Thursday, January 6, 2011

Byzantine Governors 976-1084

One of the least documented periods of Antioch's oft-undocumented history is the period of the Byzantine "restoration". After the city fell to the Arabs in the 7th century it was to spend 300 years under Arab domination. The Byzantines eventually managed to turn the tide and recapture the city in 969 AD as the Arabs struggled with the insurgent Turks fighting for dominance of the Islamic world. This gave the Byzantines their chance and they regained control.

Antioch was very much a fringe city during that period with virtually all the territory southwards, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and North Africa and to the East (Syria and Mesopotamia) remaining out of Byzantine control. Still Antioch merited being ranked the second or third city of the Empire (tussling with Thessalonica).

As such being governor (and holding the title of Duke or Catepan) was an honour and a position of power. This devolved quite frequently to the very well connected including close relatives and associates of the Emperor. Most of the terms were limited with only one to three years being spent in the role to hamper the ability of the position holder from building a power base in the fractious political tumult of the Empire.

In an interesting paper, La Chronologie des Gouverneurs d'Antioche sous la seconde domination Byzantine (969-1084) in the Melanges (Universite de Saint-Joseph), Beirut, Second Volume XXXVIII (1962), V. Laurent wote a major piece on the governorship during this period. We thought it useful to repeat here the Chronology of the governors that Laurent compiled from the extant sources. This includes only the years for which there is evidence of the individual governing and their title, thus there are discontinuities. We use his French version of the Greek surnames.

976 Michael Bourtzes (Duke)

976 (end) Kouleib (on behalf of Bardas Scleros - Duke)

977, 978 Oubeidallah (on behalf of Bardas Scleros then later Basil II - Duke)

985 (end) Leon Melissene (Duke)

986-987 Bardas Phocas (Duke)

987-989 Leon Phocas

990-996 Michael Bourtzes (Duke)

996-998 Damien Dalassene (Duke)

999-1006 Nicephore Ouranos (Duke/Catepan)

1011 Michael the Kitonite (Duke)

1022 onwards Theophylacte Dalassene (Duke)

1025 onwards Constantine Bourtzes (Duke)

1025 Constantine Dalassene (Catepan)

1026-1029 Michael Spondyles (Catepan)

1029-1030 Constantin Karantenos (Catepan)

1030-1032 Nicetas of Mistheia (Catepan)

1034 Nicetas (brother of Michael IV) - (Catepan)

1034-1037 Constantine the Eunuch (Duke)

1037 & 1043 (between) Leon (Catepan)

1043 (around) Stephen (Duke)

1054 Romain Scleros (Duke)

1056 Kataklon Kekaumenos (Duke)

1056-1058 Michael Ouranos (Duke)

1059 Adrian (Duke)

1063 Nicephoros Nicephoritzes (1st) (Duke)

1063 Bekhd (1st) (Duke)

1067 Nicephoros Nicephoritzes (2nd) (Duke)

1067-1068 Nicephoros Botaniates (Duke)

1068 Peter Libellisios (Duke)

1069 Bekhd (2nd) (Duke)

1069-1071/2 Khatchatour (Duke or Catepan)

1072-1074 Joseph Tarchanoites (Duke)

1074-1078 Isaac Comnena (Duke)

1078 Vasak (Duke)

1078-1084 Philarete Brachamios (Duke)

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