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Akolouthos (Greek: ἀκόλουθος, "follower, attendant"), anglicized as Acolyte, was a Byzantine office with varying functions over time. Originally a subaltern officer of the imperial tagma of the Vigla, it was associated with the command over the famed Varangian Guard in the 11th-12th centuries.

The title is first attested in the 9th century, where the Kletorologion lists him as one of the senior officers of the Vigla guard regiment under the droungarios. From the early 11th century however, the droungarios of the Vigla was entrusted with judicial and police duties in the capital, Constantinople, and the post of akolouthos became independent, its holders being entrusted with command of foreign mercenary contingents. In this time the post became especially associated with the Varangian Guard, whose command the akolouthos had. In the 12th century however, the akolouthoi are mentioned chiefly in connection with diplomatic missions. The [megas] akolouthos ("[grand] akolouthos") is still named as the chief of the Varangians in the mid-14th century Book of Offices of pseudo-Kodinos, but the entry may well be anachronistic, as the last attested holder of the post is a certain John Nomikopoulos in 1199.



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