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Magister militum
Magister militum
( Latin
Latin
for "Master of the Soldiers", plural magistri militum) was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine the Great.[dubious – discuss] Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer (equivalent to a war theatre commander, the emperor remaining the supreme commander) of the Empire. In Greek sources, the term is translated either as strategos or as stratelates.

Contents

1 Establishment and development of the office 2 List of magistri militum

2.1 Unspecified commands 2.2 Comes et Magister Utriusque Militiae 2.3 per Gallias 2.4 per Hispanias 2.5 per Illyricum 2.6 per Orientem 2.7 per Thracias 2.8 Praesentalis 2.9 per Africam

2.9.1 Western Empire 2.9.2 Eastern Empire

2.10 Magister Militae in Byzantine and medieval Italy

2.10.1 Venice

3 Later, less formal use of the term 4 References 5 Sources

Establishment and development of the office[edit] Further information: Late Roman army The title of magister militum was created in the 4th century, when Emperor Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
deprived the praetorian prefects of their military functions. Initially two posts were created, one as head of the foot troops, as the magister peditum ("Master of the Infantry"), and one for the more prestigious horse troops, the magister equitum ("Master of the Cavalry"). The latter title had existed since Republican times, as the second-in-command to a Roman dictator. Under Constantine's successors, the title was also established at a territorial level: magistri peditum and magistri equitum were appointed for every praetorian prefecture (per Gallias, per Italiam, per Illyricum, per Orientem), and, in addition, for Thrace and, sometimes, Africa. On occasion, the offices would be combined under a single person, then styled magister equitum et peditum or magister utriusque militiae ("master of both forces"). As such they were directly in command of the local mobile field army of the comitatenses, composed mostly of cavalry, which acted as a rapid reaction force. Other magistri remained at the immediate disposal of the Emperors, and were termed in praesenti ("in the presence" of the Emperor). By the late 4th century, the regional commanders were termed simply magister militum. In the Western Roman Empire, a "commander-in-chief" evolved with the title of magister utriusque militiae. This powerful office was often the power behind the throne and was held by Stilicho, Flavius Aetius, Ricimer, and others. In the East, there were two senior generals, who were each appointed to the office of magister militum praesentalis. During the reign of Emperor Justinian I, with increasing military threats and the expansion of the Eastern Empire, three new posts were created: the magister militum per Armeniam in the Armenian and Caucasian provinces, formerly part of the jurisdiction of the magister militum per Orientem, the magister militum per Africam in the reconquered African provinces (534), with a subordinate magister peditum, and the magister militum Spaniae (ca. 562). In the course of the 6th century, internal and external crises in the provinces often necessitated the temporary union of the supreme regional civil authority with the office of the magister militum. In the establishment of the exarchates of Ravenna
Ravenna
and Carthage
Carthage
in 584, this practice found its first permanent expression. Indeed, after the loss of the eastern provinces to the Muslim conquest
Muslim conquest
in the 640s, the surviving field armies and their commanders formed the first themata. Supreme military commanders sometimes also took this title in early medieval Italy, for example in the Papal States
Papal States
and in Venice, whose Doge
Doge
claimed to be the successor to the Exarch of Ravenna. List of magistri militum[edit]

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Unspecified commands[edit]

383-385/8: Flavius Bauto, magister militum under Valentinian II[1] 385/8-394: Arbogast, magister militum under Valentinian II
Valentinian II
and Eugenius[1] 383–388: Andragathius[2] after 383-408: Flavius Stilicho 422-?: Asterius[3][4]  ? – 480: Ovida

Comes et Magister Utriusque Militiae[edit]

411 – 421: Flavius Constantius [5] 422 - 425: Castinus 425 - 430: Flavius Constantius Felix
Flavius Constantius Felix
[6] 431 - 432: Bonifacius
Bonifacius
[7] 432 - 433: Sebastianus 433 – 454: Flavius Aetius[8] 455 - 456: Avitus
Avitus
& Remistus 456 – 472: Ricimer 472–473: Gundobad 475: Ecdicius Avitus 475–476: Flavius Orestes

per Gallias[edit]

352–355: Claudius Silvanus 362–364: Flavius Iovinus, magister equitum under Julian and Jovian[9]  ? – 419: Flavius Gaudentius 425–430: Flavius Aetius 435-439: Litorius 452–458: Agrippinus 458–461: Aegidius 461/462: Agrippinus  ? - 472: Bilimer

per Hispanias[edit]

441-442: Asterius[10] 443: Flavius Merobaudes[11] 446: Vitus[12]

per Illyricum[edit]

 ?-350: Vetranio, magister peditum under Constans[13] 361: Flavius Iovinus, magister equitum under Julian[9] 365–375: Equitius, magister utriusquae militiae under Valentinian I[14] 395-? Alaric I 448/9 Agintheus (known from Priscus of Panium
Priscus of Panium
to have held office as the latter's embassy proceeded towards the court of Attila). 468–474: Julius Nepos 477–479: Onoulphus 479–481: Sabinianus Magnus 528: Ascum 529–530/1: Mundus (1st time) 532–536: Mundus (2nd time) c. 538: Justin c. 544: Vitalius c. 550: John 568–569/70: Bonus 581–582: Theognis

per Orientem[edit]

c. 347: Flavius Eusebius, magister utriusquae militiae[15] 349–359: Ursicinus, magister equitum under Constantius[13] 359–360: Sabinianus, magister equitum under Constantius[13] 363–367: Lupicinus, magister equitum under Jovian and Valens[9] 371–378: Iulius, magister equitum et Peditum under Valens[9] 383: Flavius Richomeres, magister equitum et peditum[1] 383–388: Ellebichus, magister equitum et peditum[1] 392: Eutherius, magister equitum et peditum[1] 393–396: Addaeus, magister equitum et peditum[1] 395/400: Fravitta 433–446: Anatolius 447–451: Zeno 460s: Flavius Ardabur Aspar -469: Flavius Iordanes 469–471: Zeno 483–498: Ioannes Scytha c. 503–505: Areobindus Dagalaiphus Areobindus 505–506: Pharesmanes  ?516-?518: Hypatius  ?518–529: Diogenianus 520-525/526: Hypatius 527: Libelarius 527–529: Hypatius 529–531: Belisarius 531: Mundus 532–533: Belisarius 540: Buzes 542: Belisarius 543–544: Martinus 549–551: Belisarius 555: Amantius 556: Valerianus 569: Zemarchus 572–573: Marcian 573: Theodorus 574: Eusebius 574/574-577: Justinian 577–582: Maurice 582–583: John Mystacon 584-587/588: Philippicus 588: Priscus 588–589: Philippicus 589–591: Comentiolus 591–603: Narses 603-604 Germanus 604-605 Leontius 605-610 Domentziolus

per Thracias[edit]

377–378: Flavius Saturninus, magister equitum under Valens[9] 377–378: Traianus, magister peditum under Valens[1] 378: Sebastianus, magister peditum under Valens[1] 380–383: Flavius Saturninus, magister peditum under Theodosius I[1] 392–393: Flavius Stilicho, magister equitum et peditum[1] 412–414: Constans 441: Ioannes the Vandal, magister utriusque militiae[16] 468–474: Armatus 474: Heraclius of Edessa 511: Hypatius 512: Cyril 514: Vitalian 530–533: Chilbudius 550–ca. 554: Artabanes 588: Priscus (1st time) 593: Priscus (2nd time) 593–594: Peter (1st time) 594–ca. 598: Priscus (2nd time) 598–601: Comentiolus 601–602: Peter (2nd time)

Praesentalis[edit]

351–361: Flavius Arbitio, magister equitum under Constantius[13] 361–363: Flavius Nevitta, magister equitum under Julian[9] 363–379: Victor, magister equitum under Valens[9] 366–378: Flavius Arinthaeus, magister peditum under Valens[9] 364–369: Flavius Iovinus, magister equitum under Valentinian I[9] 364–366: Dagalaifus, magister peditum under Valentinian I[9] 367–372: Severus, magister peditum under Valentinian I[9] 369–373: Flavius Theodosius, magister equitum under Valentinian I[9] 375–388: Merobaudes, magister peditum under Valentinian I, Gratian and Magnus Maximus[17] 388-395: Timasius 394–408: Flavius Stilicho, magister equitum et peditum[1] 399-400: Gainas 400: Fravitta 409: Varanes and Arsacius[18] 419-: Plinta 443–451: Apollonius 450–451: Anatolius 475-477/478: Armatus 485–: Longinus 492–499: John the Hunchback 518–520: Vitalian [19] 520–?: Justinian [20] 528: Leontius 528-529: Phocas 520-538/9: Sittas 536: Germanus 536: Maxentianus 546–548: Artabanes 548/9–552: Suartuas 562: Constantinianus (uncertain) 582: Germanus (uncertain) 585–ca. 586: Comentiolus 626: Bonus (uncertain)

per Africam[edit] Western Empire[edit]

373–375: Flavius Theodosius, magister equitum [9] 386–398: Gildo, magister equitum et peditum[21]

Eastern Empire[edit]

534–536: Solomon 536–539: Germanus 539–544: Solomon 544–546: Sergius 545–546: Areobindus 546: Artabanes 546–552: John Troglita 578–590: Gennadius

Magister Militae in Byzantine and medieval Italy[edit] Venice[edit]

8th century: Marcellus 737: Domenico Leoni under Leo III the Isaurian 738: Felice Cornicola under Leo III the Isaurian 739: Theodatus Hypatus under Leo III the Isaurian 741: Ioannes Fabriacius under Leo III the Isaurian 764–787: Mauricius Galba

Later, less formal use of the term[edit] By the 12th century, the term was being used to describe a man who organized the military force of a political or feudal leader on his behalf. In the Gesta Herwardi, the hero is several times described as magister militum by the man who translated the original Early English account into Latin. It seems possible that the writer of the original version, now lost, thought of him as the 'hereward' – the supervisor of the military force. That this later use of these terms was based on the classical concept seems clear.[22] References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i j k PLRE I, p. 1114 ^ PLRE I, p. 62 ^ Arce (2004), Bárbaros y romanos en Hispania, 400-507 A.D, pág. 112 ^ Gil, M.E. (2000), Barbari ad Pacem Incundam Conversi. El Año 411 en Hispania, pág. 83 ^ Hughes, Ian: Aetius: Attila's Nemesis, pg. 74 ^ Hughes, Ian: Aetius: Attila's Nemesis, pg. 75 ^ Hughes, Ian: Aetius: Attila's Nemesis, pg. 85 ^ Hughes, Ian: Aetius: Attila's Nemesis, pg. 87, Heather, Peter: The Fall of the Roman Empire, pg. 262, 491 ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m PLRE I, p. 1113 ^ Hydatius, Chronica Hispania, 122 ^ Hydatius, Chronica Hispania, 128 ^ Hydatius, Chronica Hispania, 134 ^ a b c d PLRE I, p. 1112 ^ PLRE I, p. 125 ^ PLRE I, p. 307 ^ PLRE II, p. 597 ^ PLRE I, pp. 1113–1114 ^ PLRE I, p. 152 ^ John Moorhead, Justinian (London, 1994), p. 16. ^ John Moorhead, Justinian (London, 1994), p. 17. ^ PLRE I, p. 395 ^ Gesta Herwardi
Gesta Herwardi
Archived 2011-01-21 at the Wayback Machine. The term is used in chapters XII, XIV, XXII and XXIII. See The Name, Hereward for details.

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