Thematic military for 15th century Europe

Oct 2011
201
Croatia
#1
I am quite a fan of Middle Byzantine Empire, especially because of its thematic-model military. This system was quite different from Western feudal model. Both systems relied on landowning class for its military core, but that is where similarities stop. Feudal model was pyramidal: king gave land to lords, who gave it to knights, who then gave it to peasants. In Byzantine system, land was given by the Emperor directly to soldiers, and they did not own the land, but rather only used it. There were also no intermediaries: a cataphract might receive a land with several peasant families to cover his expenses, but that land was given directly by the Emperor, and could be taken away by the Emperor. In essence, Byzantine model had a much "flatter" pyramid than Western model did.

So for questions:
1) How could such a model have developed in the West? Was it possible at all?
2) What it would have meant for future development of Europe?
3) How could it have been implemented in 15th century conditions?
4) What it would have meant for the ability of Central European states (Hungary-Croatia and Poland especially) to resist Ottoman expansion in 15th and early 16th century?

For my idea on how it might work, see here.
 
Apr 2018
261
Italy
#2
I don't think a system like this was possible in Western Europe unless to expropiate the land from nobles, but to do this there should have been a strong central power and no Western King had this power. The only similar thing in 15 century was the pomest system in Russia, but the lands assigned to soldiers were conquered lands.
 
Oct 2011
201
Croatia
#3
I don't think a system like this was possible in Western Europe unless to expropiate the land from nobles, but to do this there should have been a strong central power and no Western King had this power. The only similar thing in 15 century was the pomest system in Russia, but the lands assigned to soldiers were conquered lands.
Could such a system have been implemented in England? IIRC, English feudalism was somewhat different from continental one.

Do you have any links/literature on Russian pomest system?
 
Oct 2011
201
Croatia
#5
That seems more similar to Croatian-Hungarian banderial system:
According to the code, each landlord had to supply the grand prince’s army with one armed cavalrysoldier per 100 chetverti of land (150 desiatinas, or 163.5 hectares).
That being said, I can definitely see relation to thematic system:
The Pomest’e System
The army, however, depended upon the much larger number of provincial servicemen. Most of them were lower-ranking military servicemen who had remained in the provinces when their princes had departed for service in Moscow. Following the subordination of the autonomous princes and the dismantling of their courts, the grand prince gained direct access to those soldiers, but also acquired the responsibility for maintaining them. The conquest of Novgorod and the confiscation of its landowners’ private estates in the 1480s provided the means to do so. Having deported the Novgorodian landowners and resettled them in other portions of his realm, he distributed their lands, which had become state property, to approximately 1,500 other servicemen, whom he transferred from Moscow and other northeastern lands.
Ivan III thus inaugurated the pomest’e system. The system, it will be recalled, involved the allotment of landed estates, initially the incomes from them, to deti boiarskie or provincial soldiers on the condition that they serve in the grand prince’s armies. Pomest’ia were also granted to princes and courtiers from Moscow. As the pattern of confiscations, deportations, and distributions was repeated in other frontier principalities, central control over the outlying regions was secured while military personnel were positioned near the vulnerable borders of the realm. Military service and the army based on it became increasingly linked to the pomest’e system.