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Thyatian Military Economics

by James Ruhland

Though all the officers of the military receive an adequate salary and the chief commanders enjoy a princely one, the soldiers themselves receive only modest cash pay, which is intended to supplement their livelihood rather than to provide it. The Thematic forces are primarily supported by the income of land grants (Stratiotika Kteima) that they hold in return for their military service. For the cavalry troopers these grants are so large that they themselves do not need to work for a living and can provide their own horses and rations while on campaign, much like Knights in other nations. The infantry receive smaller grants, but are significantly better off than normal peasants. Marine troops receive land grants similar in size and prosperity to that of cavalrymen, and sailors receive fishery concessions.

Among the guard units (Tagmatic and otherwise) the state supports them by providing lavish quarters in the Zendrolium and generous monthly living allowances, paid in the form of grain requisitioned from the population (the Annona tax) in addition to their cash pay. These allowances exceed the needs of one man, and the surplus is usually sold in the City's markets (organised by unit). By these means the soldiers of the Guard units are able to support their families, and the cavalrymen among them are prosperous enough to have squires. Infantry squads are able to pool resources to hire a servant or two.

Guard units receive their arms and equipment from the stat, which also provides them with horses. The government makes the purchase of armour and weapons easy for the provincial troops as well by producing them at state factories and arranging them to be sold at warehouses located in the provinces (at subsidised cost below normal market value). When new levies are made, surtaxes are raised in villages for the purpose of equipping the troops; the soldiers are generally responsible only for replacing lost or damaged equipment.

(see mainly: Treadgold, "The Byzantine Revival", pp. 26-27, which the above is directly based upon).