Exarchate(redirected from exarchates)
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a governorate in Byzantium from the late sixth to the late seventh century. The early exarchates were established in the western Byzantine Empire in lands retaken from the barbarians, the first exarchates being those of Ravenna and Carthage. Since the special circumstances attending such regions required the creation of a militarized and centralized government, exarchs headed not only the military forces but also the civil administration. The exarchate is sometimes regarded by Byzantine scholars as the prototype of the theme.