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Tarasius, it is urged by Nicolas that Pope Hadrian protested against his elevation, in a message addressed to the Seventh Ecumenical Council. But the Council had not hesitated to accept Tarasius, and it did not concern the Church of Constantinople, what the Bishop of Rome, apart from the Council, chose to think or say about the matter. In regard to Nicephorus, the Pope said nothing because he had nothing to say. Nicephorus was in communion with Rome; the Popes of his day raised no protest against his elevation. We have seen that if the first overtures of Nicolas to Constantinople had met with a different reception, the canonical molehills would never have been metamorphosed into mountains. The real value of the objections may be measured by the fact that when Photius reascended the patriarchal throne after the death of his rival, he was recognized by Pope John III. The death of Ignatius had indeed removed one obstacle, but nevertheless on the showing of Nicolas he was not a bishop at all. Pope John recognized him simply because it suited the papal policy at the moment.
In the stormy ecclesiastical history of our period the monks had played a conspicuous part, first as champions of the worship of icons and then of the cause of Ignatius, who was himself a typical monk. In the earlier controversies over the mystery of the incarnation, gangs of monks had been the authors of scandal in those turbulent assemblies at Ephesus, of which one is extolled as an Ecumenical Council and the other branded as a synod of brigands; at Constantinople, they led an insurrection which shook the throne of Anastasius. The Emperor Constantine V. recognized that the monks were his most influential and implacable opponents and declared war upon monasticism. But monasticism was an instinct too deeply rooted in Byzantine society to be suppressed or exterminated; the monastic order rested on as firm foundations, secured by public opinion, as the Church itself. The reaction under Irene revived and confirmed the power of the cloister; and at the same time the Studite movement of reform, under the guidance of Plato and Theodore, exerted a certain influence beyond the walls of Studion and tended to augment the prestige of the monastic life, though it was far from being generally accepted. The programme of the abbot Theodore
to render the authority of the Church independent of the autocrat was a revolutionary project which had no body of public opinion behind it and led to no consequences. The iconoclastic Emperors did their will, and the restoration of image-worship, while it was a triumph for the monks, was not a victory of the Church over the State. But within the State-Church monasticism flourished with as little check as it could have done if the Church had been an independent institution, and produced its full crop of economic evils. Hundreds of monasteries, some indeed with but few tenants, existed in Constantinople and its immediate neighbourhood in the ninth century, and the number was being continually increased by new foundations. For it was a cherished ambition of ordinary men of means to found a monastery, and they had only to obtain the licence of a bishop, who consecrated the site by planting a cross,1 and to furnish the capital for the upkeep of the buildings and the maintenance of three monks. It was a regular custom for high dignitaries, who had spent their lives in the service of the State, to retire in old age to cloisters which they had built themselves.2 It is too little to say that this was an ideal of respectability; it was also probably for the Byzantine man a realization of happiness in the present, enhanced as it was by the prospect of bliss in the future. But the State paid heavily for the indulgence of its members in the life of the cloister and the cell.
2 History furnishes numerous particular instances, but I may notice
the significant τοὺς ἀπὸ μαγίστρων μovadikoús in Philotheos, 17615.
FINANCIAL AND MILITARY ADMINISTRATION
§ 1. Finance
THE Imperial revenue in the Middle Ages proceeded from the same principal sources as in the earlier ages of the Empire: taxation and the profits on the Imperial estates. The machinery for collecting the revenue had perhaps been little altered, but the central ministries which controlled the machinery had been considerably changed. The various financial and cognate departments which had been subject to the authority of the two great financial ministers and the Praetorian Prefects, under the system introduced by Constantine, are now distributed among eight mutually independent ministries.1
The Logothete or Accountant of the General Treasury, or, as he was briefly called, the General Logothete, had inherited the most important duties of the Count of the Sacred Largesses. He ordered and controlled the collection of all the taxes. He was the head of the army of surveyors, controllers, and collectors of the land and hearth taxes,2 and of the host of commerciarii or officers of the customs.
The Military Logothete administered the treasury which defrayed the pay of the soldiers and other military expenses, which used to be furnished from the chests of the Praetorian Prefects.3 The Wardrobe and the Special Treasury were
1 See Bury, Imperial Administrative System, 78 sqq.
2 ἐποπταί, διοικηταί, πράκτορες (ib. 87, 89).
3 lb. 90.
βεστιάριον (to be distinguished from the Private Wardrobe, οἰκειακὸν BEOT., which was under the Protovestiarios, an eunuch). Ib. 95.
5 To Eldikóv. Its master was called ὁ ἐπὶ τοῦ εἰδικοῦ. Ib. 98.
stores for all kinds of material used for military and naval purposes; on the occasion of a warlike expedition they supplied sails and ropes, hides, tin and lead, and innumerable things required for the equipment. The President of the Special / Treasury controlled the public factories, and the Chartulary of the Wardrobe was also master of the mint.
The estates of the Crown, which were situated chiefly in the Asiatic provinces, were controlled by two central offices. The revenues were managed by the Chartulary of the Sakellion, the estates were administered by the Great Curator.1 The pastures in western Asia Minor, however, where horses and mules were reared for the military service, were under the stewardship of another minister, the Logothete of the Herds, while the military stables of Malagina were directed by an important and independent officer, the Count of the Stable.2 These latter offices had been in earlier times subordinated to the Count of the Private Estate.
The Sakellion was the central treasury of the State. We have no particular information concerning the methods of disbursement and allocation, or the relations between the various bureaux. But we may suppose that the General Logothete, who received the income arising from taxation, paid directly to other departments the various standing expenses which were defrayed from this revenue, and handed over the surplus to the Sakellion. This treasury, which received directly the net income furnished by the rents of the Private Estates, would thus have contained the specie available for the expenses of military expeditions, for buildings and public works, for the extravagances of the Court and all the private expenses of the Emperor. The annual savings, if savings were effected, seem to have passed into the personal custody of the sovran, so that Irene was able to conceal the treasure which she had accumulated.3
The Sakellion itself was under the control of the chief financial minister, the Sakellarios, who acted as general comptroller. The special financial ministries were not subordinate to him, but he had the right and duty to inquire
1 lb. 93, 100.
2 Ib. 111, 113.
3 The inference is borne out by the fact that Theodora personally handed
over the accumulated savings of her husband's reign and her own regency. This would not have been necessary if they had lain in the Sakellion.
into their accounts, and was doubtless responsible for all disbursements from the Sakellion.1
Bullion, furnished by the State mines, came to the General Logothete, who must have sent it to the Wardrobe to be coined, while other bullion might be deposited before mintage in the Special Treasury. From the Wardrobe the coins would pass to the Sakellion.
The two principal direct taxes, on which the Imperial finance rested, were the land-tax and the hearth-tax. These had always been the two pillars of the treasury, for the hearthtax was only a modification of the old capitation, being levied, not on the free man and woman, but on the household.2 The population of cities, including the capital, did not pay the hearth-tax, at least in the eastern provinces. The leaseholders on the Imperial estates were not exempted from the land-tax, which all landed proprietors and tenants paid; and the householders of Constantinople and the other cities were burdened by an analogous charge on sites, which was known as the "urban tribute." The uniform hearth rate was probably combined in the same schedules with the other tax and collected by the same officials.* Other sources of income were the toll on receipts (an income-tax of the most odious form, which Irene was praised for abolishing), death duties, judicial fines, and, above all, the duties levied on imports, which must have amounted to a substantial sum.
The unpopular fiscal measures of the Emperor Nicephorus, which are briefly recapitulated by a hostile monk, afford us a vague glimpse into the obscure financial conditions of the Empire. His official experience as General Logothete had enabled him to acquire an expert knowledge of financial details which few sovrans possessed, and he was convinced that the resources of the State were suffering and its strength endangered by the policy of laxity and indulgence which had been adopted by Irene. In the first year of his reign there was а severe taxation, which may have driven many to embrace the cause of the rebel Bardanes.5
1 Ib. 82.
2 Zacharia v. L. Zur Kenntniss des röm. Steuerwesens, 9-13.
3 Monnier, Études de droit byz. xviii. 485, and xix. 75, 98, has made
it probable that the πολιτικοὶ φόροι represent the capitatio terrena applied to towns.
4 Zacharia v. L. ib. 12.
5 See Cont. Th. 8 (róтe=July 803).