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I have heard that the Theme system was effective until some disaster, but what did it actually do? What was it supposed to do?

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    This is not even as good a question for the site than the other one. Here, we're starting from "Ground Zero." A question is supposed to give us a better "start" or "platform" than this. Coming in, you're supposed to at least know what a theme system is. Then an acceptable question would be "how dd it work?" – Tom Au May 8 '13 at 21:39
  • Background: The Byzantine army was divided into regional themes that perpetually guarded respective sectors of the Empire’s frontier. Combined with fortifications setup along the frontier, the theme system stymied invasion attempts by hostile neighbors. See also the Wikipedia article. – Fred May 8 '13 at 22:09