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Encyclopedia > Thema
The themata in c. 950.
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The themata in c. 950.

The Themata (singular thema) were administrative units of land in the Byzantine Empire, established by a reform promulgated by Emperor Heraclius in 7th century. Image File history File links Byzantine_Empire_Themata-950. ... Image File history File links Byzantine_Empire_Themata-950. ... Byzantine Empire (Greek: ), is the term conventionally used since the 19th century to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. ... Heraclius and his sons Heraclius Constantine and Heraclonas. ... // Overview Events The Roman-Persian Wars end. ...

Contents


Description of themata

A thema was a plot of land given to the soldiers to farm. The soldiers were still technically a military unit, under the command of a strategos, a military and civil authority, and they did not own the land they worked as it was still controlled by the state. Therefore for its use the soldiers' pay was reduced. By accepting this proposition, the participants agreed that their descendants would also serve in the military and work in a thema, thus simultaneously reducing the need for unpopular drafts as well as cheaply expanding the military. It also allowed for the settling of conquered lands because these themata could be rapidly formed into military units and there was always a substantial addition made to public lands during a conquest. The term strategos (plural strategoi; Greek στρατηγός) is used in Greek to mean general. In the Byzantine Empire the term was also used to describe a military governor (see Byzantine aristocracy and bureaucracy). ... Conscript redirects here, but may also refer to artificial script. ...


Reasons for Heraclian reforms

During the late sixth and early seventh centuries, the Byzantine Empire was under assault. The Sassanid Empire was pressing it from the south and east, assaulting Syria, Egypt, and Anatolia. Slavs and Avars raided Greece and disputed the Balkan holdings of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Lombards freely raided northern Italy, completely unopposed. The treasury of the Empire was drained and its generals were in open rebellion. Under such circumstances, Heraclius ascended to the throne and instituted the reforms that would serve as the backbone of the Empire for generations to come. This Buddhist stela from China, Northern Wei period, was built in the early 6th century. ... // Overview Events The Roman-Persian Wars end. ... The Sassanid Empire in the time of Shapur I; the conquest of Cappadocia was temporary Official language Pahlavi (Middle Persian) Dominant Religion Zoroastrianism Capital Ctesiphon Sovereigns Shahanshah of the Iran (Eranshahr) First Ruler Ardashir I Last Ruler Yazdegerd III Establishment 224 AD Dissolution 651 AD Part of the History of... Asia Minor lies east of the Bosporus, between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. ... The Slavic peoples are the most numerous ethnic and linguistic body of peoples in Europe. ... The Eurasian Avars were a nomadic people of Eurasia, supposedly of proto-Mongolian Turkic stock, who migrated from eastern Asia into central and eastern Europe in the 6th century. ... ... The Lombards (Latin Langobardi, from which the alternative name Longobards found in older English texts), were a Germanic people originally from Northern Europe that entered the late Roman Empire. ... Heraclius and his sons Heraclius Constantine and Heraclonas. ...


The reorganizations of Heraclius were sorely needed. With wars being waged simultaneously in the east and the west, the public coffers were all but empty. The problem of increased military expenditures was compounded by peasantry abandoning their lands due to invasions or increased taxes. Population and agricultural production was shrinking in Asia Minor, the empire's power base. Most larger cities were shrinking, with droves of people returning to agriculture in the countryside out of necessity. Furthermore, the empire was relying substantially on mercenaries to fight its wars, a sure sign of weakness. The basic objective of Heraclius’ alterations was to return the military to the republican system of landed citizen armies that had served so well during the initial creation of the Roman Empire. In order to do this, Heraclius began distributing land to the armies and the individual soldiers in exchange for hereditary military duty at a reduced expense to the state. A mercenary is a soldier who fights, or engages in warfare primarily for private gain, usually with little regard for ideological, national or political considerations. ... Republicanism is the idea of a nation being governed as a republic. ... Landed property or landed estates is a real estate term that usually refers to a property that generates income for the owner without himself having to do the actual work at the estate. ...


Outcome of the reforms

This system of transplanting military units into unsettled lands and creating an inherent loyalty to the state, something every government has struggled with, greatly strengthened the Byzantine Empire. Over the next several decades, the Sassanids retreated, the Slavs and Avars were reduced and rebellions within the empire became far less common. The themata military structure rescued the Eastern Roman Empire from destruction and gave it a durability that would last for centuries to come. The price to be paid for this was a general militarization of the society and a decline of civil institutions and civil culture; for this reason, the introduction of themata is seen as marking the end of Late Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages for the Byzantine Empire. However it should be noted that unlike Western Europe, the Byzantine Empire never reduced its farmers to the status of serfs. Late Antiquity is a rough periodization (c. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Costumes of Slaves or Serfs, from the Sixth to the Twelfth Centuries, collected by H. de Vielcastel, from original Documents in the great Libraries of Europe. ...


Thema system, in time, created aristocratic families such as the Phokas family deeply entrenched in some part of the empire, with what amounted to private armies. These families, having troops loyal to them instead of the emperor and being financially autonomous, often challenged or even usurped imperial authority.


Organization of themata

Byzantine themata in c. 650.
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Byzantine themata in c. 650.

Heraclius originally divided the existent holdings of the empire into five themata. These were the Armeniac (in 667), the Anatolic (in 669), the Opsician, the Carabisiani and the Thracian (all in 680). The Armeniac thema was originally composed of Pontus and Cappadocia, stretching from Sinope to Trebizond on the Black Sea and extending as far inland as Caesarea (in present-day terms it would comprise the majority of the northeastern quarter of Asiatic Turkey). The Thracian thema was originally composed of a band of territory hugging the coast from Dyrrhachium into Thrace, comprising most of modern Greece, Albania and European Turkey, including Constantinople. The Opsician thema was originally composed of all of Bithynia and Paphlagonia, stretching from Abydos on the Dardanelles to Sinope on the Black Sea and inland to Ancyra (i.e. most of the northwestern quarter of what is now Asiatic Turkey). The southwestern quarter of what is now Turkey was divided between the Anatolic and Carabisiani themata. The Carabisiani thema was narrow band of territory that was comprised of the coastal province of Pamphylia and the isle of Rhodes. The Anatolic thema made a crescent shape arching around Carabisiani, and was originally composed of Lydia, Phrygia, Pisidia and parts of Galatia and Isauria (i.e. an arch of land from Izmir to Konya, and then down to the Mediterranean almost as far east as Mersin). These original five themata were later subdivided and new themata were added as the empire pushed outward in the 9th and 10th centuries. Image File history File links Byzantine_Empire_Themata-650. ... Image File history File links Byzantine_Empire_Themata-650. ... Events Births Deaths Categories: 667 ... Events Theodore appointed Archibishop of Canterbury Births Justinian II, Byzantine emperor Deaths Hasan ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad and second Shia Imam Categories: 669 ... Events October 10 - Battle of Kerbela November 12 - The Sixth Ecumenical Council opens in Constantinople The Bulgars subjugate the country of current-day Bulgaria Pippin of Herstal becomes Mayor of the Palace Umayyad caliph Muawiyah I succeeded by Yazid I ibn Muawiyah Erwig deposes Wamba to become king of the... After the colonisation of the Anatolian shores by the Ionian Greeks, Pontus soon became a name which was applied, in ancient times, to extensive tracts of country in the northeast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) bordering on the Euxine (Black Sea), which was often called simply Pontos (the Main), by... Cappadocia in 188 BC In ancient geography, Cappadocia (Greek: Καππαδοκία; see also List of traditional Greek place names)(spelled Kapadokya in Turkish) was an extensive inland district of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). ... Sinope was an ancient city on the Black Sea, in the region of Galatia, modern-day Sinop, Turkey. ... Trabzon, formerly known as Trebizond, is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey. ... Map of the Black Sea. ... The Greek city of Epidamnos (Strabo Geography vi. ... Thrace (Greek Θράκη, ThrákÄ“, Bulgarian Тракия, Trakija, Turkish Trakya; Latin: Thracia or Threcia) is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. ... Constantinople[1] was the name of the modern-day city of Ä°stanbul, Turkey over the centuries that it served as the second capital of the unified Roman Empire, and after its division into East and West, of the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire (from the city... This article contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ... Paphlagonia was an ancient area on the Black Sea coast of north central Anatolia, situated between Bithynia and Pontus, and separated from Phrygia (later, Galatia) by a prolongation to the east of the Bithynian Olympus. ... Abydos, an ancient city of Mysia, in Asia Minor, situated at Nagara Point on the Hellespont, which is here scarcely a mile broad. ... Map of the Dardanelles The Dardanelles (Turkish: Çanakkale BoÄŸazı, Greek: Δαρδανελλια), formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara. ... Ankara from the Atakule Tower, looking N-NE Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the countrys second largest city after Istanbul. ... Pamphylia, in ancient geography, was the region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean to Mount Taurus. ... Rhodes, Greek Ρόδος (pron. ... Lydia (disambiguation) Lydia is a historic region of western Anatolia, congruent with Turkeys modern provinces of Ä°zmir and Manisa. ... Location of Phrygia - traditional region (yellow) - expanded kingdom (orange line) In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of the Anatolian highlands, part of modern Turkey, from ca. ... Pisidia was an inland region in southern Anatolia. ... For the Greek name for Gaul, see Gaul Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia (now Turkey). ... Isauria, in ancient geography, is a rugged isolated district in the interior of South Asia Minor, of very different extent at different periods, but generally covering much of what is now south-central Turkey, or the core of the Taurus Mountains. ... Shows the Location of the Province Ä°zmir Izmir from space, June 1996 Izmir (Turkish spelling Ä°zmir, contraction of its former name Smyrna), the second-largest port (after Ä°stanbul) and the third most populous city (2,409,000 in 2000) of Turkey, is located on the Aegean Sea near the Gulf... Tomb of Mevlana Rumi is a popular attraction of Konya. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... Mersin is the capital city of İçel Province, in Turkey. ...


Origins of themata

Each of the original five themata was formed from the Empire's earlier mobile field armies. As the empire had shrunk, most of the armies had retreated to newer stations in the interior. Heraclius assigned each mobile army a part of Anatolia. Because the language of the empire was also being changed from Latin to Greek, the themes acquired Hellenized names. Asia Minor lies east of the Bosporus, between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. ... It has been suggested that History of the Latin language be merged into this article or section. ... The term Hellenistic (established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen) in the history of the ancient world is used to refer to the shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks, however scattered geographically, to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of whatever ethnicity, and from the political dominance...


The Opsician theme was formed from the armies in the Emperor's presence, which had lately been known as the Obsequim (retinue). The armies in the Emperor's presence had been stationed in southern Thrace and northwestern Anatolia, near the capital of Constantinople, and this was where the Opsician Theme was formed. Thrace (Greek Θράκη, Thrákē, Bulgarian Тракия, Trakija, Turkish Trakya; Latin: Thracia or Threcia) is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. ...


The Army of Armenia became the Armeniac theme, stationed in most of its original territory in eastern Anatolia, to the west of the Armenian protectorate. The Army of the East, which had formerly defended Roman Syria and Palestine, retreated when those areas were lost first to the Persians and later to the Arabs. They were settled in central Anatolia and became the Anatolic theme. The Army of Thrace became the Thracesian theme, settled in western Anatolia where Heraclius had withdrawn it. Emperor Constans also created a corps of marines, the Carabisian theme, named after a Greek word for ship (karabis) and based in Greece, in the Aegean islands and on the southern shore of Anatolia. This appears to have been formed from the remains of the Army of Illyricum, whose territory had included Greece. Map of the British Mandate of Palestine. ... For other uses, see Arab (disambiguation). ... Bronze coin bearing the profile of Constans Flavius Julius Constans (320 - January 18, 350), was a Roman Emperor who ruled from 337 to 350. ... France Marines is the name of a commune in the département of Val dOise, France. ... This is a list of some of the 3000 islands of Greece: Chrysi Crete Dia Euboea Gavdos Koufonisi Ydra The Cyclades Amorgos Anafi Andros Antiparos Anydro Delos Donoussa Folegandros Gyaros Ios Irakleia Kea Keros Kimolos Kithnos Makronisos Milos Mykonos (Mikonos) Naxos Paros Pholegandros Santorini (also called Thira) Serifos Sifnos Sikinos... This article is about an ancient civilization in southeastern Europe; see also Illyria (software), Illyria (character in the TV series Angel). ...


Sources


  Results from FactBites:
 
Thema - definition of Thema in Encyclopedia (685 words)
The Armeniac thema was originally composed of Pontus and Cappadocia, stretching from Sinope to Trebizond on the Black Sea and extending as far inland as Caesarea (in present-day terms it would comprise the majority of the northeastern quarter of Asiatic Turkey).
The Opsician thema was originally composed of all of Bithynia and Paphlagonia, stretching from Abydos on the Dardanelles to Sinope on the Black Sea and inland to Ancyra (i.e.
The Carabisiani thema was narrow band of territory that was comprised of the coastal province of Pamphylia and the isle of Rhodes.
Lancia Thema - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (536 words)
The Lancia Thema was a model of Italian automobile produced in the 1980s.
The 1985 Thema was one of four cars which shared the "Type Four" chassis; the others were Alfa Romeo 164, Fiat Croma and Saab 9000.
The Thema reestabliched Lancia as a high quality luxury producer after the problems the marque experienced with the earlier Lancia Beta in the 1970s.
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