Drungarios

A droungarios, also spelled drungarios ( _el. δρουγγάριος, _la. drungarius) or, in its English form, drungary, was a military rank of the late Roman and Byzantine Empires.

History and use

Late Roman and Byzantine army

The term "drungus" is first attested in Latin in the later fourth century. It derives from Gaulish *"dhrungho" (see Old Irish "drong"; Old Breton "drogn" or "drog"), meaning “tribe”, “group”, “throng” or “crowd”. An alternative Germanic etymology cited by some historians originates in seventeenth-century guesswork which has been rejected by the overwhelming majority of philologists. [Rance (2004), pp. 97-105] The earliest usage of "drungus" in Latin is non-technical and similarly signifies a generic “band” or “troop”, which Vegetius equates to Latin "globus". [Vegetius, "Epitoma rei militaris" III.16, 19] The term first occurs in Greek as "droungos" (δροῦγγος), with the same meaning, in the early fifth century. [J. Chrysostom, "Ep". 4 "ad Olymp." 2] In the late sixth century, the Emperor Maurice applies "droungos" to a specific tactical deployment, usually of cavalry, characterised as a compact non-linear grouping suited to outflanking tactics, ambushes and irregular operations. He is the first author to employ the cognate adverb "droungisti" (δρουγγιστί), with the sense of "in group formation" or "small-group tactics". [Maurice, "Strategikon", esp. III.14; IV.5] Maurice also occasionally employs "droungos" as a generic expression for larger "groupings" or "formations" of troops, though in this sense he refers only to a "division" ("meros") and never to a "brigade" ("moira") with which "droungos" became associated in later sources. [Maurice, "Strategikon" I.3; 9.3; Rance (2004), pp. 109-114]

The term "droungarios" (δρουγγάριος) is not documented before the early seventh century but might have been used as an informal or unofficial designation before that date. The office and the corresponding unit appear to have initially referred to "ad hoc" arrangements, but during the early seventh century these were formalized, like much of the Eastern Roman army's rank structure. [Haldon (1999), p. 109] In the new military-administrative theme system, every major division, called a "thema" (Θέμα), was further divided into "tourmai" while each "tourma" was divided into moirai (μοίραι) or "droungoi", which in turn were composed of several "banda". Thus each "moira" or "droungos" was the analogue of a modern regiment or brigade, initially ca. 1000 men strong (and hence also referred to as a "chiliarchia"), although on occasion it could rise to 3000 men, and Emperor Leo VI the Wise is recorded as having established "droungoi" of only 400 men for the new smaller themes. [Treadgold (1995), pp. 104-105]

The commander of the elite "Vigla" regiment (one of the "tagmata") also bore the rank of "droungarios", and was later raised to the rank of "megas droungarios tēs viglēs" (polytonic|μέγας δρουγγάριος τῆς βίγλης, "Grand Drungary of the Vigla"). In the 11th century, this office also assumed significant judicial responsibilities, since its holder became the president of the imperial court of the "Vēlon", housed at the "Covered Hippodrome" adjoining the imperial palace. [Magdalino (2002), p. 230] In the Komnenian period, its holders, men like Andronikos Kamateros, were amongst the emperor's senior aides. [Magdalino (2002), pp. 259-260]

In the Palaiologan period, this office was the tenth in the overall hierarchy, according to the list of Pseudo-Kodinos, and on campaign, its holder was responsible for setting the watch around the imperial camp. [Bartusis (1997), p. 253]

Byzantine Navy

The rank of "droungarios" was also used in the Byzantine navy to designate its admirals. The "droungarios tou basilikou plōïmou" (polytonic|δρουγγάριος τοῦ βασιλικοῦ πλωίμου) was the commander of the central Imperial Fleet, based at and around Constantinople, while the provincial ("thematic") fleets were also commanded by a "droungarios" (although it was later replaced by the more exalted rank of "strategos"), to whose title was added the name of the "thema" under his command, e.g. "droungarios tōn Kibyrraiōtōn" (polytonic|δρουγγάριος τῶν Κιβυρραιωτῶν, the admiral of the Cibyrrhaeotic Theme). The "droungarios" of the Imperial Fleet was later raised to the rank of "megas droungarios [tou plōïmou] " ("Grand Drungary [of the Fleet] ") acting as commander in chief of the entire navy, until he was replaced in this task by the "megas doux" in the 1090s. The office of "megas droungarios" of the fleet continued to exist, in a subordinate position, until the Empire's fall. The variant rank of "droungarokomēs" (δρουγγαροκόμης) also existed, signifying a count ("komēs") in command of a squadron of warships.

The rank of droungarios was one of the lowest military ranks that carried an accompanying court title, ranging from "hypatos" to "vestētōr". [Treadgold (1995), p. 121]

ee also

*Byzantine aristocracy and bureaucracy

References

ources

* cite book
first = Mark C.
last = Bartusis
title = The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society 1204-1453
publisher = University of Pennsylvania Press
year = 1997
isbn = 0812216202

*cite book
first=John B.
last=Bury
authorlink=J. B. Bury
title=Imperial Administrative System of the Ninth Century
publisher=Ayer Publishing
year=1963
isbn=0833704346

*cite book
first = John F.
last = Haldon
title = Warfare, state and society in the Byzantine world, 565-1204
year = 1999
publisher = Routledge
isbn = 1857284941

*cite book
last=Magdalino
first=Paul
title=The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 1143–1180
publisher=Cambridge University Press
year=2002
isbn= 0-521-52653-1

* cite book
first = Kimon Emmanouil
last = Plakogiannakis
title = Timītikoi Titloi kai Energa Axiōmata sto Vyzantio ("Honorary titles and active offices in Byzantium")
publisher = IANOS
year = 2001
isbn = 960-7771-57-5

*Rance, Philip (2004). ‘Drungus, Δροῦγγος and Δρουγγιστί – a Gallicism and Continuity in Roman Cavalry Tactics’, "Phoenix" 58: 96-130
*cite book
title=Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081
last=Treadgold
first=Warren T.
year=1995
publisher=Stanford University Press
isbn=0804731632


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