The Optimatoi (Greek Ὀπτιμάτοι, from Latin Opti Mates, " the best" ) arose originally as a Byzantine troops category. In the middle of the 8th century they were then downgraded to a supply and logistics unit and assigned a topic in the north-western Asia Minor, which was named after them. The administrative unit theme of Optimates (Greek: θέμα Ὀπτιμάτων, subject Optimatōn ) existed until the Ottoman conquest of the area in the first decades of the 14th century.


The Opti Mates were first excavated in the late 6th century (about 575 ) of Emperor Tiberius I. ( reign 574-582 ). The Strategikon the Emperor Maurikios According to the Opti Mates were an elite regiment of the Foederati, most likely of Gothic origin. They were a cavalry unit, probably between one and five thousand men strong, which formed the central part of the reserve army. Their commander bore the title of Taxiárches. The presence of descendants of the members of this regiment, the writer Theophanes Gothograeci (Greek: Γοτθογραῖκοι ) called, can be detected in Bithynia still in the early 8th century. At this time, the strength of the regiment was about 2,000 men, which should have met and the original strength.

Middle of the 7th century during the reign of Constantine V in the course of attempting to curtail the power of the generals of the themes after the revolt of the Artabasdos, the Doux of the topic of Opsikion, degrades the regiment. The part of the theme of Opsikion in which the Optimates had been settled, including the peninsula across from Constantinople Opel, both shores of the Gulf of Nicomedia up to the river Sangarius in the East, became a separate subject of Optimates (Greek: θέμα Ὀπτιμάτων ), Nicomedia should be its capital. The first mention of Optimatoi as a separate topic in the sources was 774/775. However, it is well established that the topic was founded after the revolt of the Artabasdos. At the same time the once extensive Opsikische topic has been fragmented by the creation of the theme Boukellarion on.

From this point presented the Optimatoi, unlike any other themes, no more armed men, but formed a unit of 4000 muleteers from which the convoy ( Touldon ) was the imperial tagmata. The unique role of the subject Optimatoi different from all the others: their civilian support role was the lack of organization due to command levels ( Tourmai or Droungoi ), which looked at the Emperor Constantine VII as a sign of their lower status in the army. Logically held the domestikos the theme's lowest ranking of all strategoi in the imperial hierarchy. As in the other themes the domestikos a representative ( Topotērētēs ), a senior financial officer ( Chartoularios ) and a secretariat, led by a Prōtokankellarios, the website is provided for the management of his subject.

The rural areas of the theme from the Seljuks were looted after the Battle of Manzikert; Nicomedia but was maintained. The theme was built by Emperor Alexios I Komnenos ( r. 1081-1118 ) recovered with the aid of the crusaders of the First Crusade for the Byzantine Empire. After the sack of Constantinople in 1204, the area was added to the Latin Empire. The subject was told by John III. Vatazes reconstituted after he had conquered the region in 1240, and lasted until the gradual conquest by the Ottoman Beylik in the first half of the 14th century.