Selected Papers from the XV Oxford University Byzantine Society International Graduate Conference
Edited By Maximilian Lau, Caterina Franchi and Morgan Di Rodi
Remapping the Socio-political Landscape on the Fringes of an Imperium: The End of Byzantine Histria
The last decades of the eighth century brought dramatic social and political changes to northern Adriatic society. Following the terms of the treaty of Aachen (812), Byzantium withdrew from most of the northern Adriatic arc and ceded the area to the new Frankish overlords. Without the basileus’ nominal protection the local ruling elites suddenly found themselves in an alien environment. Some of the elites adapted successfully, taking their places in the re-negotiated political landscape. Others, unable to cope with the changes, disappeared. The paper re-examines existing theories and evidence about the status and position of one such provincial elite – the military aristocracy of Histria, which successfully ruled this remote imperial province for more than two centuries and achieved a high degree of autonomy. However, following the Frankish takeover they lost power and disappeared from the sources.
← 111 | 112 → As in the rest of Italy, the society of the northern Adriatic arc passed through a profound transformation following the Lombard invasion of 568. The almost unchecked Lombard (and later Slavic) advance limited imperial holdings to the coastal enclaves, including Histria. To remedy the situation, the province was militarised during the seventh century, with both civil and military power gathered in the person of the exarch – the high military commander appointed personally by the emperor, with the aim of ruling the remaining Byzantine possessions (exarchate). However, from the very beginning his power was severely limited as the events on the East and in the Balkans tied imperial...
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