This article lists the various minor fictional characters who appear in the Agent of Byzantium stories. These characters are identified by name or profession, but play at best a peripheral role in the series. Some were simply mentioned or had a very brief, unimportant speaking role that did not impact the plot, and never appeared again.
Unnamed Patriarch of Antioch
Buka was a warrior in the Jurchen horde, and was not renowned for his brains. Basil Argyros, when deserting from the Jurchens to rejoin the Romans, used the pretense of delivering weapons to the forgetful Buka as an excuse to be out and about.
Demetrios was serving on the Danube frontier in 1305 AD when hypostrategos Andreas Hermoniakos ordered the army to cross north into the steppe country for a punitive mission against the Jurchens. He and his commanding officer, Basil Argyros, were scouting ahead and found the hoof prints of a half dozen unshod horses, indicating a Jurchen scouting party. On reporting this, the army went on alert in preparation for battle.
Demetrios, along with the rest of the scouts, rode ahead of the army to find the enemy. He was the first to spot the grey-brown smudge to the northeast caused by the horses of the Jurchens. He joined in the attack on the Jurchen scouts on a hilltop and broke through the picket line that tried to block them. With much courage but not much wisdom, he attempted to attack the Jurchen wizard and his body guards on the top of the hill by himself. He and his horse were killed by Jurchen arrows before he got within 50 yards of them.
Gregory was a scout under the command of Basil Argyros during the Roman Empire's expedition to punish the Jurchens in Etos Kosmou 6814 (1305 AD). During the initial stages of the fight, Argyros attempted to send Gregory to warn John Tekmanios that the Jurchen were aware of his efforts to outflank him, but Gregory didn't get there in time.
Tribonian was part of the Roman Empire's expedition to punish the Jurchens in Etos Kosmou 6814 (1305 AD). He was a scout, initially under the command of Basil Argyros. Tribonian was injured during the Jurchen's siege of the Roman camp. Argyros replaced Tribonian in the eastern three-man patrol after the former had been "demoted".
Alexios Moskhos was a Constantinople notary and huntsman, and the father of Helen Moskha. In 1307, his household avoided the smallpox epidemic by maintaining strict isolation. Helen, living closer to the heart of the city, came down with the plague. When Helen's husband Basil Argyros came to ask his father-in-law for help, Moskhos said he could offer none but prayer. Argyros was infuriated and had to be chased away by Moskhos' hounds, but soon realized that Moskhos' position made better sense.
Thomas was the bodyguard of district medical officer Arethas Saronites. When Basil Argyros grew impatient with the slow pace of Saronites' office and seemed to threaten the bureaucrat's life, Saronites warned Argyros that Thomas was quite capable of putting an arrow through his brisket.
Harlot of Alexandria
A harlot called out to the magistrianos Basil Argyros during his business trip to Alexandria, offering her service for 20 folleis. Argyros, who had remained chaste since the death of his wife Helen two years earlier, and suspected that a married woman named Zois had contemplated seducing him, was in a mood to be tempted, and thus took up the offer. He spent himself prematurely, and had to pay extra for another round. He gave her an entire silver milliaresion at the end. Argyros left the encounter certain that he was not suited for a monastic life, which he had briefly thought when he was newly widowed
Lukra (b. ca. 1294) was a serving girl in the household of Khesphmois, master carpenter of Alexandria. As Khesphmois' wife Zois was barren, he sired a child on Lukra in 1309. This was a sore point for Zois, who then seduced the visiting magistrianos Basil Argyros as an act of spite.
Arkadios was the Strategos of Ispania. In 1315 the Franco-Saxons went on the offensive using what appeared to be black magic to seize eight fortresses and four cities. Arkadios took his army into the field and succeeded in stabilizing the front at the river Eberu.
Gerda was a Franco-Saxon innkeeper who lodged the Anglelander apothecary Hilda, who had been injured in a horse-riding accident. Gerda was known as "Mother" to the locals, and the right amount of silver silenced any questions she might have about Hilda's true nature.
Kosmas was the kleisouriarch of the Pyrenees in 1315, under Strategos Arkadios' command. Both Arkadios and Kosmas, proper Greek-speakers, looked down upon Pavlo, the Latin-speaking tourmarch of Pertuis.
Oswy of Angleland
King Oswy was the monarch of Angleland. In 1315, when his kingdom's shipping was being harried by Franco-Saxon pirates in the Sleeve, he sent the spies Wighard and Hilda to the Franco-Saxon lands to ferret out the secret of hellpowder.
Martina was Empress-Consort of the Romans as the wife of Emperor Nikephoros III. She was blond and blue-eyed, which was Nikephoros' favorite type. However she alone was not enough to satisfy his lust, so he maintained a mistress Zoe on the side.
Stavrakios (b. c. 1277) was a potter in Constantinople. Basil Argyros ordered a set of archetypes from him five times larger than usual to print up posters. The larger archetypes read "CHRIST DIED FOR YOU" as a headline for the pamphlet. This was part of a plan to control mob psychology during the iconoclast crisis.
Theognostos was a neighbor of Basil Argyros' in Constantinople. He was a senior member of the bakers' guild. In 1317, a large pothole had developed in the street in front of his house that the city was slow to fill. Argyros was attacked by an assassin on his way home one night. He held off the assassin with his dagger and maneuvered him to the pothole. The assassin stumbled into the hole and Argyros stabbed him to death while he was off-balance.
When Basil Argyros attended a meeting of ecclesiastics at Patriarch Eutropios' residence, he sat down beside a man in pearl-ornamented robes of an archbishop. Argyros began thinking aloud, stating platitudes such as "God became man in the person of Jesus Christ" to which the archbishop replied "And God made the world in seven days. What of it?"
Argyros pointed out that in Old Testament days, God had not yet incarnated as Jesus, and it would have been blasphemy to depict an immaterial deity. After God appeared among men and became a part of history, it became not only permissible, but necessary, to depict his human form. To do otherwise would deny the validity of the Incarnation. Thus he fumbled to the solution of the iconoclast crisis which the archbishop declared to the others and received the acclaim. Argyros was disappointed to not receive the credit but decided it would be more creditable coming from a clergyman.
- See, e.g. Agent of Byzantium, loc. 34, ebook.
- Ibid., loc. 37-142.
- Ibid., loc. 142.
- Ibid., loc. 218.
- Agent of Byzantium, 2018 edition, pgs. 57-58.
- Ibid., pgs. 53-54.
- Ibid., pgs. 53-54.
- See e.g. Agent of Byzantium, 2018 edition, pgs. 122, 127.
- Ibid., pg. 129.
- Ibid., pgs. 142-144.
- Ibid., p. 122.
- Ibid., pgs. 132-133.
- Ibid., pg. 212.
- Ibid., pgs. 225-230.
- Ibid., pg. 213.
- Ibid., pgs. 219-221.
- Ibid., pgs. 216-217.
- Ibid., pg. 212.