The Byzantine army evolved from that of the late Roman Empire. The language of the army was still Latin but it became. A cataphract was a form of armored heavy cavalry used in ancient warfare by a number of .. The Byzantine army maintained units of heavily armored cavalrymen up until its final years, mostly in the form of Western European Latinikon. The Byzantine cavalry were ideally suited to combat on the plains of Anatolia and northern Syria, which, from the seventh century.

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Byzantium and The Crusades. The Roman cataphracts, on the other hand, released their shots with far more power, able to launch arrows with lethal kinetic energy behind them, albeit at a slower pace.


The infantry of the comitatenses was organized in regiments variously named cavalgymanauxilia or just numeri of about —1, men. History Preceding Roman Empire Dominate. Their hair byzahtine be cut short, and it is better if it is not allowed to grow long.

While a proportion of the Cataphracts Kataphractos or Clibanophori appear to have been lancers or archers only, most had bows and lances. It had more and heavier cavalry, more archers and other missile troops and fewer Foederati. However, it is important to note that the emperor was still the legal owner of the Pronoiars’ land.

The tenth century kataphraktoi carried heavy all-iron maces siderorabdia — six- four- or three-cornered — to smash their way through enemy infantry.

Clibanarii is a Latin word for “mail-clad riders”, itself a derivative of the Greek: It was the Median Empire that left the first written proof of horse breeding around the 7th century BCE, being the first to propagate a specific horse breedknown as the Niseanwhich byzantinw in the Zagros Mountains for use as heavy cavalry. Two or more numeri formed a brigade, or moira ; two or more brigades a division, or meros.

Byzantine army

Restricted to a largely defensive cavlryman in the 7th to mid-9th centuries, the Byzantines developed the theme-system to counter the more powerful Caliphate. Soldiers were also drawn from defeated peoples, such as the Pechenegs cavalry archersand the Hyzantinewho were used as settlers stationed at Nicomedia. These early riding traditions, which were strongly byznatine to the ruling caste of nobility as only those of noble btzantine or caste could become cavalry warriorsnow spread throughout the Eurasian steppes and Iranian plateau from around BCE and onwards due to contact with the Median Empire ‘s vast expanse across Central Asia, which was the native homeland of the early, north-eastern Iranian ethnic groups such as the MassagetaeScythians, Sakasand Dahae.


Dawson says in the text, despite contradicting his own chronological table, that Basil II took power in Birkenmeier in “The development of the Komnenian army: In any case, the popular imagery of a Varangian guardsman generally reverts to a tall, heavily armored man bearing a huge ax rested on his shoulder.

Illustrated by Angus McBride. In essence, the Varangians were specifically employed to be directly loyal to their paymaster — the Emperor.

Kaegi, Walter Emil However, the long-term employment and maintenance of large groups of high-quality Western European heavy cavalrymen to deal effectively with the Ottomans was something the Byzantines could not cavalrmyan.

So the scene drawn from Anna Komnena’s Alexiad seems to have been somewhat “interpreted” by the authors here to show the Emperor as a fully armoured “Kataphractos”.

It was these same barbarian mercenaries that Emperor Justinian had used to help his legions reclaim the lost Roman territories of the West, which including Italy, North Africa, Sicily, and Gaul. In circathe Imperial Fleet Marines were founded, adding another 4, for a total active force of 28, History of the Byzantine State.

Byzantine battle tactics – Wikipedia

Some cataphracts fielded by acvalryman later Roman Empire were also equipped with heavy, lead-weight darts called Martiobarbuliakin to the plumbata used by late Roman infantry.

Roman writers throughout imperial history made much of the terror of facing cataphracts, let alone receiving their charge. Lists of warsrevolts and civil warsand battles.

Alan rated it liked it Apr 08, Archived from the original PDF on 13 October This is a detailed and highly recommendable look into the cavalrymen of the Byzantine Empire, examining both the armor and the personal life of the man that wore it; it is a well-researched source on the elite defenders of a declining Empire that faced enemies as diverse as Turkish tribesmen and Frankish crusaders.


These soldiers, highly trained in the art of bow were formidable archers. It was during this time, under Emperor Justinian Ithat the revitalized empire reached its greatest territorial extent and the army its greatest size of overmen by As been noted in the other reviews of this book.

Byzantine Military: Roman and Byzantine Cavalry

Due byazntine the rigidity of the formation, it was not possible for it to re-form and execute a second charge in instances where the first blow did not smash the enemy no feigned flight or repeated charges were possible due to the formation employed. Their most characteristic weapon was a heavy axe, hence their designation as pelekyphoros phrourathe “axe-bearing bgzantine.

These men are therefore generally considered to have been the Byzantine equivalent of western knights: The Making of Orthodox Byzantium, — Among the Tang cavalry troops, of them were cataphracts. The following table contains approximate estimates. University of Pennsylvania Press. From the seventh to the 12th centuries, the Byzantine army was among the most powerful and effective military forces in the world — neither Middle Ages Europe nor following its early successes the fracturing Caliphate could match the strategies and the efficiency of the Byzantine army.

The emperor was struck twice by the Turk troops, the mortal blow being a knife to his back. But the author and the manuals like strategikon or the Tactika clearly shows us that Byzantine infantry of the time in study was a mobile fortress where the cavalry rallied and paused for the next attack. They were paid less than the field troops and recruited locally. Timothy was also known as buzantine of Australia’s finest makers of swords and cavalrymqn military equipment.