In the late Byzantine Empire, the term kephale (Greek : κεφαλή, romanized: kephalē, lit. 'head') was used to denote local and provincial governors.
It entered use in the second half of the 13th century, and was derived from the colloquial language. Consequently, it never became an established title or rank of the Byzantine imperial hierarchy, but remained a descriptive term. : кефалия, kefaliya) and Serbian Empire (as Serbian : кефалиja, kefalija).In essence, the kephalē replaced the Komnenian-era doux as the civil and military governor of a territorial administrative unit, known as a katepanikion (κατεπανίκιον, katepaníkion), but also termed a kephalatikion (κεφαλατίκιον, kephalatíkion). In size, these provinces were small compared to the earlier themata , and could range from a few villages surrounding the kephale's seat (a kastron, "fortress"), to an entire island. This arrangement was also adopted by the Second Bulgarian Empire (as Bulgarian
In the 14th century, superior kephalai were appointed (katholikai kephalai, "universal heads") overseeing a group of provinces under their respective [merikai] kephalai ("[partial] heads"). The former were usually kin of the emperor or members of the senior aristocratic clans. By the late 14th century, with the increasing decentralization of the Empire and the creation of appanages in the form of semi-independent despotates, these senior posts vanished.
The Byzantine Empire had a complex system of aristocracy and bureaucracy, which was inherited from the Roman Empire. At the apex of the hierarchy stood the emperor, yet "Byzantium was a republican absolute monarchy and not primarily a monarchy by divine right". There was no codified laws regarding imperial succession and the Roman Republic was never formally abolished, hence the Emperor was still to be elected, formally, by both Senate (Synkletos) and the Army. In reality, Senatorial power was severely curtailed over time and the Army practically had a monopoly regarding election. Also, while being a semi-republican entity, Emperors usually managed to secure succession for their children by indirect means, such as appointing them as co-Emperors, for example. The absence of codified succession laws and procedures, as well as the militarized state of the Empire, led to numerous coups and revolts, leading to several disastrous results, such as defeat at Manzikert.
Eparchy is an anglicized Greek word (ἐπαρχία), authentically Latinized as eparchia, which can be loosely translated as the rule or jurisdiction over something, such as a province, prefecture, or territory. It has specific meanings both in politics, history and in the hierarchy of the Eastern Christian churches.
Great Wallachia or Great Vlachia, or simply Vlachia, was a province in southeastern Thessaly in the late 12th century, and was used to denote the entire region of Thessaly in the 13th and 14th centuries. The name derives from the Vlachs (Aromanians), who had lived across much of the area.
The megas doux was one of the highest positions in the hierarchy of the later Byzantine Empire, denoting the commander-in-chief of the Byzantine navy. It is sometimes also given in English by the half-Latinizations megaduke or megadux. The Greek word δούξ is the Hellenized form of the Latin term dux, meaning leader or commander.
The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state that existed between 1185 and 1396. A successor to the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Tsars Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. It was succeeded by the Principality and later Kingdom of Bulgaria in 1878.
Despot or despotes was a senior Byzantine court title that was bestowed on the sons or sons-in-law of reigning emperors, and initially denoted the heir-apparent of the Byzantine emperor.
The Akritai is a term used in the Byzantine Empire in the 9th–11th centuries to denote the army units guarding the Empire's eastern border, facing the Muslim states of the Middle East. Their exploits, embellished, inspired the Byzantine "national epic" of Digenes Akritas and the cycle of the Acritic songs.
Syrgiannes Palaiologos Philanthropenos was a Byzantine aristocrat and general of mixed Cuman and Greek descent, who was involved in the civil war between Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos and his grandson Andronikos III. Loyal only to himself and his own ambitions, he switched sides several times, and ended up conquering much of Macedonia for the Serbian ruler Stefan Dušan before being assassinated by the Byzantines.
Autokratōr is a Greek epithet applied to an individual who is unrestrained by superiors. It has been applied to military commanders-in-chief as well as Roman and Byzantine emperors as the translation of the Latin title imperator. Its connection with Byzantine-style absolutism gave rise to the modern terms autocrat and autocracy. In modern Greek, it means "emperor", and its feminine form is autokrateira.
The katepánō was a senior Byzantine military rank and office. The word was Latinized as capetanus/catepan, and its meaning seems to have merged with that of the Italian "capitaneus". This hybridized term gave rise to the English language term captain and its equivalents in other languages
A katepanikion was a Byzantine term for an area under the control of a katepano. It was used to describe two different types of administrative divisions:
Sebastokrator, was a senior court title in the late Byzantine Empire. It was also used by other rulers whose states bordered the Empire or were within its sphere of influence. The word is a compound of "sebastos" and "krátor". The wife of a Sebastokrator was named sebastokratorissa in Greek, sevastokratitsa (севастократица) in Bulgarian and sebastokratorica in Serbian.
The Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347, sometimes referred to as the Second Palaiologan Civil War, was a conflict that broke out in the Byzantine Empire after the death of Andronikos III Palaiologos over the guardianship of his nine-year-old son and heir, John V Palaiologos. It pitted on the one hand Andronikos III's chief minister, John VI Kantakouzenos, and on the other a regency headed by the Empress-Dowager Anna of Savoy, the Patriarch of Constantinople John XIV Kalekas, and the megas doux Alexios Apokaukos. The war polarized Byzantine society along class lines, with the aristocracy backing Kantakouzenos and the lower and middle classes supporting the regency. To a lesser extent, the conflict acquired religious overtones; Byzantium was embroiled in the Hesychast controversy, and adherence to the mystical doctrine of Hesychasm was often equated with support for Kantakouzenos.
The Gasmouloi or Vasmouloi were the descendants of mixed Byzantine Greek and "Latin" unions during the last centuries of the Byzantine Empire. As the Gasmouloi were enrolled as marines in the Byzantine navy by Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, the term eventually lost its ethnic connotations and came to be applied generally to those owing a military service from the early 14th century on.
The tzaousios was a late Byzantine military office, whose exact functions and role are somewhat unclear.
The Theme of Strymon was a Byzantine military-civilian province (theme) located in modern Greek Macedonia, with the city of Serres as its capital. Founded probably by the mid-to-late 9th century, its history as an administrative history was chequered, being variously split up and/or united with neighbouring themes.
Michael Doukas Glabas Tarchaneiotes or Michael Tarchaneiotes Glabas was a notable Byzantine aristocrat and general. He served under emperors Michael VIII Palaiologos and Andronikos II Palaiologos in the Balkans, fighting against the Second Bulgarian Empire, Serbia, the Angevins of Naples and the Despotate of Epirus. He is also notable as the patron of several churches, most notably the Pammakaristos Church in Constantinople, where he was buried.
The allagion was a Byzantine military term designating a military unit. It first appeared in the mid-to-late 10th century, and by the 13th century had become the most frequent term used for the Byzantine army's standing regiments, persisting until the late 14th century.
The East Roman or Byzantine Empire (330–1453) had a developed administrative system, which can be divided into three major periods: the late Roman/early Byzantine, which was a continuation and evolution of the system begun by the emperors Diocletian and Constantine the Great, which gradually evolved into the middle Byzantine, where the theme system predominated alongside a restructured central bureaucracy, and the late Byzantine, where the structure was more varied and decentralized and where feudal elements appeared.
Toparchēs, anglicized as toparch, is a Greek term for a governor or ruler of a district and was later applied to the territory where the toparch exercised his authority. In Byzantine times came to be applied to independent or semi-independent rulers in the periphery of the Byzantine world.