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last two years of his reign, he excited the murmurs of the inhabitants by a strict enforcement of the market dues on the sales of animals and vegetables, by quartering soldiers in monasteries and episcopal mansions, by selling for the public benefit gold and silver plate which had been dedicated in churches, by confiscating the property of wealthy patricians.1 He raised the taxes paid by churches and monasteries, and he commanded officials, who had long evaded the taxation to which they were liable as citizens, to discharge the arrears which they had failed to pay during his own reign. This last order, striking the high functionaries of the Court, seemed so dangerous to Theodosius Salibaras, a patrician who had considerable influence with the Emperor, that he ventured to remonstrate. 'My lord," he said, “all are crying out at us, and in the hour of temptation all will rejoice at our fall." Nicephorus is said to have made the curious reply: "If God has hardened my heart like Pharaoh's, what good can my subjects look for? Do not expect from Nicephorus save only the things which thou seest."
The laxity and indulgence which had been permitted in the financial administration of the previous reign rendered the severity of Nicephorus particularly unwelcome and unpopular. The most influential classes were hit by his strict insistence on the claims of the treasury. The monks, who suspected him of heterodoxy and received no favours at his hands, cried out against him as an oppressor. Some of his measures may have been unwise or unduly oppressive-we have not the means of criticizing them; but in his general policy he was simply discharging his duty, an unpopular duty, to the State.
Throughout the succeeding reigns we obtain no such glimpse into the details or vicissitudes of Imperial finance. If there was a temporary reaction under Michael I. against the severities of Nicephorus, the following Emperors must have drawn the reins of their financial administration sufficiently tight. After the civil war, indeed, Michael II. rewarded the provinces which had been faithful to his cause by a temporary remission of half the hearth-tax. The facts seem to show that the Amorian rulers were remarkably capable and successful in their 2 In May A.D. 811 (ib.).
1 Theoph. 488-489.
finance. On one hand, there was always an ample surplus in the treasury, until Michael III. at the very end of his reign deplenished it by wanton wastefulness. On the other, no complaints are made of fiscal oppression during this period, notwithstanding the fact that the chroniclers would have rejoiced if they had had any pretext for bringing such a charge against heretics like Theophilus and his father.
If our knowledge of the ways and means by which the Imperial government raised its revenue is sadly incomplete and in many particulars conjectural, we have no information as to its amount in the ninth century, and the few definite figures which have been recorded by chance are insufficient to enable us to guess either at the income or the expenditure. It is a remarkable freak of fortune that we should possess relatively ample records of the contemporary finance of the Caliphate,1 and should be left entirely in the dark as to the budget of the Empire.
We have some figures bearing on the revenue in the twelfth century, and they supply a basis for a minimum estimate of the income in the ninth, when the State was stronger and richer. We learn that Constantinople alone. furnished the treasury with 7,300,000 nomismata or £4,380,000, including the profits of taxation on commerce and the city markets. It has been supposed that the rest of the Empire contributed five times as much, so that the total revenue would be more than £26,280,000. At this period the greater part of Asia Minor was in the hands of the Seljuk Turks, while, on the other hand, the Empire possessed Bulgaria and Crete. It might therefore be argued that the Emperor Theophilus, who also held Calabria and received a certain yearly sum from Dalmatia, may have enjoyed a revenue of twenty-seven to thirty millions.
But the proportion of 1 to 5, on which this calculation
1 See below, p. 236.
2 Benjamin of Tudela, p. 13 (ed. and tr. M. N. Adler, 1907); cp. Paparrhegopulos, ̔Ιστορία τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ ἔθνους, iii. 74.
3 Cp. Andreades, Les Finances byz. 20. In 1205 the Crusaders assured Baldwin the daily income of 30,000 nomismata = £6,570,000 annually. Supposing this represents a quarter of
the revenue of the whole Empire before the conquest, we get £26,280,000, a figure which agrees with the other result (but in both cases the proportions are quite problematical). See Paparrhegopulos, op. cit. iv. 44 sqq.; Diehl, Etudes byzantines, 125; Andreades, loc. cit. For the whole question of the finances cp. also Kalligas, Μελέται 268 sqq.
rests, is such an arbitrary hypothesis that we must seek some other means of forming a rough evaluation. We are told that in the twelfth century the island of Corcyra yielded 1500 pounds of gold or £64,800 to the Imperial treasury.1 The total area of the Imperial territory in the reign of Theophilus (counting Sicily as lost, and not including Calabria, Dalmatia, Cyprus, or Cherson) was about 546,000 kilometres.2 The area of Corcyra is 770, so that if its contribution to the treasury was as large in the ninth as in the twelfth century, and was proportional to its size, the amount of the whole revenue would be about £46,000,000. But the population of the islands was undoubtedly denser than in most regions of the mainland, and it is probably an insufficient set-off to have left out of account Calabria and some other outlying Imperial possessions, and to have made no allowance for the vast amount contributed by Constantinople. Yet this line of calculation suggests at least that the Imperial revenue may have exceeded thirty millions and was nearly half as large again as the revenue of the Caliphs.3
If we accept £25,000,000 as a minimum figure for the revenue arising from taxation of all kinds, we must add a considerable sum for the profits arising from the Imperial Estates in Asia Minor. Disregarding this source of income, which we have no data for estimating, we must remember that the weight of gold which if sent to the mint to-day would be coined into twenty-five million sovereigns represented at Byzantium a far higher purchasing power. It is now generally assumed that the value of money was five times as great, and this is probably not an exaggeration. On this hypothesis the Imperial revenue from taxation would correspond in real value to £125,000,000.
It is impossible to conjecture how the expenditure was
1 John of Brompton, Chronicon, p. 1219 (Twysden's Hist. Angl. scriptores X. vol. i., 1652), states that the island of Cunfu (Corfu) yielded "quintallos auri purissimi quindecim annuatim; et pondus quintalli est pondus centum librarum auri" (A.D. 1290).
2 I have based this on the figures given by Beloch in his Bevölkerung der griechisch-römischen Welt (1886).
3 See below p. 236. The statement
of Nicephorus Gregoras, viii. 6, p. 317 (ed. Bonn), that in A.D. 1321 the revenue was increased by special efforts (of the Telŵvai and popoλóyo) to the sum of one million nomismata (£600,000), cannot be utilized. The conditions of the time were exceptional. I do not understand why Zachariä v. Lingenthal (Zur Kenntniss, 14) refers this statement to the land-tax only.
4 See Paparrhegopulos, loc. cit.; Diehl, loc. cit.; Andreades, 7.
apportioned. Probably a sum of more than £1,000,000 was) annually spent on the maintenance of the military establishment, not including the cost of campaigns. The navy, the civil service in all its branches, religious foundations, doles to charitable institutions, liberal presents frequently given to foreign potentates for political purposes, represented large claims on the treasury, while the upkeep of a luxurious Court, and the obligatory gifts (evoeẞía) on stated occasions to crowds of officials, consumed no small portion of the Emperor's income. Theophilus must have laid out more than a million a year on his buildings.1 It is only for the army and navy that we possess some figures, but these are too uncertain and partial to enable us to reconstruct a military budget.
Perhaps the most striking evidence of the financial prosperity of the Empire is the international circulation of its gold currency. "In the period of 800 years from Diocletian to Alexius Comnenus the Roman government never found itself compelled to declare bankruptcy or stop payments. Neither the ancient nor the modern world can offer a complete parallel to this phenomenon. This prodigious stability of Roman financial policy therefore secured the "byzant" its universal currency. On account of its full weight it passed with all the neighbouring nations as a valid medium of exchange. By her money Byzantium controlled both the civilised and the barbarian worlds." 2
§ 2. Military and Naval Organization
I. Under the Amorian dynasty considerable administrative changes were made in the organization of the military provinces into which the Empire was divided, in order to meet new conditions. In the Isaurian period there were five great Themes in Asia Minor, governed by stratêgoi, in the following order of dignity and importance: the Anatolic, the Armeniac, the Thrakesian, the Opsikian, and the Bukellarian. This system of "the Five Themes," as they were called, lasted till the reign of Michael II., if not till that of
1 The cost of St. Sophia is said to have been 300,000 gold litrai = £12,960,000. The buildings of Theophilus, including the Palace of Bryas,
cannot have cost less. His reign lasted a little more than twelve years. 2 Gelzer, Byz. Kulturgesch. 78.
Theophilus.1 But it is probable that before that time the penetration of the Moslems in the frontier regions had rendered it necessary to delimit from the Anatolic and Armeniac provinces districts which were known as kleisurarchies, and were under minor commanders, kleisurarchs, who could take measures for defending the country independently of the stratêgoi. this way the kleisurarchy of Seleucia, west of Cilicia, was cut off from the Anatolic Theme, and that of Charsianon from the Armeniac.3 Southern Cappadocia, which was constantly exposed to Saracen invasion through the Cilician gates, was also formed into a frontier province. We have no record of the times at which these changes were made, but we may suspect that they were of older date than the reign of Theophilus.
This energetic Emperor made considerable innovations in the thematic system throughout the Empire, and this side of his administration has not been observed or appreciated. In Asia Minor he created two new Themes, Paphlagonia and Chaldia. Paphlagonia seems to have been cut off from the Bukellarian province; probably it had a separate existence already, as a “katepanate,” for the governor of the new Theme, while he was a stratêgos, bore the special title of katepano, which looks like the continuation of an older arrangement.
1 Cont. Th. 6 Twν TÉVTE DEμάтWV WV κατὰ τὴν ἀνατολήν, A.D. 803; and Theodore Stud. Epp. ii. 64, p. 1284 ἐπὶ γὰρ τῶν π. θ. τέθειται, A.D. 819 (both these passages record the temporary commission of these Themes to a superior μονοστράτηγος; cp. above, p. 10). As it is tolerably certain that no additional Themes were created in the last year of Leo or during the revolt of Thomas, it follows that A.D. 824 is a higher limit for the creation of the two or three new Themes which existed in A.D. 838. Other considerations make it probable that Theophilus was the innovator.
2 The kleisûrai of Asia Minor were the passes of the Taurus, and, when the Saracens had won positions north of the Eastern Taurus, also of the Antitaurus.
3 The existence of the kleisurarchies of Charsianon and Seleucia at the beginning of the reign of Michael III. is proved by Ibn Khurdadhbah, 78. The former appears duly in the Taktikon Uspenski, 123; the omission
of Seleucia is probably due to corrup
4 This also is omitted in our text of Takt. Usp., doubtless a scribe's error. It appears as a kleisurarchy in Ibn Fakih's list: Brooks, Arabic Lists, 75 (Koron was the seat of the governor). Takt. Usp.111-113 enumerates seven Asiatic stratêgoi, including those of Paphlagonia and Chaldia. This agrees with Ibn Fakih, ib. 73-76; and is borne out by Euodios (Acta 42 Mart. Amor. 65), who, referring to A. D. 838, mentions "the Seven Themes.' The author of the Vita Theodorae imp. (9) speaks of στρατηγοὶ ὀκτώ at Amorion in that year. This (whether anachronism or not) cannot be pressed. Cp. Nikitin's note on Euodios (p. 244). He is wrong in supposing (p. 246, n.) that Cappadocia was a Theme at this time, though he might have quoted Cont. Th. 120 T σтрат. Kажπ., which, in view of the other evidence, must be explained as an anachronism.
6 Constantine, De adm. imp. 178; Cer. 788. The simplest explanation