Regional Military Forces: Some Notes to a New Book on Byzantine Army during the Reign of Justinian I (527–565)

Меkhamadiev, Е. А.
Regional’nye voyskovye gruppirovki: Nekotorye zametki k novoy knige o vizantiyskoy armii epokhi imperatora Yustiniana I (527–565) [Regional Military Forces: Some Notes to a new book on Byzantine army during the reign of Justinian I (527–565)], in: Proslogion: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Social History and Culture, 2019. Vol. 5 (1). P. 114124.

Еvgeniy Аleksandrovich Меkhamadiev, doctor of History, senior lecturer, Institute of History, Saint-Petersburg State University (199034, Rossiya, Sankt-Peterburg, Mendeleevskaya liniya, 5)

Language: Russian

This paper is a review of the current study of a Byzantine scholar Clemens Koehn «Justinian and the Army of Early Byzantium» published by De Gruyter in 2018. The essence and importance of this book is that up to present times Clemens Koehn’s contribution is the only one massive generalizing study released as a single book, which deals with an army of Justinian specially and exclusively. In turn, the reviewer paid his attention to the first chapter of the book entitled «Army as a Military Tool», where Clemens Koehn considers a development of internal administrative and territorial structures of Justinian’s army. The reviewer points out that the Clemens Koehn’s main idea is a statement about a making of single regional groups (forces) (regionalen Heeresgruppen) during the reign of Justinian, i. e. expeditionary armies, which located in some strictly defined region of Empire. Clemens Koehn proves that the crucial point of Justinian’s military reforms was a making of an absolutely new grouping, that is an expeditionary army of Armenia and, respectively, an establishment of a new command office, that is a master of soldiers of Armenia (magister militum per Armeniam). In turn, the reviewer demonstrates that the circle of Clemens Koehn’s sources is composed of classical and traditional narrative authorities, such as Procopius of Caesarea, Agathias of Myrina and John Malala. Meanwhile, the reviewer argues that Clemens Koehn needs to turn more attention to epigraphic data from the times of Justinian and some of his predecessors, it would permit him to make more detailed and precise study of a history of single military units, which existed during the Justinian’s reign (for instance, the detachments of foederati).

Key Words: Justinian I, army, master of soldiers of Armenia, narrative sources, inscriptions, federates


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