''Vestarchēs'' ( el|βεστάρχης) was a senior Byzantine honorific dignity in use from the late 10th to early 12th centuries. The term ''vestarchēs'' means "head of the ''vestai''", another group of high court dignitaries. Etymologically, these terms are related to the ''vestiarion'', the imperial wardrobe, but despite earlier attempts to connect the ''vestai''/''vestarchēs'' with the officials of the ''vestiarion'' (cf. Bréhier), no such relation appears to have existed... It is first mentioned in the ''Escorial Taktikon'', a list of offices and court titles and their precedence compiled in the 970s. Initially, it was restricted to senior court eunuchs, but came to be awarded to senior officers as well after the mid-11th century. Its holders included famed generals such as Michael Bourtzes, Nikephoros Melissenos, and possibly also the future Byzantine emperors Nikephoros Botaneiates and Romanos Diogenes, but also some senior judicial officials of Constantinople. In the palace hierarchy, it came between the title of ''magistros'' and that of ''vestes'', but was devalued with the general inflation of awards during the latter decades of the 11th century: by the turn of the century, the new title of ''prōtovestarchēs'' ( gr|πρωτοβεστάρχης||first ''vestarchēs'') is attested as being awarded to judges and notaries. Both titles are in evidence in the early 12th century, but apparently fell completely out of use soon after.



* * *{{cite book|last=Oikonomides|first=Nicolas|authorlink=Nicolas Oikonomides|title=Les listes de préséance byzantines des IXe et Xe siècles|location=Paris|publisher=Éditions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique|year=1972|language=French|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=RFdmAAAAMAAJ Category:Byzantine court titles