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Genesis: Historical research

The Varangian Guard as an Instrument for Maintaining Domestic Political Stability during the reign of Michael IV the Paphlagonian (1034 Ц 1041)

Sukhodolskiy Dmitriy Nikolaevich

Postgraduate, Department of Ancient and Medieval History named after Professor V. F. Semyonov, Moscow State Pedagogical University

119991, Russia, Moscow, Malaya Pirogovskaya str., 1 building 1

Other publications by this author










Abstract: This article discusses the position and role of the Varangian Guard in the internal political events of Byzantine Empire during the reign of the emperor Michael IV the Paphlagonian (1034 Ц 1041). The subject of the article is the Varangian Guard as a tool for maintaining power in the context of internal political struggle in Byzantium. The main conclusion of the study is the assumption that the active period of the formation of the Varangian Guard falls on the beginning of the reign of the Paphlagonian dynasty. The Byzantine emperor Michael IV the Paphlagonian (1034 Ц 1041) and his relatives, who did not have strong ties with representatives of the Byzantine civil or military nobility, relied on the Varangian guard to maintain their own power and used it as an instrument of internal political struggle. The novelty of the study lies in a comprehensive analysis of the activities of the Varangian Guard during the reign of the emperor Michael IV the Paphlagonian (1034 Ц 1041) on the basis of Byzantine, Scandinavian and Old Russian sources of different times. In addition, the Varangian Guard is for the first time considered as an instrument not so much of the imperial power, but of the power of the Paphlagonian dynasty.


Varangian guard, Byzantine, Paphlagonian dynasty, Michael IV Paphlagonian, Middle Ages, Heimskringla, Harald Hardrada, Macedonian dynasty, dynasty, governance

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Special attention in historical science has always been paid to issues related to the political development of states, with the peculiarities of the formation of certain political regimes, as well as their internal evolution and transformation in various crisis periods of history. The internal political development of states during periods of change and crisis not only exacerbates the contradictions between various political forces claiming power, but also exposes various political, social, religious and other features of a particular state in the period under review.

In the context of the development of a new historical science and the growing interest in particular issues of history in the mainstream of such areas as microhistory, intellectual history, new political history, special attention in the national historical science was paid to the history of the Byzantine Empire Ц a state that existed for almost a thousand years and probably experienced the greatest number of internal political troubles in its history, which, on the one hand, led to the weakening of the state, and on the other Ц led to a change in the management system, its adaptation to new difficult realities, which allowed the empire to exist for such a long time. The most difficult period of internal troubles and the subsequent military defeat of the empire falls on the XI century and is inextricably linked with the decline and suppression of the powerful Macedonian dynasty that ruled the empire since the second half of the IX century. Against the background of the extinction of the Macedonian dynasty, an internal political struggle broke out within the empire between various forces, which are traditionally reduced to two groups Ц the metropolitan civil bureaucracy and the landed aristocracy.

The purpose of this article is to identify the role of the Varangian Guard in the internal political struggle in Byzantium during the reign of the Paphlagonian dynasty (1034 Ц 1042).

The subject of the article is the internal policy of the Paphlagonian dynasty in the conditions of internal political struggle (1034 Ц 1042).

The object of the study is the Varangian Guard as an internal political force in a struggle for power.

There are not so many studies in Russian historiography devoted to the study of both the Paphlagonian dynasty and the role of the Varangian Guard in the internal politics of the Paphlagonian dynasty. Among the most important studies are several works that directly or indirectly affect this issue. Thus, one of the most valuable studies shedding light on the causes of the fall of the Paphlagonian dynasty in April 1042 was the article by G.G. Litavrin "The Uprising in Constantinople in April 1042" [1]. Another work is an article by the modern Byzantinist A.S. Mokhov "The military policy of the Paphlagonian Emperors (1034 Ц 1042) [2]. In addition to purely military aspects, the article also touches on the peculiarities of the Paphlagonian dynasty coming to power, as well as their policy aimed at controlling the military aristocracy of the empire.

The research source base can be divided into two main groups:

1.††††††† Byzantine sources of the late X Ц early XII centuries .;

2.††††††† Scandinavian royal sagas of the first half of the XIII century.

The first group of sources is the most important and is represented by four main and a number of secondary sources. Among the most important historical sources are the following: "Chronography" by Mikhail Psellus [3], "Review of History" by John Skilitsa [4], "History" by Mikhail Attaliat [5] and "Advice and stories of the Byzantine commander" by Katakalon Kekavmen [6]. The most valuable source of the four Byzantine works can be considered the "Chronography" of Michael Psellus, who was a contemporary and a direct witness to the rise and fall of the Paphlagonian dynasty.

The second group of sources is represented primarily by three collections of royal sagas Ц "Rotten Skin"[7], "Beautiful Skin" [8] and "Circle of the Earth" by Snorri Sturluson [9]. All three works created in the first half of the XIII century largely convey similar information about the period of stay of the Norwegian King Harald III the Severe in the Byzantine service in the 1030s Ц early 1040s.

The novelty of the research lies both in the comprehensive analysis of Byzantine and Scandinavian sources about the activities of the Varangian Guard in 1034-1042, and in the consideration of the Varangian Guard as an instrument of retaining power by the Paphlagonian dynasty.

The methodological basis of the study is a comparative analysis of Scandinavian and Byzantine sources, which allowed us to draw the most complete conclusions about the role of the Varangian Guard in the internal political struggle in Byzantium in 1034-1042.

The geographical scope of the study covers the territory of the Byzantine Empire in 1034-1042, as well as those territories where the Byzantines conducted military campaigns during the period under review.

The lower chronological limit of the study is 1034. This border is due to the coming to power of the Paphlagonian dynasty in the person of Michael IV Paphlagon.

The upper chronological limit of the study is April 1042. At this time, an uprising took place in Constantinople, during which the Emperor Michael was overthrown†V. Kalafat, which led to the fall of the Paphlagonian dynasty.

The beginning of the internal political crisis in the Byzantine Empire is traditionally associated with the death of Emperor Basil II (972 Ц 1025). Rather by inertia, under his first two successors Ц Constantine VIII (1025 Ц 1028) and Roman III Argyre (1028 Ц 1034), visible stability was maintained, which was not disturbed by major wars on the borders, nor major rebellions within the empire. The coming to power of Mikhail IV Paphlagon (1034-1041) leads to an aggravation of the internal political crisis, due to the fact that representatives of a family who up to that moment had no ties with the capital's civil bureaucracy [1] or ties with the military aristocracy [2] are in power. Thanks to the speed and thoughtfulness of the seizure of power, the Paphlagonians managed at first to avoid serious discontent from the capital's bureaucracy and military aristocracy and to occupy key positions in the civil administration [3].

Nevertheless, in our opinion, the preservation of the Paphlagonian dynasty could not be considered by the Byzantine elites in the long term, and the coming to power of representatives of this family was perceived as temporary. Several factors contributed to this. Firstly, as noted above, the Paphlagonians did not have strong ties within various elite groups, and therefore could not count on either the loyalty of these groups or their support in the conditions of an internal political crisis. Secondly, even before the Paphlagonians came to power, there were contradictions within the elite groups and there was their own struggle for power. Accordingly, the Paphlagonians' seizure of power in the empire deprived certain groups of the opportunity to obtain this power. Speaking of the year 1034, at least two such groups can be noted: the first is the landed aristocracy of Asia Minor, which even in the reign of Emperor Constantine VIII tried to make him the successor of the patrician Constantine Dalassin. The second group is those representatives of the capital's bureaucracy who relied on Empress Zoya. John Skilitsa writes about them when he says that John Orphanatrof expelled the eunuchs of Empress Zoya from the palace. Thirdly, with the Paphlagonians coming to power, representatives of their family occupied key positions in the state [Appendix No. 1], which not only helped the Paphlagonians to retain power, but also to appropriate huge wealth for themselves, thereby depriving the Byzantine elites of part of their income. The fourth reason was the Paphlagonians themselves, who for physiological reasons did not have the opportunity to hold power for longer than one generation. So at the time of the accession of Emperor Michael IV Paphlagon, among the main representatives of the dynasty were mainly eunuchs Ц John Orphanatrof and his brothers Konstantin and George [Appendix No. 1]. Emperor Michael IV Paphlagon himself, on the one hand, was married to the elderly Empress Zoya, on the other hand, he was seriously ill, which could not be unknown at court. Of course, the Paphlagonian dynasty was not limited to these persons, but only they occupied the highest positions in the state and ensured the preservation of the dynasty's power over the empire.

For all the above reasons, the Paphlagonians' rule had to be perceived by the elite of the empire as something not normal, and it was possible to put up with this for the reason that everyone understood the temporary nature of the Paphlagonians' stay in power, which was to end with the death of either Empress Zoya or Michael IV Paphlagon. At the same time, the risks associated with an open uprising were too high, and therefore most of the elite preferred to simply wait or prepare a palace coup. This version is also supported by the fact that the uprising against the Paphlagonians, in which both representatives of the civil nobility and the military aristocracy took part, began when the Paphlagonians, after the death of Michael IV Paphlagon (1034-1041), tried to preserve their own power by transferring it to Michael V Calafat (1041-1042).

On the other hand, the main goal of the Paphlagonians was not only to preserve power, but also to be able to pass it on to the next generations and, one way or another, but to secure it for their family, albeit through a side line, as happened in the case of Michael V Kalafat, who was a representative of the Paphlagon dynasty through the female line. For the Paphlagonians, the loss of power would also mean the loss of property acquired during all their rule, since in the Byzantine Empire, property appeared with the advent of power, and not vice versa, as it was, for example, in Western Europe [1].

Having found themselves at the top of power surrounded by a silent, but serious opposition, Paphlagonians primarily relied on family and social ties, which, however, were not enough to preserve power and their own security. In our opinion, one of the most important instruments of preserving power for the Paphlagonians was the Varangian Guard, most of the mentions of which in Byzantine sources during the period under review were connected with the rule of the Paphlagonian dynasty. Accordingly, the Varangian Guard should first of all be considered not as a military force, but as an internal political tool.

The beginning of the first Ц hidden Ц stage of the internal political struggle in Byzantium falls at the beginning of the reign of Emperor Constantine VIII (1025-1028) and Roman III Argyrus (1028-1034), but in relation to this period we practically do not find references to the activities of the Varangian Guard in the empire from the same chroniclers who, describing the reign of the Paphlagonians, directly or indirectly, but mention the guard. However, there is no reason to assume that the Varangian Guard ceased to exist in the period after the death of Basil II (972 Ц 1025) and before the accession of Michael IV Paphlagon (1034 Ц 1041). Most likely, the Varangian Guard continued to exist and serve to protect the emperors both during their stay in the capital and during the military hiking.

Since the accession of Michael IV Paphlagon (1034 Ц 1041), mentions of the Varangian Guard have been increasing. The first group of mentions is connected not so much with the activities of the guard, but with the growth of the guard's strength. So the author of "Tips and Stories" reports on the arrival of a large detachment of varangians led by the future King of Norway Harald Surov: "Aralt, being a young man, wished to go to kneel before the blessed Basileus Mikhail Paphlagonian and see the Roman order. He brought with him an army, five hundred brave warriors" [6] The arrival of Harald the Harsh with a detachment in the reign of Michal IV Paphlagon (1034-1041) is also confirmed by Scandinavian sources: "Harald stayed there [in Russia] for a long time and fought in many battles. Yaritsleiv [Prince Yaroslav the Wise] treated him very well. Then Harald wanted to go on a trip to Miklgard [Constantinople]. At that time, Queen Zoya the Mighty [Empress Zoya] ruled in Miklgard, who ruled the kingdom of Miklgard under seven emperors, and a man whose name was Mikael Catalactus [Emperor Michael IV Paphlagon] ruled with her at that time. Then Harald made a request to the emperor and the queen, saying that he would like to enter the service with all his people. This was granted to him, and they were told that they should all sail in galleys."[8]

Scandinavian sources thus confirm the arrival of a detachment of mercenaries in Byzantium during the reign of Emperor Michael IV Kalafat. However, the arrival of Harald with a detachment is not the only case of mass replenishment of the guard during the reign of the Paphlagonians. So the Chronograph informs us that in Michael V Kalafat (1041-1042) recruited bodyguards for himself: "He protected his person to the Scythian youths he had bought earlier Ц all these were eunuchs who knew what he needed from them, and fit for the service he demanded from them; he he could safely rely on their loyalty, especially after he honored them with high titles. Some of them guarded him, others carried out other orders" [3]. Despite the fact that Mikhail Psell calls the mercenaries "Scythian youths", they most likely mean people from Russia, who can be both Slavs and Russians. Tavroskifs and Scythians, following the ancient tradition, the Byzantine chroniclers Ц Mikhail Psellus, Lev Deacon and others Ц call natives of Ancient Russia [10].† Moreover, behind the functions performed by the "Scythian youths", you can see the traditional occupations of the Varangian Guard Ц the protection of the imperial palace and the emperor himself and the execution of special assignments of the emperor, which cannot be entrusted to the Byzantines.

The two mentions of the Varangian Guard described above indicate that the Paphlagonians paid attention to the growth of the guard's strength and filling it with those mercenaries who would be personally loyal to them. So "Beautiful Skin" mentions that Michael IV Paphlagon (1034 Ц 1042) personally accepted Harald with a detachment for service, and in "Chronography" it is said that new mercenaries got into the guard on the personal initiative of Emperor Michael V Kalafat (1041 Ц 1042). Moreover, it is important to note the fact that that the mercenaries were most likely recruited by Mikhail Calafat during the reign of his uncle, Emperor Michael IV Paphlagon (1034-1041), when Calafat already had the title of Caesar and was declared a potential successor to Michael IV [11]. The impossibility of recruiting mercenaries in the reign of Michael V Kalafat (1041 Ц 1042) can be explained as follows. Michael V Kalafat ascended the throne in December 1041, and was deposed at the end of April 1042. Accordingly, Russian mercenaries could not get into the Varangian guard during the reign of this emperor, firstly, because in winter and spring trade and contacts between Byzantium and Russia stopped, and they resumed along the trade route "from the Varangians to the Greeks" only in summer and autumn. Russian Russians were forbidden to stay in Constantinople for the winter, according to the Russo-Byzantine treaty of 944, cited in the Laurentian Chronicle - the treaty ordered them to return back before the onset of winter. Accordingly, during the reign of Emperor Michael V Kalafat in Constantinople, there simply could not be mercenaries from Russia who could be hired into the Varangian Guard.

Thus, the growth in the number of the Varangian Guard was supposed to ensure the preservation of the Paphlagonians' power over the empire in the conditions of internal political instability in the empire and Paphlagonians' fears about possible conspiracies and uprisings.

A certain discussion is caused by the position of Harald the Harsh in the Varangian Guard. So the sagas, in every possible way embellishing the actions of their hero Ц Harald the Harsh Ц note that he immediately became the leader of all the varangians in the empire: "Harald stayed in the army for a short time, as the Werings became friends with him and were always with him in battles. Soon Harald became the leader of all the Werings" [9]. However, this statement of the author of the saga can hardly be taken for granted for a number of reasons. Firstly, as mentioned above, the Varangian Guard was divided into two parts that were not equal in their position. The first part, which was actually called the Varangian Guard, served in the capital and guarded the emperor. She was the most privileged part of the guard. The second part is mercenaries who served outside the capital and performed military functions, among other things. According to the "Beautiful Skin", Harald was immediately sent on arrival to "sail on galleys", i.e. to engage in patrol service at sea. Secondly, upon arrival in Byzantium, Harald was young and did not yet have sufficient experience in commanding large troops and had to get this experience. Thirdly, the issue of trust in Harald the Harsh and his detachment from the imperial authorities is also important. It is difficult to assume that Harald, upon arrival in Byzantium, almost immediately began to command the personal imperial guard without having proven himself in any way before.

It is much more likely that Harald, while serving outside the capital, gradually earned a name for himself in Byzantium and received new opportunities for "career" growth under the Paphlagonians. So one of the central plots of the sagas tells about the relationship between Harald Surov and George Maniac during the preparation and conduct of the Sicilian expedition of 1038 Ц 1040 .

Even Emperor Basil II (972 Ц 1025) was preparing an expedition to recapture Sicily from the Arabs, but his death disrupted these plans. The Byzantines returned to the idea of returning the island to the empire during the reign of Emperor Michael IV Paphlagon (1034-1041). A talented military commander of Armenian origin from Thrace named George Maniak was put at the head of the military expedition. By that time, Maniac had distinguished himself in the eastern wars of Byzantium with the Arabs during the reign of Roman III Argyrus (1028-1034) and had the status of the best commander in the empire. It was he who was entrusted with the reconquest of the island for Byzantium. However, by awarding the army and the title of strategos-avtokrator to George Maniac, the Paphlagonians put themselves at great risk Ц in the event of a Maniac uprising, they would not have sufficient forces to repel the attack.

Realizing this danger, the Paphlagonians sought to protect themselves as much as possible from a possible mutiny, and therefore took a number of steps that would allow them to maintain control over the army in an expedition remote from the capital. So, firstly, control over the fleet transporting troops to Sicily was given to a native of the Paphlagonian dynasty, Stefan Calafat, the father of the future Emperor Michael V Calafat (1041 Ц 1042). Being in formal subordination to George Maniac, he could continue to observe the commander, and in case of danger report this to the capital.

In our opinion, the Varangian Guard became the second most important instrument of control over George Maniac. As noted above, the Scandinavian sagas pay great attention to the relationship between the varangians led by Harald and George Maniac. Within the framework of their relationship, several plots can be distinguished. The first of them tells about the conflict between Harald and the Varangians with Maniac over the campsite: "One day, when they were hiking overland and were going to camp for the night near some forest, the Werings were the first to reach the place where they needed to pitch tents, and they wanted to put them where it was higher and it was most convenient, because the ground turned out to be swampy, and when it rained, those who settled in the lowlands had a bad time. At that time, Gyurgir, the leader of the army, came up, and when he saw where the Veringi tents were set up, he ordered them to leave and set up camp in another place, saying that he himself intended to set up tents here" [9]. The conflict that arose over the campsite, between the strategos and the mercenaries, almost escalated into an armed clash, but eventually led to the fact that George Maniac had to give in.

This situation, however, may raise some suspicions about its reliability. Firstly, Georgy Maniak held the position of strategos-avtokrator during the expedition [12]. The position of strategos-avtokrator gave the person who received it virtually unlimited power during the expedition [13]. Accordingly, during the expedition, Harald and the Verings also had to be under the authority of George Maniac and carry out his orders, including orders that relate to the location for the night. Secondly, the situation in which the Varangians, led by Harald and George Maniac, found themselves violated not only subordination, but also the existing order of warfare in the empire. So the Byzantine military treatise of the X century "On the arrangement of the camp" clearly prescribed which detachment and where it should be located for the night, and the place in the center of the camp Ц in its most convenient part Ц was reserved either for the emperor or for the commander. At the same time, soldiers were forbidden to occupy any places on their own will: "People from one tagma or fema, gang or tourma should not be allowed to camp in another fema or tagma, tourma or gang; but everyone should be together with their commander, so that each unit, when suddenly it reaches her (this or that service), was in its full composition" [14].

Thus, when analyzing this situation, we must proceed from two assumptions: either this whole situation did not take place in reality and was later attributed to Harald to show his significance, or this situation was in reality and George Maniac really went to some kind of agreement with the Varangians. If we take the story of the author of the saga for reality, then the question arises as to how and for what reason foreign mercenaries in the Byzantine service refused to carry out the order of the strategos-avtokrator during a military campaign? In our opinion, the answer may lie in the fact that initially the Varangian Guard units were outside the control of George Maniac, and, accordingly, the purpose of their stay in Sicily was reduced not only to the military side, but also to the supervision and control of George Maniac, i.e. the Varangian detachments during the expedition made sure that George Maniac did not he went beyond what was allowed and did not raise an uprising against the Paphlagonians.

A few more facts serve as confirmation of this thesis. Thus, in the "Circle of the Earth" it is told that the conflict over the overnight stay was not the only conflict between George Maniac and the Varangians: "Many times there was disagreement between them, and it always ended with Harald getting his way."[9]" In addition, during the battles in which the Byzantine troops under the command of George Maniac took part, the Varangians remained aloof: ""When the whole army was together, Harald ordered his men not to participate in the battle or to be where there was less danger to life. He said he wanted to protect his squad from losses. When he was alone with his men, he rushed into battle with such fury that he had to either win or die."[9]" That is, not only during the campaign, but also during the battles, the varangians led by Harald had the opportunity not to join the battle, if they were not in danger at a time when they were alone or at a time when it was possible to capture a city and plunder it: "Harald every time he won the victory and took the loot..." [9].

The fears of the Paphlagonians about the possible uprising of George Maniac are also confirmed by Byzantine sources. So Skilica and Psellus provide information about the conflict that arose between George Maniac and Stefan Calafat, a representative of the Paphlagonian dynasty, commander of the fleet in Sicily and under the command of Maniac. According to Skilica, Maniac instructed Stefan Calafat to monitor the safety of the coast in order not to allow the Sicilian Arabs to leave the island or receive reinforcements from Africa, but Stefan Calafat failed this task: "The battle began, and the enemy was brutally defeated, many Africans (about five thousand people) fell, and their leader, fleeing from in danger, he boarded a fast ship, which was not known to the bodyguards of Stefan [Calafat] and left. Maniac was furious when he found out about it."[4]

In this example, we see that the representative of the Paphlagonian dynasty, despite the fact of kinship with the emperor, still strives to carry out the orders of George Maniac, and after the failure, that is, after the flight of the Arab leader from Sicily, appears before the commander to report on the reasons for such a failure. However, another fact is also important here, which Sigfus Blendal also drew attention to: Stefan Kalafat, commanding the fleet, had to have stronger ties with the Varangian Guard than Georgy Maniak for two reasons. Firstly, he was a relative of Emperor Michael IV Paphlagon (1034-1041), who took Harald and his detachment into service. Secondly, Stefan Kalafat, starting his career as responsible for launching ships, was the commander of the Byzantine fleet in Sicily at the time of the expedition, and before the expedition, as is known, Harald and his detachment were engaged in patrolling the "Greek" Sea and fought with corsairs floating there [9]. Based on this information, it can be assumed that the Varangians, guarding the sea coast, were under the control or in close connection with the drungary (commander) of the fleet Stefan Kalafat. Accordingly, this connection, assuming that it was mutually beneficial, could have played an important role during the conflict between Stefan Kalafat and Maniac.

In Dalsheim, according to John Skilica, Stefan Kalafat sent a letter to John Orphanatrof, in which he accused George Maniac of preparing a rebellion, after which George Maniac was arrested and sent to Constantinople, where he was thrown into prison. Based on all of the above, we can assume that the varangians, led by Harald, took part in the arrest and dispatch to the capital of the virtually all-powerful and extremely popular strategistЦavtokrator George Maniac, and there was simply no other force for the arrest of the commander on the island. The popularity of the commander is evidenced by the fact that during his uprising in 1043 against Constantine IX Monomakh (1042 Ц 1055), many soldiers sided with the rebel, which is reported in detail in the Chronography of Mikhail Psellus [9].† In addition, the Varangian Guard detachments led by Harald leave Sicily at about the same time that George Maniac was arrested, i.e. in 1040, because already in 1041 they took part in suppressing the uprising of Peter Delyan in Bulgaria. It is also important to note that upon returning from the expedition, Harald receives the title of manglavit Ц the title that the members of the imperial Etheria who guard the emperor received. Receiving this title meant both recognition of Harald's merits and an increase in his status Ц from "external" varangians, he passed into the status of personal imperial bodyguards.

In this capacity, Harald the Harsh took part in the suppression of the uprising in Bulgaria. Mikhail Attaliat reports that despite his illness, Emperor Michael IV Paphlagon (1034-1041) decided to lead the campaign himself. Accordingly, it can be assumed that the Varangian Guard went on a campaign with him, along with Harald, who returned from Sicily. This is evidenced by one of the vis of the Icelandic skald Thjodolf of the XI century, who calls Harald "the scourge of the Bulgarians" [9]. After the successful suppression of the uprising, in which the Varangian Guard also played an active role, Harald the Harsh receives the title of spafarokandidate [6].† Receiving this title introduced Harald the Stern into the number of permanent bodyguards of the emperor and introduced him to the lower level of the highest civil and military hierarchy, allowing, if necessary, to command the tagma Ц one of the units of the Byzantine guard.

The analysis of Byzantine and Scandinavian sources allows us to make an assumption about the special role of the Varangian Guard during the reign of the Paphlagonian dynasty. Since the coming to power of Emperor Michael IV Paphlagon, we have observed an increase in the number of mentions of Varangians in Byzantine sources, which does not happen either in relation to the period of the previous emperors Ц Constantine VIII (1025 Ц 1027) and Roman III Argyrus (1028 Ц 1034), or in relation to subsequent emperors Ц Constantine IX Monomakh (1042 Ц 1055) and Michael VI Stratiotik (1056 Ц 1057). In addition to the number of mentions of Varangians in Byzantine sources, the historical context is also important. This is how the large additions of the Varangian Guard are mentioned twice in the period from 1034 to 1042. The first time was the arrival of Harald the Severe with a detachment in Constantinople in 1034. The second is the recruitment of "Scythians" by Mikhail V Kalafat back in the period when he was commander of the Varangian Guard under Michael IV Paphlagon, i.e. before his accession [15]. During the same period, the Varangian Guard took part in the campaigns of the Byzantine army in the Middle East, patrolled the Aegean Sea as part of the Byzantine fleet, was in Sicily during the campaign of 1038 Ц 1040 under the leadership of George Maniac, actively acted in suppressing the uprising of Peter Delyan in Bulgaria in 1041. Finally, he played a decisive role in the uprising of 1042 in Constantinople in 1042.

Based on the analysis of Byzantine and Scandinavian sources, it can be concluded that in the period 1034 Ц 1042 The Varangian Guard primarily acted not as a military force, but as an internal political force designed to preserve the power of the Paphlagonian dynasty over the empire. This may explain both the growth in the number of guards and the number of mentions of guards in sources: representatives of the Paphlagonian dynasty, not related to either the provincial aristocracy or the metropolitan civil bureaucracy, were an alien element among the Byzantine ruling class. From the point of view of both the metropolitan bureaucracy and the landed aristocracy, the Paphlagonians turned out to be upstarts who only by a lucky chance found themselves in power and held it. During the reign of Emperor Michael IV Paphlagon (1034-1042), the Paphlagonians were saved both by the farЦsighted policy of John Orphanatrof and the cohesion of the Paphlagonians in the face of an external threat. As soon as these two pillars collapsed, the Paphlagonian dynasty lost power. However, to ensure their own security and control over the Byzantine elites, these two pillars were not enough Ц the Paphlagonians could not be sure of either the army or the bureaucracy, especially when it came to remote provinces. That is why they appointed the closest family members to the key cities Ц Thessalonica and Antioch. Being in constant danger, the Paphlagonians had to strive to ensure their own safety and ensure effective control over the elites. In 1034 Ц 1042 . The Varangian Guard, significantly replenished, became an effective tool for achieving these goals Ц until April 1042, when there was a split in the Paphlagonian clan, the opposition on either side failed to shake the position of the dynasty, and all political opponents were neutralized before they were ready to act. On the other hand, it is important to note the fact that service with the Paphlagonians in the Varangian Guard was also beneficial to the Varangians: when Harald the Harsh returned from Byzantium to Scandinavia, with the money earned during his service, he was able to gain popularity among Norwegian bonds and share the country with his nephew King Magnus the Good.

Appendix 1. Relatives of John Orphanatrophe in the highest civil and military positions of the Empire in 1034 Ц 1041 [3,4]

1. Litavrin, G.G. (1973). Vosstanie v Constantinopole v Aprele 1042 goda. Vizantiiskiy Vremennik, 33, 33-46.
2. Mokhov, A. S. (2004) Voennaya politica imperatorov Paphlagoncev (1034 -1042) in Antichnaya drevnoost' i Srednie veka, 35, 145-170.
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In the context of the modern escalation of international relations, various researchers - sociologists, philosophers, historians, cultural scientists - seek to identify the optimal future of the Russian state, while referring not only to its origins, but also to the experience of other civilizational states, primarily Byzantium, or, to be correct, the Roman Empire, because they considered themselves to be Romans The Byzantines. Note that many researchers generally tend to draw parallels between the Byzantine experience and Russian history. These circumstances determine the relevance of the article submitted for review, the subject of which is the internal policy of the Paphlagonian dynasty in the context of the internal political struggle in Byzantium. The author sets out to analyze the available sources and literature, to consider the role of the Varangian Guard in the internal political struggle in Byzantium during the reign of the Paphlagonian dynasty, as well as to determine the nature of relations between the Varangian Guard and the Paphlagonians. The work is based on the principles of analysis and synthesis, reliability, objectivity, the methodological basis of the research is a systematic approach, which is based on the consideration of the object as an integral complex of interrelated elements. The comparative method is also used in the work. The scientific novelty of the article is determined by the very formulation of the topic: the author seeks to characterize the Varangian Guard as an instrument of retaining power by the Paphlagonian dynasty. Considering the bibliographic list of the article, its scale and versatility should be noted as a positive point: in total, the list of references includes 15 different sources and studies. The source base of the article is represented primarily by Byzantine sources of the late X Ц early XII centuries and Scandinavian royal sagas of the first half of the XIII century. Among the studies attracted by the author, we note the works of A.S. Mokhov and G.G. Litavrin, which focus on various aspects of the history of Byzantium in the first half of the XI century. Note that the bibliography is important both from a scientific and educational point of view: after reading the text of the article, readers can turn to other materials on its topic. In general, in our opinion, the integrated use of various sources and research contributed to the solution of the tasks facing the author. The style of writing the article can be attributed to a scientific one, at the same time understandable not only to specialists, but also to a wide readership, to anyone interested in both the history of Byzantium in general and the internal political struggle in it in the XI century, in particular. The appeal to the opponents is presented at the level of the collected information received by the author during the work on the topic of the article. The structure of the work is characterized by a certain logic and consistency, it can be distinguished by an introduction, the main part, and conclusion. At the beginning, the author defines the relevance of the topic, shows that "the preservation of the Paphlagonian dynasty could not be considered by the Byzantine elites in the long term, and the coming to power of representatives of this family was perceived as temporary." The paper shows that "based on the analysis of Byzantine and Scandinavian sources, it can be concluded that in the period 1034-1042 The Varangian Guard primarily acted not as a military force, but as an internal political force designed to preserve the power of the Paphlagonian dynasty over the empire." Due to the special situation, the Paphlagonian situation could not trust either the army or the bureaucracy. The main conclusion of the article is that the Varangian Guard successfully performed the functions of controlling the elites "until April 1042, when there was a split in the Paphlagonian clan." The article submitted for review is devoted to an urgent topic, will arouse readers' interest, and its materials can be used both in lecture courses on the history of the Middle Ages and in various special courses. There are some comments to the article, primarily related to the design: for example, there are typos in the text (for example, "in Dalsheim", etc.) However, in general, in our opinion, the article can be recommended for publication in the journal Genesis: Historical Research.
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