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Soldiers: categories

n the Byzantine army, there were three categories of soldiers. The first category was composed of foreigners, that is Turks, Cumans, various Latins, including Hungarians, and Germans, who were hired as mercenaries. The second category was made up of the men conscripted by the state from various rural areas. Every village and every estate was required to supply a number of men for service in the army or navy, or both. The third category consisted of a special class of soldiers. The power and the fortune possessed by the soldiers of the third category were rather precarious. However, their financial and social position presented a certain differentiation, so that they may be distinguished as two separate groups. Certain scholars classify them respectively as engegrammenoi, "registered" soldiers, and pronoiarioi, holders of a pronoia, while others call them all pronoiarioi and divide them into two groups: the poor and the powerful pronoia-holding soldiers.

The institution of the engegrammenoi had already begun to function as a system as early as the 7th century, but declined as time went by, to be revived in the 13th century.

The engegrammenoi were registered on lists and were obliged to serve when they were called up. In exchange for their services they were given grants, usually in the form of a small piece of land, intended to provide the necessary resources for their subsistence and to cover the cost of the military equipment required for their service. It should be pointed out that it was they themselves who cultivated the land granted to them. This group of soldiers can be identified with the poor pronoiarioi.

On the other hand, there were soldiers who were holders of large pronoiai and had paroikoi working for them. These did not serve as ordinary soldiers, but as officers. As landowners, they undertook to provide their troops with military equipment and to supply the army with men from among the farmers living on their land as tenants. This group appears to be identified with the group described as the powerful pronoia-holding soldiers.

See also : Pronoia