Anatolic Theme

The theme Anatolikon (Greek Άνατολικόν [ θέμα ], Anatolikon [thread ] ), also known as the theme of Anatoliken (Greek θέμα Άνατολικῶν, theme Anatolikon ), was a Byzantine theme in central Asia Minor ( now Turkey ). After the split of the subject of Opsikion in the middle of the 8th century it was the most important Byzantine theme.


The exact date of the establishment of the subject is unknown. Together with the other three original themes it originated in the mid-7th century as a new location for installation of the defeated remnants of the Eastern Roman army, which had retreated in the face of Islamic expansion into Asia Minor. The theme takes its name from the " Anatoliken ", so the troops of the magister militum per orientem (Latin Oriens = Greek Άνατολῆ, Anatole ), who retired there. As a theme, it is first mentioned in 669, the exercitus Orientalis ( the army of the eastern army master ) is still listed to 687. The transition from a temporary retreat to a permanent administrative and military district should have taken place gradually.

Because it bordered directly to the hostile Muslim caliphate and was supported by the emperors of Syrian dynasty, was the subject Anatolikon the most important in the Byzantine empire ( see below). But the gathered power of wealth in this topic also meant a threat to the Emperor: from a first revolt is already reported 681, and 714 managed the then strategos of Anatolikon, Leo the Isaurian, to make himself emperor ( Leo III. ). Another strategos, Bardanes Tourkos, rebelled 803 Conversely found 742 Constantine V refuge and support in the fight against the usurper Artabasdos.

The last mention of the Anatolian theme in the sources belongs to the year 1077, when the strategos, Nikephoros Botaneiates, was proclaimed Emperor. A little later the whole area fell to the Seljuks.

Geography and administration

In its "classical expansion " in the 8th and 9th centuries the subject included the ancient regions of Lycaonia, Pisidia, Isauria as well as the majority of Phrygia and Galatia parts of Salutaris. Originally it included the western and southern coast of Asia Minor, but these were split off by about 720, and transformed into the subject of Thrakesier and the theme of Kibyrrhaioten. Under Emperor Theophilus (reigned 829-842 ), the south-eastern areas of the topic that bordered on the Islamic Caliphate and the forts that guarded the Cilician Gates, included in the new border districts ( Kleisourai ) Cappadocia and Seleucia reshaped. Emperor Leo VI. imputed later, the area west of Lake Tuz the theme of Cappadocia.

The capital of the topic was Amorion to the looting of Amorion in the year 838 After that, the seat of the strategos was probably laid in the near Polybotos. The late antique urban production suffered considerably among the Arab attacks and the general decline of urbanization, the cities in the interior of the subject survived but in a reduced form. The cities of the eastern Cappadocia ( the ancient province of Cappadocia Secunda ) that bordered on the Islamic Caliphate, were destroyed, as Antioch in Pisidia.

The Arab geographer ibn Ja'far Qudama and Ibn al -Faqih, according to the theme of Anatolia was "the greatest of all the provinces of Rhomäer " lead in the 9th century 15,000 troops into the field and had 34 forts. His commanding strategos, which is first mentioned in 690, was the most asked all his colleagues. The office of the strategos of the Anatoliken was one of the few that explicitly not allowed to be clothed by eunuchs. The Strategos were 40 pounds of gold and the title of a Patrikios, Anthypatos and Prōtospatharios annually.