Full Version: Early byzantine army effectiveness and equipment
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Ave, fellow history buffs of the world.

I am currently studying the early to mid byzantine army, spanning from cirka the fall of west rome to say 700 or so. I have a few questions related to this, some that are surely familiar from topics before.

1. Can you point me to some reliable sources for byzantine equipment, both weaponry and armour? I have read a few books, had a look in the osprey series pictures and are now going for the Strategikon.

2. Reading up on byzantine history it seems like the very army foundation of course changed after the fall of Rome, the byzantines taking a more defensive approach. I have read in a few passages that the persians regarded the romans as generally ill disciplined and less effective than their own forces. Some major setbacks could suggest this might have been the case, however, some impressive feats are also recorded (Belisarius, Narses, Heraclius etc). So what is the general picture of the early military forces of the byzantine world?

Thanks and best regards, J
Rome had been on the strategic defensive since Hadrian. Indeed under Justinian the Early Byzantines went on the strategic offensive: recapturing Africa, Italy and Southern Spain. As late as Maurice they were expanding their Eastern border at Persia's expense - though their position in Italy had collapsed and the Balkans were becoming almost indefensible.