Byzantine Factoid

June 16, 2009

In the Byzantine Empire, there were two paths to fame, fortune, and influence. The first of the these was the military. The second was the civil service – the bureaucracy. Competition for posts was fierce, and individuals employed nearly every tool at their disposal to gain a coveted position. This usually involved family or personal influence, the recommendation of a higher ranking patron, and, of course, bribery.

By the fifth century, bribery had become so common that the emperor, Theodosius II, had it regularized and regulated by law.