Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Byzantine armies of the fifth and sixth centuries were divided into two branches: stationary frontier units called limitanei and mobile forces known as comitatenses. The comitatenses were grouped into divisions led by regional commanders or magistri militum, under whose overall authority the limitanei were placed. The limitanei were placed under duces, and in the 560s there were some twenty-five such commands covering the frontiers and their hinterlands. Naval units for maritime and riverine operations were stationed at key Balkan and Syrian ports. Soldiers were supported by various means, including rations. In the last century of the Byzantine Empire's history, civil wars became frequent, draining government resources and making the empire almost entirely dependent upon foreign armies for its survival and for the authority of the emperors at Constantinople. The empire's naval forces were relatively limited in the later Roman period.

Keywords: armies, Byzantine Empire, naval forces, stationary frontier units, limitanei, mobile forces, comitatenses, soldiers, rations, civil wars

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.