Military and civil administration under the Emperor Maurice, 582-602 : a reassessment

Military and civil administration under the Emperor Maurice, 582-602 : a reassessment

By Franziska E. Shlosser

PhD Dissertation, McGill University, 1980

Abstract: This thesis examines the administration of the Late Roman or Early Byzantine Empire under Maurice (582-602). His reign is not commonly known, and he is often given brief mention only together with the other rulers following the reign of Justinian the Great, although his era spans twenty eventful years.

Indeed, his rule is of considerable importance since it is in his time that we first hear about new administrative structures such as the Exarchates of Carthage and Ravenna.

The focal point of this thesis is the military and civil administration of the Empire at the end of the sixth century. In order to arrive at a more precise picture of these subjects, different types of materials have been analyzed, such as military handbooks, numismatic data and laws, as well as the literary sources of the reign. Among the latter, the most valuable is the Histories of Theophylact Simocatta. It has been seen as important, or even essential, to relate the more technical material to this literary source.

The conclusions reached from this study are various. From the numismatic evidence we can see that there was considerably more stability in monetary matters in the East and the West than is sometimes assumed. By comparing expenditures in general, and subsidies paid especially, at different times in Late Roman or Byzantine history, we learn that the “gold drain” on the Empire’s resources was not necessarily as devastating as is sometimes thought. With regard to the military administration, the malaise of frequent unrest among the soldiers is traced to problems of internal structure besetting the military establishment for various reasons, including bad choices of commanding officers.

Finally, changes in both military and civil administration are often seen as developments of an evolutionary kind rather than as arbitrary innovations established by Imperial fiat.

Click here to read this thesis from McGill University

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