Thursday, August 09, 2012

How byzantine was the Byzantine civil service?

Byzantine is a descriptive adjective for a very complicated bureaucracy

Byzantine: Highly complicated; intricate and involved: a bill to simplify the byzantine tax structure.

Byzantine: (of a system or situation) Excessively complicated, typically involving a great deal of administrative detail - Byzantine insurance regulations

John D Cook talks here about how the Roman bureaucracy was less than the size of Heuston's. How does the Roman Empire figure compare to a famously bureaucratic empire?

According to recent historians the Byzantine empire did not have that many beaueacrats '‘In terms of staff numbers the Byzantine bureaucracy was relatively small: a recent estimate for the ninth century central civil service places the number of core staff at five to six hundred men, split between thirteen different bureaux or departments of state’'

This was in an empire of around 7 million people. France has about 90 civil servants to 1000 people. Which by the per capita numbers in more than 1000 times the dictionary definition of bureaucratic.