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The Evolution of Offices and Titles in the Twelfth Century

Christos Malatras, Koç University, Summer Fellow 2014

During my summer fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks, I began a project to trace the evolution of the system of titles and offices during the twelfth century, create tables of all office- and title-holders during the same period, examine the place of the lesser aristocracy in this system and its contribution to the administrative machine, and establish (if possible) a system of precedence.

The project was ambitious for a short period of some weeks.  However, intensive work in collaboration with the easy accessibility to resources and the environment provided by Dumbarton Oaks facilitated this task. I was able to read and search throughout almost all the written sources of the twelfth century, and catalogue all the office- and title-holders that I met. At the same time, I was able to use the large collection of Byzantine seals kept at Dumbarton Oaks, thanks to the help of Jonathan Shea, who let me use the collection almost every afternoon during my term. This research helped me to identify a large number of individuals who are not attested in written sources or other published seal collections, and to establish (as much as possible) a more precise dating for twelfth-century seals. It is still necessary to conclude the work by cataloguing individuals and analyzing all information so that I can answer my questions, achieve my goals, and produce a study.