar or just a megaduke? -- Error 05:22, 12 Oct 2003 (UTC)

The Roger de Flor article says he was a caesar, and one of the sources I was using also said that (I forget which, but most likely Treadgold). Adam Bishop 05:24, 12 Oct 2003 (UTC)

The Regiments[edit]

Should we add the military organisation's titles/ranks here or within the Byzantine battle tactics? (i.e. Tribune, Adjudor, Centenarius, Centarch, Decarch, Protocmandator, etc...) Dryzen 12:47, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Need reorganization[edit]

To highlight a flowchart like view of the offices of state.

"Born in the Purple"[edit]

It seems incorrect to me that "Born in the Purple" refers to any room's color. It is more likely a reference to Tyrian Purple. KongminRegent 00:25, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

It seems pretty well attested.[1] I expect a purple border on the cloak came first, then purple booties for the new baby, then the whole room decked out in purple. Kind of like how they got titles like Panhypersebastos. Tom Harrison Talk 00:49, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
As Tom Harrison Talk indicated the meaning evolved to an eventual purple room. Purple was also a dye which the Imperial family held a monopoly on, giving the the colour purple and its mention a symbolism of the Imperial power. Something that could greatly confuse modern readers who may take the mention as directly meaning the colour itself rather than its symbolism.--Dryzen 16:09, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
The final meaning is well evidenced. Imperial princes and princesses were only given this title if they were born in that room; the majority were not, and therefore did not have the title, either because their mothers were not (yet) empresses, or because their mothers were not in Constantinople when giving birth, or both. Andrew Dalby 19:13, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


There's very little on them, and the persistance of a senatorial class Johnbod 22:15, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Editorial Required[edit]

It strikes me (and others, like the organisational sociologist Max Weber) that there was something unique about Byzantine bureaucracy for its early and middle periods. It was centralised and showed aspects of early-modern instrumental bureaucracy. This articled doesn't bring out any of that. Mostly it just lists court titles. I think we might have a go od trying to add some of this. KC Gustafson (talk) 11:41, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Indeed. Go ahead and add anything that seems pertinent. I have long intended to rewrite this into a proper article and have many good sources, but no time, and certainly none with such specific perspective. Constantine 11:58, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Page move[edit]

  • I have moved the article to reflect the common usage. Please note that I do not agree that the Byzantine bureaucratic system was any different from other imperial states of similar size in other eras. Abductive (reasoning) 23:52, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
I have reverted your move. COMMONNAME does not apply in the way you looked for it, because the scope of this article is about two subjects, "Byzantine aristocracy" and "Byzantine bureaucracy", or rather their titelature, which are quite intertwined. Aristocratic titles were non-hereditary in Byzantium. Most were accorded to specific classes of officials, but at the same time, holders of aristocratic titles were not necessarily active officials either, but held honorary sinecure posts or as relatives/favourites of the emperor. The article needs a major overhaul, and a move to a new name like "Byzantine administrative system" might be a better solution as part of that, but right now due to the dual scope it should remain in its old-established title. Constantine 09:38, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
So the article should be split? Abductive (reasoning) 14:51, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
Not really. "Byzantine aristocracy" as such would be mostly about the social class (e.g. the [{Dynatoi]]), here we are concerned mostly with titelature used to designate both actual office-holders as well as honorific titles that marked someone out without necessarily conferring an administrative function. The two categories, of administrative offices and honorific titles, are very much interrelated, with the former falling out of use and becoming honorific titles in the course of time. The subject is indeed, pardon the pun, of "Byzantine" complexity, covering as it does a millennium of shifting usage, and it serves the average uninitiated reader better if the relevant info on Byzantine titles and offices is gathered in one place. Come to think of it, perhaps this would be a better title for the present article: "Byzantine titles and offices", to match Category:Byzantine titles and offices. Constantine 15:05, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
Well, here's the problem. The readership is going to want to read about the Byzantine bureaucracy because of its long negative association with Byzantine complexity. Presently the Byzantine complexity article is a stub. The fact remains that "Byzantine bureaucracy" gets 1000s of Google returns, a lot of them in scholarly sources, and those same sources do not treat the aristocracy with the bureaucracy the way this article does. You yourself admit that "Aristocratic titles were non-hereditary in Byzantium" which means "Aristocratic titles were for governmental leaders in Byzantium". "Governmental leaders" means "bureaucrats". Abductive (reasoning) 17:44, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
Not really again, the imperial government was the fount of titulature, but the recipients were not all bureaucrats. Some were, indeed, bureaucrats - but others were clergymen, soldiers, foreign potentates or relatives of the emperor who might have no function whatsoever. The concept of "Byzantine complexity" is essentially a 'Western' notion concerning an administrative system that worked remarkably well for many centuries. As an 'external view' it should be treated within its own article and it should not dictate how the subject is treated in and of itself. Urselius (talk) 14:07, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
Fully agree with Urselius here. As any student of Byzantine history, Byzantine court ranks and actual offices belong together. Viewing the naming of this article from the stand-point of "Byzantine complexity" and modern perceptions about Byzantium is irrelevant to the actual topic as well as ahistorical. Constantine 14:36, 14 November 2014 (UTC)