Pronoiai info


Many Byzantine soldiers of the post-Manzikert era, were maintained by grants of land called pronoiai. these were not actually a right to the land itself, but rather to the revenue and labour service which the district and its inhabitants provided. Though it was largely by means of such pronoiai that the Komnenoi emporers reestablished the army in the 12th century, they nevertheless remained relatively uncommon until the end of the 13th century, and by which time then were already in decline.

The pronoia-holder was typically a native heavy cavalryman and his pronoia was usually in the provinces, the soldier himself was generally a soldier of the central army, and as such was an absent landlord. He was not, however, a full time soldier but a reservist, called out for temporary service when required but otherwise paying a tax on his revenues which helped finance field armies.

The Pronoiai were initially non-hereditary, the conversion of some pronoiai into hereditary holdings during the reign of Michael VIII was probably an attempt to stem the decline of the empire, while a sudden dramatic increase of them in 1340 was probably an attempt to win the support of some soldiers during the civil wars. Such alienation of the provincial magnates, however, with continuous territory losses and the exemption from military service which were incomprehensibly granted to many pronoiars inevitably resulted in the total collapse of the system long before the end of the 14th century.