This is one of several translated excerpts from Byzantine sources prepared and mounted by Paul Stephenson.

CONSTANTINE PORPHYROGENITUS, DE CERIMONIIS AULAE BYZANTINAE, II, 46-7

(ed. Reiske, I, 679-86)

A Diplomatic Stylesheet: Protocols and Forms of Address for Foreign Potentates, I

c. 46 (ed. Reiske, p. 679)

Honorific titles that the emperor may bestow on the leaders and potentates of foreign peoples (ethne):

Exousiaokrator, exousiarches, exousiastes, archon of archons, archegos, archegetes, archon, exarchon, pro(h)egemon, hegemonarches, hegemon, kathegemon, dynastes, pro(h)egetor, hegetor, protos, ephoros, hyperechon, diataktor, pan(h)ypertatos, hypertatos, koiranos, megalodoxos. Rex, prinkips, doux, synkletikos, ethnarches, toparches, satrapes, phylarchos, patrarchos, strategos, stratarches, stratiarchos, stratelates, taxiarchos, taxiarches, megaloprepestatos, megaloprepes, pepothemenos, endoxotatos, endoxos, periphanestatos, periphanes, peribleptos, peribleptotatos, eugenestatos, eugenes, ariprepestatos, ariprepes, aglaotatos, aglaos, eritimotatos, eritimos, gerousiotatos, gerousios, phaidimotatos, phaidimos, kyriotatos, kyrios, entimotatos, entimos, pro(h)egoumenos, hegoumenos, olbiotatos, olbios, boulephoros, arogos, epikouros, epirrophos, amantor.

[These titles have various Latin and English equivalents, e.g. prinkips = princeps, prince, doux = dux, duke. The positive and superlative titles, e.g. eugenes, eugenestatos, reflect the normal relationship (well born, best born). Various prefixes perform a similar function, e.g. pro-(h)egetor, pan-(h)ypertatos.]

c. 47 (ed. Reiske, pp. 680-6)

The greetings to the emperor from ambassadors from various foreign peoples (ethne).

The foremost of the Holy Apostles protect you: Peter the keyholder of heaven, and Paul teacher of the Gentiles (ethne). Our spiritual father (pneumatikos pater),  [Name*], the most holy and ecumenical patriarch, together with the holiest bishops, priests and deacons, and the whole clerical order of the holy Church of the Romans (Romaioi), send you, Emperor, faithful prayers through our humble persons. The most honoured prince (prinkips) of the elder Rome with the leading men (archontes) and the whole people subject to them convey to your imperial person the most faithful obeisance (doulosis).

[* The formula is ho deina, or 'a certain', for which should be substituted the name of the individual in question.]

The Logothete's inquiries to them:

How is the most holy bishop of Rome, the spiritual father of our holy Emperor ? How are all the bishops and priests and deacons and the other clergy of the holy church of the Romans ? How is the most honoured [name] prince of the elder Rome ?

The greeting to the Emperor of ambassadors coming from Bulgaria:

How is the Emperor, crowned by God, the spiritual grandfather (pneumatikos pappos) of the Prince (archon*) by God (ek theou) of Bulgaria ? How is the empress (augousta) and mistress (despoina) ? How are the emperors, the sons of the great and high Emperor, and his other children ? How is the most holy and ecumenical patriarch ? How are the two Masters (magistroi) ? How is the whole senate ? How are the four Logothetes ?

[* See the notes above for an exploration of the term archon, which I have translated here and below as Prince.]

The Logothete's inquiries to them:

How is the spiritual grandson (pneumatikos engonos) of our holy Emperor, the ruler by God of Bulgaria ? How is the Princess (archontissa) by God ? How are the Kanarti keinos and the Boulias tarkanos, the sons of the ruler by God of Bulgaria, and his other children ? How are the six great Boyars (Boliades) ? How is the common folk ?

When the name changed and he became a son, the Bulgarians enquired as follows:

How is the great and high Emperor who sits on the golden throne ? How is the emperor, the son of the great and high Emperor, and his other children ? How is the empress and mistress ? How is the most holy and ecumenical patriarch ? How are the Masters and Proconsuls (anthypatoi) and Patricians (patrikioi) ? How are the whole senate ? How are the generals (strategoi) and the armies of the holy Emperor ?

The Logothete's inquiries to them:

How is the spiritual son (pneumatikos huios) of our holy emperor, the Prince by God of Bulgaria ? How is the Princess by God of Bulgaria ? How are the sons and daughters of the emperor's spiritual son ? How are the six great Boyars ? How are the other inner and outer Boyars ? How is the common folk ?

The greeting to the emperor by ambassadors coming from Syria and the Emir of the Faithful (Amermoumnes):

Peace and mercy, happiness and glory from God be with you, high and mighty Emperor of the Romans (Romaioi). Wealth and health and longevity from the Lord, peacemaking and good Emperor. May justice and great peace rise in your reign, most peaceful and generous emperor.

The Logothete's inquiries to them:

How is the most magnificent (megaloprepestatos) and most noble (eugenestatos) and distinguished (peribleptos) Emir of the Faithful ? How is the Emir and the Council (gerousia) of Tarsos ? (if however the legates of the Emir of the Faithful come from another emirate, they should enquire after that emir and his council.) How are you ? How were you received by the Patrician and General of Kappadokia ? How  were you treated by the imperial aid (basilkos) who was sent to look after you ?  Did anything unfortunate or distressing occur on your journey ? Leave cheerfully and delighting in the fact that today you dine with our holy Emperor.

[Continues with greetings from Byzantine ambassadors to the Emir of the Faithful; greetings from and to ambassadors of a tributary grand emir of Egypt, Persia or Chorosan;  greetings from and to ambassadors of an independent grand emir, or one subject to the Emir of the Faithful.]


Paul Stephenson
19 October 1998; revised January 2012