The Earliest States of Eastern Europe
DG-2021, 536-544

Information in Kekaumenos’ Strategicon about “Eastern” Peoples: To the Question of the Author’s Service on the Eastern Frontier of the Roman Empire

M. I. Drobyshev

The article provides an overview of pierces of information about the Eas tern
peoples in the Byzantine treatise S trategikon by Kekaumenos. S trategikon
was written between 1075 and 1078 and it is preserved in a single manuscript.
S trategikon belongs to the genre of “private his tory” as the author’s presence is
clearly expressed, the author’s assessments are formulated and there are indications
of events of his life, as well as the deeds of his relatives and ances tors.
There are also mentions of people with the patronymic “Kekaumenos” in
the Synopsis of Byzantine His tory of John Skylitzes and in the Alexiad of Anna
Comnina. The Synopsis of Byzantine His tory was written in the early 1090s, and
Anna Comnina’s Alexiad was written around 1144. The Synopsis of Byzantine
His tory includes relatively frequent references to Katakalon Kekaumenos in the
description of the events of the 1040s — 1050s, and in the Alexiad Katakalon
Kekaumenos appears as one of the conspirators agains t Byzantine emperor Alexey
Komnin (1081–1118) in 1094. According to the work of John Skylitzes, Katakalon
Kekaumenos had extensive experience of fighting on the wes tern and eas tern
borders of the Byzantine Empire. Some researchers sugges t, that John Skylitzes
wrote about two personages named Katakalon Kekaumenos.
Mention of persons with the patronymic “Kekaumenos” in the description of
the events of the second half of 11th — early 12th century gave rise to attempts to
identify them with the author of S trategikon. The mos t popular was identification
of the writer with Kekaumenos Katakalon told about in the Synopsis of Byzantine
His tory by John Skylitzes, because this Kekaumenos is mentioned in the context of
the events of military his tory of the second half of 11th century.
Scarce information about Eas tern peoples in S trategicon contrary to the detailed
description of many other events in the Balkan region shows that Kekaumenos, the
author of this text, did not serve in the eas tern frontier regions of the Byzantine
empire. This fact allows us to reconsider the identification of the author of the
S trategikon with the Katakalon Kekaumenos, accepted in his toriography.

Keywords:
eastern frontier of the Byzantium, Nomads, Strategikon, Kekaumenos, Katakalon Kekaumenos
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