* 1 History and functions * 2 Nobilissimi * 3 References * 4 Sources
HISTORY AND FUNCTIONS
"Prōtonōbelissimos" from the codicil of the Sicilian admiral Christodulus
The term nobilissimus originated as an epithet to the title of Caesar , whose holder was the Roman and Byzantine emperor's heir-apparent and who would, after Geta in 198, be addressed nobilissimus Caesar. According to the historian Zosimus , Emperor Constantine the Great (r. 306–337) first created the nobilissimus into a separate dignity, so as to honour some of his relatives without implying a claim to the imperial throne. The title thus came to be awarded to members of the imperial family, coming in rank immediately after that of Caesar, and remained so throughout the early and middle Byzantine period, until the mid-11th century. In the Klētorologion of Philotheos, written in 899, the rank's insignia are described as a purple tunic, mantle and belt, indicating the exalted position of its holder. Their award by the emperor in a special ceremony signified the elevation of the recipient to the office.
From the late 11th century, the title was given to senior army
commanders, the future Byzantine emperor Alexios Komnenos being the
first to be thus honoured. The inflation of its holders during the
* ^ A B C D E Kazhdan 1991 , pp. 1489–1490. * ^ Mitthof 1993 , pp. 97–111. * ^ Bury 1911 , p. 22.
* Bury, John Bagnell (1911). The Imperial Administrative System of the Ninth Century - With a Revised Text of the Kletorologion of Philotheos. London: Oxford University Press. * Kazhdan, Alexander (1991). "Nobelissimos". In Kazhdan, Alexander . The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium . Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 1489–1490. ISBN 0-19-504652-8 . * Mitthof, F