Saturday, 11 April 2015

Inflated job titles of late Byzantium

One more random takeaway from Sir Steven Runciman's The Fall of Constantinople 1453. By the eve of Constantinople's fall, the Byzantines had lost anything you could reasonably call an Empire, were forced to compromise their religious beliefs in return for alliances that turned out to be worthless and had seen large parts of the old imperial capital become depopulated and fall into disrepair and decay.

But they did manage to hang on to one thing right up to the bitter end. The job titles near the top of the Byzantine org chart were as impressive as ever.

The reality might have been dire, but a domain which could boast a Megadux, a Stratopedarch, a Grand Logothete and a Protostrator still sounded pretty damn magnificent.

I'm particularly fond of Megadux, probably because it sounds like "megaducks" which, in turn, sounds like something to do with the question of whether you'd choose to fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses (the plural "megaducks" sounds like an even scarier option, depending on how narrowly you define the concept of "giant ducks").
First among megaducks (image credit)