The prerogatives and duties of the Byzantine emperor in conducting warfare have seldom been investigated as constitutional functions. 2 Similarly, the customary practice of emperors engaging in actual military operations has been examined even less often, barring vague narrative treatments. 3 Something of the emperor’s tasks as organiser of war is suggested by an emperor himself, Theodore Laskaris II (1254–1258), in one of his letters:

Care for my troops rouses me from my bed at day-break. I receive ambassadors in audience during the morning and then I inspect the army. I devote the middle of the day to my studies. Afterwards, mounted on horseback, I receive the petitions of those who have not been able to join others within the gates of the palace. In the evening I execute judgements . . . and at night I busy myself with the details of the campaign (lit. ‘military operations and logistics’: τὰ τῆς ἐκστρατείας καὶ τῆς ἀποσκευῆς). 4