Talk:Theme (Byzantine district)

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sources and errors[edit]

How relevant is the strategikon for this topic? Where can I find a 6th century arrangement of the army? Justinian1979 05:55, 27 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please include source for the data. Christopher Mahan

In the Byzantine empire article it is stated that the division of the empire into themata was made by Constans II.The article about the themata itself says that it was made by Heraclius. 1)Which one is it? and 2)Shouldn't someone make sure that different articles don't have contradicting information about the same subject?

  1. well, as far as i know, there isn't a decree or other document that goes "i, emperor x, hereby establish themes". it cannot be before heraclius, see article. Ostrogorsky's History of the Byzantine State, which is somewhat like a standard texbook, argues it should be Constans II.
  1. you may as well be that someone.
--Calm 13:07, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, Ostrogorsky ("History of the Byzantine State" chapter 2, section 1) is the one that credits Heraclius with the creation of the themes (at least the major ones). Their creation is credited to Constans II by Treadgold ("A History of the Byzantine State and Society", chapter 9, section 5). This is kind of funny, since it is Treadgold that is cited at the bottom of the article. In any case, the major reference for the subject should not be Ostrogorsky, but Treadgold, and not his general history but "Byzantium and Its Army" (Stanford, 1995) which goes into considerable detail on the matter. In general most modern historians (e.g. Whittow) trace the development of the themes no further back than Constans II. But I think both opinions should be given, with greater weight on Constans II.

Additionally the description : "A theme was a plot of land given to the soldiers to farm." is fundamentally wrong. The themes were the military provinces - although these were probably (but not certainly - see Whittow) established at the same time as the system of miltary lands, they are NOT the same thing.

I will try to make some corrections (and perhaps seriously rewrite the article) if no-one objects.--Causantin 17:37, 11 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Absolutely, please go right ahead. In general on Wikipedia, no need to ask permission. -- Centrx 05:58, 12 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems that this discussion went on a long time ago, yet nothing has een done. As a student studying Byzantium (I write this about 30 mins before i go into an exam on it...), the books i have used (namely John Haldon#s Byzantium, and Cyril Mango's Oxford history of Byzantium) both credit Constans II. Heracleus wasnt even ruling when the Themes were created, due to the fact that he died some 20 years beforhand. This needs to be changed. 11:51, 30 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have tried to change it. That Constans II created the themes is Treadgold´s view and is disputed. Haldon pleads for a creation after 640 - but no modern historian seriously pleads for Heraclius anymore. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:46, 18 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RE: Themes being founded by Constans II, Haldon's view is still the minority view on that issue. Reading the reviews of his work on that issue most historians have problems with his approach to assigning the Themes to Constans II. I've reworded the intro of Haldon's view to be more acceptable. The one source you sight for Haldon's view is his book. If you could site more sources witht he same view you could persuade me. As it is, I think the new wording most accurately reflects the status quo, some historians disagree with Ostrogorsky.

Proposed move: Thema to Theme (Byzantium)[edit]

I believe the normal English term for these administrative units is "theme", not "thema". The OED has both headwords, but only under "theme" does it mention the Byzantine administrative unit. Therefore, I believe this article should be moved to 'theme', and the term 'thema'/'themata' in the body of the article should be replaced by 'theme'/'themes'. Of course, the Greek term should be mentioned. --Macrakis 01:50, 22 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Well, could we put something else in the brackets, like "(Byzantine Empire)"? Adam Bishop 03:49, 22 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree that (Byzantium) isn't ideal; perhaps (Administrative unit)? Other ideas? --Macrakis 12:53, 22 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The current title should be fine. —Nightstallion (?) 09:39, 27 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Current title is unnecessarily wordy. Why are "Byzantine Empire" or "Byzantium" not good? Is there some other significant meaning of the word "Theme" in the Byzantine Empire other than the administrative unit? If not, then there would be no conflict in having a shorter title. - Centrx 20:59, 29 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Currently both themes and themata points to other articles with no links here. Fornadan (t) 11:24, 12 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What about the later history of the themes?[edit]

Shouldn't something about the later history of the themes be added to this article? For example, what about the demise of the theme system? What about the emperor Manuel I's creation of Neocastra in the twelfth century? How did the theme system fuction, if at all in the later years of the empire? These are questions which I would like to know the answers to, and it seems that this page would be a good place to deal with these issues. I can't find much information on this myself, so if others have any knowledge that relates to this, put it in! It would really improve this article, as at the moment it looks a bit half-finished. Bigdaddy1204 15:33, 24 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moving to Theme (Byzantium) or Theme (Byzantine empire)[edit]

The current parenthetical classification is excessive, unnecessarily wordy. Unless "Theme" is also, unlikely, the name of a different kind of administrative unit in the Byzantine empire, then it should be changed to one of the above two names. The name used for previous move was not, contrary to its edit summary, mentioned on the Talk page; other, shorter names were proposed. —Centrxtalk • 23:04, 26 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The problem with "Theme (Byzantium)" is that it might just as well refer to artistic themes [1] or philosophical topics[2]. "Theme (administrative unit)" is I suppose OK. I can't get too excited about this one way or another. --Macrakis 23:55, 26 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see what you mean. For the same reason though, no Byzantine Theme article would never be titled like that. It would instead be "Themes in Byzantine art", or less likely (that is, if I am correct that this is the same meaning of theme that could be applied to any art or philosophy) "Theme (Byzantine art)", if there would ever be a separate article at all. The special meaning of theme here is specific only to Byzantium and applies to the Byzantine empire. —Centrxtalk • 02:38, 27 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't like "(Byzantium)" because it sounds like it would refer to the ancient city. Adam Bishop 04:11, 27 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


There seems to be nothing about the non-Anatolian subdivisions of the Byzantine empire. AnonMoos 13:33, 14 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

When the theme system was established, Anatolia was the only land left untouched, so these themes may have remained with Anatolian names. The rest of the empire was divided into Themese too. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:30, 4 January 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Apart from Anatolia, Greece and Syria were the only other lands of Byzantium after the 7th century. These may have had their own themata but the thing is most of the Empire's troops and farms came from Asia Minor. Tourskin 06:53, 16 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Both of htese subsectison should be merged as they both (save for the table) indicate the locations of the original 5 themes. They are essentialy the same sectiosn with diffrent a diffrent emphasis. As well the Organisation seems to be more of a disposition of the Themes rather than the actual organisation (administration and roles) of the themes.--Dryzen 19:56, 31 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A move?[edit]

Hmmm Tobias Conradi, I would like to ask you why the arbitrary move? You've taken no part in the discussion and you arrive and move it without evne having the decency of leaving a note nor giving an explination. You also seem to have taken the liberty of moving many other articles to this style without acknowledging there own editor's thoughts on the subject first.I am severly tempted to revert the move, simply to bring you to the table to discuss the move.--Dryzen 15:21, 20 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Category:country subdivisions itself is a strange construct getting into conflict with the already existing Category: subnational entities, another point of contention. --Dryzen 15:32, 20 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I gone and done the reseach, Category: subnational entities as been deemed unsuitably nammed for its origina purpose therefore Category:country subdivisions will be replacing it. No contention here anymore. But the drive by move of the article is still a sore spot, more so when the wiki-editors where already ahving the discussion a few sections above.--Dryzen 15:46, 20 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah this is a pretty strange move, since it's not a "country subdivision" nor even really a "subnational entity." Adam Bishop 17:06, 20 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looks like no one is defending the Move, so what do we do about it then?--Dryzen 13:56, 25 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just moved it back. Adam Bishop 15:05, 25 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Now it's back to "country subdivision", which doesn't make any more sense than it did two years ago. Now what? Adam Bishop (talk) 01:13, 11 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Category:Themes of the Byzantine Empire is itself a category within Category:Government of the Byzantine Empire. — Robert Greer (talk) 17:08, 6 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should we capitalize thema name?[edit]

For example, change thema Aigaiou to Thema Aigaiou. It feels strange when Θ is capitalized, however Romanized t is not. --Qijiang ok (talk) 08:52, 17 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Uncertain etymology?[edit]

According to the author of this article, "The very name thema is of uncertain etymology, but most scholars follow Constantine Porphyrogennetos, who records that it originates from Greek thesis ("placement")".

We don't need Porphyrogennetos to ascertain whether the word "thema" is of Greek origin or not. Just open the Liddell-Scott lexicon:*q%3Aentry+group%3D8%3Aentry%3Dqe%2Fma — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ντουβισνός (talkcontribs) 07:38, 22 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mistake in the Background section?[edit]

In the first paragraph, before discussing Maurice' reforms, the article talks about Sasanian pressure in Syria, Egypt, etc., which actually occurred sometime after Maurice. --Z 10:57, 30 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]