Thematic vs pronoia system

Oct 2011
423
Croatia
What was exactly the difference between thematic and pronoia system? From what I have read so far, pronoia system sounds exactly like the later stage of thematic system: soldier is given a certain amount of land, with several tennant families. This provides him with a stream of income that he requires to finance himself, in terms of weapons and other equipment, and also of being free from having to work his land for himself. One suggestion of difference I can recall is that thematic soldier may have actually owned the land, whereas pronoiar soldier rented it, but seeing how in both cases occupation of the land was conditioned by the military service, it would mean there was no difference. Another difference I recall is that apparently pronoia was not necessarily in land, but rather a stream of income - and could, as such, come from dues, income of non-agricultural activities (e.g. mills) etc. But even so, thematic land was granted not on basis of land area, but on basis of value in gold. As such, it could be expected that thematic grants also may not have been collected wholly in produce.

Overall, I still do not understand what, if any, is the difference between Nikephoros Phokas' Kataphraktos Komnenii pronoiar. The only real difference I found is that thematic lands were granted by provincial administration, while pronoia grants were given directly by the central government; and apparently, pronoia soldiers were settled in groups. Are there any other differences, and how effective was pronoia system compared to thematic one?

I found this, but it doesn't exactly help:
The Late Byzantine Army
 
Feb 2017
427
Rock Hill, South Carolina
The difference is that in the Theme system, soldiers weren't given land. The Theme system was just a method of recruitment that originated under Valentinian II in 386 AD where five or six families who had hereditary service obligations but made less than 3 Nomismata per annum could group together to jointly fund a single recruit. It actually first reappeared under Charlemagne in 808, and then was implemented by Nikephoros in 809/810 in the newly reconquered Sklaveniai (the Peloponnese and Central Greece). From there it was implemented in Anatolia.

There was no Theme system where soldiers were given land with hereditary service requirements. Hereditary service was tied to the family. The Themata were just professional Roman field armies in the Late Roman style, but organized differently. How they were funded is uncertain, but my own hypothesis is that they were done so through the same method as foederati used to be - by directly assigning allotments of tax revenue from units of capital used to assess the value of landed estates to individual soldiers for their pay.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Picard