Strategos or Strategus, plural strategoi, (Greek: στρατηγός, pl. στρατηγοί; Doric Greek: στραταγός, stratagos; meaning "army leader") is used in Greek to mean military general. In the Hellenistic world and the Byzantine Empire the term was also used to describe a military governor. In the modern Hellenic Army it is the highest officer rank.
Strategos is a compound of two Greek words: stratos and agos. Stratos (στρατός) means army, literally "that which is spread out", coming from the proto-Indo-European root *stere- "to spread". Agos (ἀγός) means "leader", from agein (ἄγειν) "to lead", from the proto-Ιndo-Εuropean root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move”.
In its most famous attestation, in Classical Athens, the office of strategos existed already in the 6th century BC, but it was only with the reforms of Cleisthenes in 501 BC that it assumed its most recognizable form: Cleisthenes instituted a board of ten strategoi who were elected annually, one from each tribe (phyle). The ten were of equal status, and replaced the polemarchos, who had hitherto been the senior military commander. At the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC (according to Herodotus) they decided strategy by majority vote, and each held the presidency in daily rotation. At this date the polemarchos had a casting vote, and one view among modern scholars is that he was the commander-in-chief; but from 486 onwards the polemarchos, like the other archontes, was appointed by lot. The annual election of the strategoi was held in the spring, and their term of office coincided with the ordinary Athenian year, from midsummer to midsummer. If a strategos died or was dismissed from office, a by-election might be held to replace him.
The strict adherence to the principle of a strategos from each tribe lasted until c. 440 BC, after which two strategoi could be selected from the same tribe and another tribe be left without its own strategos, perhaps because no suitable candidate might be available. This system continued at least until c. 356/7 BC, but by the time Aristotle wrote his Constitution of the Athenians in c. 330 BC, the appointments were made without any reference to tribal affiliation. Hence, during the Hellenistic period, although the number of the tribes was increased, the number of strategoi remained constant at ten.
In the early part of the 5th century, several strategoi combined their military office with a political role, with Themistocles, Aristides, Cimon, or Pericles among the most notable; nevertheless their power derived not from their office, but from their own personal political charisma. As political power passed to the civilian rhetores in the later 5th century, the strategoi were limited to their military duties. Originally, the strategoi were appointed ad hoc to various assignments. On campaign, several—usually up to three—strategoi might be placed jointly in command. Unlike other Greek states, where the nauarchos commanded the navy, the Athenian strategoi held command both at sea and on land. From the middle of the 4th century, the strategoi increasingly were given specific assignments, such as the strategos epi ten choran (στρατηγός ἐπὶ τὴν χώραν) for the defence of Attica; the strategos epi tous hoplitas (στρατηγός ἐπὶ τοὺς ὁπλίτας), in charge of expeditions abroad; the two strategoi epi ton Peiraia (στρατηγοί ἐπὶ τὸν Πειραιᾶ), responsible for the war harbour of Piraeus; and the strategos epi tas symmorias (στρατηγός ἐπὶ τὰς συμμορίας), responsible for the equipment of the warships. This was generalized in Hellenistic times, when each strategos was given specific duties. One of them, the strategos epi ta hopla (στρατηγός ἐπὶ τὰ ὅπλα), ascended to major prominence in the Roman period.
The Athenian people kept a close eye on their strategoi. Like other magistrates, at the end of their term of office they were subject to euthyna and in addition there was a vote in the ekklesia during every prytany on the question whether they were performing their duties well. If the vote went against anyone, he was deposed and as a rule tried by jury. Pericles himself in 430 was removed from office as strategos and fined, and in 406 the eight strategoi who commanded the fleet at the Battle of Arginusae were all removed from office and condemned to death.
The title of strategos appears for a number of other Greek states in the Classical period, but it is often unclear whether this refers to an actual office, or is used as a generic term for military commander. The strategos as an office is attested at least for Syracuse from the late 5th century BC, Erythrae, and in the koinon of the Arcadians in the 360s BC.
The title of strategos autokrator was also used for generals with broad powers, but the extent and nature of these powers was granted on an ad hoc basis. Thus Philip II of Macedon was elected as strategos autokrator (commander-in-chief with full powers) of the League of Corinth.
Under Philip II of Macedon, the title of strategos was used for commanders on detached assignments as the quasi-representatives of the king, often with a title indicating their area of responsibility, e.g. strategos tes Europes ("strategos of Europe").
In several Greek city leagues the title strategos was reserved for the head of state. In the Aetolian League and the Achaean League, where the strategos was annually elected, he was the eponymous chief of civil government and the supreme military commander at the same time. Two of the most prominent leaders re-elected many times to the office in the Achaean League, were Aratus of Sicyon and Philopoemen of Megalopolis. Strategoi are also reported in the Arcadian League, in the Epirote Republik and in the Acarnanian League, whereas the leaders of the Boeotian League and the Thessalian League had different titles, Boeotarch and Tagus respectively.
In the Hellenistic empires of the Diadochi, notably Lagid Egypt, for which most details are known, strategos became a gubernatorial office combining civil with military duties. In Egypt, the strategoi were originally responsible for the Greek military colonists (klerouchoi) established in the country. Quickly, they assumed a role in the administration alongside the nomarches, the governor of each of the country's nomes, and the oikonomos, in charge of fiscal affairs. Already by the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (r. 283–246 BC), the strategos was the head of the provincial administration, while conversely his military role declined, as the klerouchoi were progressively demilitarized. Ptolemy V Epiphanes (r. 204–181 BC) established the office of epistrategos (ἐπιστράτηγος, "over-general") to oversee the individual strategoi. The latter had become solely civilian officials, combining the role of the nomarches and the oikonomos, while the epistrategos retained powers of military command. In addition, hypostrategoi (sing. hypostrategos, ὐποστράτηγος) could be appointed as subordinates. The Ptolemaic administrative system survived into the Roman period, where the epistrategos was subdivided in three to four smaller offices, and the procurator ad epistrategiam was placed in charge of the strategoi. The office largely retained its Ptolemaic functions and continued to be staffed by the Greek population of the country.
The Odrysian kingdom of Thrace was also divided into strategiai ("generalships"), each headed by a strategos, based on the various Thracian tribes and subtribes. At the time of the kingdom's annexation into the Roman Empire in 46 AD, there were 50 such districts, which were initially retained in the new Roman province, and only gradually fell out of use. It was not until c. 136 that the last of them were abolished.
Under the Roman Republic and later through the Principate, Greek historians often used the term strategos when referring to the Roman political/military office of praetor. Such a use can be found in the New Testament: Acts of the Apostles 16:20 refers to the magistrates of Philippi as strategoi (στρατηγοί). Correspondingly, antistrategos (ἀντιστράτηγος, "vice-general") was used to refer to the office of propraetor.
The term continued in use in the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire. Initially, the term was used along with stratelates and, less often, stratopedarches, to render the supreme military office of magister militum (the general in command of a field army), but could also be employed for the regional duces. In the 7th century, with the creation of the Theme system, their role changed: as the field armies were resettled and became the basis for the territorial themes, their generals too assumed new responsibilities, combining their military duties with the civil governance of the theme. The first themes were few and very large, and in the 8th century, the provincial strategoi were in constant antagonism with the emperor at Constantinople, rising often in rebellion against him. In response, the themes were progressively split up and the number of strategoi increased, diluting their power. This process was furthered by the conquests of the 10th century, which saw the establishment of several new and smaller frontier themes: while in c. 842 the Taktikon Uspensky lists 18 strategoi, the Escorial Taktikon, written c. 971–975, lists almost 90.
Throughout the middle Byzantine period (7th–12th centuries), the strategos of the Anatolic theme enjoyed precedence over the others and constituted one of the highest offices of the state, and one of the few from which eunuchs were specifically barred. At the same time, the Eastern (Anatolian) themes were senior to the Western (European) ones. This distinction was especially marked in the pay of their presiding strategoi: while those of the Eastern themes received their salary directly from the state treasury, their counterparts in the West had to raise their—markedly lower—pay from the proceeds of their provinces. During the 11th century, the strategoi were gradually confined to their military duties, their fiscal and administrative responsibilities being taken over by the civil kritai ("judges"). Senior military leadership also devolved on the hands of a new class of officers titled doukes or katepano, who were placed in control of regional commands combining several themes. By the 13th century, the term strategos had reverted to the generic sense of "general", devoid of any specific technical meaning.
The Byzantines also used a number of variations of the title strategos: strategetes (στρατηγέτης, "army leader") was an infrequently used alternative term; the term monostrategos (μονοστράτηγος, "single-general") designated a general placed in command over other strategoi or over the forces of more than one theme; the terms strategos autokrator, archistrategos (ἀρχιστράτηγος, "chief-general") and protostrategos (πρωτοστράτηγος, "first-general") designated commanders vested with supreme authority; and the term hypostrategos (ὐποστράτηγος, "under-general") denoted a second-in-command, effectively a lieutenant general.
In the modern Hellenic Army, a stratigós (the spelling remains στρατηγός) is the highest officer rank. The superior rank of stratárchis (Field Marshal) existed under the monarchy, but has not been retained by the current Third Hellenic Republic. Under the monarchy, the rank of full stratigós in active service was reserved for the King and a few other members of the royal family, with very few retired career officers promoted to the rank as an honorary rank. Since c. 1970, the rank is held in active service by the Chief of the General Staff of National Defence, when he is an Army officer, and is granted to the retiring Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff.
All but one of the other Greek general officer ranks are derivations of this word: antistrátigos and ypostrátigos, for Lieutenant General and Major General, respectively. A Brigadier General however is called taxíarchos, after a táxis (in modern usage taxiarchía), which means brigade. The ranks of antistrátigos and ypostrátigos are also used by the Hellenic Police (and the Greek Gendarmerie before), the Greek Fire Service and the Cypriot National Guard, which lack the grade of full stratigós.
Greek commissioned officer ranks
|Navy:||Simaioforos & Anthypoploiarchos||Ypoploiarchos||Plotarchis||Antiploiarchos||Ploiarchos||Archiploiarchos||Yponavarchos||Antinavarchos||Navarchos|
|Army:||Anthypolochagos & Ypolochagos||Lochagos||Tagmatarchis||Antisyntagmatarchis||Syntagmatarchis||Taxiarchos||Ypostratigos||Antistratigos||Stratigos|
|Air Force:||Anthyposminagos & Yposminagos||Sminagos||Episminagos||Antisminarchos||Sminarchos||Taxiarchos Aeroporias||Ypopterarchos||Antipterarchos||Pterarchos|
The oldest use of the term strategos in fiction may be found in the Callirhoe of Chariton of Aphrodisias which is dated in the first century A.D. There, Hermocrates is the "strategos" of Syracuse and the father of Callirhoe, living in the 5th century B.C. In fact, he was a historical person, the victor over the Athenians in 413 B.C., an event which stopped Athenian expansion to the West. His role as a character in the novel is rather limited. Although his position in Syracuse gives Callirhoe a background, and he gives consent to her marriage and fulfills a few official duties, his legal or constitutional position is not very clear.
This position was featured in Orson Scott Card's novel Ender's Game. In the novel, the position of Strategos was charged with overall command of solar system defense. The Strategos, along with the positions of Polemarch (responsible for the International Fleet of space warships), and the Hegemon (the political leader of Earth, rather like a stronger version of the Secretary-General of the United Nations), was one of the three most powerful people alive. During an earlier war described in the novel, because of a belief in their inherent luck and brilliance—specifically, that no Jewish general had ever lost a war—all three positions were filled with Jewish people: an American Jew as Hegemon, an Israeli Jew as Strategos, and a Russian Jew as Polemarch. The defeat of the Formics by half-Māori Mazer Rackham changed this position. Bean (Julian Delphiki) was given the title of Strategos by Peter Wiggin after he assumed the role of Hegemon. The prequel novel Earth Awakens establishes that the position of Strategos was named after the Strategoi, a group of international military commanders in charge of the Mobile Operations Police, which served as the model for the newly created International Fleet. The first Strategos was Lieutenant Colonel Yulian Robinov of the Russian Ministry of Defense, who served as the chair of the Strategoi during the First Invasion.
The dystopian slave-empire of the Draka, in the series of books by S. M. Stirling, also uses "Strategos" together with many other military ranks and terms drawn from Classical Antiquity, though often with only the loosest resemblance to what they originally meant.
The position of 'Strategos' was also featured in the English-language version of the Sunrise anime The Vision of Escaflowne; the character Folken occupied the position when he served the Zaibach empire.
It is also used in Ava's Demon for Strategos Six.
Aratus (; Greek: Ἄρατος; 271–213 BC) was a statesman of the ancient Greek city-state of Sicyon and a leader of the Achaean League. He deposed the Sicyonian tyrant Nicocles in 251 BC. Aratus was an advocate of Greek unity and brought Sicyon into the Achaean League, which he led to its maximum extent. He was elected strategos many times and led the Achaeans against Macedonia, the Aetolians and the Spartans. After the Spartans defeated and nearly destroyed the cities of the Achaean League, he requested Antigonus III Doson of Macedonia to help fight against the Aetolians and Spartans. After Antigonus died in 221 BC, Aratus did not get along with the new king, Philip V of Macedon, who wanted to make the Achaean League subject to Macedonia. Polybius and Plutarch record that Philip had Aratus poisoned.Autokrator
Autokratōr (Greek: αὐτοκράτωρ, autokrátor, pl. αὐτοκράτορες, autokrátores, Ancient Greek pronunciation [autokrátɔːr], Byzantine pronunciation [aftoˈkrator] lit. "self-ruler", "one who rules by himself", from αὐτός and κράτος) is a Greek epithet applied to an individual who exercises absolute power, unrestrained by superiors. In a historical context, it has been applied to military commanders-in-chief, and to Roman and Byzantine emperors as the translation of the Latin title imperator. Its connection with Byzantine-style absolutism gave rise to the modern terms autocrat and autocracy. In modern Greek, it means "emperor", and the female form of the title is autokrateira (αὐτοκράτειρα, autokráteira, "empress").Constantine Diogenes
Constantine Diogenes (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος Διογένης; died 1032) was a prominent Byzantine general of the early 11th century, active in the Balkans. He served with distinction in the final stages of the Byzantine conquest of Bulgaria under Emperor Basil II, and occupied high commands in the Balkans until his arrest in 1029, as the result of his participation in a conspiracy against Emperor Romanos III Argyros. Imprisoned and forced to enter a monastery, he committed suicide in 1032 during an inquest on a further conspiracy. He was the father of Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes.Dyrrhachium (theme)
The Theme of Dyrrhachium or Dyrrhachion (Greek: θέμα Δυρραχίου) was a Byzantine military-civilian province (theme) located in modern Albania, covering the Adriatic coast of the country. It was established in the early 9th century and named after its capital, Dyrrhachium (modern Durrës).Eponymous archon
In ancient Greece the chief magistrate in various Greek city states was called eponymous archon (ἐπώνυμος ἄρχων, epōnymos archōn). Archon (ἄρχων, pl. ἄρχοντες, archontes) means "ruler" or "lord", frequently used as the title of a specific public office, while "eponymous" means that he gave his name to the year in which he held office, much like the Roman dating by consular years.
In Classical Athens, a system of nine concurrent archons evolved, led by three respective remits over the civic, military, and religious affairs of the state: the three office holders were known as the eponymous archon, the polemarch (πολέμαρχος, "war ruler"), and the archon basileus (ἄρχων βασιλεύς, "king ruler"). The six others were the thesmothetai, judicial officers. Originally these offices were filled from the wealthier classes by elections every ten years. During this period the eponymous archon was the chief magistrate, the polemarch was the head of the armed forces, and the archon basileus was responsible for some civic religious arrangements, and for the supervision of some major trials in the law courts. After 683 BC the offices were held for only a single year, and the year was named after the eponymous archon.Eristavi
Eristavi (Georgian: ერისთავი; literally, "head of the nation") was a Georgian feudal office, roughly equivalent to the Byzantine strategos and normally translated into English as "duke". In the Georgian aristocratic hierarchy, it was the title of the third rank of prince and governor of a large province. Holders of the title were ex-officio commanders of a military 'banner', wore a distinctive dress, ring, belt and spear and rode a particular breed of horse.
Some high-ranking eristavis were also titled as eristavt-eristavi (Georgian: ერისთავთ-ერისთავი), i.e. "duke of dukes" or archduke but it is improbable that the holder of the title had any subordinate eristavis. Erismtavari (Georgian: ერისმთავარი; literally, "chief of the people" or grand duke) was a similar title chiefly endowed upon the pre-Bagratid rulers of Iberia (Georgia) and later used interchangeably with the eristavi.
The title gave origin to the surname of four Georgian noble houses—Eristavi of Aragvi, Eristavi of Ksani, Eristavi of Racha, and Eristavi of Guria—confirmed in their princely ranks under the Russian rule in the 19th century. These families were often known simply as Princes Eristov in Russia but they did not have the same origin.Eurymedon (strategos)
Eurymedon (; Greek: Εὐρυμέδων; died 413 BC) was one of the Athenian generals (strategoi) during the Peloponnesian War.Eustathios Daphnomeles
Eustathios Daphnomeles (Greek: Εὐστάθιος Δαφνομήλης, fl. early 11th century) was a Byzantine strategos and patrician who distinguished himself in the Byzantine conquest of Bulgaria. He ranks as one of the most prominent and successful generals in the thirty-year war between Emperor Basil II (r. 976–1025) and Samuel of Bulgaria (r. 997–1014), helping to end the long conflict by blinding and capturing the last Bulgarian leader, Ibatzes, in 1018.Gary Hamel
Dr. Gary P. Hamel (born 1954) is an American management expert. He is a founder of Strategos, an international management consulting firm based in Chicago.Karabisianoi
The Karabisianoi (Greek: Καραβισιάνοι), sometimes anglicized as the Carabisians, were the main forces of the Byzantine navy from the mid-7th century until the early 8th century. The name derives from the Greek karabos or karabis (Greek: κάραβος, καραβίς) for "ship", and literally means "people of the ships, sea-men" (cf. caravel). The Karabisianoi were the first new permanent naval establishment of the Byzantine Empire, formed to confront the Muslim expansion at sea. They were disbanded and replaced with a series of maritime themes some time in 718–730.Leontios
Leontios or Leontius (Greek: Λεόντιος, Latin: Leontius; c. 660 – August 705/February 706) was Byzantine emperor from 695 to 698. Little is known of his early life, other than that he was born in Isauria. He was given the title of patrikios, and made Strategos of the Anatolic Theme under Emperor Justinian II. He led forces against the Umayyads during the early years of Justinian's reign, securing victory and forcing the Umayyad caliph, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, to sue for peace.
In 692, Justinian declared war upon the Umayyads again, and sent Leontios to campaign against them. However, he was defeated decisively after the Battle of Sebastopolis, and imprisoned for his failure by Justinian. He was released in 695, and given the title of Strategos of Hellas. After being released, he led a rebellion against Justinian, and seized power, becoming emperor in the same year.
He ruled until 697, when he was overthrown by Apsimar, a Droungarios who had taken part in a failed expedition that had been launched by Leontios, to recover Carthage. After seizing Constantinople, Apsimar took the royal name Tiberius III, and had Leontios' nose and tongue cut off. He was sent to the Monastery of Dalmatou, where he remained until February 706. By this time Justinian had retaken the throne. Both Leontios and Tiberius were executed.Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 238
Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 238 (P. Oxy. 238 or P. Oxy. II 238) is a notice issued by an official, probably the strategos, written in Greek. It was discovered in Oxyrhynchus. The manuscript was written on papyrus in the form of a sheet. It is dated between 29 August and 27 September 72. Currently it is housed in the Trinity College Library in Dublin.Paul (exarch)
Paul was a senior Byzantine official under Leo III the Isaurian, serving as the strategos of Sicily, and then as the Exarch of Ravenna from 723 to 727.Philopoemen
Philopoemen (Greek: Φιλοποίμην Philopoímēn; 253 BC, Megalopolis – 183 BC, Messene) was a skilled Greek general and statesman, who was Achaean strategos on eight occasions.
From the time he was appointed as strategos in 209 BC, Philopoemen helped turn the Achaean League into an important military power in Greece. He was called "the last of the Greeks" by an anonymous Roman.Phocion
Phocion (; Greek: Φωκίων Phokion; c. 402 – c. 318 BC; nicknamed The Good) was an Athenian statesman and strategos, and the subject of one of Plutarch's Parallel Lives.
Phocion was a successful politician of Athens. He believed that extreme frugality was the condition for virtue and lived in accord with this; consequently, he was popularly known as "The Good." Further, people thought that Phocion was the most honest member of the Athenian Assembly. However, within this chamber, Phocion's tendency to strong opposition relegated him to a solitary stand against the entire political class. Nonetheless, by both his individual prestige and his military expertise, which was acquired by the side of Chabrias, Phocion was elected strategos numerous times, with a record 45 terms in office. Thus, during most of his 84 years of life, Phocion occupied the most important Athenian offices.
In the late 320s, when Macedon gained complete control of Athens (under Antipater), though somewhat compromised Phocion defended both the urban center and its citizens. He even refused to comply with some dishonorable requests of the enemy. However, his stance put Phocion in opposition to both most free Athenians and Polyperchon, the next ruler of Macedonia, who arranged his execution in Athens.Serapion
Serapion is a given name, a variant of Seraphin.
People called Serapion:
Serapion of Alexandria (3rd century BC), Greek physician
Serapion (strategos), probably negotiated in 48 BC for Caesar with Achillas, strategos of Cyprus in 43 BC, executed in 41 BC
Mara Bar-Serapion, Syrian stoicist.
Saint Serapion of Macedonia (d. 195), Martyr
Serapion of Antioch (c. 200 AD), Patriarch of Antioch
Serapion (Disciple of Plotinus) was a 3rd-century neoplatonic philosopher and student of Plotinus
Saint Serapion of Thmuis (4th century)
Yahya ibn Sarafyun (9th century), also known as Serapion the Elder or Johannes Serapion, Christian physician who wrote two medical compilations in Syriac
Serapion the Younger (c. 12th century), physician who wrote The Book of Simple Medicine (in Arabic)
Serapion of Vladimir (13th century), bishop of Vladimir
Saint Serapion of Algiers (1179–1240), Mercedarian saint
Saint Serapion (Archbishop of Novgorod) (d. 1516)
Serapion of Egypt (1709–1903), Coptic monk
Serapion (Coptic bishop of Los Angeles) (b. 1951)Sicily (theme)
The Theme of Sicily (Greek: θέμα Σικελίας, thema Sikelias) was a Byzantine province (theme) existing from the late 7th to the 10th century, encompassing the island of Sicily and the region of Calabria in the Italian mainland. Following the Muslim conquest of Sicily, from 902 the theme was limited to Calabria, but retained its original name until the middle of the 10th century.Sosthenes of Macedon
Sosthenes (Greek Σωσθένης; died 277 BC) was a Macedonian general who may have been a king of the Antipatrid dynasty. During the reign of Lysimachus he was his governor in Asia Minor. Sosthenes was elected King by the Macedonian army, but he may or not have reigned as king. Appointed as strategos he may have declined the title of king as he had no royal connections. During his reign he faced invading Galatians, Antigonus II Gonatas and other rivals. He defeated Bolgius, one of the earliest invading Galatian leaders but was soon faced with the invasion of Brennus in the summer of 279 BC. Antigonus II Gonatas tried to invade Macedonia from Asia in 278 but was beaten by Sosthenes.Theme
Theme or themes may refer to:
Theme (arts), the unifying subject or idea of the type of visual work
Theme (Byzantine district), an administrative district in the Byzantine Empire governed by a Strategos
Theme (computing), a custom graphical appearance for certain software.
Theme (linguistics), topic
Theme Building, a landmark building in the Los Angeles International Airport
Theme music, a piece often written specifically for a radio program, television program, video game or film, and usually played during the intro, opening credits or ending credits
Theme vowel or thematic vowel, a vowel placed before the word ending in certain Proto-Indo-European words
Subject (music), sometimes called theme, a musical idea, usually a recognizable melody, upon which part or all of a composition is based
§ signifies a defunct institution