Introduction to Kekaumenos
Kekaumenos, Consilia et Narrationes
Table of contents
- I. Preface
- II. The manuscript
- 1. Condition and organisation
- 2. Section VI, and its manuscripts
- 3. Contents and context
- III. The text
- IV. The author and his family
- 1. The author
- 2. The Kekaumenos family
- 3. The Nikoulitzas family
The text of the Consilia et Narrationes, by an author whose name is lost, but whose father was called Kekaumenos, survives in only one manuscript, Moscow Synodalis 298 (Vlad 436) ff. 136vo - 229ro (=M). It was discovered by V. Vasilevskij who published large excerpts, with translation and historical notes, in 1880; this excellent commentary has provided the basis for all further study of the work. He published a full version of the text with E. Jernstedt in 1896, Cecaumeni Strategicon, but unfortunately included no comments beyond those contained in a brief preface. They printed - without division into sections - our sections I-V, followed by VI within square brackets. That was followed by a transcription of the Pinax, followed by Section VII, which they thought might be the work of a different author. The 1896 edition was the basis for the study by P. Lemerle, who published his Prolégomènes à une édition critique in 1960, and for H. G. Beck's German translation, with brief notes, published in 1964. G. G. Litavrin published a new edition, with a Russian translation and a copious commentary, in 1972; he corresponded, very helpfully, with me, and used some of my suggested readings in the revised edition which he published in 2003. Litavrin published the sections in the order I-IV, VII, V, and placed section VI in an Appendix. D. Tsougarakis published a text based largely on Litavrin's 1972 edition, with a translation into Modern Greek in 1993 (sections I-IV, VII, V). M. D. Spadaro published a revised version of Litavrin's 1972 text and Italian translation in 1998 (sections I-V); this is the text used by the TLG, and by the PBW. J. Signes Codoner published a Spanish translation, with notes, from Litavrin's text, in 2000 (sections I-IV, VII, V, VI). It is a great privilege to be able to include most of those translations in this edition, and I am very grateful to their authors, and other colleagues who have made this possible; the additional links in their texts are my responsibility. It is not always easy to move between these publications, and references here are to the pagination of the 1896 edition, which is still the mostly widely available; but it has been possible to include the page numbers of the other editions.
In 1936, Georgina Buckler, who was my grandmother, announced her intention to publish a full, critical edition of the Consilia et Narrationes: on Buckler see Roueché (1993). Her work had been completed and was awaiting publication at her death in 1953. In 1969, with the help of Professor Joan Hussey, I retrieved my grandmother's papers, and decided to re-edit and publish her work. Georgina Buckler's commentary was fairly limited, but her translation was very clear, and she was particularly interested in the citations and echoes; I inherited an interest in that aspect of the text. Of all the studies cited above, G.G. Litavrin's offers the fullest historical commentary; the literary aspects have been less explored. Over the period, the possibilities for editing Byzantine texts have been revolutionised; not only do we have many more reliable editions on which to draw, but we also have essential tools. I am, for example, particularly indebted to the TLG, which is transformative in helping us to begin to grasp the intertextuality of Byzantine authors. This undertaking was delayed by a variety of matters, but one impediment was the difficulty in finding a way to present the relevant information; the SAWS Dynamic Library is pioneering one approach to that problem.
It would be quite impossible to thank all the colleagues who have give me help and advice over so long a period, and in so many different ways; they know who they are, and I hope that they know how much I have appreciated their help. I would like, however, to name some of those who are no longer with us, but to whom I am greatly indebted, as so many of us are: Charles Astruc, Robert Browning, Julian Chrysostomides, José Grosdidier de Matons, Jean Gouillard, Philip Grierson, Michael Hendy, Joan Hussey, Paul Lemerle, Gennadii Litavrin, Donald Nicol, Stavros Papastavrou, Joseph Paramelle, Ihor Ševčenko, Paul Speck. We are all very fortunate to have the benefit of their contributions to our subject. But my personal dedication is to Georgina Buckler, whose work set me off on this path.
II. The manuscript
II.1. Condition and organisation
I have not seen the manuscript, but worked from a set of photographs kindly provided by the Institut d'Histoire et Recherche des Textes in Paris; on one point Professor Litavrin very generously checked the MS for me. On its contents see further below, II.3.
An outstanding characteristic of this manuscript is the quantity of errors, which have been remarked on by several editors; ‘scatet hic codex ut vix ullus alius turpissimis peccatis orthographicis’ as the editors of the Syntipas observed. This presents a challenge for an editor: even with the capacity which digital publication offers, it seems excessive to record all variants. I have been greatly helped in this work by Maria Grazia Lancellotti, of the University of Bologna, who brought a good philological training and an entirely fresh eye to bear on the issue, as she edited my apparatus. We have incorporated all the variants noted by Vasilevskij and Jernstedt, and added a good deal more; but in so doing we have observed some general tendencies, where we have not recorded every example. We have not normally indicated, as too frequent, recurrent interchanges of vowel: between αι and ε; between ω and ο; between η, ι, ει and οι; between υ and η. Indicative examples are: nouns ending in -εια written as -ια; e.g ἀκρίβιαν for ἀκρίβειαν 79.14; confusion between verbal endings (-εις/-ῃς, -ει/-ῃ, -ειν/-ην, -εσθε/-εσθαι, etc. A good example is provided by the variations in the forms of word τείχος: nominative singular: τείχοσ 31.19, 31.21, 31.24, τύχοσ 30.17, 31.16, 33.21; genitive singular: τείχουσ 31.19, 31.23, 75.20; τύχουσ 30.01, 30.07, 30.13, 30.15, 31.16; dative singular: τύχει 31.06, 31.17; nominative plural: τείχη 29.28; τείχει 29.27, 31.33; τύχη 28.16, 29.30, 33.27; τύχει 30.29, 31.23; genitive plural: τύχεων 30.30, 31.33; τειχέων 75.07 dative plural: τείχεσιν 33.20, τύχεσιν 22.13. We have not indicated all the many examples of confusion of single and double consonants both within and between words: so for example κράτοσου at 98.06, 98.11, 98.21, 99.23. The use of accents and other marks is also very varied; we have not indicated the frequent exchange of accent between interrogative-indefinite pronouns; διἀ for δια; ϊ or ϋ instead of ι υ.
Our text has received a good deal of attention from least one later scribe. It has been broken down into sections; these have been given numbers and rubrics; and a list of contents (Pinax), based on those rubrics, has been drawn up. Between the Pinax and the text is a prologue which, as Jernstedt (1926) pointed out, is metrical. I cannot accept that any of this work should be attributed to our author or anyone close to him. The Prologue is clearly based on deductions drawn from the text, which was already mutilated (see lines 10-11). The rubrics are based on the chapter-divisions, which themselves show a striking disregard for the natural structure of the work; for example, chapters 21 (κα'), 32 (λβ'), 87 (πζ'), 181 (ρπα') and others break into the middle of a sentence or an argument. Finally, the Pinax is based on the rubrics, up to number 189, ρπθ'.
It is not possible to know whether the dividing and numbering of the chapters, and the composing of the rubrics, are the work of the same hand. The Chapters were apparently numbered after the loss of any preceding material (since our text starts at α'), but before the loss or displacement of a considerable amount of material later on. While this numbering apparently included some simple errors (e.g., ρκγ' twice, with different rubrics; an additional, unnumbered, rubric between ρμς' and ρμζ') it seems likely that there is more significance in the omission of groups of numbers: these are found between ρμθ' and ρνε' (five chapters), ρνς' and ρξ' (three chapters), ρξ' and ρξη' (seven chapters), ρϝβ' and σιη' (25 chapters) and σκς' and σκη' (one chapter). While this last omission might easily be a pure error, the size of the others suggests that material was lost in these places after the numbering of these sections. This situation naturally invites speculation. Lemerle pointed out (Prolégomènes 16) that the Advice to an Emperor (our Section VII), is divided into exactly 25 chapters (σλε' to σνθ') corresponding to the omission of 25 chapters between ρϝβ' and σιη', and perhaps indicating that Section VII originally followed our Section IV, and was followed by our Section V, Advice to a toparch; Litavrin, and later editors, have printed it in this position. But Section V, which is nine chapters and perhaps included a tenth, the missing σκζ', may once have stood between ρνς' and ρξη', where two gaps, of three and seven chapters, are indicated. Advice to a toparch (V) might lead in more easily to the advice on rebellions and loyalty in Section IV. But either of these suggestions requires a very complicated system of numbering, since Sections V, VI and VII have all been numbered consecutively, from σιη' to σνθ'. If either section originally stood at an earlier position, we must imagine that, after their transposition, they were deliberately renumbered; such a history is perhaps easier to suppose for Section VII, since it occupies the final position in our text, but in the end these speculations, and reorganisations, are not very helpful. I have chosen to follow the 1896 edition in keeping the manuscript order, but without the break which Vasilevskij and Jernstedt created between sections VI and VII.
The Rubrics are definitely based on the chapter divisions, but they might have been added later. While they show a varying degree of understanding of the text, there is one point of interest. Rubric πθ' (at 36.24) is drawn - as is common - from the words of the chapter it heads: πε(ρὶ) τουσπουδάζειν εἰσ τὸν βίον σου. But it adds the phrase ὅταν οὐκ εί εισ ταξίδ(ιν). This addition, which has no basis in the wording of the chapter, suggests that the rubricator saw the primary concern of our text as being with military conduct; and this is similar to the approach of the author of the Prologue, whose concern with military matters makes Lemerle suggest that it was he who entitled our text ‘Strategikon’ (Prolégomènes 9). The text had already lost, not only some preceding material, but also, according to the author of the Prologue, material in the body of the text. One such lacuna is apparently indicated by the space left at f.146 (8.15) There is an attractive economy in attributing the Prologue and the rubrics to the same man; but there is no further evidence. The rubrics were present in a copy early than ours; at one point (73.28) the text of a rubric has been incorporated in the main text.
Finally, the Pinax was composed later than the Prologue, which it lists as α'. It appears to be based on the rubrics in more or less their present form; it corresponds to Rubrics α' to σκδ', which it numbers consecutively, disregarding any omissions, so that it runs from α' to ρϝ. It was evidently based on a set of the rubrics which was fuller than ours, since it includes two titles, ρμθ' and ροζ', which are not among our rubrics. Of these, the former probably represents a lost chapter at 62.11 ff.; the rubrics here are in considerable confusion. The latter (at 73.28) is explained by the absorption of the rubric into the body of the text. Of the mistakes in the numbering of the Pinax headings, the omissions of ρ', ρλδ', ρξζ' and ρξη' all coincide with a change of folio in our MS, and so should probably be attributed to the scribe of this MS (as Lemerle pointed out, Prolégomènes, 9, n. 3). This suggests that he was responsible for numbering the Pinax, without reference to the rubric numbers. He might even be the author of the Pinax; the divergences between it and the rubrics are not so great that they could not be ascribed to our scribe’s remarkable ineptitude. The absence of the final chapters from the Pinax could indicate the loss of part of the Pinax; but it could indicate that the scribe who copied the Pinax from the rubrics, confused by the change of subject matter in this part of the MS, simply ended the Pinax here. I would, therefore, prefer to emend Lemerle’s suggestion that the Pinax and the rubricated text are independent and have been juxtaposed by our scribe (Lemerle, Prolégomènes, 11, followed by Litavrin (1972), p. 32, (2003) p. 33); once the Pinax had been written out separately, at the head of our text, textual corruption of the scale visible in our MS is sufficient to account for the development of the differences between Pinax and rubrics. I have left the text of both uncorrected, to make this point easier to judge.
We may assume therefore, in the history of our text, the following stages: 1. Loss of preceding material 2. Division and numbering of chapters 3. Composition of rubrics and Prologue 4. Loss and confusion of material in later sections ?5. Renumbering of transposed sections 6. Composition of Pinax. Of these, 2 and 3 were probably contemporaneous; 5 need only be supposed if we assume that Sections V or VI did originally fill the lacunae in the numbered text; and 6 should perhaps be attributed to our scribe. Thus we must, at the minimum, assume at least one intermediary in the transmission of our text, and probably more. There is no way of knowing how much material was lost, which is of particular importance if we are tempted at any point to argue from the author’s silence on any matter.
II.2. Section VI, and its manuscripts
A version of the passage at 81.10 to 84.15, De Draconibus, is found in seven other MSS, in all of which it is accompanied by the text, De Strygibus, 'On fairies' (PG 94.1693-94), and is attributed to St. John Damascene. I owe my information about the MSS of this text to M. Gouillard, and to information sent to him by the Byzantinischen Institut der Abtei Scheyern, which he most courteously made available to me. The fragment is no G.126 in the catalogue in Hoeck (1951), 50; see also the listing at Pinakes. These MSS appear to form two groups.
I. Of the first group, Monacensis gr. 308 (= A) is the oldest MS (12th century); see Hardt (1806), 3, p. 246.. The first part of the MS (f. 1-214) is a lexicon, and the second part contains a series of questions with answers drawn from the fathers (fol. 223-end); between the two (f. 220vo-222vo) is our text, part of which was edited from this MS by Polites (1880). Part of the contents of the second part of this MS (i.e., the De Draconibus and the De Strygibus) is also found in Paris. suppl. gr. 773 (= P), (f. 234- 236), a MS of the 16th century; it is preceded there (f. 218-234) by two homilies attributed to St.John Damascene on the birthday of the Virgin, and the MS also contains some of the questions and answers (f. 286-288vo). This is the MS from which Michel Lequien published the De Draconibus and the De Strygibus (PG 94.1599-1604). A longer excerpt of material from A, including the end of the lexicon, followed by the De Draconibus (32vo-33vo), the De Strygibus (33vo-34) and part of the questions and answers (34-38) is found in Vallicell. gr. 89 (= Va), of the 13th-16th century.
II. The other family of MSS is represented firstly by British Library Add. 34060 (= L), a MS of material largely compiled by or for George Drazinus, and completed by him in 1438 (f. 579), but incorporating a section copied in the 12th century (f.511-579). Our text is at f. 482-482vo, preceded by a letter from Hippocrates to Ptolemy (481-481vo) and followed by the De Strygibus (f 482vo-483) and a note on the ἀκολουθία τοῦ ἀριστοῦ (f. 484). Between this and the De Strygibus is a sentence referring the reader to f. 581 for a passage from John Nesteutes. Our text is also found in Marcianus gr. III.4, (= Ma), a MS of the 16th century, at f. 400-400vo; this MS appears to be a very close copy of L, although the order of some of the material is changed. In this MS, our text is preceded by a group of questions and answers ascribed to Joasaph the Syncellus, and George Drazinus, the owner of L (f. 393-399); it is followed (ff. 400v-401) by the text of John Nesteutes to which reference is made at this point in L.
Siniaticus gr. 1889, dated 1572, (= S) also contains a good deal of material from L, possibly via the Marcianus MS, whose order it sometimes follows rather than that of L. Thus an abridged version of our text (at f. 237vo-238) is followed by the same text of John Nesteutes as in Ma. A Bodleian MS, Selden. supra 15 (= O), a 15th century MS, contains an abridged version of our text (at f. 79vo-81vo) with many similarities to that found in S, including substantial omissions. It also contains some material from the text ascribed to Eustratius of Nicaea which is found in L (at f. 416-422) and in Ma (at f.351v-355v), but in a substantially altered form. Finally, there is a MS in the Paris National Archives, M. 833 2991, but this is simply a copy from among the papers of Combefisius.
I have consulted L and O in person; I have obtained photographs of A, S, and V, and have relied on Lequien's text, printed at PG 94.1599-1602, for P; I have not consulted Ma, which I take to be a close copy of L, nor the Combefisius copy. I would like to thank the Bodleian Library, the British Library, the Biblioteca Vallicelliana, the Stadtsbibliothek in Munich, and the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. for making this material available to me.
Apart from that between O and S, there are no very evident relationships between the texts found in these MSS. The abundant mistakes made by the scribe of the Moscow MS confuse the issue; but the basic structure and argument of the text found in all these MSS are inferior to that of the Moscow MS (= M); only in a couple of places has that tradition been of use in correcting mistakes, and these can reasonably be ascribed to the scribe of our MS, M. It seemed sensible, however, to record the variants here.
II.3. Contents and context
The Moscow manuscript is one of considerable interest. It was described in detail by Fonkic (1971) and that description was updated in Roueché (2009). It was copied in or near Trebizond, probably in the 14th century; by the 17th century it was in the library of the monastery ton Iviron on Athos. It was bought in the 1650s by Arsenii Sukhanov, for the new patriarchal library in Moscow. It is made up of two separate MSS, fol. 1-350vo and fol. 351-577vo; there are three groups of small additions - ff. 1-5, 58 and 492-3. The contents show close similarities to those of Monac. gr. 525, also from Trebizond. They both contain the Vita and the Fabulae of Aesop, the Cosmicae Comoediae ascribed to Aesop (only found in these MSS), the so-called Fabulae Syntipae, the Liber Syntipae, and the Stephanites and Ichnelates. Our MS also contains a military manual (the Praecepta Nicephori), two collections of gnomai, a recension of the Life of Alexander, and a recension of the Physiologus. The Book of Syntipas (Sinbad) was translated into Greek from 'Syrian' (Syriac or Arabic) by Michael Andreopoulos at Melitene, in the late eleventh century. Stephanites and Ichnelates is a translation from the Arabic of the eastern story Kallilah wa Dimnah, which links together a series of moralising episodes; it was translated by Simeon Seth, (for whom see Kazhdan, ODB, s.v.Seth; PBW Symeon 118) scientist and doctor in the second half of the 11th century. It was Ben Perry, the great scholar of Aesopic material, who pointed out that all these texts, found in these two MSS, belonged to a tradition of advisory works which were translated in and out of Greek and the eastern languages. In his view the materials in our manuscript were collected in eastern Asia Minor, in the late eleventh century, which also appears to be the date of the composition of the Consilia: see Perry, Studies.
The Consilia contain a few echoes of material found in this MS. The discussion of dragons is, in two places, reminiscent of the Life of Alexander found at fol. 6-109. There are some links with the Praecepta Nicephori, which immediately precedes our text in the MS; there are some echoes of Syntipas. At 37.18 K quotes a proverb which is otherwise only known from the collection of Aesopic proverbs, edited by Perry, Aesopica, 287-88 at fol. 530-531. None of these links are very strong. More striking is the general overall similarity between most of these works. All are concerned to give advice, whether moral or practical - either directly, or within a narrative framework. Of course, similarities between the material in the MS need mean no more than that the manuscript was assembled by someone with particular interests. But the dominance of the eleventh century suggests that they may have come together at that date. If so, it is tempting to consider whether the person who gathered this material was perhaps the author of the Consilia.
III. The text
The text which we have includes perhaps three different compositions. The major work (1-80.06) is the Consilia et Narrationes, ‘Advice and Anecdotes’, addressed to the author’s sons; this is structured in sections each introduced by a premiss: ‘if you are in such and such a position, then . . .’ I, and other modern editors, have found it helpful to impose large subsections on the work: but these are modern artefacts, simply intended to aid the reader. The last of these, V ‘To a toparch’, in the present state of our manuscript, is found after the apparent epilogue to the work, at 75.25-76. After that are two further pieces: first comes the De draconibus discussed above, comprising a note on mythical creatures and on thunder and lightening, with some miscellanea (80-84); the text then returns to advice, with the Consilium Principi, ‘Advice to an Emperor’ (93-104) addressed to a generalised emperor. There is clearly disarray in the manuscript tradition, and it can be argued that (for example) the Advice to a Toparch should be, and perhaps once was, located earlier. But there are dangers in reorganising the material into an order which is closer to what we think suitable, and it is probably most prudent to present the material in the way in which it is found in the manuscript. There can be no doubt that the Consilium Principi is by the same author as the Consilia et Narrationes, and this has now been widely accepted; but there are also reasons to believe that much or all of the section on mythical creatures is also by the same author. All this material, therefore, must be taken into account in trying to understand the nature of the work with which we are dealing.
A large part of the surviving work (9-36, our Section II) is devoted to advice on military matters, and the author appears to describe it as a στρατηγικὸν, ‘military handbook’ (19.19). It was presumably on this basis that the scribe responsible for the Prologue used the same term, and this name for the work was adopted for the 1896 edition. Later editors have preferred the more accurate title of Consilia et Narrationes, ‘Advice and Anecdotes’, or equivalents. The strategic section has also attracted a disproportionate amount of attention because it is illustrated by a large number of narratives of historical events; these are also found in other parts of the work, but not so abundantly. It is clear from these that the author was active in the middle of the eleventh century, and the text was probably composed in the mid to late 1070s. Most of the scholarly attention paid to the work has come from historians, concerned to learn from these narratives, and also to determine the possible identity of the author - a subject which has developed a large bibliography (see further below, Section IV). In this debate, it seems reasonable at least to assume that the author, like his father, was called Kekaumenos, and I refer to him as K.
Although we lack the opening, we do have a passage which appears to have been intended as an epilogue to the work, in which he addresses his children. This is a well-established traditιon of advisory literature, and should perhaps alert us to the fact that K is writing within an established tradition. An attractive aspect of our text is the very straightforward and simple style; this has often been taken as the simplicity of the author: ‘sa simplicité, son naturel, son ingénuité' (Lemerle, Prolégomènes 95). This might also appear to be reinforced by the author's own words: 'I am devoid of learning; for I have not studied Greek culture, so that I might obtain tricks of speech, and be taught eloquence' (75.30). But, as Robert Browning pointed out, this is itself a rhetorical trope, used in particular to introduce the register appropriate to 'useful' literature: see Browning (1978), especially 103-4, together with Browning (1978a) and Browning (1993). It is easy to underestimate the range of stylistic options available to a Byzantine author. In fact it can be shown that K had acquired a certain level of rhetorical education; he must have completed the first four progymnasmata, the first four exercises preparing students for the study of rhetoric, also known as the ‘Little Rhetoric': see Roueché (2003), and also Odorico (2003) . Most obviously, he constructs much of his work in the manner of the third and fourth progymnasmata, the gnome and the chreia, which involved developing an essay on the basis of a ‘saying’. Thus, most often he begins with an admonition; in a majority of cases he continues with an example; and he includes, usually in conclusion, a generalisation, frequently linked by γάρ to the rest of the section. He was also aware of more advanced exercises, and at least once tried his hand at the psogos, an exercise in blame; see Roueché (2000). I have also argued that his passage on dragons (81.18-82.3) should be seen as a similar attempt at the exercise of refutatio: see Roueché (2002). For these rhetorical exercises he used what was absolutely standard; citations of the ancients (Christian and secular) as preserved in the gnomologia.
The other aspect which gives an air of simplicity to the text is the structure. The organisation of our text has certainly been confused at times in its history (see above, Section II); but this does not explain the transitions between subjects which may often seem abrupt to us, or the presentation of series of short, apparently unconnected, observations. But this is a normal way to present gnomai, and an entirely appropriate way of presenting advice: for example, the military handbook known as the Strategikon of Maurice contains a whole book of gnomai - short, pithy observations on strategic matters - and this was reproduced in the Tactica of Leo. Gnomologia, therefore, did not just serve as a source of citations but as collections of intrinsic value. They represent a way of organising thought, and their structure can give an idea of topics which were considered important. The subjects which K discusses are, again and again, paralleled by topics in the gnomologia and other admonitory literature. Even the inclusion of advice to a ruler with advice to an ordinary citizen, which has led some editors to treat Section VII separately, goes back to the admonitory tradition associated with Isocrates, and is reflected in the gnomologia; thus there are chapter on Good Emperors, in among a wide range of topics, in the Sacra Parallela, Chapter B.9, and the Melissa Augustana, Chapter 29. The juxtaposition of K's text, therefore, with other collections, in the current publication, may help to give a better understanding of K's reading of such collections; they are essential to the understanding of K's text, and probably of many others.
Finally, it is misleading to see K as far removed from the sophisticated intellectual world of Psellos and others. I have discussed elsewhere how, for example, his discussion of dragons, and of meteorological phenomena (in section VI), resembles work by contemporary thinkers (Roueché (2002). The questions that are raised are also discussed in a short treatise by Psellos. This section appears to have circulated separately from an early date; in one part of the manuscript tradition it is found with a similar treatise by Eustratius of Nicaea. This discussion, but also other passages (for example, on the rewarding of foreign soldiers), are therefore best understood, not as the musings of an isolated provincial, but as contributions to wider debates. For a fuller analysis of his reading see Roueché (2002).
IV. The author and his family
IV.1. The author
A remarkable feature of this text is the reticence of the author in mentioning himself or his own career. We assume his name to have been Kekaumenos, the name of his father (72.22) and of his (almost certainly paternal) grandfather (65.11). We know that he served under Michael IV, and, together with Harald Hardrada, in the campaign of 1041 against Deljan, in Bulgaria (97.18); that he witnessed the downfall of Michael V, on 20th April 1042 (59.7-8, 100.13-16); and that at some time he served as strategos of Hellas (60.19). The work itself appears to have been written during the reign of Michael VII Doukas, 1071-1078 (73.18, 73.25), and after the death of the patriarch John Xiphilinos in August 1075 (72.13); so Lemerle, Prolégomènes, 19-20. This skeleton of a career can be filled out a little more. Of the twenty-six anecdotes drawn from recent history listed by Lemerle (Prolégomènes 56-77), over half date from the reigns of Michael IV, Michael V and Constantine IX Monomachos; that is, from the period 1034 - 1054. The only mention of events later than 1054 is in the story of Nikoulitzas Delphinas (66.19 - 73.26). As to the geographical location of the stories, fourteen can be located in Hellas or the Balkans; of these, four are stories about K's relations, and three arise from the revolt of Deljan. Three more of these are concerned with the attacks by the Pechenegs. Beyond these, the other stories concern Diocleia (2), Constantinople (3), Eastern Asia Minor (3), and Italy/Sicily (3), or have no particular location. Such a list may reflect the travels of the author, but it could equally well result from his being in a place (presumably Constantinople) or in a sufficiently important office, to receive fairly detailed accounts of a wide range of events.
Some conclusions may also be drawn about our author's areas of interest. Although his Consilia deal with a whole spectrum of activities, it is clear that K is more interested in some than in others. His advice, for example, to an intellectual (8.27 -9.3), or to an ecclesiastic (51.24 -52.24) is much more a commentary on how such people ought to behave, than advice drawn from experience which they might be expected to follow. His particular interest is in military command, at a reasonably high level. His advice on civilian office, Section I, appears (in its present, mutilated, form) to be mainly concerned with fairly high office - including the governorship of a province. As for his account of private life, this assumes a certain measure of prosperity, and, above all, independence. While there might be a local magnate with greater power (cf. 40.32-42.9), there is no mention anywhere of a direct patron, of the sort who overshadowed the life of, for example, K's contemporary, Eustathios Boilas. While he appears to imagine private life as concerned with the management of an estate (36.10-22), it is not clear that he expects the owner to live in the countryside - cf. the reference to τῆς πόλεως ἔνθα οἰκεῖς (42.26-7).
He does, however, recount several anecdotes involving members of his family, or connections by marriage. Before examining these in detail, there is one general point to be made. The story of Nikoulitzas Delphinas (66.19-73.26) which is disproportionately long and not particularly apposite, seems to have been included largely because K had an account of it available, and perhaps in particular because that account was in terms favourable to his own relations. It seems very likely that a similar desire to show the conduct of various members of his family in the best light, in what were, in some cases, rather ambiguous circumstances, underlies the inclusion of some of the other anecdotes about the author’s relations - particularly those at 26.21f., 29.2f, 65.11f, and 96.5f. Apparently for the third and fourth of these he used documents from the family archives; but it seems likely that some other criterion, beyond the availability of such documents, may have operated in the selection of these particular stories, each of which presents, in favourable terms, actions by K’s relations which could well be interpreted otherwise. In view of the neatness with which the justification for telling the Nikoulitzas story is inserted (66.12-18), we should not underestimate the subtlety of our author, or his ability to use his subject matter for his own ends.
It is also important to bear in mind that the casual way in which our author introduces references to members of his family (in particular, the references to the Nikoulitzas at 65.10, 66.10 and 71.18) apparently suggests that he assumes his reader to be already aware of the relationships involved. This is perhaps of especial importance in considering the most difficult of the genealogical problems presented by our text, which is that K refers on at least six occasions to πάπποι, of whom at least four are definitely separate individuals. The references are: A. ὁ τοῦ Τοβίου τοπάρχης καὶ πάππος μου (undated; 26.21f.) B. ὁ πρὸς μητρὸς πάππος μου Δημήτριος ὁ Πολεμάρχιος (flor. between 976 and 1018; 29.2f.) C. ὁ μακαρίτης μου πάππος ὁ Κεκαυμένος (circa 980; 65.11f) D. ὁ πάππος μου ὁ Νικουλιτζᾶς (fl.959-963, 980; 96.5f). E. His father, who is described both as πατήρ and as πάππος (32.13 and 19). F. A πάππος in 1067 (72.21) who again appears to be his father. The frequency of scribal error in our manuscript makes argumentation more difficult; but these usages place some strain on the word πάππος, which should normally mean 'grandfather', and is so used by K in the passage which precedes the story of Nikoulitzas 1, where he uses and juxtaposes the two terms πάππος, and προπάππος speaking of the Emperor, and probably citing imperial terminology (95.26). It might be tempting to suggest a corruption in the text, by which the prefix προ had been lost at 96.5 and 13 (note the scribe's confusion at 95.26 and 96.13). An alternative hypothesis, which is attractive but not fully convincing, is that our text might contain material drawn up by different members, in different generations, of the same family, in which references have not always been corrected (as in the Nikoulitzas Delphinas passage, the verbs in the first person at 67.11, 69.24 and 71.11). Such a theory might explain the multiplicity of πάπποι referred to above; but it is probably over-complicated.
It seems wiser to bear in mind the well-known fluidity of family terminology in Greek; the use of πάππος as a general term for a recent ancestor is attested (see LSJ s.v.), and it seems highly likely that the term would frequently have been used instead of the more cumbersome προπάππος, at least in the familiar language of our author. The phrase at 95.26 is far more literary and formulaic than these more casual references to individuals. I would therefore suggest that πάππος can stand, in our text, for ‘grandfather’ or ‘great-grandfather’, as well as ‘father’. In order to clarify this situation further it is necessary to consider the relations to whom K makes reference, who appear to belong to two named families.
IV.2. The Kekaumenos family
Several active individuals of this name are mentioned in the 11th - 12th centuries. The latest occurrence of the name appears to be a George Kekaumenos, attested as a landowner at Gomatu, near Hierissos in Thrace in about 1300 (PLP 11608), although a Kaikamenos is also found in a late 14th century MS (PLP 93803). In the 11th century, Adralestos Kekaumenos is dated to the early part of the century (PBW Adralestos 20105); later in the century Basil Kekaumenos, protospatharios, protoasecretis, and krites ἐπὶ τοῦ ἱπποδρομίου wrote a poem of condolence (Mercati (1924)), on the death of a distinguished relation, apparently Anastasios Lizix (PBW Anastasios 2101). Constantine Kekaumenos, protospatharios and protokangkellarios, is attested on a seal of the second half of the eleventh century: PBW Konstantinos 20313). Another Kekaumenos, Michael, appears as a commander under Alexios 1 in 1116 (PBW Michael 15014); he may be the same as Michael Kekaumenos, proedros, attested on a late 11th century seal: PBW Michael 20479. A George Kekaumenos is the author of an unpublished poem on the signs of the zodiac, pointed out by C. Astruc in Lemerle (1966), 181.
This accumulation of evidence has made it clear that the name is fairly widespread; but little of it was known at the time of the first publication of our text. Scholars were, therefore, preoccupied with trying to establish a relationship between our author and Kekaumenoi known from literary sources; for a full account see Savvides (1986), and Savvides (1990). Of these the two best known bear the further name Katakalon; they are the general, Katakalon Kekaumenos, fl. 1038-1057 (PBW Katakalon 101, and Shepard (1992)), and the Katakalon Kekaumenos, almost certainly his son, who took part in the revolt of Nikephoros Diogenes in 1094 (PBW Kekaumenos 101). The elder Katakalon Kekaumenos came from Koloneia in the Armeniac theme. There has been much debate as to whether this is an Armenian family. The Armenian sources refer to him as Kamen or Kamenas, which is also found on a seal of a Katakalon Kamenos (PBW Katakalon 20108); it has been argued that this is a local name, then adapted to Kekaumenos, but Aristakes treats it as a Greek name ‘which translated "fire"’ (Aristakes 80, cited at PBW on Katakalon 101; English translation by Bedrosian). This suggests that Kekaumenos is the original form, and clearly a soubriquet, and one appropriate to an Armenian; Psellos refers, in his De Operatione Daemonum to a man from Armenia διακεκαυμένον εἰς τὸ μελάντατον (ed. Gautier (1980), 133-77, l.443; the phrase is borrowed from Lucian, Hercules 6.1). Kekaumenos might then conceal an Armenian name; Cheynet (1987) has pointed out that Armenians who came into the Byzantine world with a common Armenian family name - such as T’ornik or Vahram - which was already in use in Byzantium, would find it necessary to adopt another ‘surname’.
Although some authors have wished to associate the Kekaumenoi with a princely Armenian family, this is perhaps unlikely, in view of what we know of Katakalon Kekaumenos; when, in 1057 he and Isaac Comnenus approached Michael VI in order to obtain recognition of their services, Michael praised Katakalon for having risen to such a level by his own achievements, not by descent, or by some indulgence: ὡς μὴ ἐκ πατέρων, μηδ᾿ἐκ προσπαθείας τινός, ἀλλ᾿ἐξ οἰκείων ἀνδραγαθημάτων πρὸς ἣν ἐκέκτητο τοῦ ἀξιώματος ἀναχθέντα καθέδραν (Skylitzes 483.94 -22). The implication is that Katakalon Kekaumenos was from a family which had no standing, at least in Byzantine eyes. It seems that it may have been his achievements which established the importance of his family, which was apparently prominent in the area well into the twelfth century. The colophon of an Armenian evangelium, written in 1169, describes the marriage of a certain Sahnsah, son of Grigor, son of Katakalos (written in capitals) son of Kamen the Great (Ter-Ghewondyan, Arab Emirates, 107, at Bedrosian); Bartikian (1965), 270-71). Kamen the Great is most probably the general; Katakalos would then be his son, the supporter of Nikephoros Diogenes. Our author refers apparently to three members of this family:
(?Kekaumenos) I: K.’s unnamed πάππος, A, was toparch, at an unknown date of a place in Greater Armenia; he captured a mountainous kastron from the Byzantines by a ruse, and was described by the strategos whom he defeated as the ‘enemy of Romania’, ἐχθρὸς τῆς Ῥωμανίας (26.12-27.9); this account has been the subject of a great deal of discussion. The toparch has usually been considered to be K’s grandfather, and, since he cannot easily be identified with B, Demetrios Polemarchios, a ὑπερέχουσα κεφαλή, in northern Greece (29.2-4), has instead been identified with C, Kekaumenos, the commander of Larissa in 980 (65.11f). There is, perhaps, some awkwardness in including, in one man's career, active military service against the Byzantines in Armenia, elevation to the rank of strategos of Hellas by ca. 976, and fathering a son who was still alive in 1067 (K’s father, 72.22). It would seem reasonable to expect some time to elapse between the toparch’s entry into Byzantine service and his appointment to Hellas; on the other hand, it was standard Byzantine practice to use Armenian commanders in Europe.
It is, however, worth noting that in the story of the toparch’s exploit we are not told his name, that of the opposing strategos, or that of the kastron which was captured; the contrast with the details in, for example, the story of Demetrios Polemarchios is striking. It may be that this should be taken as evidence of an early date for this story; the only similarly vague passage is the story of the capture of an unnamed town in Hellas by Symeon of Bulgaria in about 918 (32.28-33.17). It may be, therefore, that here πάππος stands for ‘great-grandfather’. This proposal, which puts the story further into the past, might also help to resolve the difficulties over the name of the place of which he was the commander.
In view of K’s silence over the other names in the story, his mention of the toparch’s command by name is particularly striking, and would seem to indicate that the place was fairly important or memorable. The MS τοῦτο βίου (written as two words by the scribe), particularly in the light of the rubric and the pinax entry, which both have τοῦ τιβινίου, lends itself to V’s emendation, τοῦ Τιβίου. Even if we retain the MS reading, as τοῦ Τοβίου, the reference would still appear to be to Dvin, in Greater Armenia, which is referred to as Τιβί (DAI 44.13), Τίβιον (DAI 45.57, Skylitzes 436-8,464.12), or Δούβιος (Procopius, Bell. Pers. II 24-5). While it is not easy to rely on consistency in translitterated names, in this particular case, where no other proper names are given, it is difficult not to believe that a contemporary would have taken this as a reference to Dvin. For discussion and bibliography of Dvin see Garsoian in ODB, art. Duin; E Kettenhofen, art. Dvin in Iranica Online.
From about 960, the history of Dvin is fairly fully accounted for, and Lemerle rightly saw no chance of inserting K’s ancestor among the rulers of this period (Prolégomènes, 28-29). But if we assume that the toparch was K.’s great-grandfather, we can take an earlier period into consideration. Between 927 and 966, Dvin was ruled by a series of commanders, of whom we know very little (Dedeyan (1996), 175). These could with equal probability have been Arabs, Kurds, or Armenians; Dvin was a very mongrel city, with large Christian and Muslim populations. K’s ancestor could well have been an independent commander who held Dvin during this period, and later fled to the Byzantines; thus, when the Arab adventurer Muhammed b. Shadded was driven out of Dvin by another Arab commander in 953, his first move was to appeal to Byzantium for help. Equally, it is entirely likely that the commander of a kastron in that much-disputed area might declare himself an ally of Byzantium and a strategos, and describe his enemy as ἐχθρὸς τῆς Ῥωμανίας (26.29); but all this phrase, which is after all probably the work of K himself, indicates is that he knew his ancestor was not fighting for the Byzantines - it cannot necessarily be pressed to give a clear picture of the allegiances of those involved. I would, therefore, suggest that the toparch was K.’s great-grandfather, who held Dvin, as an independent commander, at some time between 927 and 950, and later withdrew to Byzantine Armenia. It is possible that he there changed or hellenised his name to Kekaumenos; but K’s omission of his name (in contrast to those of all his other πάπποι) suggests either that he did not know it, or that it was embarrassingly foreign; either of these possibilities would agree with the toparch’s being K.’s maternal great-grandfather, the father of his grandmother. The location in Armenia makes it likely that he was on the Kekaumenos side of the family. It would appear quite likely that a foreign commander of this sort, forced to retreat to Byzantine territory, would seek to strengthen his position by allying himself to a powerful local family, and marrying his daughter to the son of a more hellenised Armenian family, the Kekaumenoi.
Such a commander might have been a Kurd, an Arab, or an Armenian; Vasilevskij (1880) II, 113 wished to identify him with an Arab commander, Abu-l-Haydja ibn Ibrahim, who took Dvin in 982; but there is no particular evidence to support this conjecture. The case for his having been an Armenian appeared to be strengthened by the existence of an inscription copied at Egrek, in Armenia, in the last century, which mentions an Armenian, Grigorios Kichkatzi, who was a patrikios and ‘strategos of Larissa and Macedonia’ in the late tenth or early eleventh century. Vasilevskij (1880) II, 115-117, first drew attention to this inscription and its possible relevance to the family of our author, who had a πάππος who was a toparch in Armenia, and a πάππος who was strategos of Larissa, and this hypothesis was taken up and examined by Lemerle and others: see Prolégomènes, 27-36; Bartikian (1965); Litavrin (1965); Lemerle (1966); Lemerle (1968). Oikonomides, however, pointed that the reference to Larissa in this inscription should be taken as a reference to the Larissa in the theme of Sebasteia: ‘on excluera, à mon avis, tout rapprochement avec Larissa-Sezer de Syrie . . . ou avec Larissa de Thessalie, qui a toujours fait partie du theme de l’Hellade, et où le stratège de l’Hellade a parfois siegé’ Oikonomides (1974); see also Listes, 355, 358. This inscription therefore should not be connected with our author's family.
Kekaumenos II. If we accept that the toparch of Tibion/Tobion was the author’s great-grandfather, there is no need to identify him with πάππος B, the strategos of Hellas, based at Larissa, who appears to be of the correct generation to be K’s grandfather. He appears in one episode, at 65.11-66.11, during the war between Samuel of Bulgaria and Basil II, at some time between the outbreak of war in 976, and Basil's first campaign in 986, when Skylitzes (330.2) mentions Larissa as the crown, κορυφαῖον, of Samuel’s conquests. Within this period must apparently be fitted at least three years during which, by ruses, and eventually by actually acknowledging Samuel, the Larissans were able to sow and harvest; possibly three years further while Kekaumenos continued to be strategos of Hellas; and certainly three more years under a less accommodating general. So Larissa must have fallen at the earliest in 982/3, at the latest in 986.
The simplest interpretation is that Kekaumenos II was appointed strategos of Hellas in about 976. It was probably as strategos that he contracted a marriage alliance with the local family of Nikoulitzas, and it was probably with the encouragement of the Nikoulitzas family that he negotiated with Samuel during 977 and 978. This would make sense in the light of the military situation, since Basil was at that time hard-pressed in Asia Minor. Kekaumenos will then have acknowledged Samuel (but without ceding control of Larissa) in 978/9. It was probably after the defeat of Skleros, in summer 979, and after gathering the harvest for that year, that Kekaumenos wrote to Basil to explain his behaviour and reaffirm his loyalty. This schema allows for the four harvests (976-979) which he saw gathered.
This is compatible with the phrase ‘after three years’, since this almost certainly refers, not to a further three years of office, but to the standard three years of a provincial command (compare 43.20, and see Ahrweiler, 'Administration', 45). Basil, therefore probably chose to recall Kekaumenos in 979/80 and, in 980, demoted his kinsman Nikoulitzas I (see below). The next strategos resisted Samuel for three more years; the city was therefore probably captured in 983.
For the rest, we know that Kekaumenos II had a son, (see below, Kekaumenos III) who was married, either during or just after the Bulgarian war, to the daughter of one of Samuel’s commanders, Demetrios Polemarchios ( see further below). He may also have married another child, presumably a daughter, to a member of the Maios family; their son would be the Maios to whom K’s father gave unheeded advice (39.13-27). Of this family we know almost nothing.
Kekaumenos III. K’s father appears twice: he recounted the story of his cousin Maios (39.13-27), at an uncertain date; and in 1067 he received a written account of his adventures from Nikoulitzas Delphinas (72.22). From the former it appears that he lived outside Constantinople; from the latter, we learn that he was still alive in 1067, perhaps even living not far from Amaseia, where Nikoulitzas was imprisoned when he wrote to him (72.20-22). We also know that he married a daughter of Demetrios Polemarchios; their son, our author, was old enough to serve as a soldier in 1041. It seems likely that, if his father had held any high office, K would have found a way to include a mention of his career; but this is no more than a guess. There is some difficulty about the ages of Kekaumenos II and Kekaumenos III; since the former was old enough to hold an important command in 976, and the latter, his son, was alive in 1067, we must assume that Kekaumenos III was born when his father was about 50, and lived to well over 70.
IV.3. The Nikoulitzas family
This name is less widely attested than Kekaumenos, and only in the western part of the empire. A Nikoulitzes is known as chartularios and ek prosopou of the imperial stables, from a seal dated 10th-11th century (PBW boulloterion 2563). A landowner in the region of Hierissos is attested in the 11th century (PBW Nikolitzas 101. A Nikolitzas is attested as a landowner on Kephallenia before 1264 (PLP 20581), and another as a landowner near Ohrid at the end of the fourteenth century (PLP 20580). The name Nikolotzopoulos is found at Mistra in the fourteenth century (PLP 20582, Joannes, a paroikos in 1366). Otherwise, the individuals mentioned below provide the only other examples of the name currently known.
Nikoulitzas I is mentioned as the fourth of the author’s pappoi. He was rewarded by an imperial chrysobull of Romanos II (i.e. between 959 and 963) for substantial service (πολλὰ κοπιάσας). If he was perhaps thirty at the time of this award, it is difficult to accept that he was in fact the grandfather of a man, our author, who saw active service in 1041, and was writing in the 1070’s. Here too, therefore, it seems likely that pappos must mean ‘great-grandfather'. Nikoulitzas was appointed 'domestikos of the guards of Hellas': domestikos is a title regularly used to describe the commanders of the tagmata, the central, standing army; the excubiti were one of the divisions of the tagmata, and this troop in Hellas, was apparently a locally stationed force (see Ahrweiler, 'Administration', 28-9, Oikonomides, Listes, 330). He is also described as dux of Hellas, a title apparently conferred on him for his lifetime, together with (ὡσαυτως: 96.08) the office of domestikos. Dux clearly cannot have the sense of ‘governor’ (for which see Oikonomides, Listes, 344) since such an office would not be granted ‘for life’; it may be that his title was ‘dux and domestikos of the excubiti of Hellas’. The story is introduced to illustrate the restraint of Basil II in awarding high offices to foreigners (96.5-24), and cites a letter of Basil, written in 980, and apparently conserved in the family archives. In it, he removed Nikoulitzas from his command of the excubiti, in favour of a Frankish prince, and gave him, instead, the command of the Vlachs of Hellas (96.22). There is no mention of the title of dux of Hellas, in the letter, and we must therefore assume that he retained it - perhaps as ‘dux and domestikos of the Vlachs of Hellas’.
Our interpretation of this story must depend very largely on whether or not the move to the command of the Vlachs is considered to have been demotion. Litavrin (1972) nn.1159, 1161, and (2003) nn. 850, 852, thought it was not. The letter of Basil certainly gives a full and generous explanation of his action, and K reports it without any embarrassment, to support his argument that Basil did not overpromote foreigners. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that this move was simply necessitated by the arrival of the Frankish prince; Basil must have had many other posts to which he could have appointed him, including the command of the Vlachs which was given to Nikoulitzas. K’s opinion of the Vlachs (74.4-75.12) makes it seem unlikely that a command of a Vlach contingent was of equal status with the command of the regular troops of the excubiti. Above all, if we accept that the sense of the passage at 96.6-8 is that Nikoulitzas had received the command of the excubiti, as well as the title of dux, for life, his removal from it, whether to an equal or a lesser post, must have been of considerable significance. It seems reasonable, therefore, to interpret Basil's action as a diplomatic reprimand. In recounting the story, K might not have been aware of this; but it seems more likely that he was, in fact, using the opportunity to present a favourable explanation of a rather inelegant episode.
In order to establish the reason for such a reprimand, we may recall that it was probably in 980 that Kekaumenos II, the strategos of Larissa, was recalled by Basil. We know that Kekaumenos II had contracted a marriage alliance with the Nikoulitzas (66.10), most probably during his command in Larissa; we know that he acknowledged Samuel, at least for a time - a move which, however cleverly justified, is unlikely to have pleased Basil - and we know that, after the capture of Larissa, Samuel treated the Nikoulitzas family particularly well (65.18, 66.7-9). It seems improbable that this was simply out of respect for the ingenuity of their kinsman, as K would suggest; it seems more probable that it was the powerful local family of Nikoulitzas who had persuaded Kekaumenos II to acknowledge Samuel, while Basil was struggling with the challenge posed by Skleros. In 980, after the defeat of Skleros, Basil recalled Kekaumenos II; but he was not in a strong enough position to offer more than an oblique reprimand to the Nikoulitzas. The demotion of Nikoulitzas I may therefore, on this theory, be interpreted as an attempt by Basil to rebuke the Nikoulitzas, and to show that he knew of their treachery, without entirely alienating them. The Nikoulitzas, however, seem to have kept faith with Samuel, who rewarded them by taking them as free agents into his service after the capture of Larissa (66.6f); and the next appearance of the family is in the service of Samuel.
Nikoulitzas II. The only appearance of the name Niko(u)litzas in the eleventh century, apart from the mentions in our text, is in Skylitzes. He refers to a Nikolas, called Nikolitzas (1) because of his small stature, Νικόλαος, ὃν Νικολιτζᾶν ὑποκοριζόμενοι διὰ τὸ βραχὺ τῆς ἡλικίας ἐκάλουν, who was holding Servia when Basil attacked it in 1001 (Skylitzes, 344.3-16). After capturing Serbia, Basil made Nikolitzas a patrikios, and took him, or was taking him, to Constantinople; but Nikolitzas fled back to Samuel, and accompanied him on an unsuccessful siege of Servia. He was later captured in an ambush, and sent as a prisoner to Constantinople (344.3-16). Skylitzes recounts these events under the year 1001; but they may well have been spread over several years. Nikolitzas evidently escaped again; in 1018, during Basil’s mopping-up operations after the final collapse of the Bulgarians, Nikolitzas, who was leading a guerilla band in the mountains, gave himself up to Basil, who was encamped at Diampolis; the emperor refused to see him, and sent him as a prisoner to Thessalonike (Skylitzes 363.43-9).
From the supplementary information contained in a further manuscript of Skylitzes, Vind. Hist. Gr. 74, we also learn of another Nikolitzas (2), called ὁ νέος, which would suggest he was the son of the turncoat. Earlier in the campaign of 1018, he came over to Basil at Skopia, bringing an important body of troops; Basil responded by making him protospatharios and strategos: τὴν πρώτην καὶ μαχιμωτάτην σύνταξιν τοῦ Σαμουὴλ ἐπαγόμενος καὶ ἐτιμήθη πρωτοσπαθάριος καὶ στρατηγός (Skylitzes, 358.81-4). This passage, taken together with the mention of at least two separate individuals with the name Nikoulitzas in our text, suggests that Nikolitzas/Nikoulitzas was in fact a family name, and that Skylitzes’ explanation of it as a nickname, quoted above, is simply a rationalisation.
These two Nikolitzas, 1 and 2 (older and younger) seem likely to have been members of the family of Nikoulitzas I, transferred to Bulgaria after the fall of Larissa (66.7-9) and, like the other inhabitants of Larissa, enrolled in Samuel's forces (Skylitzes, 330.4-5). In view of the age of Nikoulitzas I, it could reasonably be assumed that the defender of Servia was his son, and so probably the person to whom reference is intended at 65.10 οἱ γονεῖς τοῦ Νικουλιτζᾶ. G. G. Buckler drew this conclusion: Buckler (1936), 11-13. She also suggested that the defender of Servia, Nikolitzas (1), should be identified with Demetrios Polemarchios, K’s maternal grandfather, who captured Servia from a Byzantine commander at some time before 1001, and was later ‘after the pacification of Bulgaria’, μετὰ τὸ εἰρηνεύσαι τὴν Βουλγαρίαν, made a patrikios and mystikos by Basil (28.32-29.21). Lemerle, Prolégomènes, 51-53, understood her to identify Nikoulitzas I with Nikolitzas 1, and both with Polemarchios - a triple identification which he rightly rejected. But the identification of Nikolitzas 1 with Demetrius Polemarchios (= Nikoulitzas II) is more defensible. We know that Demetrios was a name in the Nikoulitzas family (67.27); Polemarchios is described by K as an epithet, and it is tempting to see it as the translation of a Bulgarian soubriquet, adopted by Demetrios Nikoulitzas. We know that Polemarchios did not attack Servia by chance, but that he was a leader in that area; this fits in with Nikolitzas’ behaviour when, after his first escape from Basil, he not only rejoined Samuel, but mounted an attack on Servia (Skylitzes 344.11-12). Servia was to play a prominent role again in the revolt of Nikoulitzas Delphinas (70.1). Both Nikolitzas and Polemarchios were given patrician rank by Basil: Nikolitzas was so honoured after the capture of Servia, in 1001; Polemarchios is said to have received his rank ‘after the pacification of Bulgaria’ (29.4). This latter reference might be to one of the lulls in the war with Bulgaria; but perhaps it is more likely that Nikolitzas did in fact eventually return to favour after 1018, once his son had joined Basil and been honoured. Above all, it is important to remember that K presumably wished to present his grandfather’s career in the most favourable light. With this particularly in mind, I would support the identification of Demetrius Polemarchios with Nikolitzas 1 the turncoat (= Nikoulitzas II, son of Nikoulitzas I).
The marriage of K’s father to the daughter of Nikolitzas/Polemarchios is, however, unlikely to constitute the συμπεθερία with Kekaumenos II to which Samuel referred in the early 980s, since K’s father was still alive in 1067 (72.22), unless K.’s father was betrothed in infancy, and lived to almost 90; it seems easier to assume that the original relationship was in an earlier generation, and that the link was reinforced at a later date by the marriage of K’s parents. This interpretation perhaps helps to explain why Kekaumenos II should have married his son to the daughter of a Bulgarian commander either during, or just after, the war with Bulgaria (since K’s parents must have been married by 1020 at the latest). This is a problem whether or not we accept the identification of Polemarchios with Nikolitzas; but if we do accept the identification, Kekaumenos II’s action may be more easily explained, since he will only have been reasserting a marriage tie which already existed.
Nikoulitzas III Delphinas. It is tempting to identify the young Nikolitzas (2), made protospatharios by Basil in 1018 (see above), with Nikolitzas Delphinas, also a protospatharios (68.17); but this is to assume a very long career for him, since Delphinas, while he had grown sons in 1066 (67.26, 69.12, 73.3-4), was still willing to take on an office in 1071/2 (73.21-3). It is probably wiser to assume that Delphinas was the son, or, less probably,the brother, of the younger Nikolitzas (2). His name suggests that his mother might have been a Delphinas: on this family see von Falkenhauseun, Untersuchungen, 84, 168-70.
His involvement in an uprising in and around Larissa, in 1066, no. 85 in Cheynet (1990), is described in detail, apparently from a personal account which occasionally lapses into the first person. All that we are told of his relationship to K is that they were συμπεθέροι (71.18-19), which may suggest that he was of K’s generation, and that, while he was in prison in 1067, he wrote to K’s father (72.22), which bears out the supposition that they were already related to one another through an earlier generation. There may be grounds for supposing that the revolt which Nikoulitzas Delphinas headed in autumn 1066 - perhaps not altogether as unwillingly as his own account would suggest - was not unconnected with the abortive rising which Romanos Diogenes led, in Bulgaria, in the following spring, no. 90 in Cheynet (1990). In that revolt, Diogenes, we are told, relied on links with the ‘Sauromati’ (probably the Patzinaks: but perhaps other tribes as well, including the Vlachs) which he had formed when he was katepan of Paristrion (Attaleiates 97); it was also while he was in Paristrion that he had got to know Nikoulitzas (72.27). Diogenes is said to have written to Nikoulitzas on the day of his accession (72.24); Nikoulitzas also seems to have considered himself entitled to more honours from Diogenes than he in fact received (73.2). Diogenes’ cool reception of Nikoulitzas may have resulted from a wish to dissassociate himself from his earlier, and rather disreputable, attempt on the throne. It may also be of significance that the patriarch John Xiphilinos, who compelled Constantine X Doukas to keep his oath to Nikoulitzas and his companions (72.13f) was, later that year, to help Diogenes to the throne by allowing Eudocia to break her oath to her husband, and marry him (Attaleiates 100-101, Scylitzes Continuatus 123 ). If συμπεθέροι (above) indicates that Nikoulitzas’ daughter was married to a son of K, perhaps this son should be identified with Kekaumenos Katakalon, who supported the revolt of Diogenes' son, Nikephoros, in 1094 (Alexiad IX.9.6).