World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0004947334
Reproduction Date:

Title: Sebastos  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Emperor, Augustus (honorific), Treaty of Devol, Constantine Doukas (died 1179), Marinus Sebastus of Amalfi
Collection: Byzantine Court Titles, Byzantine Imperial Titles
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Sebastos (Greek: σεβαστός "venerable one", pl. σεβαστοί sebastoi) was an honorific used by the ancient Greeks to render the Roman imperial title of Augustus. The female form of the title was sebastē (σεβαστή).

From the late 11th century on, during the Komnenian period, it and variants derived from it, like sebastokrator, formed the basis of a new system of court titles for the Byzantine Empire.


  • History 1
  • Variants 2
    • Protosebastos 2.1
    • Panhypersebastos 2.2
  • References 3
  • Sources 4


The term was used in the Hellenistic East as an honorific for the Roman emperors from the 1st century onwards.[1] For example, the Temple of the Sebastoi in Ephesus is dedicated to the Flavian dynasty.

This association also was carried over to the naming of cities in honor of the Roman emperors, such as

  • Stiernon, Lucien (1965). "Notes de titulature et de prosopographie byzantines: Sébaste et gambros". Revue des études byzantines 23: 222–243.  


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kazhdan 1991, pp. 1862–1863.
  2. ^ a b c Magdalino 2002, p. 181.
  3. ^ Kazhdan 1991, p. 623.
  4. ^ Magdalino 2002, pp. 180–182.
  5. ^ Stiernon 1965, pp. 226–232.
  6. ^ Kazhdan 1991, p. 821.
  7. ^ von Falkenhausen 2007, p. 107.
  8. ^ Kazhdan 1991, p. 1717.
  9. ^ Stiernon 1965, p. 223.
  10. ^ Kazhdan 1991, p. 1570.


The title of panhypersebastos (Greek: πανυπερσέβαστος, "venerable above all") was also created by Alexios I, and conferred to members of aristocratic families closely allied to the imperial family.[9] Michael Taronites, Alexios's brother-in-law, was first awarded this title and regarded as almost equal to a Caesar.[2] The title remained very important through to the Palaiologan era, following the megas domestikos, the overall army commander. Perhaps the most notable of its holders was John VI Kantakouzenos, who held the title before his proclamation as Byzantine emperor in 1341.[10]


The title of prōtosebastos (Greek: πρωτοσέβαστος, "first sebastos") was probably created by Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, and first conferred to his brother Adrianos.[2] It was also conferred on Sergius VI of Naples and his son, John VI, at about the same time.[7] Later, during the 12th century, it was given to close relatives of the Byzantine emperor, such as the sons of a sebastokratōr. The title remained relatively important during the Palaiologan period as well, being listed by pseudo-Kodinos as coming after the megas logothetes and before the pinkernes ("cupbearer").[8]



In 12th-century Byzantium, the sebastoi were divided in two groups: the simple sebastoi and the sebastoi gambroi.[1] The latter were members of various aristocratic families tied to the emperor via marriage to his female relatives (gambros means "son-in-law" in Greek). The gambroi thus formed the upper layer of the sebastoi class.[6] The title was also conferred to foreign rulers, and spread to neighboring, Byzantine-influenced states, like Bulgaria, where a sebastos was the head of an administrative district, and Serbia, where the title was employed for various officials.[1] In Byzantium itself, the title lost its pre-eminence in the late 12th century, and in the following centuries the sebastos was a title reserved for commanders of ethnic units.[1]

[5] family.Komnenos belonged to the ruling sebastoi In this context, the scholar L. Stiernon calculated that over 90 percent of the [4], "partners in, rather than executives of, imperial authority."Paul Magdalino set the imperial family apart, at the top of the imperial hierarchy, and made them, in the words of historian sebastos This use of the imperial epithet of [3]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.