The arithmos of the Loyalists to Theodosius and its Role in the Egyptian-Palestinian Borders during the Sixth and the Seventh Centuries A.D.

Muhammad Zayed Abdullah

Abstract


On 30th May 512 A.D., Flavius Stephen and his elder brother, soldier Flavius Aws stated that they were from Rhinocorura (El-‘Arish) because they were soldiers in the military unit called “arithmos of the Loyalists to Theodosius” based there, although they were born in Nessana (‘Auja). Another papyrus dating to 23th December 590 records two soldiers of the arithmos of the Loyalists to Theodosius who served in Elusa. This raises many questions about the arithmos of the Loyalists to Theodosius and the nature of relations among Rhinocorura, Elusa and Nessana.
This paper demonstrates that the Byzantine administration in the southeast frontier faced attacks from Arab tribes in the Arabian desert that had allied with the Persian Empire. That led to the establishment of the arithmos of the Loyalists to Theodosius in the eastern frontiers with the help of Arab tribes from the former Nabataean areas to protect the Byzantine frontier in the Negeb desert in exchange for grants of land in the frontier provinces.

Keywords


Byzantine Palestine, Elusa, Nessana, Rhinocorura.

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