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Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the Byzantine historiography of the mid-10th century



The paper is dedicated to certain aspects of the treatise De administrando imperio, composed at the court of Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in 948-952. It first examines the diplomatic basis of the information collected in the treatise, then the management of the information available from other sources and some common information found in it and in other contemporary works such as Theophanes Continuatus, Vita Basilii and De thematibus. It closes with a conclusion about the authorship of the treatise and its place in the context of the historiographical activity at the court of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in the mid-10th century. [Project of the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Grant no. 177032: Tradition, innovation and identity in the Byzantine world]
Зборник радова Византолошког института LVI, 2019.
Zbornik radova Vizantološkog instituta LVI, 2019.
UDC: 930(495.02)“09“:[321.17:929
Institute for Byzantine Studies, SASA, Belgrade
e paper is dedicated to certain aspects of the treatise De administrando imperio,
composed at the court of Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in 948–952. It rst ex-
amines the diplomatic basis of the information collected in the treatise, then the manage-
ment of the information available from other sources and some common information found
in it and in other contemporary works such as eophanes Continuatus, Vita Basilii and De
thematibus. It closes with a conclusion about the authorship of the treatise and its place in
the context of the historiographical activity at the court of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus
in the mid-10th century.
Keywords: Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio, eophanes
Continuatus, Vita Basilii, De thematibus, Byzantine historiography
e renewed scholarly activity during the sole rule of Emperor Constantine VII
Porphyrogenitus from 944 to 959 resulted in a number of famous encyclopedic and
historiographical works and collections initiated, commissioned, edited or created
by the emperor himself.1 Among them, the treatise called De administrando imperio,
composed between 948 and 952, has a special and prominent place, because of its
1 ere has been considerable progress in the scholarly understanding of the literary activity
under Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus thanks to the recent research, cf. the following footnotes and
throughout the paper.
* e paper is part of the project „Tradition, innovation and identity in the Byzantine world“ (no.
177032), supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Repub-
lic of Serbia.
40 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
specic nature and intriguing character.2 According to its Proem, the text was written
by Emperor Constantine himself for his son and co-emperor Romanus II,3 but recent
scholarship tends to reject such a claim, assuming the existence of some “ghostwrit-
ers” that wrote it for the emperor.4 ough the traditional view is by no means to be
completely discarded, the authorship of the text, however, remains a question and a
matter of debate, as well as its relation to other works of the period. An attempt to
answer those questions would certainly improve our understanding of the emperors
place in the wider context of the historiographical activity at the Byzantine court of
the mid-10th century.
Diplomatic basis of De administrando imperio
e composition of a treatise on foreign peoples and the relations of the Ro-
mans with them such as De administrando imperio ts well into the thematic frame-
work of the extensive scholarly activity at the imperial court of the mid-10th century,5
which resulted in the creation of voluminous works such as the Excerpta Historica,6
especially when we know that the y three topics it was meant to arrange the whole
2 The scholarly literature on De administrando imperio is quite extensive; the most referent
works are, however, Bury, Treatise, 517–577; DAI. Commentary, ed. Jenkins; Ševčenko, Re-reading, 167–
195; Sode, Untersuchungen, 149–260; Howard-Johnston, De administrando imperio: a Re-examination,
301–336; Kaldellis, Ethnography, 87–93; Magdalino, Knowledge, 187–209; Markopoulos, Voices, 22–32;
Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 130–137. It is curious that De administrando imperio was completely
neglected in the most recent reviews of Byzantine Historiography, Treadgold, Middle Byzantine Histori-
ans; Neville, Guide.
3 DAI, Proem, passim.
4 Cf. n. 2. Ševčenko, Re-reading, 185–195; Holmes, Byzantine Political Culture, 69–72; Németh,
Excerpta Constantiniana, 131–132, share the opinion that the main person responsible for the composi-
tion of De administrando imperio was Basil Lacapenus, known as the Bastard ( Νόθο, +985), the illegit-
imate son of Romanus I Lacapenus and half-brother of Constantine’s wife Helene, the parakoimomenos
of the emperor and his close associate, who was later also the parakoimomenos of Nicephorus II Phocas
(963–969), who promoted him also to the position of the president of the Senate, and of John I Tzimisk-
es (969–976) and Basil II, whom he served as a regent up to 985, and who was involved in the creation
process of a number of other projects of Constantines time; on these projects see the footnotes below. On
Basil Lacepenus and his career, cf. Brokkaar, Basil Lacapenus, 199–233; Krsmanović, Evnusi, 306–402.
According to Howard-Johnston, De administrando imperio: a Re-examination, 321–336; Németh, Excerpta
Constantiniana, 132–133, the original recension of DAI was composed thanks to Leo VI between 900 and
910, and Constantine VII and his co-workers only re-edited it in 948–952.
5 Already Bury, Treatise, 539–544, noticed that the impetus for the preparation of the work De
administrando imperio came from the same encyclopedic-historiographical momentum that led to the
creation of De cerimoniis and Excerpta historica.
6 e immense project of the systematization of the past by excerpting passages from historical
works of authors from Antiquity to the 9th century and arranging them into y three previously dened
topics, with none of the passages of the original historical works le unsorted, was launched by Emperor
Constantine VII shortly aer he assumed supreme power in the 940s, involving many skilled scholars and
scribes and lasted for several decades, to be nished only in the 970s or 980s thanks to Basil Lacapenus who
supervised the project aer Constantine’s death in 959. e project inspired many similar undertakings
of the systematization of knowledge in the latter half of the 10th century, see Treadgold, Middle Byzantine
Historians, 153–165; Neville, Guide, 110–113, and especially the thorough study by A. Németh, Excerpta
Constantiniana, 1–120 sq.
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historical material into also included those dedicated to the relations between the
Romans and the Barbarians in ancient times, some of which have been preserved
(for example, De legationibus), while others are lost (De nationibus). ere is, on the
other hand, some information on the diplomatic relations between the contempo-
rary Romans and the Barbarians of the mid-10th century, preserved in the so-called
diplomatic chapters” of De cerimoniis, another great collection of the time. ose are
Chapters 15 and 46–48 of Book II, which describe the receptions of foreign delega-
tions at the imperial court and the ways of addressing them at the court and in the
letters addressed to them and the titles used ocially for their rulers by the emperor.7
However, those chapters (except for the beginning of Chapter 15) didn’t belong to the
original De cerimoniis as le by Emperor Constantine VII, but rather to the “unn-
ished dossier” that contained “various texts and documents” that the emperor had
gathered and kept along with the original version of De cerimoniis, which was later,
between 963 and 969, appended as chapters to the Book II because they were associat-
ed with its content.8 at means that in these “chapters” we have, in fact, to determine
the real diplomatic material that came into being for the sake of actual diplomatic ac-
tivity during the reign of Constantine VII (944–959). An example of such material is
certainly the so-called “List of addresses to the foreign rulers”, preserved as Chapter II,
48, which was composed between March and October 946.9 If we take a closer look at
it we may nd that its geopolitical scope fully matches that of De administrando impe-
rio, since most of the rulers mentioned in it also appear in DAI.10 at would suggest
a close relation between De administrando imperio and the regular diplomatic activity
of the imperial court at the time and allow us to presume that DAI was meant to be
7 De cerimoniis, 566–598, 679–692.
8 e original version of De cerimoniis produced during the lifetime of Constantine VII comprised
the present Book I, Chapters 1–83 and Book II, Chapters 1–15 (earlier part). It was most probably Basil
Lacapenus who, during the reign of Nicephorus Phocas (963–969), added some additional chapters to
Book I (Chapters 84–97) and appended the material of the “unnished dossier” le by Constantine VII,
with a few later additions, to Book II (the latter part of the Chapter 15 and the Chapters 16–57) and had
it copied into the Leipzig manuscript, which already contained the treatises on military expeditions, cf.
Featherstone, Preliminary remarks, 457–479; Idem, Olga’s visit, 241–251; Idem, Further remarks, 113–121;
Idem, De cerimoniis, 142; Idem, Δι’ νδειξιν, 75–79; Idem, Basileios Nothos, 355–360. Cf. also Constantine
Porphyrogennetos, Book of Ceremonies I–II, xxiii–xxxviii; Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 137–144.
9 De cerimoniis, 686–692; Zuckermann, Voyage d’Olga, 647–672.
10 e amir al-muminin, De cerimoniis, 686.13–22, DAI, ch. 25, 43, 44, 47; the prince of princes
of Greater Armenia, 686.22–687.3, DAI, ch. 43–44; the prince of Vaspurakan, 687.4–8, DAI, ch. 43, 45;
the prince of Taron, 686.8, DAI, ch. 43; the curopalates of Iberia, 687.16–18, DAI, ch. 43, 45–46; the
exousiokrator of Alania, 688.2–7, DAI, ch. 10–11; the exousiastes of Abasgia, 688.7–10, DAI, ch. 45–46; the
king of Saxony, 689.4–5, DAI, ch. 30; the amir of Africa, the amir of Egypt, 689.14–690.1, DAI, ch. 25; the
duke of Venice, 690.4, DAI, ch. 27–28; the prince of Capua, the prince of Salerno, the duke of Naples, the
archon of Amal, the archon of Gaeta, 690.4–6, DAI, ch. 27; the khagan of Chazaria, 690.16–21, DAI, ch.
13, 38, 42; the prince of Russia, 690.21–691.1, DAI, ch. 9; the princes of the Hungarians, 691.2–4, DAI. ch.
38, 40; the princes of the Pechenegs, 691.4–7, DAI, ch. 37; the prince of Croatia, the prince of the Serbs, the
prince of the Zachlumi, the prince of the Kanalites, the prince of the Terbuniotes, the prince of Dioclea, the
prince of Moravia (Pagania), 691.8–13, DAI, ch. 29–36; the king of Francia, 691.13–20, DAI, ch. 26, 28–29;
the lord of Arabia Felix, 691.24–692.2, DAI, ch. 25; cf. Byzance et ses voisins, 353–672.
42 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
an elaboration about the peoples that were otherwise known at the imperial court and
with which, or most of them, it had established diplomatic relations, and the “List of
addresses” could have served as a solid starting point for such a task.
De administrando imperio also provides some specic information that is clear-
ly in connection with the data recorded in the “diplomatic chapters” of De cerimoniis.
e author, who I believe was indeed Emperor Constantine himself, at one point,
exclaims in surprise that the Byzantine historians had failed to mention the crossing
of the descendants of Muawiyah I, the Umayyad dynasty, over to Spain in 755.11 But,
how then could he have known of that event if there was no such information in the
Byzantine historical works he had at his disposal? Is it not probable that he might have
gathered some information on the history of the Arabs of Spain during his meeting
with the ambassadors of the caliph of Cordoba Abd ar-Rahman III (912–961), who
were formally received at the imperial court on 24 October 946, as described in De
cerimoniis, II, 1512 However, some Byzantine authors, namely eophanes in his Chro-
nography, did mention this event,13 but Constantine misinterpreted it and dated it to
the reign of Justinian II, confusing it with the Arab conquest of Spain in 711, which
indeed was not mentioned explicitly by eophanes.14 On the other hand, the fact that
the ruler of the Arabs of Spain was not mentioned in the “List of addresses, composed
in 946, but before the arrival of the Cordovan delegation to Constantinople,15 shows
that the Byzantines up until then were not very familiar with them and that Con-
stantine indeed could claim that his knowledge of their aairs, if it had resulted from
his encounter with their envoys, was greater than that of any of the earlier Byzantine
authors.16 e Arab chapters of De administrando imperio (ch. 14–25) include Spain,
which is represented in them as an Arab country and in those chapters, curiously,
Muawiyah I has a central place.17 In Chapter 25 it is stated that there are three amir
al-muminin among the Arabs – one in Baghdad, who is descended from Muhammad
(the Abbasids); the second in Egypt, who is descended from Fatima (the Fatimids);
and the third in Spain, who is descended from Muawiyah (the Umayyads).18 Bearing
11 DAI, 21.28–31.
12 De cerimoniis, 571.11–16; Kresten, “Staatsempfänge”, 31–34; Zuckermann, Voyage d’Olga, 654–
660; Signes Codoñer, Bizancio y al-Ándalus, 212 sq.
13 eophanis Chronographia, 424.12–16, 425.13–15, 426.1–7.
14 eophanes speaks of the Arabs that crossed from Africa to Spain, conquered it and ruled
it from then on in the context of the Frankish wars with them, which he describes under the year AM
6216 = AD 723/724, and of the ight of the Umayyads to Spain under the year AM 6241 = AD 748/749,
eophanis Chronographia, 403.12–13, 426.1–7; Chronicle of eophanes Confessor, 556–558, 588–589;
Németh, Database, 92–95; Idem, Excerpta Constantiniana, 233–236.
15 Zuckermann, Voyage d’Olga, 654–660, 669–672.
16 Signes Codoñer, Bizancio y al-Ándalus, 212–244, identied as many as ten exchanges of embas-
sies between the courts of Constantinople and Cordoba in the period 946–959, following a gap of more
than a century from 838.
Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 234–235; Komatina, Byzantine Concept of “Syria” (forthcoming).
18 DAI, 25.56–62.
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in mind that he himself states that “the Arabs living in Spain are called the Mauiatae
(Μαυιται)”,19 the question arises whether it was in fact Constantine’s Spanish-An-
dalusian informants who insisted on the importance of Muawiyah as the ancestor
of their rulers in early Muslim history, especially given that he was the rst Sunni
caliph, who defeated Ali and the Shi’a. It was, in my opinion, the impression made on
Constantine by the encounter with them and the information they could have oered
about the Arab rule in Spain and the origin of their ruling family that could have led
to his claim that he knew more about it than the earlier Byzantine writers had record-
ed, and that because of this he wished to emphasize his own knowledge about the
history of the Arabs of Spain.20
Data on the contemporary situation in the Muslim world that the author re-
corded at the end of Chapter 25, including those on the political division of the Arab
Empire and the independence of the Shi’a rulers in Yemen and the rise of the Persian
Buyids and their usurpation of actual power from the Caliph in Baghdad in 945,21
could rst of all have been provided also by the Arab ambassadors, those whose re-
ceptions at the imperial court were also recorded and described in De cerimoniis, II,
15. e receptions in question were of “the envoys of amir al-muminin from Tarsus,
for the exchange of prisoners and peace, on 31 May 946,22 and “of Daylamite, the amir
of Emet (Amide) and the envoy of Abuhamed”, i.e. the Hamdanids, on 30 August of
the same year.23
On the other hand, it seems that the information about the Russians collected
in Chapter 9 of De administrando imperio,24 does not derive from what the emperor
might have learnt from the Russian princess Olga, whose reception at the imperial
court is also described in De cerimoniis, II, 15, if that reception occurred on 9 Sep-
tember 946, as is usually assumed.25 Namely, in Chapter 9 Constantine writes that
“Svjatoslav, the son of Igor, the prince of Russia, had his seat in Novgorod.26 Had he
met Olga already in 946 he would certainly have learnt from her that her husband Igor
had already died the year before, as his death, according to the Russian chronicles,
19 DAI, 22.39–40.
20 Németh, Database, 92–95; Idem, Excerpta Constantiniana, 233–237, explained the statement
found in Chapter 21 of DAI that the earlier Byzantine historians hadn’t mentioned the establishment of
Arab rule in Spain with the assumption that the emperor and his co-authors who worked on the Excerpta
Historica searched for such information in the old chronicles but failed to nd any.
21 DAI, 25.63–85; Bonner, Waning of empire, 346–356.
22 De cerimoniis, 570.11–592.19.
23 De cerimoniis, 593.1–594.14. On these embassies, cf. Kresten, “Staatsempfänge”, 30–31; Zucker-
mann, Voyage d’Olga, 669–672;Featherstone, Δι’ νδειξιν, 75–81, 85–106. e way of addressing these
Arab envoys is recorded in De cerimoniis, II, 47, De cermoniis, 682.18–686.2.
24 DAI, 9.3–113.
25 De cerimoniis, 594.15–598.12; Kresten, “Staatsempfänge, 9–11; Zuckermann, Voyage d’Olga,
647–654, 660–672. On the discussion on Olga’s visit, cf. Tinnefeld, Zum Stand der Olga-Diskussion, 531–567.
26 DAI, 9. 4–5.
44 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
occurred in 945.27 However, the reception of Olga at the imperial court is known
to have occurred a whole decade later, in 957, as M. Featherstone has convincingly
argued,28 so it wasn’t she who provided Constantine with the information about the
Russians. Instead, the information most probably came from his encounter with the
Russian envoys sent by Prince Igor in 944 to negotiate a treaty with the imperial gov-
ernment following the Russian attacks of 941 and 944, which is also recounted in the
Russian chronicles.29 e text of the chapter is mostly dedicated to the way in which
the Russians sail in their monoxyla down the Dnieper and over the Black Sea to Con-
stantinople and it is clear that it alludes to the recent arrival of the Russian navy to the
walls of the capital. On the other hand, the mention of a special representative of Svja-
toslav, the son of Igor, in the list of the Russian envoys sent to Constantinople by Igor
preserved in the Russian Primary Chronicle,30 testies to his special political status in
his father’s realm, which is referred to in Chapter 9 of De administrando imperio.
e friendly relations between the Empire and the Frankish king Hugh of Ita-
ly (926–947), crowned in 944 by the marriage of Constantine’s son Romanus II and
Hugh’s daughter Berta, are mirrored in the “List of addresses” of De cerimoniis, where
Hugh is recorded as “beloved, the most respected and spiritual brother of ours (the
emperors’), the most noble and most distinguished king of Francia,31 the epithets far
more exalted than those ascribed to the other rulers of the Frankish sphere.32 How-
ever, the full emphasis on that diplomatic friendship is given in DAI, in Chapter 13,
where Constantine elaborates why with the Franks alone of all the foreign and barbar-
ian nations the Roman emperors can enter marital relatioships,33 and in Chapter 26,
where King Hugh is recorded with all the epithets that he was entitled to according to
the “List of addresses” and where he is presented as the sole true and legitimate king
of all the Franks and a direct descendant of Charlemagne.34 Chapter 26 is oen con-
sidered part of the “Italian dossier” of DAI,35 and it has been assumed that there is no
passage on Franks in the work.36 However, Chapter 26 deals with the Franks of Italy,
just like most of Chapter 27 deals with the Italian Lombards, and the rest of it and the
27 PSRL I, 54–57.
28 Featherston, Olga’s visit, 241–251.
29 PSRL I, 44–54; Curta, Eastern Europe, 292–293.
30 PSRL I, 46.
31 De cerimoniis, 691.13–20.
32 De cerimoniis, 689.4–12.
33 DAI, 13.107–126.
34 DAI, 26 passim. On that subject, cf. Komatina,“King of Francia, 157–168; Prinzing, Emperor
Constantine VII and Margrave Berengar II of Ivrea, 193–199, with older literature. I am indebted to Prof.
G. Prinzing who very kindly sent me his article.
35 DAI. Commentary, 82–93; Howard-Johnston, De administrando imperio: a Re-examination,
36 Bury, Treatise, 575; Howard-Johnston, De administrando imperio: a Re-examination, 306, 320–
321; Kaldellis, Ethnography, 89–90.
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
whole Chapter 28 with the Venetians. us, these three chapters, instead of treating
Italy as a political and geographical unit, deal with the peoples that inhabited and
ruled parts of it – the Franks, the Lombards and the Venetians. As for the origin of the
information on the history of the Frankish rule in Italy, it has long been established
that the author gathered it mainly from Liutprand of Cremona, who came to Constan-
tinople in September 949 as an envoy of the future king Berengar II and stayed there
for a couple of months, having in-depth discussions at the court, for there are many
traces in the author’s account on Italy in Chapter 26 that can be linked to what Liut-
prand wrote in his Antapodosis.37 However, there might have been other informants,
rst of all the young Empress Berta-Eudocia,38 but also Bishop Sigefred of Parma who
accompanied her in 944 or the imperial envoy Andrew who reached Italy in 948–949
and returned before the end of Summer 949.39 us, it is clear that the diplomatic ac-
tivity of the imperial court is what lies behind the information on the Franks of Italy
in De administrando imperio.
ere is no doubt that this was also the case with the information on the Hungar-
ians, for the author himself speaks of the Hungarian envoys who were received at the
imperial court, most probably in 948, at the end of Chapter 40: “Tebelis is dead, and it is
his son Termatzous who came here recently as friend with Boultzous, third to the prince
and karchas of Turkey.40 ere is no reason to doubt that they were the author’s main
source for the information on the Hungarians, recounted in Chapters 38–40, which
originate in the Hungarian tradition,41 as is evident when we compare the information
from Chapter 38 on the Hungarian homeland, the vojvode Lebedias, Almoutzis (Almos)
and Arpad and the election of the rst prince,42 to the Hungarian legends about the na-
tion’s origins and its rst leaders, written down by the Anonymous Notary of King Bela
III at the beginning of the 13th century.43 e information on the genealogy of the Hun-
garian rulers as well as about their political organization was certainly given by the same
37 Bury, Treatise, 553–556; Schummer, Liutprand of Cremona, 197–201; Prinzing, Emperor Con-
stantine VII and Margrave Berengar II of Ivrea, 204–205.
38 DAI. Commentary, 4, 83.
39 Bury, Treatise, 553, 555; Prinzing, Emperor Constantine VII and Margrave Berengar II of Ivrea,
193, 200–204.
40 DAI, 40.63–65. e coming of the Hungarian leader Bulcsu to Constantinople is also men-
tioned by John Scylitzes, Scylitzes, 239; DAI. Commentary, 153; Moravcsik, Byzantium and the Magyars,
104–107; Curta, Eastern Europe, 256–258.
41 DAI. Commentary, 145–146. Moravcsik, Byzantium and the Magyars, 56–57, however, thought
that the information came from the report of the imperial envoy Gabriel, who at an unspecied earlier
moment had been sent to the Hungarians with the imperial order to attack the Pechenegs and draw them
away from the country that once belonged to them and to reclaim it and resettle in it, which they declined,
DAI, 8.22–33. Cf. also Howard-Johnston, De administrando imperio: a re-examination, 312–314, 324, who
thought that most of the information on the Northern peoples was gathered in the time of Leo VI c. 900,
and only updated in later intelligence reports.
42 DAI, 38.3–60.
43 Anonymi Gesta Hungarorum, 33–41; Curta, Eastern Europe, 250–255.
46 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
Hungarian envoys,44 who might have contributed to some extent also to the author’s
information on the Pechenegs written in Chapter 37, bearing in mind the close contacts
between the two peoples during the previous decades, though the author’s information
on the Pechenegs were for the most part provided through the regular annual exchange
of envoys between the imperial court and that steppe people.45
In De administrando imperio the diplomatic relations between the imperial
court and the Armenian and Georgian principalities are most elaborately recounted
and many exchanges of envoys and letters are described, beginning already with the
reign of Leo VI, as well as the frequent receptions of the Caucasian princes at the
court, which all certainly resulted in much of the diplomatic material that the author
had at his disposal for the composition of his account.46
Information and interpretation
Most of the information from De administrando imperio that the emperor col-
lected through these diplomatic contacts is in fact our only information about some
events. However, as Paul Magdalino rightly noticed, where it is not the only source,
it is oen quite dierent and even incorrect compared to what other sources report
of the same events. at led to the question whether the emperor consciously invent-
ed facts and intentionally and deliberately reinterpreted historical information in his
own way.47 ere are two examples in Chapter 29 of DAI that aptly illustrate how the
emperor treated the information available to him from other sources and reinterpret-
ed it in order to create his own interpretation of the past.
e rst such piece of information is that the South Slavic peoples – the Croats,
Serbs, Zachlumi, Terbuniotes, Kanalites, Diocletians and the Pagani, rebelled against
Roman rule in the time of Michael II and became independent, that they at that time
didn’t have princes (archontes) but only “župans elders” and that most of them had
still not been baptized but “remained unbaptized for a long time”, and how they sent
envoys to the new emperor Basil I “asking and begging him to baptize those unbap-
tized among them and that they be, as they had originally been, subject to the Empire
of the Romans; and that glorious emperor, of blessed memory, gave ear to them and
sent out an imperial agent and priests with him and baptized all of them that were
unbaptized of the aforesaid nations, and aer baptizing them he then appointed for
them princes (archontes) whom they themselves approved and chose, from the family
which they themselves loved and favoured. And from that day to this their princes
come from these same families, and from no other.48
44 DAI, 40.51–68.
45 DAI, 1.16–24; Howard-Johnston, De administrando imperio: a re-examination, 312.
46 DAI, 43–46 passim; Chrysos, Βυζαντινή επικράτεια, 15–24; Martin-Hisard, Constantinople et
les archontes du monde caucasien, 428–458; Howard-Johnston, De administrando imperio: a re-examina-
tion, 314–318, 326–327; Živković, O takozvanoj „Hronici srpskih vladara“, 318–325.
47 Magdalino, Knowledge, 206–208.
48 DAI, 29.63–79.
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
e closest parallel to that information, as has been long noticed,49 is to be found
in Chapter 18 of the Tactica of Leo VI (886–912), Constantine’s father, where it reads:
“Our father Basil, the emperor of the Romans, now in the divine dwelling, persuaded
these peoples to abandon their ancient ways and, having made them Greek (γραικώσα)
subjected them to the rulers according to the Roman model, and having graced them
with baptism, he liberated them from slavery to their own rulers and trained them to
take part in warfare against those nations warring against the Romans.50
e passage in question, however, deals with the Slavs in Greece, as is evident
from the following sentence which speaks about the “frequent uprisings by the Slavs
in the past and the many disturbances and wars” the Romans “had suered from
them in ancient times.51 ose Slavs were indeed subjugated and, over time, due to
the politics of the Roman emperors, graecized and during the 9th century baptized,
and the emperors did deprive them of the right to have their own princes, replacing
them with imperial ocials.52 e author, nevertheless, understood that passage as
dealing with the Serbs and the Croats, the Slavs of the Western part of the Balkans,
who were politically relevant in the mid-10th century, unlike the already subjugated
and graecized Slavs of Greece, and interpreted it in that manner. It is evident, in the
rst place, from the detail that recounts how Emperor Basil appointed for the Slavs
archontes from the families they wanted,53 where the author found that what he read
in Leo’s account on Basil’s rule – that Basil had liberated the Slavs from being subju-
gated to their own archontes and subordinated them to the archontesaccording to
the Roman model”, contradicts what he himself knew as a fact – that at his time the
Slavs were ruled by their own archontes from their own dynasties, which he clearly
states in Chapter 29 of DAI: “And from that day to this their princes (archontes) come
from these same families, and from no other.54 So, the author just conformed the
information of Leo’s Tactica on the Slavs in Greece to the conditions he knew as a fact
in the case of the Serbs and the Croats and interpreted it in his own way in Chapter
29 of DAI, which resulted in an assumption that Emperor Basil had appointed for the
Slavic peoples the archontes they themselves chose from the dynasties they themselves
wanted.55 e previous assumption, that the Slavs up until then hadn’t had archontes,
“but only župans elders, as is the model (τύπο) of other Slavonic regions,56 is just a
49 Cf. DAI. Commentary, 103; Živkov, Južni Sloveni, 369–371; Ančić, Zamišljanje tradicije, 137–
138; Komatina, Crkvena politika, 283–285.
50 Taktika, 18.95, ll. 453–457.
51 Taktika, 18.95, ll. 457–460. Commentary of the passage by Haldon, Critical Commentary, 350–
351, though useful for its relation to the relevant passages of Maurice’s Strategikon, is somewhat vague
about posterior events.
52 Živković, Južni Sloveni, 43–262; Komatina, Crkvena politika, 286–290; Kaldellis, Romanland,
53 DAI, 29.75–78.
54 DAI, 29.78–79.
55 Komatina, Crkvena politika, 283–285.
56 DAI, 29.66–68; Ferjančić, Vasilije I, 9–28; Alimov, Ot županov k arhontam, 14–42.
48 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
logical statement resulting from the information that it was only Emperor Basil who
appointed the archontes for them, because he, according the Leo’s Tactica, “subjected
them to the archontes according to the Roman model (τύπο)”.57 e use of the same
term τύπο as used by Leo and in the same context in which the “Roman model” of
rule through the archontes is opposed to the “Slavic model” which, according to him,
knows only of “župans elders”, clearly testies that the author, searching for informa-
tion on the early history of the South Slavs, used the military treatise of Leo VI and
proceeded to interpret data contained therein in his own way.
According to Chapter 29 of DAI, at the time when the Slavs of the Western Bal-
kans were in that manner subjected once again to Roman imperial rule, Emperor Basil
I began his war against the Arabs of Bari, who were attacking the Dalmatian coast and
besieging Ragusa.
e emperor requested assistance from the Frankish emperor Louis
II (850–875) and the Pope of Rome, who sent him their troops that started the siege of
Bari together with the imperial forces, which included also “the Croat and the Serb, and
the Zachlumian and the Terbuniotes and the Kanalites and the Ragusans along with ev-
eryone from the cities of Dalmatia (for all of them were present because of the imperial
“e Croats and other Slavic archonts, the author continues, “were carried
over into Lombardy by the inhabitants of the city of Ragusa in their own vessels.
On the other hand, the contemporary sources provide certain information about
the restoration of Roman rule over the South Slavic tribes at the beginning of the reign
of Emperor Basil I in the context of the events concerning the Siege of Bari in 870–871.
Namely, the pirates of the Croatian prince Domagoj captured in the spring or summer
of 870 the papal legates who were traveling by sea back to Italy from the Church Coun-
cil held in Constantinople in 869–870 and took the acts of the Council from them. e
pope and Emperor Basil both reacted and the imperial eet, led by the patrician Nicetas
Ooryphas, intervened and liberated the papal legates, who nally reached Rome by 22
December 870,61 but also attacked the Slavs on the Eastern shore of the Adriatic, which
directly threatened the interests of Louis II, the Frankish emperor in Italy. In his letter
addressed to Basil I in the summer of 871, Louis II also noted those events, expressing
his protest against them. In this letter he writes that “the patrician Nicetas, sent to the
lieutenant Hadrian with vessels, taking the advantage of the situation, took from those
Slavs much booty, and aer devastating some cities, took their people into captivity,” so
he protests – “our cities were devastated and the whole people of our Sclavenia merci-
lessly taken into captivity”, which all happened while “those same our Slavs were with
their vessels present beneath the walls of Bari, preparing for the common good and not
57 Taktika, 18.95, l. 455.
58 DAI, 29.84–103.
59 DAI, 29.103–112.
60 DAI, 29.113–115.
61 Liber ponticalis II, 184.24–31; Chronicon Salernitanum, 525.30–51. On the identity of the
attackers, cf. Ferjančić, Vasilije I, 15–16; Živković, Južni Sloveni, 365–367; Komatina, Crkvena politika,
169–270, n. 195; Kislinger, Erster und Zweiter Sieger, 250–251.
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
intending any harm to him.62 e “Sclaveni nostri” and the “Sclavenia nostra” referred
to by Emperor Louis II in this letter were certainly the Croats, who had acknowledged
Frankish supremacy since the beginning of the 9th century, which was recognized by
the Treaty of Aachen of 812, and it is clear from his letter that they were besieging
Bari in 870 because of his command and with their own ships.63 On the other hand, in
Chapter 29 of DAI Emperor Constantine emphisizes and underlines that the Croatian
and other South Slavic soldiers as well as those from Ragusa and other Dalmatian cit-
ies “all... were present because of the imperial order”,64 that is, because of the order of
Emperor Basil I, and that they had been ferried over to Italy by Ragusan ships. It seems
like he is challenging the statements of Louis’ letter.
In all probability, it is the information contained in the letter of Emperor Louis
II to Emperor Basil I from the summer of 871 on the intervention of the imperial eet
under Nicetas Ooryphas against the Croats in 870 that lies at the root of the men-
tioned data from Chapter 29 of DAI. is intervention had far-reaching consequences
for the political situation on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, since aer that the
Croats were indeed forced to recognize Roman supreme authority, which in the fol-
lowing decade, until 879, is well-attested in the sources,65 and it is quite possible that
Emperor Constantine, when he says that in the time of Basil I the Slavs of the eastern
coast of the Adriatic recognized Roman authority, had in mind the above mentioned
events. He certainly had access to the aforementioned letter of Louis II to Emperor
Basil, which would have allowed him to nd information about the intervention of
the imperial eet led by Nicetas Ooryphas, otherwise known to have been in the Adri-
atic at the time, since it ended the Arab siege of Ragusa in 868.66 at intervention
was directed only against the Croats, but in Louis’ letter they are called by the general
name of Slavs, so the emperor concluded that it must have referred to all the South
Slavs of the eastern Adriatic area that he knew in his time – the Croats and Serbs and
the Serbian coastal tribes of the Narentans, Zachlumi, Terbuniotes, Kanalites and Di-
ocletians. On the other hand, the fact that the reestablishment of imperial authority
over the Slavs mentioned in the letter was achieved in a violent manner didn’t speak
in favour of his ideological position of the legitimacy of imperial power over the Serbs
62 „Et Niceta quidam patricius, Hadriano loci servatore cum classibus destinato, accepta quasi pro
huiusmodi re occasione, multas praedas ab ipsis Sclavenis abstulit, et quibusdam castris dirruptis, eorum
homines captivos adduxit... Sane spiritalem tuam nolumus ignorare fraternitatem, super castra nostra
dirrupta et tot populus Sclaveniae nostrae in captivitate sine qualibet parcitate subtractis, supra quam
dici possit animum nostrum commotum. Non enim congrue gestum est, ut eisdem Sclavenis nostris cum
navibus suis apud Barim in procinctu communim utilitatis consistentibus et nichil adversi sibi aliunde
imminere putantibus, tam impie domi sua quaeque diriperentur, sibique contingerent, quae si praeno-
scerent, nequaquam prorsus incurrerent“, Chronicon Salernitanum, 525.48–526.6; Komatina, Crkvena
politika, 270–271; Kislinger, Erster und Zweiter Sieger, 250–255.
63 Ferjančić, Vasilije I, 14–16; Živković, Južni Sloveni, 338–367; Kislinger, Erster und Zweiter Sie-
ger, 254–255; Komatina, Crkvena politika, 269–271.
64 DAI, 29.108–111.
65 Ferjančić, Vasilije I, 13–21; Komatina, Crkvena politika, 270–271.
66 Kislinger, Erster und Zweiter Sieger, 247–252.
50 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
and Croats that had lasted ever since the time of Emperor Heraclius,67 leading him to
conceal that fact. at this is only his interpretation of the events based on the data in
the letter of Emperor Louis II, and not the version taken from some existing account,
is corroborated also by the fact that he as the participants of these events along the
other South Slavic tribes regularly includes the Kanalites, who existed as a separate
entity in the mid-10th century, but not in the second half of the 9th century.68 It is quite
clear, therefore, that the author shaped his narrative on the establishment of Byzantine
authority over the South Slavic tribes of the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea during
the reign of Basil I on the basis of the information from the letter of Emperor Louis II
to Emperor Basil I from 871, which he interpreted in his own way and in accordance
with his own needs and postulates.
e stories about the baptism of the South Slavs in the time of Basil I, of their
subjugation to the same emperor and their participation in the siege of Bari in 870–
871 appear also in Chapters 52–55 of Vita Basilii, but that seems to be only an adapta-
tion and retelling of the information from DAI 29, in a dierent style and with slight
De administrando imperio and other contemporary works: shared information
ere is some further historical information in De administrando imperio that
also appears in other related historical works of the period, such as eophanes Con-
tinuatus I–IV and Vita Basilii (eophanes Continuatus V), as well as De thematibus.
What is, however, most important concerning this information is the fact that it is not
to be found in the relevant passages of the works of other historiographers of the time,
such as Genesius and Symeon the Logothete. at is why such places deserve special
attention and a close examination.70
Roman losses in the West in the time of Michael II
In the previous passages I have tried to explain the origin of the information
about the restoration of imperial rule over the South Slavic tribes in the rst years of
the reign of Basil I, aer it was temporarily discontinued because of the weak rule
of Michael II (820–829). According to Chapter 29 of De administrando imperio, it
was because of “the sloth and inexperience of those who then governed the Roman
Empire and especially in the time of Michael from Amorium, the Lisper, that the in-
habitants of the Dalmatian cities became independent, subject neither to the Emperor
of the Romans nor to anybody else, but also the peoples of those parts, the Croats
and Serbs and Zachlumites and Terbuniotes and Kanalites and Diocletians and the
67 DAI, 29.54–58, 31.57–60, 32.146–148.
68 Komatina, Politički položaj Konavala, 11–21.
69 Vita Basilii, 52.1–55.36; Komatina, Crkvena politika, 262–265.
70 Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 161–162, only concludes that the emperor’s redactors insert-
ed various redactions of the same text into the multiple treatises.
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
Pagani, shaking o the reigns of the Empire of the Romans, became self-governing
and independent, subject to none.71 e same information about the breaking of the
imperial rule in the South Slavic lands and the Dalmatian cities can be found in e-
ophanes Continuatus and Vita Basilii. For example, in eophanes Continuatus, Book
II, there is information that during the rule of Michael II (820–829) the Saracens took
from the Romans Sicily, Calabria and Lombardy and the island of Crete, and that
at that time Dalmatia also revolted against the Roman Empire.72 According to Vita
Basilii, the Saracens took almost all of Italy and Sicily, while the inhabitants of Pan-
nonia and Dalmatia rebelled against the rule of the Romans.73 However, neither Gen-
esius nor Symeon the Logothete mentions that Dalmatia was among the provinces
that were lost during the reign of Michael II – Genesius mentions only Crete,74 while
Symeon speaks of Crete, Sicily and the Cyclades.75 at may mean that there was no
such information in the so-called “common source” of eophanes Continuatus and
Genesius.76 Furthermore, even in De administrando imperio, Chapter 22 recounts that
the Hagarenes from Spain in the time of Michael II conquered parts of Sicily, devas-
tated all of the Cyclades islands and came to Crete.77 It is clear that this reference in
DAI is in full concordance with the information provided by Symeon the Logothete,
and that it diers from that recounted in eophanes Continuatus II and Vita Basilii.
Also, in Genesius, Symeon the Logothete and DAI 22, there is no mention of
Calabria, Lombardy or Italy in the context of the Arab conquests during the reign of
Michael II, which are mentioned in eophanes Continuatus II.28 and Vita Basilii, Ch.
52.78 But, if we take a closer look at eophanes Continuatus II.28, we can observe that
it consists of two parts of information. e rst states that “then the Hagarenes took
possession not only of Sicily, but also of Calabria and Lombardy” (Ο δ γαρηνο
ο τ Σικελία όνον κτοτε λλ κα Καλαβρία κα Λαγοβαρδία γένοντο γκρά-
τει), and that they remained in possesssion of them “until the reign of Basil of blessed
memory, which will be related in the history of his reign.79 e other part summarizes
Michael’s nine-year-long reign and concludes that it was his wickedness that made
God bring forth “the events surrounding omas and the Cretans as well as those of
71 DAI, 29.58–66; Ferjančić, Vasilije I, 10–11; Živković, Južni Sloveni, 353, n. 1162; Komatina, Cr-
kvena politika, 266–268, n. 184.
72 eophanes Continuatus, II.28.
73 Vita Basilii, 52.1–14.
74 Genesius, II.10–12 (pp. 32–34).
75 Symeon, 128.5; Pseudo-Symeon, 621–622; Georgius Monachus Continuatus, 789.
76 On the common source of Genesius and eophanes Continuatus, cf. Barišić, Génésios et le
Continuateur de éophane, 119–133; Idem, Sources, 257–271; Signes Codoñer, Constantino Porrogéne-
to, 319–341; eophanes Continuatus, 10*–19* (M. Featherstone, J. Signes Codoñer).
77 DAI, 22.40–48.
78 Genesius mentions Arab rule in Lombardy only in his account of the reign of Basil I, Genesius,
IV.32 (p. 82.42–57).
79 eophanes Continuatus, II.28.1–4.
52 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
the Africans, as has been recounted”, and then adds that “all of Dalmatia then also
revolted from the empire of the Romans (λλ κα πσα  Δαλατία τ τν ωαί-
ων πέστη βασιλεία), and they all became self-governed and independent until the
reign of the glorious Basil; for then they were all again brought under subjection to the
R o m a n s ”. 80 As we can see, the rst part states that the Romans lost not only Sicily, but
also Calabria and Lombardy, the other that the Empire did not suer only because of
the πόστασι of omas, the attacks of the Saracenes from Africa and the loss of Crete,
but also because of the revolt in Dalmatia. us, it is obvious that Calabria and Lombar-
dy in the rst case and Dalmatia in the second are additions to the main narrative and
they are clearly marked as such. e fact is that in the previous chapters of Book II of
eophanes Continuatus dealing with the earlier part of Michael’s rule, only the events
in Sicily and Crete are described, with Calabria, Lombardy and Dalmatia not even being
mentioned.81 us, in the description of the territorial losses of Michael II it in fact fully
coresponds to Genesius, Symeon and DAI 22, which means that in the sources available
to all of them there was only information concerning the loss of Crete, Sicily and Cy-
clades, just as it appears in the sources of the previous century.82 So, the information that
place Calabria, Lombardy and Dalmatia in that context must have had a dierent origin.
Both parts of information in eophanes Continuatus II.28, the rst one which
adds Calabria and Lombardy to the losses of Michael II, and the other which adds
Dalmatia, end with a statement that those territories remained outside the rule of the
Romans until the reign of Emperor Basil, who brought them back to the Roman do-
minion, the rst part expicitly stating that those events would be related in the history
of his reign, thus obviously referring to Vita Basilii.83 However, there are some import-
ant dierences between the accounts of these events in eophanes Continuatus II.28
and Vita Basilii 52. Namely, according to eophanes Continuatus II.28 the Arab con-
quest of Calabria and Lombardy and the rebellion of Dalmatia happened in the time
of Michael II, while the account of Vita Basilii 52 places them in the reign of Michael
III (842–867), which is clear from the context in which it recounts further events. It
starts with the statement that during the rule of Michael “almost the whole of that
part of Italy that had formerly belonged to our New Rome, and most of the area of
Sicily, had been conquered by the neighboring Carthaginian power.” Moreover, “the
Scythians dwelling in Pannonia, Dalmatia, and beyond,” that is the Slavic tribes of the
Eastern Adriatic, “rebelled against the immemorial rule of the Romans, and became
independent and sovereign,” even rejecting the Holy Baptism.84 en the Hagarenes
80 eophanes Continuatus, II.28.5–16.
81 eophanes Continuatus, II.21–27.
e two texts from the second half of the 9
century, the Georgii Monachi Chronicon II, 798.1–3,
and the Vita eodorae, 263 (7.9–11), speak only of the Cyclades, Crete and Sicily, in the identical manner:
„...λλ ν/σαύτω κα πλήθη πλοίων ατν ξελθόντα τ Κυκλάδα νήσου ρήωσαν κα τν Κρήτην
κα Σικελίαν παρέλαβον“, though they both place those events in the reign of Emperor eophilus (829–842).
83 eophanes Continuatus, II.28.3–4, 12–16.
84 Vita Basilii, 52.1–14.
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
came from Carthage and besieged the Dalmatian cities of Budua, Rosa, Lower Cataro
and Ragusa. e Ragusans, pressed by the long siege, decided to appeal to the Em-
peror, “even though they must have known full well that the ruler <of the time> was
engrossed in things of a rather different kind.85 However, while their envoys were
still on their way, “the worthless emperor had disappeared from among men, and
absolute power was transferred to Basil, the watchful and sober-minded steward of
the common weal.86 e new emperor sent a eet of one hundred vessels under the
command of Nicetas Ooryphas, the droungarios of the Fleet, which caused the Sar-
acens to li the siege and “cross over to Italy, which is now called Lombardy”, where
they captured the city of Bari and settled in it, from where they seized the whole land
up to Rome.87 Further in the text, there is also the statement that “the barbarians who
had crossed over into Roman dominions during the disorderly and slovenly reign <of
Michael> and had been repulsed from Ragusa were still, as has already been stated,
present in Italy, raiding it without respite and plundering it without mercy.88
Obviously, from this context it is clear that the “worthless emperor” to whom
the besieged Ragusans appealed for help, but who was overthrown before they could
reach him, was the same one from the beginning of the story, whose incompetent rule
resulted in the rebellion of the Dalmatians – Michael III.89 us, it contradicts the
account of eophanes Continuatus II.28. Another dierence lies in the geographic
terms used in the two accounts. According to eophanes Continuatus II.28 the Sara-
cens conquered Calabria and Lombardy, while Vita Basilii 52 speaks of their conquest
of “almost the whole of that part of Italy”, and only later explains that “Italy is now
called Lombardy”. However, in the description of the same events in De thematibus,
Chapter 11, the emperor is directly referred to as “Michael, son of eophilus, while
it is stated that aer the siege of Ragusa the “Africans” crossed over to Lombardy, took
the city of Bari “and all the cities and the whole of Lombardy and the rest of the cities
of Calabria as far as Rome.90 us, regarding the identity of the emperor it agrees with
the version of Vita Basilii, while regarding the geographic terms it is more congruent
with the account of eophanes Continuatus II.28.
On the other hand, according to Chapter 29 of De administrando imperio, it
was because of “the sloth and inexperience of those who then governed (the Empire)
and especially in the time of Michael from Amorium, the Lisper, that the Dalma-
tian cities and the Slavic tribes of Dalmatia became independent from Roman rule.91
For the Arab conquest of Italian territories it says nothing in that context, but later
85 Vita Basilii, 53.1–18.
86 Vita Basilii, 53.18–23.
87 Vita Basilii, 53.23–45.
88 Vita Basilii, 55.1–5.
89 Cf. Vita Basilii, 52.4–5, 9–11 comment (I. Ševčenko).
90 De thematibus, 11.18–34.
91 DAI, 29.58–66.
54 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
relates how, aer the eet sent from Constantinople by Emperor Basil I in 868 under
the command of Nicetas Ooryphas made the Saracens li the siege of Ragusa, they
crossed over into Lombardy and laid siege to the city of Bari and took it”, built a pal-
ace there and “for forty years” ruled all of Lombardy as far as Rome.92 Aer the siege of
Ragusa the Saracens did cross over to Italy, although not to conquer Bari, but because
they had come from there, since they, as is well-known, had ruled that city from 847.93
So, at that point their rule in that city had lasted only twenty years. However, the men-
tion of the “forty years” of Saracen rule in “all of Lombardy as far as Rome” points to
the conclusion that the author believed that it had started during the rule of Michael
II (820–829), more precisely during his last years, when the Arab conquests in Sicily
began. So, there is a parallel in the accounts of DAI 29 and eophanes Continuatus
II.28. e Arab rule in Lombardy and Calabria is also mentioned in DAI 27,94 which
may explain the use of the same geographic terms in eophanes Continuatus II.28.
us, we can conclude that the information about the Roman losses in the West
during the rule of Michael II in eophanes Continuatus II.28 actually has its origin
in Chapter 29 of DAI95 rather than in some common source that was lost, as is usually
assumed.96 is information was not known to Genesius and Symeon the Logothete,
and Constantine himself was also not aware of it while writing Chapter 22 of DAI. It
is clear that at the time of writing Chapter 22 he had at his disposal only those sources
about the Arab conquests in the time of Michael II that were available also to Genesius
and Symeon and that included the same information provided in the sources of the
previous century, such as the Chronicle of George the Monk and the Vita eodorae.
Later, in Chapter 29 he wrote that Dalmatian cities and the South Slavic tribes had be-
come independent from imperial rule during the reign of Michael II and he extended
the duration of the Arab dominion in South Italy backwards to the rule of the same
emperor. e reason for inventing all that information was obviously the same – in
each case Roman rule was restored by his grandfather Basil I, described as the saviour
and champion of Roman interests in the West. us, it was necessary to explain how
those interests came to be in such a bad condition before his time, and the context was
conveniently found in the real losses in the West during the time of Michael II (Sicily,
Crete, Cyclades). From the same source, Chapter 29 of DAI, this information also made
its way into Vita Basilii, Ch. 52, where it was further elaborated and adjusted in some
details, as well as into De thematibus, Ch. 11, where the story received its nal shape.97
92 DAI, 29.94–103.
93 Musca, Emirato di Bari, passim.
94 DAI, 27.61–66.
95 Cf. Barišić, Sources, 269–270.
96 DAI. Commentary, 102.
97 at the version of De thematibus was posterior to both DAI and Vita Basili has already been
shown by Pertusi, De thematibus, 43–47. In the description of the Arab attack of 867–868 in Vita Basilii
and De thematibus Ragusa is described as the “metropolis” of the southern Dalmatian cities, Vita Basilii,
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
Petronas Camaterus and the city of Sarkel
Another example of the shared information between De administrando imperio
and eophanes Continuatus I–IV is the mission of Petronas Camaterus among the
Khazars and the construction of the city of Sarkel in the time of Emperor eophi-
lus (829–842), which is described in detail in Chapter 42 of DAI and in eophanes
Continuatus III.28.98 In Chapter 42 of DAI it is found within the context of a detailed
geographical description of the territory north of the Black Sea. e author states here
that from the lower Danube, across from Dristra, the land of the Pechenegs begins
and extends all the way to Sarkel, the city of the Khazars, which is manned with a
permanent regiment of three hundred soldiers.99 en comes the story of Petronas
Camaterus, the building of Sarkel on the coast of the Don and the establishment of
the post of the strategus of Chersones.100 It is followed by a description of the distance
between the Danube and Sarkel and of the rivers that lie between them, a descrip-
tion of the country of the Pechenegs and of other lands north of the Black Sea.101 In
eophanes Continuatus III.28, the story begins with the information that the city
of Sarkel is located on the river Don, which divides the Pechenegs and the Khaz-
ars,102 followed by the story about Petronas Camaterus, the construction of Sarkel and
the establishment of the post of the strategus of Chersones, which is almost identical
to that of DAI 42, with which the account ends.103 is account is not found in any
other historical source recounting the reign of Emperor eophilus – neither in the
Chronicle of George the Monk from the 9th century nor in the contemporary works
of Genesius and Symeon the Logothete. However, it is believed that it made its way
into both Chapter 42 of DAI and eophanes Continuatus III.28 from some unknown
common source.104 is would, therefore, be a source known again only to the authors
of De administrando imperio and Teophanes Continuatus. Nevertheless, upon closer
inspection of the story as recorded in these two sources, it can be seen that in Chapter
42 of DAI the story of Petronas Camaterus and the construction of Sarkel is placed
into the wider context of the description of the area north of the Black Sea, while in
eophanes Continuatus III.28 it is extracted from that context. e information that
53.9–10; De thematibus, 11.20–23, but not in De administrando imperio, which testies that both works
were posterior to DAI, since the bishopric of Ragusa obtained the metropolitan rank only around 950,
Komatina, Crkva i država, 65–67.
98 DAI, 42.20–55; eophanes Continuatus, III.28.3–33; Signes Codoñer, Emperor eophilos,
337–345, who places the event in the rst years of eophilus’ reign.
99 DAI, 42.20–23.
100 DAI, 42.23–55. e theme of Chersones (Klimata) headed by a strategus was established in 841,
cf. Seibt, Was lehren die Siegel, 190–191; Signes Codoñer, Emperor eophilos, 345–347.
101 DAI, 42.55–110.
102 eophanes Continuatus, III.28.3–9.
103 eophanes Continuatus, III.28.9–33.
104 Bury, Treatise, 569–570; DAI, Commentary, 154; Howard-Johnston, De administrando imperio:
a Re-examination, 325–326; Signes Codoñer, Emperor eophilos, 342–343.
56 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
the Don River on which Sarkel is situated separates the Pechenegs “on this side” and
the Khazars “on the far side” makes more sense in the context in which the scope of
the country of the Pechenegs from the Danube to Sarkel, that is from the West to the
East, is rst exposed, then independently of it, and it points to the conclusion that the
information was actually taken from Chapter 42 of De administrando imperio.105 In
fact, the author of eophanes Continuatus took from that passage only that part of
the story which was dated to the reign of Emperor eophilus and included it in his
account of this emperor’s reign.
eme of Mesopotamia
ere is also important common information shared between De administran-
do imperio and De thematibus concerning the creation of the theme of Mesopotamia,
which is found in Chapter 50 of De administrando imperio and Chapter IX of De
thematibus. In Chapter 50 of DAI the author states that Mesopotamia was initially
not a theme, but that “the emperor Leo called Manuel from Tekis and brought him
to Constantinople and made him a protospaharius. He had four sons: Pankratukas,
Iachnukas, Mudaphar and John. e emperor made Pankratukas commander of the
Hicanati, and aer that, the strategus of the Bukellarii, Iachnukas he made strategus of
Nicopolis, and he gave to Mudaphar and John crown land in Trebizond, and he hon-
ored them all with dignities and conferred on them many benets. And he created the
theme of Mesopotamia and appointed the late Orestes the Charsiantes strategus of it,
and then he ordered that the turma of Kamacha be under the theme of Mesopotamia,
and he made the turma of Keltzene also under the theme of Mesopotamia.106 In De
tematibus, there is a section on the theme of Mesopotamia, cited as the ninth theme
of the East, in which it is said that “the theme of Mesopotamia is not of many years
(that is, not very ancient), nor was it great and vast, but an anonymous and nameless
kleisoura. In the days of the emperor Leo, the blessed and holy father of ours, the
late Pankratukas the Armenian and his brothers Pukrikas and Tautukas escaped and
surrendered the castles there and the place spread and acquired the name of strategis
(a theme led by a strategus) .”107 Although the names of Pankratukas’ brothers do not
correspond to those recorded in the DAI, it is clear that this is the same information.
It is also obvious that the data on the establishment of the theme of Mesopotamia in
Chapter 50 of DAI is far more comprehensive and complete. ere, the story of Pank-
ratukas and his brothers appears only as part of a wider account on the creation of the
theme of Mesopotamia, which begins with the statement that “in the past the theme
of Chozanon was under the Saracens, and the theme of Asmosaton was also under
the Saracens. Chanzit and Romanopolis were frontier passes of the Melitenians. And
from the Mountain of Phatilanon all beyond belonged to the Saracens; Tekis belonged
105 Ševčenko, Re-reading, 190, n. 56.
106 DAI, 50.117–130. e theme of Mesopotamia was established in 899–901 or 911, Krsmanović,
Byzantine Province, 84–85, 120–121.
107 De thematibus, IX.1–6.
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
to Manuel. Kamacha was the extreme turma of Colonia, and the turma of Keltzene was
under Chaldia.108 Only then the above story of Pankratukas’ family begins with the
words that “Mesopotamia was not a theme at that time”,109 followed by the passage on
Manuel and his sons explaining how the theme of Mesopotamia was established and
how the turmae of Kamacha and Keltzene were subordinated to it,110 to conclude the
entire section with the statement that all these territories “are now under the authority of
the Romans” and that during the reign of Emperor Romanus Romanopolis and Chanzit
were also added to the theme of Mesopotamia.111us, in Chapter 50 of De adminis-
trando imperio, the wider context of the creation of the theme of Mesopotamia and the
preceding history of that event is exposed. e main place in it is occupied by Manuel,
the former master of Tekis, who ed with his four sons to the Roman emperor Leo VI
the Wise, who endowed him and his sons richly and made them Roman dignitaries,
and then, in the area of Tekis which they had handed over to him, founded the theme
of Mesopotamia with Orestes Charsianites as strategus, and added to it the turmae of
Kamacha and Keltzene, which until then belonged to the neighboring older themes of
Colonia and Chaldia, while the emperor Romanus later added to it the cities of Roma-
nopolis and Chanzit, newly conquered from the Arabs. So, without the whole context,
the story of Manuel and his sons would make little sense. In De thematibus there is,
however, only a short summary of that story, in which the escape to Roman territory
and the transfer of the possessions is attributed to Manuel’s sons. e story as recorded
in DAI is obviously more complete and original, while in De thematibus it appears as its
derivation and adaptation. at the version recorded in De thematibus is later than that
of Chapter 50 of DAI is also corroborated by the fact that in it Pankratukas is referred to
as “late” (κενο), while in De administrando imperio this is not mentioned.
De administrando imperio and eophanes Continuatus VI
ere is also some information that is shared between De administrando im-
perio and the third part (Book VI) of the chronicle of eophanes Continuatus,112
concerning the war between the Hungarians, instigated by the imperial government,
and Symeon of Bulgaria in 894–896,113 the marriage of Mary, the granddaughter of
Emperor Romanus I to Peter of Bulgaria in 927,114 and the marriage of his grandson,
Romanus II, son of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, to Bertha, the daughter of King
Hugh of Italy in 944.115 However, there is no direct connection between the descrip-
tions of these events in the two texts other then the fact that both describe the same
108 DAI, 50.111–117.
109 DAI, 50.117.
110 DAI, 50.117–130.
111 DAI, 50.130–132.
112 Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 161–162.
113 DAI, 40.7–19; eophanes Continuatus et all., 358.7–359.16.
114 DAI, 13.146–175; eophanes Continuatus et all., 414.1–415.9, 422.10–15.
115 DAI, 26.66–72; eophanes Continuatus et all., 431.11–19.
58 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
events. e descriptions in the two texts are dierent, as is their origin. e account
of the Hungarian-Bulgarian war in Chapter 40 of DAI is part of the Hungarian tale
of the Conquest of the Homeland and comes from the Hungarian tradition, while the
account of eophanes Continuatus VI comes from Byzantine evidence. e two dy-
nastic marriages in the family of Romanus I and Constantine Porphyrogenitus were
well-known events among contemporaries, which the authors of both texts were.
Constantinian historiography
e above analysis points to several important aspects of De administrando im-
perio. It shows, 1) that its geographical scope was the same as that of the “List of ad-
dresses” of 946 and other “diplomatic chapters” of De cerimoniis, 2) that it discusses the
peoples the Empire had regular diplomatic contacts with at the time, 3) that much of
its information on foreign peoples was provided by their envoys who visited Constan-
tinople, 4) that the details about some events not known to other Byzantine authors
writing about them were intentionally invented, 5) that the author deliberately altered
the information available in extant sources in order to shape his own interpretation
of the past, 6) that the information shared by DAI and eophanes Continuatus I–IV,
Vita Basilii and De thematibus originates from DAI, but that information common
to DAI and eophanes Continuatus VI is independent from each other. All of that,
in my opinion, leaves no room for a better candidate for the authorship of DAI than
Emperor Consrantine himself. Was it not him who had the best opportunity to collect
oral accounts on foreign peoples from their envoys to the imperial court? Was it not
him who, because of his meeting and talks with the envoys of the caliph of Cordoba,
could have claimed that he knew something about the history of the Arabs of Spain
that the earlier Byzantine authors had not recorded? Was it not him who had a vested
interest in altering the available information in order to downgrade the Amorian dy-
nasty and to praise his grandfather Basil I? us, I believe that there is no ground to
doubt the claim of Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus that he personally was the
author of De administrando imperio.
It is well known that there was a void in historiographic work since the time of
eophanes the Confessor at the beginning of the 9th century. From the century and
a half dividing eophanes and Porphyrogenitus only the Chronicle of George the
Monk, which was known to him and used for the Excerpta Historica, and some ha-
giographic and a couple of documentary sources were extant at his time.116 He himself
in De administrando imperio recounts the history of the Arabs at the end of Chapter 22
only up to the moment described by eophanes, and aer that he has nothing more
to say about them until his own time, when he, at the end of Chapter 25, adds what he
learnt about the present political situation in the Arab lands from various Muslim am-
bassadors he had received at his court in the middle of the 940s. Constantine was thus
116 On the Byzantine historiography between eophanes Confessor and the time of Porphyro-
genitus, cf. Treadgold, Middle Byzantine Historians, 78–152; Neville, Guide, 87–94.
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
well aware of this void in historical memory and felt the need to have this gap lled.
He rst commissioned the writing of a history of the emperors beginning with Leo V
in 813 from Genesius, a man about whom very little is known apart from what he
himself says in the Proem to his history titled the Reigns of the Emperors (Α Βασιλίαι),
even whether his rst name was Joseph or not.117 If we consider that the similarities
in the Proems to the Excerpta Historica and to De cerimoniis testify that both projects
– the rst systematizing historical knowledge and the other court ceremonial – started
at about the same time in the mid-940s,118 then the idea of composing a history of the
period not yet described was certainly born simultanously. In the Proem to the Reigns
of the Emperors Genesius states that it was Emperor Constantine who entrusted to
him the task of writing a history of the emperors from the reign of Leo V (813–820),
which “was not handed over to the book of history” (τ  παραδεδοένα βίβλ τ
στοροσ),119 which means that he was the rst to write about it.
at would not, however, remain so for long. e emperor soon entrusted the
same task to a group of authors known to us under the common appellation of eoph-
anes Continuatus,120 who were, as demonstrated by Juan Signes Codoñer, involved in
the work on the Excerpta Historica as well.121 In Title and the the Proem to their work
they also state that they were commissioned by Emperor Constantine to write a history
about the events that had occurred aer the Blessed eophanes concluded his Chro-
nography in 813, namely from the reign of Leo V, and that he also gave them the mate-
rial that he himself had “gathered... from scattered sources written by certain men, and
others from reports transmitted orally, with the noble intention of setting forth a sort of
common instruction for all.122 e mention of some “written sources” in this statement
seems to contradict Genesius’ claim that there was no “book of history” that covered
the period.123 On the other hand, it was shown in the above analysis that many pieces of
information that the authors of eophanes Continuatus I–IV included in their history
actually come from De administrando imperio and the material they say he gathered
from “scattered sources written by certain men, and others from reports transmitted
orally”, rather then pointing to a single “book of history”, would actually be the most ap-
propriate way to explain what kind of work De administrando imperio was. So it is quite
probable that the material they have in mind when they say that it was provided by the
117 Markopoulos, Genesios, 137–150; Treadgold, Middle Byzantine Historians, 180–188; eoph-
anes Continuatus, 10*–15* (M. Featherstone, J. Signes Codoñer); Neville, Guide, 95–100; Németh, Excerpta
Constantiniana, 156–158.
118 Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 139–144.
119 Genesius, 3; Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 157.
120 Treadgold, Middle Byzantine Historians, 188–196; eophanes Continuatus, 10*–19* (M. Fea-
therstone, J. Signes Codoñer); Neville, Guide, 101–109; Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 151–152.
121 Signes Codoñer, Author of eophanes Continuatus I–IV, 17–41; Németh, Excerpta Constan-
tiniana, 153–155; Markopoulos, Voices, 26–28.
122 eophanes Continuatus, I, Title, 1–8, Proem, 19–26.
123 Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 157–158.
60 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
emperor, along the material known as the “common source” they shared with Genesius,
was in fact contained in De administrando imperio, which would strongly corroborate
the hypothesis that the emperor himself was the author of the latter work.
It seems, in my opinion, that the emperor ordered that the history of the period
be recounted once again not only because he was not satised with Genesius’ work,
as believed by most scholars who characterize his stylistic, literary and scholarly skills
as inadequate and his ideological views as not “pro-Macedonian” enough,124 but also
because he himself had in the meantime discovered information that was not known
to Genesius and formed his own interpretation of the history of some important events
of the period. e authors of eophanes Continuatus I–IV carefully selected from that
new material only those passages that were relevant for the period of their interest and
used them for the composition of their own narrative about the history of the emperors
from 813 to 867, which resulted in an account of that period that diers from those of
Genesius and Symeon the Logothete in those details that could be connected with the
material of De administrando imperio. However, they also had to be careful about ideo-
logical matters also, so certain information they had received needed to be le aside, like
that provided in Chapter 50 of DAI, about the uprising of the Slavs of the Peloponnese in
the time of eophilus and Michael III, quelled by the strategus eoctistus Bryennius
during the sole rule of the latter,125 which might have seemed like a success of the de-
spised Amorian emperor and would hardly t into his psogos.
e emperor himself continued working with that material, using it to compose
the history of the reign of his grandfather Basil I (867–886) – Vita Basilii.126 As already
established in historiography, the fact that the authors of eophanes Continuatus I–
IV refer to “the history of the emperor Basil” indicates only that they knew that there
would be such a book,127 rather than that they had already read it,128 while the above
analysis of the information about the Roman losses in the West, which are in eoph-
anes Continuatus II ascribed to Michael II and in Vita Basilii to Michael III proves that
they actually hadn’t. e Vita Basilii was thus composed either simultaneously or aer
eophanes Continuatus I–IV as an independent work of history, which, as stated in
its Proem, was meant to be continued, if time and his ill health allowed it, down to the
time of Constantine VII himself,129 and it was only later that it was appended as Book
124 Markopoulos, Genesios, 142–150; Magdalino, Knowledge, 200–203; Treadgold, Middle Byzan-
tine Historians, 187–188; eophanes Continuatus, 14*–15* (M. Featherstone, J. Signes Codoñer); Neville,
Guide, 95–96, 105–106; Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 156–157.
125 DAI, 50.1–25; Živković, Južni Sloveni, 131–136.
126 Vita Basilii, 3*–13* (C. Mango); Magdalino, Knowledge, 200–208; Varon a , Contribución,
739–775; Treadgold, Middle Byzantine Historians, 165–180; Neville, Guide, 102–103; Németh, Excerpta
Constantiniana, 152–156, 161–164.
127 Ševčenko, Title and preface, 88–89; Varona, Contribución, 739–775.
128 Cf. Vita Basilii, 9* (C. Mango); Treadgold, Middle Byzantine Historians, 165; Featherstone, Ba-
sileios Nothos, 360–361.
129 Vita Basilii, 1.18–22.
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
V to the compilation known as eophanes Continuatus.130 Vita Basilii was, as claimed
in its Title and Proem, also written by the emperor himself,131 but this assumption
has been almost abandoned by scholars.132 ere are, however, some stylistic parallels
between it and De administrando imperio, though in general the style of Vita Basilii
shows much more literary sophistication than the plain style of DAI.133 One close par-
allel between the two works can be observed when one compares the end of Chapter
51 of Vita Basilii with the beginning of Chapter 43 of DAI. In Vita Basilii, the author
wrote that it was said “so much for the state of aairs towards the rising sun (πρ
νίσχοντα λιον) during the years of Basil’s pious reign, and that now he is “about
to narrate the state of aairs towards the falling one”, 134 while in DAI 43 the emperor
claims that “concerning the northern Scyths sucient has been made plain to you,
beloved child... but also it is right that you should not be ignorant of the parts towards
the rising sun (πρ νίσχοντα λιον)...135 Since the phrase was used in dierent con-
texts, it does not imply a textual dependence of one place upon the other, but rather
reveals the same stylistic manner of the author of both works. Furthermore, because
the second sentence, written in the rst person, was clearly addressed to Emperor
Constantine’s son Romanus, designated as “beloved child” (τέκνον ποθούενον),
there is every reason to assume that the author in question was Emperor Constantine
Porphyrogenitus himself. As already established, Vita Basilii was composed during
the last years of Constantine’s life, and the illness he alludes to at the end of his Pro-
em is perhaps the best indication of that.136e above analysis which shows that the
historical material collected in DAI was used for Vita Basilii suggests that it certainly
happened aer De administrando imperio. Using the material from DAI while writing
Vita Basilii the emperor, however, adjusted it to the more sophisticated style of his
grandfather’s biography, oen changing the style of the sentences, but he also further
developed and processed it and in some places even reinterpreted it in a dierent way,
changing the meaning of the information from DAI. Since he had already handed
over parts of it to the authors of the books I–IV of eophanes Continuatus, who were
writing independently of him, there appeared certain important divergences and in-
consistencies in the text of Vita Basilii in relation to the rst four books of eophanes
Continuatus concerning those places.
130 Varon a , Contribución, 772–775.
131 Vita Basilii, 1.1–22.
132 Current scholarship, however, admits that the emperor supervised the work and authored the
Preface himself, Ševčenko, Title and preface, 86 sq; Idem, Re-reading, 185 sq; Markopoulos, Voices, 24; cf.
above, n. 126; Serreqi Jurić, Usporedba, 41–44. I am especially indebted to my colleague Ivan Basić from
the University of Split, who kindly made the text of this doctoral dissertation, which is still in preparation
for publishing, available to me.
133 Ševčenko, Storia letteraria, 89–127; Serreqi Jurić, Usporedba, 44–90, 117–145, 157–174, 189–277.
134 Vita Basilii, 51.32–35.
135 DAI, 43.2–6.
136 Vita Basilii, 8*–9* (C. Mango); Varona, Contribución, 772–775.
62 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
De thematibus was also claimed to be written by the emperor himself.137 e
traditional view that it was composed in 934–944 has been long challenged, with a
later date for the composition – the last years of the emperor’s life (c. 956–959), being
proposed with strong arguments.138 In the above analysis I have tried to present some
new arguments that show that De thematibus was written aer DAI. It would be easy
to establish a connection between De thematibus and the h section of DAI as de-
ned in the Proem and in its short introduction in Chapter 48 which covers the part
of the work from the end of Chapter 48 up to the end, dedicated to the reforms and
innovations that occurred in the Roman state at various times.139 Within this section
there is in the latter part of Chapter 50 a short survey on the reforms in the thematic
organization of the Empire, where the author explains how some of the themes that
existed at his time came into being, and many of those reforms happened in the time
of the recent emperors Leo VI and Romanus I.140 us, it could be possible that the
idea for the composition of a separate work on the themes of the Empire, De themat-
ibus, in which the history of the themes would be recounted from ancient times, was
born precisely while the emperor was collecting information about reforms in the
thematic organization for the section on innovations in the Empire of De adminis-
trando imperio.
Constantine Porphyrogenitus, however, was not given the time he needed to
extend the biography of his grandfather to become a more comprehensive history of
the imperial rule of his family down to his own time, so at the moment of his death
in 959 the period from the death of Basil I in 886 had yet to be recounted in a history
book. Such a task was to be completed only aer his death, but in a way much dierent
than he envisioned it, with the completion of what is known as Book VI of eophanes
Continuatus, which has much in common with the Chronicle of Symeon the Logo-
thete, with a dierent view of the past and composed independently from Constan-
tine’s program.141 De administrando imperio, on the other hand, remained restricted to
the imperial palace and of all the information collected in it only those pieces that had
been included in eophanes Continuatus were available to later authors.
137 De thematibus, 59. Aer a close philological and stylistic analysis of both texts, Serreqi Jurić,
Usporedba, 342–347, came to the conclusion that De thematibus and Vita Basilii were written by the same
author, but couldn’t tell decisively whether that had been Emperor Constantine or not.
138 e traditional dating is still upheld by Németh, Excerpta Constantiniana, 124–130, though he
admits the possibility that it was subsequently revised. For the later dating, cf. Lounghis, Sur la date de De
thematibus, 299–305; Ahrweiler, Sur la date de De thematibus, 1–5; Serreqi Jurić, Usporedba, 103–109.
139 DAI, Proem, 23–25, 48.22–27; Signes Codoñer, Eslavos, 128–129.
140 DAI, 50.83–221.
141 Featherstone, Basileios Nothos, 356–363; eophanes Continuatus, 16*–19* (M. Featherstone,
J. Signes Codoñer); Treadgold, Middle Byzantine Historians, 197–224.
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
  – LIST OF REFERENCES
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Предраг Коматина
  , 
 , DE ADMINISTRANDO IMPERIO
    X 
       -
 VII   944.  959.     -
   ,   , ,  
   .        
 De administrando imperio,   948.  952. ,  -
     .     
,       VII    
   II,          
  ,          „ghostwriters“
     .
          
 De administrando imperio      -
      X ,     
          Excerpta Historica,   
            
   .   ,     -
       X     
„ “  De cerimoniis,     15.  46–48. 
   ,        
   VII.       
II, 48,   . „    “  946. ,
PREDRAG KOMATINA: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the ...
            De
administrando imperio.           
        „ “
De cerimoniis,      ,    -
           
946,         , 
           
  .   ,   ,  -
,          De administrando imperio
         -
       X ,   
          -
   .
    De administrando imperio     
       . ,    -
 ,      ,     -
             
   .           -
       .  29.
  De administrando imperio      
             
          -
.            I 
        Тактике 
,   VI,       ,    
       –   
     .    
     II   I     
870–871.   Словена ()       
 ,          
        
    I,     .
  De administrando imperio       
        ,   
Теофанов Настављач I–IV, Vita Basilii (Теофанов Настављач V)  De thematibus,
 ,   ,       -
   ,       .  
           
  II,        
     ,       -
   VI,  , ,      De
administrando imperio,  ,      ,
68 ЗРВИ LVI (2019) 39–68
          -
        .   ,  -
      De administrando imperio   Теофановом Настављачу
VI    ,     .
         De admini-
strando imperio,          
     VII        
     .      
          -
   IX ,   Хронографија  813. , 
       .       
      V 813. ,    
         Теофа-
нов Настављач ( I–IV),        Excerpta Historica,
a              
     „...        ,
       ...“,      
           De administrando imperio,
             -
 Теофановог Настављача I–IV.          
    813.          -
  ,          
            
   ,             -
     .      
  ,       , 
 I, Vita Basilii,        Теофа-
новог Настављача I–IV,    ,  ,   
  ,      
  ,   ,      ,   -
  Теофановог Настављача   V.     -
 , De thematibus,      , -
         
 ,    De administrando imperio.    
             -
      ,      
 959.      I 886.     -
.           
  Теофанов Настављач VI,      Хроником
            -
 .   De administrando imperio   
               
  Теофановог Настављача    .
... t is also worth pointing out that De cerimoniis, as a handbook of court ceremonial and court protocol, must have maintained an existing practice according to which personal convictions were irrelevant. On this issue cf. M. J.Leszka, Wizerunek władców bułgarskich u Konstantyna Porfirogenety, Genesiosa i Kontynuatora Teofanesa, SA 41, 2000, p. 11-12;P. Komatina, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio and the Byzantine Historiography of the mid-10 th century, ЗРВИ 56, 2019, p.40-42. ...
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This paper aims to illustrate how the tradition of Basil I’s rise to power in the Vita Basilii includes elements typical of heroic myths, according to Joseph Campbell’s monomyth scheme. The study presented here will examine how the narrative contains features such as a call to adventure, a series of trials and a motive for return. Moreover, the study seeks to investigate how these universal elements of hero stories have been mythicised by literary devices such as the topoi, text composition, intertextual references or symbolic content coherent with the perception of the ideological role of the Byzantine rulers. Within this framework, the study will aim to explore the morphology of these narratives and reconsider some historical questions with the help of Mircea Eliade’s theory of myth. It will focus on the identity and legitimising functions of the story for Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus and assess its impact on the position of the Macedonian dynasty in the social order and the sphere of political activity.
... Статья П. Коматины является попыткой рассмотреть трактат «Об управлении империей» как памятник византийской историографии и исторической мысли [24]. Как отмечает П. Коматина [24, p. 40], в новейшем обзоре жизни и творчества историков «средневизантийского периода» У. Тредголда этот текст совершенно не рассматривается [41]. ...
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Introduction. The article is a critical essay about an attempt to translate the Constantine’s treatise “De Administrando Imperio” into an artificially archaic “Pseudo-Slavic” language, made by R.A. Gimadeev. It is shown that his commentaries accompanying this translation are extremely primitive, the author does not follow scientific methods and he is not familiar with modern scientific literature. This is especially clearly seen, since this publication takes place against the backdrop of a fundamental rethinking in modern Byzantine studies of political history and the system of power organization in the “Eastern Roman Empire” of the 10th century. This rethinking of basic Byzantine issues is vastly based on the re-interpretations and new commenting of the classic text of “De Administrando Imperio”. Discussion. In recent years several special articles and monographs have been published, in which the questions about authorship, text structure, stylistics and ideology of the text of “De Administrando Imperio” and related subjects were re-posed. Analysis. For a number of parameters, the text of the introduction and commentaries on the text of the treatise in this new edition made by R.A. Gimadeev is far from the standards of academic writing. His attempts to reason about the paleography of the manuscript and the text’s structure are devoid of formal arguments and arbitrary rhetorical in their nature. The translation of the text into some artificial archaic “Slavic Russian Language” does not convey the pragmatics and stylistics of the original, but leads to a distortion of its perception. The uniformity of the principles of translating special vocabulary is not maintained: in some cases, the translator refuses the usual transliterations, in others – he introduces new ones. The publication practically does not take into account modern historiography, partly, apparently, intentionally, but often, out of unfamiliarity with the necessary studies. Perhaps, some ideas of R.A. Gimadeev will be confirmed and find application in the future, but all his observations require the most careful verification. Conclusions. The considered attempt of a new reconstruction of the Greek text of the treatise and its translation by R.A. Gimadeev are not fully scientific and qualified. As a result, the new edition turned out to be a kind of historiographical deviation, especially evident against the background of modern studies of this masterpiece of Byzantine literature.
... Now see also: [71, pp. 130-137; 56, pp.[41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58]. ...
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The paper endeavours to discuss anew a scholarly puzzle related to the Croatian early Middle Ages and centred on a few lines from Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos’s De administrando imperio, which in English translation are as follows: And of the Croats who arrived to Dalmatia one part separated and ruled Illyricum and Pannonia. And they also had an independent ruler who was sending envoys, though only to the ruler of Croatia from friendship. Taking a different approach from the complete dismissal of the two sentences as a pure fiction or a mere literary device, the paper instead attempts to trace the concept behind this account as well as its underlying meaning. On the one hand, it seeks to detect the methods or strategies used by the royal compiler in trying to elucidate the past. On the other hand, it aims to provide a thorough historical analysis and offer a possible interpretation in opposition to the view, still largely extant in the Croatian scholarship, that this account is an evidence for an early presence of the group called Croats in southern Pannonia.
Conference Paper
Roman historians developed a tradition of placing ethno graphic information into their works. The “Other” was an everyday reality of the Roman state. With its expansion more nations came into its orbit and thus to the attention of its writers. Arabs were among many others whom the Romans confronted. The position of the Arabs changed rapidly since the emergence of Islam in the 7th century. From a peripheral nation they became the major superpower in the East. The Roman/Byzantine perception did change due to various factors, such as the emergence of new religion as well as military expansion of the newly founded Arab state. It was in this period when ethnographic tradition under went a major transformation. Ethnography was in decline with snippets of information throughout literary works instead of vast descriptions of the “Other” as known in antiquity. Merging the snippets, however, a more coher ent image may occur. The aim of this paper is to look on the ethnographic information about Arabs in three literary works of the 10th century Byzantium – the Taktika, De administran do imperio and History of Leo the Deacon. Arabs will be analysed under the scope of elements that affected Byzantine perception on them – religion, military, and ethnic stereotypes. With the analysis I intend not only to gain a more coherent picture about the ethnographic perception of the Arabs in Byzantium, but also the differ ence of the perception among its various social classes.
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The growth of Arab power in Southern Italy and even Dalmatia menaced the Byzantine Empire as well as Carolingian Italy and led both to an alliance in 869/870. Their attempt, however, to conquer Bari in a joint attack failed in 870 (not 869) due to a lack of coordination. An exchange of letters, which followed between Basil I and Louis II, reveals cultural and ideological alienation between christian East and West.
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In a new monograph N. Alekseyenko has collected the sigillographic material relevant to the administration of Cherson from the 8th through the 11th century. This volume forms the basis for our reevaluation of the problem of Cherson’s administrative history, especially the matter of a more precise dating of these sources. The 128 seals of Archontes of Cherson come probably from the period ca. 740 to ca. 840. We accept the hypothesis that there was always only one Archon, a kind of mayor in charge of the autonomous town – but in close contact with Byzantium. The small number of seals of Kyroi we prefer to date between ca. 840 to ca. 870, id est in the early years of the new thema Klimata/Cherson; he was subordinate to the Strategos. The 137 seals of the Strategoi of Cherson extend from the middle of the 9th century until nearly the middle of the 11th. Most of them were Protospatharioi. Not long ago the first seal of a Katepano of Cherson and Chazaria (1060/1080) came to light. A single seal type mentions an Ek Prosopou of Cherson (first half of the 10th century). The 74 bullae of Kommerkiarioi stem from the second half of the 9th and 10th centuries. Only two fragments of seals mention Protonotarioi of the Mangana and of Cherson (second to third third of the 10th century). On the other hand there are 3 seals of a Pater Poleos, one type of an Ekdikos and some seals of Proteuontes, all from the 10th century and relating to persons who served as municipal agents. [Projekat Ministarstva nauke Republike Srbije, br. 1777032: Tradicija, inovacija i identitet u vizantijskom svetu]
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REB 61 2003 p. 241-251 Michael Featherstone, Olga's Visit to Constantinople in De Cerimoniis. — On the basis of codicological evidence in the Leipzig manuscript as well as of certain details in the text of De Cerimoniis the author restates his earlier thesis, contested by others, that the Russian princess Olga visited Constantinople and was baptised there in 957.
Cambridge Core - European History 450-1000 - The Excerpta Constantiniana and the Byzantine Appropriation of the Past - by András Németh
This volume, which continues the same author's Early Byzantine Historians , is the first book to analyze the lives and works of all forty-three significant Byzantine historians from the seventh to the thirteenth century, including the authors of three of the world's greatest histories: Michael Psellus, Princess Anna Comnena, and Nicetas Choniates.
Although Greek and Roman authors wrote ethnographic texts describing foreign cultures, ethnography seems to disappear from Byzantine literature after the seventh century C.E.—a perplexing exception for a culture so strongly self-identified with the Roman empire. Yet the Byzantines, geographically located at the heart of the upheavals that led from the ancient to the modern world, had abundant and sophisticated knowledge of the cultures with which they struggled and bargained.Ethnography After Antiquityexamines both the instances and omissions of Byzantine ethnography, exploring the political and religious motivations for writing (or not writing) about other peoples. Through the ethnographies embedded in classical histories, military manuals, Constantine VII’sDe administrando imperio, and religious literature, Anthony Kaldellis shows Byzantine authors using accounts of foreign cultures as vehicles to critique their own state or to demonstrate Romano-Christian superiority over Islam. He comes to the startling conclusion that the Byzantines did not view cultural differences through a purely theological prism: Their Roman identity, rather than their orthodoxy, was the vital distinction from cultures they considered heretic and barbarian. Filling in the previously unexplained gap between antiquity and the resurgence of ethnography in the late Byzantine period, Ethnography After Antiquityoffers new perspective on how Byzantium positioned itself with and against the dramatically shifting world.
In what is known as the List of addresses to the foreign rulers of De cerimoniis aulae Byzantinae (II, 48) by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913-959), there is an address to a ruler called “king of Francia”. This paper is devoted to an attempt to find the answer to the question of who this “king of Francia” might have been. Judging from the fact that in that address both the Roman emperors and the ruler it concerns are given very exalted epithets, the address to the “king of Francia” designates a ruler who was, for various reasons, considered by the imperial chancery more distinguished and more important than other rulers of Western Europe. Current opinion holds that the ruler in question was Otto I and that the address reflects the then prevailing view in Constantinople of Otto as the most serious candidate for the crown of the Western Empire. According to the research of Constantine Zuckerman, the List of addresses, along with other “diplomatic chapters” of the Book of Ceremonies, was composed in 946. In September 944 the marriage was concluded between Romanus II, the son of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, and Bertha, natural daughter of Hugh, then king of Italy. Describing that event, contemporary Byzantine writers refer to Hugh as the “king of Francia”. This paper examines the possibility of linking this “king of Francia” with the one in the List of addresses, on the basis of information concerning King Hugh in another work by emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus - De administrando imperio.
REB 31 1973 France p. 299-305 T.C. Lounghis, Sur la date du De thematibus. — En se fondant principalement sur l'épisode de la reconquête temporaire de la Sicile par les Byzantins, l'auteur fixe à l'année 952 la composition du De thematibus de Constantin Porphyrogénète. Antérieur au De cerimoniis (957/959), cet ouvrage fut écrit après le De administrando imperio (948/949), dont il donne à l'occasion une version abrégée.