RomanArmyTalk

Full Version: Byzantine Weapons and Warfare
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43
Quote:Nice plates, but the artist loves purple and gold colours - not to mention everybody has peacock feather helmets!!

Yes, some helmets are definately incorrect, although older 3rd c. types could survive into the 4th c. (I doubt whether the Praetorians would still have these older types though). I have great doubts about these helmets with metal 'feathers' though. I know they're based on the 'supposed' Cornuti from the Constantinian Arch, but these reconstructions look more like samurai helmets instead of Roman ones. Too fanciful.

Wasn't Gainas killed by the Huns? Not some peacock-feathered Roman, surely?


Dear.
No. The artist used purple and gold because this is the colour of the Imperial Guardsmen reconstructed. Colours that You can see on the artistical sources used, and read in the description of Johannes Chrisostomos and the others.
Not everybody has peackock feathers on the helmets: but only the Emperors (as attested by all the sources), the Cataphracts of Imperial Guards (Claudianus) and the Exarch of Ravenna, the copy of the Emperor in the reconquested Italy. The Praetorians are represented only with these types of helmets, because they were very effective and more linked with the Roman tradition.
The helmets of the 3rd cent. were still widely used in the fourth.
Of course other types of helmets were in use, but the sources I used for this warriors were with these helmets. For example a second type of helmet shown for the praetorian was a kind of helmet with eagle protome.
The horns are exactly like this in the Constantine Arch. There are represented two versions.
Gainas was killed by a combined army of Romans and Huns in the winter (23 December 400). The scene was represented on the Column of Arcadius so I had to use the warriors from the Coloumn.
Best wishes
Raffaele
Good to hear from you, Raffaele. A very complete answer to the objections raised.

While I don't always agree with your interpretations of the original sources, I have to respect the painstakingly thorough work that goes into them - and anyway, our differences of opinion are in the "grey" areas where several interpretations have just as much chance of being correct. Without a Time Machine to get back there, we'll never know for sure.
Quote:Good to hear from you, Raffaele. A very complete answer to the objections raised.

While I don't always agree with your interpretations of the original sources, I have to respect the painstakingly thorough work that goes into them - and anyway, our differences of opinion are in the "grey" areas where several interpretations have just as much chance of being correct. Without a Time Machine to get back there, we'll never know for sure.

Thank You dear friend. You are completely right.
I have also to send You a copy of the book because (I know You are modest) You helped me greatly with the english.
So it will arrive soon....
All the best
Raffaele
Hi Rafaelle,

Good defence! Glad to hear from you.

Quote:The artist used purple and gold because this is the colour of the Imperial Guardsmen reconstructed. Colours that You can see on the artistical sources used, and read in the description of Johannes Chrisostomos and the others.
I have no doubt that the colours are correct as colours. Howver, my comments were about the heavy use of them in all the drawings. My comments were not directed at you as the advisors of the artist, but at the artist and his general choice of colours, including backgrounds. Just a personal taste thing.

Quote:Not everybody has peackock feathers on the helmets: but only the Emperors (as attested by all the sources), the Cataphracts of Imperial Guards (Claudianus) and the Exarch of Ravenna, the copy of the Emperor in the reconquested Italy.
OK! I did not know that, thanks for the information.

Quote:The Praetorians are represented only with these types of helmets, because they were very effective and more linked with the Roman tradition.
Ah, but isn't that a dangerous assumption? The helmets, if they were so effective, why were they phased out, as the evidently were? And were the Praetorians that 'traditional'- and did that mean they walked around and 'archaic' armour as a result of that 'link with Roman traditions'. Even more so, how do we know that there was a 'Roman tradition' when it came to practical things such as armour?

Quote:The helmets of the 3rd cent. were still widely used in the fourth.
Of course other types of helmets were in use, but the sources I used for this warriors were with these helmets. For example a second type of helmet shown for the praetorian was a kind of helmet with eagle protome.
The horns are exactly like this in the Constantine Arch. There are represented two versions.
I agree with no. 1, but I would rather turn your previous argument around; in my rasoning, as an elite force, the Praetorians would sooner have had the new style helmets rather than the old.
The use of the Arch of Constantine as a correct source for contemporary details is a double-edged sword... Cry

Quote:Gainas was killed by a combined army of Romans and Huns in the winter (23 December 400). The scene was represented on the Column of Arcadius so I had to use the warriors from the Coloumn.
Although I can imagine that the Column of Arcadius would have no good idea of what Huns looked like, I agree with you that are perfectly right in this choice. Having said that, I would have loved to see the Hunnic king Uldin! Big Grin
Rafaelle did they allow you to take photos of the "peudo attik" helmets?
If you have them in your book then perhaps a lot of us will have to change our opinion on the matter.

As for the "icons of saints" I do not have objections but I am of the opinion that thy might not be appearing in the retinues of "iconomachic" emperors-at least at the period that they reigned.

I respect your point about emperors having to address to the protocol but I still have my doubts about Basilios and Herakleios at least as I come to understand their personality from the chroniclers

The mounted warriors in 11th century Italy are a big story.
I agree with you that we cannot tell what the origins of many of them were. The Lombards and Normans were rather dominant but we cannot rule out Franks or even the odd Italiotic Greek!

Thanks for all your clarifications

Kind regards
Raffaele,
I agree with Egfroth, it is good to find you here in defence of your scholarship. I am very curious about the helmet find. There seems to be almost no finds from ouir period of interest When you talk about the helmet of the Domestikos being a Roman one found in south Crimea do you mean this helmet:
http://www.rus-druzhina.ru/gallery/protect/Table021
Raffaele pointed out that the "Varangian" hecatondarchos in Germany is dated differently in three different occasions. Do we know why?

I agree that the 14th 15th cntury depictions are by far the best of the book Gioi

But the Comnenos hmmm... I have objections on the standard bearers outfit.
I mean the "Kremlin Helmet" and the "archaic" armor.

What solid (preferably not Hagiography) evidence we have for this type of Armor existing in the 12th century?

The general feeling is that hagiographers copied the "backdating classicism" attitute of Byzantine scholars.

Kind regards
I have no doubt that the colours are correct as colours. Howver, my comments were about the heavy use of them in all the drawings. My comments were not directed at you as the advisors of the artist, but at the artist and his general choice of colours, including backgrounds. Just a personal taste thing.


Quote:The Praetorians are represented only with these types of helmets, because they were very effective and more linked with the Roman tradition.
Ah, but isn't that a dangerous assumption? The helmets, if they were so effective, why were they phased out, as the evidently were? And were the Praetorians that 'traditional'- and did that mean they walked around and 'archaic' armour as a result of that 'link with Roman traditions'. Even more so, how do we know that there was a 'Roman tradition' when it came to practical things such as armour?

Quote:The helmets of the 3rd cent. were still widely used in the fourth.
Of course other types of helmets were in use, but the sources I used for this warriors were with these helmets. For example a second type of helmet shown for the praetorian was a kind of helmet with eagle protome.
The horns are exactly like this in the Constantine Arch. There are represented two versions.
I agree with no. 1, but I would rather turn your previous argument around; in my rasoning, as an elite force, the Praetorians would sooner have had the new style helmets rather than the old.
The use of the Arch of Constantine as a correct source for contemporary details is a double-edged sword... Cry

Quote:Gainas was killed by a combined army of Romans and Huns in the winter (23 December 400). The scene was represented on the Column of Arcadius so I had to use the warriors from the Coloumn.
Although I can imagine that the Column of Arcadius would have no good idea of what Huns looked like, I agree with you that are perfectly right in this choice. Having said that, I would have loved to see the Hunnic king Uldin! Big Grin [/quote]

Hello Dear,
I understand Your point of view. The problem is the quality of the print. We used very different shades of gold and purple following the colours described by Corippus - in In laudem Justinii - and the colours of the miniatures and - for example in the Guardsman and Constantius, both taken from the Kertch plate - artistic artworks. But they used for the print the same tonality.

If You can see the original paintings You maybe would understand better it...Albertini did a terrible effort. I was asking him to change the shades a lot of time. Anyway after all it is not so bad the quality of the print.

About the question of helmets and Roman tradition it is a old topic. The respect of the traditional shape did not mean less effectviness. The so called Attic or pseudo-attic helmet used in IV-VII cent. was for sure not the chalcidian helmet of the 4th cent. BC

Pseud-Attic helmets, like the specimen from Worthing (here in my plate worn by the last Praetorian on the right in bronze scale armour) were used diffusely in 3-4 cent. and they were one of the most updated helmet. You can see it on the Constantine arch very clearly, and also on the figures from the pilasters of the arch, maybe coming from a Diocletian monument. The pseudo-attic helmets were just a element of continuity of the Roman military tradition, as today we have also some cloth caps originated in 19 cent. and still used in modern army. But the attic helmet tradition was composed of models that varied in size and utility: on the Constantine arch we have also pseudo-Attic helmets upon the Cornuti, that are similar to some helmets already represented on Dura Europos frescoes. The same typology of helmet You can see on the Maximian cathedra in Ravenna (without the typical badge of the Cornuti), and this is a shape that sometimes is made of a unique bowl, sometimes has got a ridge construction. The helmet of Kerak today is badly damaged, but originally it could be also of this shape. It was the helmet from which originated the typical VIII century helmet, that You can see in use in West and in East, on East-Roman carvings and Carolingian miniatures. A fragment of it is in Novi Sad museum, I hope to be able to take a picture on the next week for the Greehill book.

The Constantine arch freeze today is like the Trajan column: no more colours, missing details. Nothwistanding the correspondance of the details with the description of Eusebius, Claudianus, Heliodorus, are striking and the details of shoes, tunics and weapons, as well as the shield blazons are clearly (at least for me) a true portrait of the reality. You could inderstand it if You coudl see it when just finished: metallic insertions, tunics painted like in the Piazza Armeina mosaics, some crest inserted, the colour of the shields....

We have here represented for example all the category of helmets: Attic, Hedderneim, Intercisa. So or we are in front to a crazy artist, who represents in correct way the belt fittings and carves wrongly some helmets, or we are simply in front of the reality, what I believe.

Today we have - beside the main pseudo-attic helmets of 3-4 cent. - the specimens of Richborough that confirms the true about the Theodosian column images, often neglected. And also here the pseudo-attic helmets are worn by Imperial Guardsmen.

In the Gainas plate, the Huns are too small because we thought much more impressive the Cataphract. I have prepared also two Hun warriors, but I will reserve it for an other book. The artists of the Arcadius column knew very well the Huns, because on the column fragment You can see clear details of the Goths. But they preferred to avoid - maybe, because we do not have all the fragments of the column - to adscribe the victory to Uldin and of course celebrated Fravittas.

Why the battle scene of the column show Romans against Goths often Roman dressed? it is easy. Because the Goths of Gainas were partially equipped with Roman arsenal. Just until a day before of the exit from the city they were in the Imperial Guard!!!

Best wishes

Raf
Quote:Rafaelle did they allow you to take photos of the "peudo attik" helmets?
If you have them in your book then perhaps a lot of us will have to change our opinion on the matter.

As for the "icons of saints" I do not have objections but I am of the opinion that thy might not be appearing in the retinues of "iconomachic" emperors-at least at the period that they reigned.

I respect your point about emperors having to address to the protocol but I still have my doubts about Basilios and Herakleios at least as I come to understand their personality from the chroniclers

The mounted warriors in 11th century Italy are a big story.
I agree with you that we cannot tell what the origins of many of them were. The Lombards and Normans were rather dominant but we cannot rule out Franks or even the odd Italiotic Greek!

Thanks for all your clarifications

Dear,
No it is not a icon of the Saint. Passions of VIII - IX century said that Constantine V replaced his image on the standards and the Skeptron there represented is taken from a VIII century silk still existing in Italy in 1905, now only God knows where it is.
The Vasilios costume is taken by sources that You know very well. Tzimiskes is described in the war against Svjatoslav in a very similar attire. Remember that the warrior-Emperors did not hidden themselves, but dressed in purple and gold just to show to the army where they were. You can imagine however as it was difficult to approach them in battle. They arrived at full charge, surrounded by golded armoured "Angels" who died in front ot them. Not 10-12 like in the movies, but hundred and hundred.
Of course in battle Basi II could have worn a more consistent helmet and not the toupha. Or even just the crown, like the miniature of Skilitzès who represents him bare-headed against the Abasgians.
Caesar fought bare-headed, it is not surprising to see sometimes some Emperors doing the same. It was not the rule. Sometimes Basil is quoted fighting with an helmet.
Eraklios is taken from the coins and description of him from George of Pisidia, Theophanes, Fredegarius, Nikephoros. In same source he is expressly quoted as fighting with the red tzaggia of the Emperor. But George di Pisidia told us that he uses black boots, to colour them red with the enemy blood!

I think italiotic greeks. But I cannot exclude the other ethnies. In anycase, I needed a south italian warrior for the plate and it was a perfect source

Best wishes

Raffaele


Kind regards
Quote:Sometimes Basil is quoted fighting with an helmet.

As is Alexios I in the Alexiad, when fighting against the Normans after the battle of Dyrrakhion. In fact Alexios' helmet had a "visor" (whatever that means) which enabled him to hide his face.

Raf, do you have the Alexiad in the ortiginal Greek? I'd be very interested to find out what word was actually used, and what the most appropriate translation would be. In English, the word "visor" has a very specific meaning - a sheet metal face covering on a pivot - like this:
[Image: 61E3A-armet.gif]

I doubt very much that this is what Anna meant. The only face coverings I know of in Byzantine pictorial sources are one in the "Greek Romance of Alexander" with what appears to be scale armour across the face (with eyeholes), plus some which might be face coverings folded back on top of the helmet (perhaps held with a hook? Who knows?), in the Madrid Skylitzes Chronicle.
Thanks for info Raffaele.

Steven I am of the opinion that Anna meant either the helmet ascoited with the "Clibanioforoi" or one of the masks found in the "Holy Palace" in Constantinouloplis.

Still we cannot exclude the possibility that had a "Siculo-Norman" helmet.

Yes I know it is speculative but all I mentioned were within Alexius means.

Kind regards
Yes, but it's all speculation. That's why I'd like to find out the original words used, and see how accurately we can get the meaning of term. Translations by people unfamiliar with the subject of military equipment can be very misleading.

One thing we do know, though, is that the "visor" could be raised or lowered, which probably cuts out the face mask and the Siculo-Norman types.

By the helmets associated with the klibanophoroi, I take it you mean a mail curtain that covers the face? As I understand it, the association with this type of face protection with klibanophoroi comes from a colour plate in the Osprey Byzantine Armies book, not from any contemporary source. The only Byzantine source for this I know of is in the "Greek Romance of Alexander", whch is 14th century, two to three centuries after Alexios. There are Islamic pictures of similar mail curtains, but as far as I know, nothing else from the Empire.

I still think something of the sort is the most likely possibility, but the evidence is very thin.
Hi all,
I've read that the dating of the treatise of Syrianus Magister (formerly known as Anonymi Byzantini Peri strategias) has been revised and some scholars now think it's middle Byzantine work. Allegedly the arguments are summarised in this article:

Cosentino, S.: The Syrianos' Strategikon - a 9th Century Source?, Bizantinistica 2, 2000, 243-280.

Unfortunately I don't have access to this article. Have anybody read it and could write here the main arguments for different dating of this work?

Greetings
Alexandr
I would also love to read this article! Can anyone provide me with a copy?
Quote:Yes, but it's all speculation. That's why I'd like to find out the original words used, and see how accurately we can get the meaning of term. Translations by people unfamiliar with the subject of military equipment can be very misleading.

One thing we do know, though, is that the "visor" could be raised or lowered, which probably cuts out the face mask and the Siculo-Norman types.

By the helmets associated with the klibanophoroi, I take it you mean a mail curtain that covers the face? As I understand it, the association with this type of face protection with klibanophoroi comes from a colour plate in the Osprey Byzantine Armies book, not from any contemporary source. The only Byzantine source for this I know of is in the "Greek Romance of Alexander", whch is 14th century, two to three centuries after Alexios. There are Islamic pictures of similar mail curtains, but as far as I know, nothing else from the Empire.

I still think something of the sort is the most likely possibility, but the evidence is very thin.

The "Kipchak"-style face masks I have seen often have a hinge in the center of the forehead, which suggest that they could be raised or lowered. perhaps what is meant is a helmet of this type?

Example:
[Image: th_Persian_masked_helmet.jpg] [Image: th_Tatarmask22.jpg]

I'm also honoured that Dr D'Amato has given some feedback. I'm very impressed with this book, but some of the reconstructions did take me by surprise. I'm glad Dr D'Amato has replied to some queries. I am still curious about the standard bearer who is wearing a muscle cuirass in plate 16, The text decribes it as being "golden leather, a real example of late Roman style." Does this cuirass actually exist, or is based on representational evidence?

Thanks again.

Hisham
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43