The rhaiktōr (Greek: ῥαίκτωρ, the hellenized form of Latin rector) was a high-ranking court position of the middle Byzantine Empire.

History and functionsEdit

J. B. Bury assumed that the post was created either under Leo VI the Wise (r. 886–912) or his father Basil I the Macedonian (r. 867–886),[1] but Nicolas Oikonomides restored it in the text of the Taktikon Uspensky of c. 843.[2] The title is also found in seals of the 7th and 8th centuries, but with a different sense; thus a "rhaiktōr of Calabria" was the administrator of the local estates of the See of Rome in Calabria.[3]

The Klētorologion of 899 includes the rhaiktōr among the "special dignities" (axiai eidikai).[3][4] The exact functions of the office are not clear, but, as J. B. Bury wrote, they probably "consisted in exercising some authority over the Imperial household".[1][3] Earlier authors suggested that the title was related, or even identical, to the later title of proedros, but the theory was rejected by Rodolphe Guilland.[5] His ceremony of appointment is recorded in Constantine VII's De Ceremoniis.[1] The reports of the ambassador to the Byzantine court Liutprand of Cremona show the rhaiktōr as playing an important role in court ceremonies under Constantine VII.[6]

The post could be held by court eunuchs as well as clerics, even priests, but was also often combined with other high offices, such as stratopedarchēs or logothetēs tou genikou.[3] In the lists of precedence to the imperial banquets of the 9th–10th centuries he occupied a very prominent place, coming right after the magistroi and before the synkellos and the patrikioi.[7][8] The title disappears from the sources after the reign of Constantine IX Monomachos (r. 1042–1055).[3][9]

At the same time, the title also appears as a family name: the magistros and logothetēs tou dromou Michael Rhektor was a member of the regency council appointed on the death of Romanos II in 963, while under Nikephoros III (r. 1078–1081) a monk called Rhektor pretended to by Michael VII Doukas (r. 1071–1078) and tried to overthrow the emperor.[9]

List of known rhaiktoresEdit

Name Tenure Appointed by Notes Refs
John Lazares 912–913 Alexander Raised to the post on the accession of Alexander, he became a member of the regency council for Constantine VII but was soon dismissed by Empress-regent Zoe Karbonopsina. [10]
John the Rhaiktor c. 922 Romanos I Lekapenos A cleric, he was rhaiktōr and paradynasteuōn of Romanos, he was forced to retire to a monastery. He led a diplomatic mission to Bulgaria ca. 929, and was blinded and exiled along with others in 946 for plotting against Constantine VII. [10][11]
Michael Lekapenos after 945 Constantine VII Son of Romanos I's eldest son and co-emperor Christopher Lekapenos, according to Theophanes Continuatus he was named magistros and rhaiktōr by Constantine VII. [10]
Basil c. 970 John I Tzimiskes Was instrumental in suppressing a coup attempt by Leo Phokas the Younger against Tzimiskes and arresting the ringleaders. Possibly to be identified with Basil Lekapenos. [10]
Basil c. 993 Basil II Recorded only in two acts of the Great Lavra monastery as rhaiktōr and genikos logothetēs. [10]
Niketas c. 1035 (?) unknown Only mentioned briefly in the Peira of Eustathios Rhomaios. [10]
Sagmatas later 11th century unknown Addressee of a letter of Michael Psellos, later apparently advanced to the posts of synkellos and logothetēs tou dromou. [10]
Nikephoros c. 1050 Constantine IX Monomachos A eunuch and former monk, he became a court favourite of Constantine IX, who named him rhaiktōr and stratopedarchēs. Sent to command against the Pechenegs, he was heavily defeated in battle near the Iron Gates. [12]


  1. ^ a b c Bury 1911, p. 115.
  2. ^ Oikonomides 1972, p. 308.
  3. ^ a b c d e Kazhdan 1991, pp. 1787–1788.
  4. ^ Bury 1911, pp. 115, 138.
  5. ^ Guilland 1967, pp. 212–213.
  6. ^ Bury 1911, p. 116.
  7. ^ Oikonomides 1972, pp. 136, 142, 262.
  8. ^ Bury 1911, pp. 146, 148.
  9. ^ a b Guilland 1967, p. 216.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Guilland 1967, p. 214.
  11. ^ PmbZ, Ioannes (#22937).
  12. ^ Guilland 1967, p. 215.


  • Bury, John Bagnell (1911). The Imperial Administrative System of the Ninth Century - With a Revised Text of the Kletorologion of Philotheos. London: Published for the British Academy by Henry Frowde, Oxford University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Guilland, Rodolphe (1967). "Le Recteur". Recherches sur les institutions byzantines, Tome II (in French). Berlin: Akademie-Verlag. pp. 212–219.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Kazhdan, Alexander (1991). "Rhaiktor". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 1787–1788. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
  • Lilie, Ralph-Johannes; Ludwig, Claudia; Pratsch, Thomas; Zielke, Beate (2013). Prosopographie der mittelbyzantinischen Zeit Online. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Nach Vorarbeiten F. Winkelmanns erstellt (in German). Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.
  • Oikonomides, Nicolas (1972). Les listes de préséance byzantines des IXe et Xe siècles (in French). Paris: Editions du Centre national de la recherche scientifique.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)