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Byzantine Military Tactics in Syria and Mesopotamia in the 10th Century

A Comparative Study

Georgios Theotokis

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The first comprehensive history of Byzantine warfare in the tenth century

This book examines the strategies and military tactics of the Byzantines and their enemies in Eastern Anatolia, Syria and in Upper Mesopotamia in the tenth century. This period of conflict is difficult to define: it was too inactive to be called a ‘war’ but too active to be called a ‘cold war’. Nevertheless, it was a ‘war’, even if it lacked the numerous pitched battles or protracted sieges that defined other periods or other operational theatres of war. This study examines the way the Byzantines innovated and adapted their strategies and tactics to those of their enemies in the East, giving a rich picture of tenth-century Byzantine warfare.

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List of rulers

Map of Anatolia and Upper Mesopotamia

Map of Armenian themes and principalities


  1. The "Grand Strategy" of the Byzantine Empire
  2. Byzantine and Arab strategies and campaigning tactics in Cilicia and Anatolia (eighth–tenth centuries)
  3. The Empire’s foreign policy in the East and the key role of Armenia (c. 870–965)
  4. The Byzantine view of their enemies in the battlefield – the Arabs
  5. Methods of transmission of (military) knowledge (I): reconnaissance, intelligence
  6. Methods of transmission of (military) knowledge (II): espionage
  7. Tactical changes in the Byzantine armies of the tenth century – Theory and practice in the battlefields of the East
  8. Tactical changes in the Byzantine armies of the tenth century – investigating the root causes
  9. Byzantine–Arab battles of the tenth century: evidence of innovation and adaptation in the chronicler sources
  10. Tactical innovation and adaptation in the Byzantine army of the tenth century: the study of the battles

Summaries and conclusions


About the Author

Georgios Theotokis is Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Byzantine Studies Research Centre, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. He is the author of Norman Campaigns in the Balkans 1081-1108 (2014) and editor of Military History of the Mediterranean Sea (2018).


An excellent look at the very important conflict between the Byzantines and the Arabs

- Dr. Kelly DeVries, Professor of History, Loyola University Maryland

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