(from the Greek dynatós, “powerful”), a term used in Byzantium (for the most part, in legislative works of the tenth century) to designate the dominant upper class of Byzantine society.
Scholarly disputes have taken place over the real meaning of the term dynatoi. Usually the large-scale landlords, the feudal magnates, have been viewed as constituting the dynatoi; according to another hypothesis (set forth by the French Byzantinist P. Lemerle), the principle that determined membership in the dynatoi was not ownership of a set amount of property (lands) but rather the possession of secular or spiritual authority.
REFERENCESVasil’evskii, V. G. “Materialy k vnutrennei istorii Vizantiiskogo gosudarstva.” In Trudy, vol. 4. Leningrad, 1930. Pages 250-331.
Lemerle, P. “Esquisse pour une histoire agraire de Byzance.” Revue historique, 1958, nos. 219-20.