Christopher (Domestic of the Schools)

Christopher (Greek: Χριστόφορος, fl. 870s) was the commander-in-chief (Domestic of the Schools) of the Byzantine army during the 870s, and scored significant victories against the Paulicians.


Nothing is known of Christopher's origin, date of birth or death.[1] He is identified in the sources as the gambros of Emperor Basil I the Macedonian (r. 867–886), a word which usually means "son-in-law", but can imply a more general family tie through marriage. Cyril Mango suggested that Christopher married Basil's eldest daughter, Anastasia, but all the emperor's daughters were eventually confined to a convent.[1][2]

In 872 or 878/9,[3] Christopher led an expedition against the Paulicians of Tephrike, comprising the forces of the Charsianon and Armeniakon themes. The campaign culminated in the Battle of Bathys Ryax, which saw a crushing defeat of the Paulicians and the death of their leader, Chrysocheir. This success was followed, whether immediately afterwards or a few years later, by the sack of the Paulician capital, Tephrike, and the extinction of their state.[1][2][4]


  1. ^ a b c Kazhdan 1991, pp. 441–442.
  2. ^ a b Guilland 1967, p. 438.
  3. ^ The date is disputed, cf. Kiapidou 2003, Note 6.
  4. ^ Kiapidou 2003, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3.


  • Guilland, Rodolphe (1967). Recherches sur les Institutions Byzantines, Tome I (in French). Berlin: Akademie-Verlag.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Kazhdan, Alexander (1991). "Christopher". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press. pp. 441–442. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Kiapidou, Eirini-Sofia (17 January 2003). "Battle at Bathys Ryax, 872/8". Encyclopedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor. Athens: Foundation of the Hellenic World. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2013.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Title last held by
Domestic of the Schools
ca. 872/878
Succeeded by
Andrew the Scythian