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Nothing that I know of.
"Kontos" or "Kontarion" literlly means wooden shaft.
Some Byzantione writers refer to point, spikes and blades on a pole (shaft) as kontaria. Most people think they are spears but I o not personaly belive the trnslation is accurate in every case.

Some times horse lancers are called "Kontaratoi" some other times footmen are described with this term.

Kind regards
Its length was probably the origin of its name, as the word kontos could also mean "oar" or "barge-pole" in Classical Greek (See the Liddell-Scott). For cavalry it had to be wielded with two hands while directing the horse using the knees; this made it a specialist weapon that required a lot of training and good horseman skills to use effectively.

The kontarion was used by the first ranks of each chiliarchy in order to fend off enemy cavalry. In our previous discussions I have mentioned that Anastasiadis says the Praecepta does not specify how the menaulion was used to defeat cataphracts. However he puts this proposition, namely that the kontaria of the hoplitai would bristle 30 spans to the fore of the taxiarchy (dwarfing the length of the menaulion) and would achieve first strike. So the enemy runs onto a thicket of kontaria -which could in most cases be counted on to stop a cataphract charge.

However, if the enemy break through, then the menaulatoi could dispatch their foes by stabbing (according to the Sylloge) the enemy horse, or a dismounted fully armoured cavalryman. The Praecepta also describes the situation where the enemy rush to attack in a linear fashion, the hoplitai pin them down to their front with their long kontaria while the javelineers and menaulatoi group up in phalanxes and rip into the enemy by outflanking them.

The Romans adopted a variation of the kontos called a contus. The Roman contus was also wielded two-handed. The later Byzantine kontarion was used by the Byzantine cataphracts single-handed couched under the armpit, and was probably the origin of the couched lance used by the Normans.

I don't have access to my sources at the moment but from memory and earlier posts I think I have mentioned the most salient sources.
I guess that means that when a writer uses 'kontos' or 'contus' they are more likely to have a longer thrusting spear in mind, and not a throwing spear, no matter the length they're thinking of.
Robert wrote:-
Quote:I guess that means that when a writer uses 'kontos' or 'contus' they are more likely to have a longer thrusting spear in mind, and not a throwing spear, no matter the length they're thinking of.
Stefanos wrote:-
Quote:"Kontos" or "Kontarion" literlly means wooden shaft.
Some Byzantione writers refer to point, spikes and blades on a pole (shaft) as kontaria.
.....I wouldn't be so quick to jump to that conclusion, Robert. It is beginning to sound to me that 'kontos', like 'hasta', is a generic word for 'shafted weapon', that could take on a specific meaning at different times and places. In it's "bit of iron on the end of a stick" guise it would cover the lexicon meaning of 'boathook' - or 'pila', which seems to be how Arrian uses it.
Certainly the Latin 'contus' meant the thick, two-handed cavalry lance as used by Sarmatian heavy cavalry.
Peter wrote:-
Quote:However he puts this proposition, namely that the kontaria of the hoplitai would bristle 30 spans to the fore of the taxiarchy

...If that measurement is correct, the 'kontos/pike/sarissa' would protrude
some 15 ft (4.5 m) in front! If we add say, 6 ft (1.8 m) behind, that would make a weapon 21 ft (6.3 m) long in total - longer than the longest sarissa, which must mean a two handed Macedonian phalanx type weapon! One suspects some corruption of text here, especially if the weapon was meant to be used single-handed.
Quote:Robert wrote:-
Quote:I guess that means that when a writer uses 'kontos' or 'contus' they are more likely to have a longer thrusting spear in mind, and not a throwing spear, no matter the length they're thinking of.
.....I wouldn't be so quick to jump to that conclusion, Robert. It is beginning to sound to me that 'kontos', like 'hasta', is a generic word for 'shafted weapon', that could take on a specific meaning at different times and places. In it's "bit of iron on the end of a stick" guise it would cover the lexicon meaning of 'boathook' - or 'pila', which seems to be how Arrian uses it.
I'll get back to you about Arrian.
As to the rest, it seems to me that the earlier generic meaning of 'kontos' does not vary much. It's a long weapon (or a long bargepole :wink: ), and although the use can be both cavalry or infantry, it seems like a primary thrusting weapon where the actual use can be established. Not a throwing weapon anyway.
So no, I'm unconvinced that 'kontos' can be a generic word like 'hasta', or even a translation of 'pilum'.
Barring, of course, the occasion where an author has totally no idea whatsoever what he's talking about, in which case we can expect everything.
Quote:Interpretations of Byzantine arms and tactics
Thanks Stephanos.
I can't read the text, but that's what I have in mind for the so-called ínfantry kontos.

We see such longer thrusting spears depicted and described from Classical Greece throughout the Roman period into Byzantine times. So I think we can rightly assume that such weapons belonged to the vast array of Roman weaponry. The names vary from the generic 'dory' and 'hasta' to 'kontos' and 'contus', which are also used throughout the same period.
Images probably coming from the big edition of Vasilief's Byzantine History.
I am not sure and I believe the artist has used the same depiction to show Medieval Swiss and Spanish infantry.
According to the text these are "defensores".

Well I do not know if a Byzantine military professional had different names for all this pole-arms depicted here but the Greeks use the term dory or logchi for thusting pointed weapons or sometimes call them kontari from the medieval greek (byzantine) kontarion

Kind regards
Don't mean to be awkward (oh go on then), but why has the heavily armoured dude in the front rank got a kite shield and may this reflect on the overall authenticity of the illustration?

Sorry having a bad day :evil:
No worries Jools,

Quote:why has the heavily armoured dude in the front rank got a kite shield and may this reflect on the overall authenticity of the illustration?
The helmets look like they point to a 5th-6th c. period, but indeed, the kite shield spoils that impression.

I could also ask why the second and third guy don't hold their shield horizontally above their head, instead of in front of their face.
The more I look at that the more problems I see. Why has the guy in the rear got a francisca in his belt? Would a cavalryman really be able to ride comfortably with such an enormous spear? What are they wearing on their legs?

A bit of a mish-mash, IMHO.
Quote:The more I look at that the more problems I see. Why has the guy in the rear got a francisca in his belt? Would a cavalryman really be able to ride comfortably with such an enormous spear? What are they wearing on their legs?

A bit of a mish-mash, IMHO.

The axe in my opinion is not necessarily out of place as I've seen similar museum example of these attributed to the Balkans C5th - C12th.

The leg armour is curious though. They look like 'Ponozhi' which were wooden greaves worn by Western Steppe nomads like the Khirgiz.
Quote:The axe in my opinion is not necessarily out of place as I've seen similar museum example of these attributed to the Balkans C5th - C12th.

Do you mean with the S-curved head that it characteristic of the francisca? I thought these were confined to the Franks.
Ahh, sorry, my error. I thought I had seen a similar axe in this collection

http://www.worldmuseumofman.org/byzantineartifacts1.htm

but the blades of these are curving down and not 'S' shaped as you pointed out. Perhaps the soldier depicted was meant to be a Germanic within the Byzantine army?

Oh by the way, I'm having the war hammer on this (top right hand image) site made up for me, hopefully it should be ready soon and will post some pics when it is.
I've projected the rod at the back into a spike, approximately 8-10cm long as the example here is damaged, and after confering with Timothy Dawson he concluded that a spike would probably be ok, although he had never seen an example like this before. I did possibly think that the 'rod' may have terminated into a small crescent axe head, the strange chisel type hammer end being the reverse :?
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