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 Eastern peoples in the Byzantine treatise ‘Strategikon’ by Kekaumenos. ‘Strategikon’ was written from 1075 to 1078 and preserved in a single manuscript. ‘Strategikon’ refers to the genre of “private history”, as it clearly expressed the author’s presence, given the author’s assessment and there are indications of the events of his life, as well as the actions of his relatives and ancestors.

There are also mentions of people with the patronymic “Kekaumenos” in the “Synopsis of Byzantine History” of John Skylitzes and in the “Alexiad” of Anna Comnina. The “Synopsis of Byzantine History” was written in the early 1090s, and Anna Comnina’s “Alexiad” was written around 1144. The “Synopsis of Byzantine History” includes relatively frequent references to Katakalon Kekaumenos in the description of the events of 1040–1050s, and in the “Alexiad” the patronym Katakalon Kekaumenos appears as one of the conspirators against byzantine emperor Alexey Komnin (1081–1118) in 1094. According to the work of John Skylitzes, Katakalon Kekaumenos had extensive experience of fighting on the western and eastern borders of the Byzantine Empire. Some researchers suggest, that John Skylitzes has two characters named Katakalon Kekaumenos.

Mention of people with the patronymic “Kekaumenos”, which appear in the description of the events of the second half of 11th – early 12th centuries gave rise to attempts to identify them with Kekaumenos-author of “Strategikon”. The most popular was the identification of the author of “Strategikon” with Kekaumenos Katakalon from the “Synopsis of Byzantine History” by John Skylitzes, because this Kekaumenos is mentioned in the context of the events of military history of the second half of 11th century.

Scarce information about the Eastern peoples in this text against the detailed descriptions of many different events in Balkan region shows that the author of this text Kekaumenos did not serve in the eastern frontier regions of the Byzantine empire. This fact allows us to reconsider the identification of the author of the ‘Strategikon’ with the Katakalon Kekaumenos, accepted in historiography.

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