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
Thomas almost forgot,
A well researched reconstruction by Raffaele D’Amato of the 10th C John Tzimiskes Athanatoi can be found in Porphyria Issue 9 page 75. The journal is in Italian but the drawings are self explanatory.

See [url:2uj5sdjy][/url]

I can't recall anything similar for the later Athanatoi.

Quote:Kinnamos states that Manuel I (1143-1180) introduced Western European equipment (specifically long kite shields are mentioned) and knightly methods to his native Byzantine heavy cavalry. It is generally thought that this included the couched lance technique and greater use of heavy armour. Manuel himself took part in western style jousts, and impressed western observers with his prowess.

At the Battle of Dyrrhakion in the reign of Alexios I (1081-1119 -ish) Norman knights caught the emperor after his army had started to fall apart in defeat. Two knights thrust their lances at him from either side, only the equal pressure kept the emperor in his saddle. His armour must have been very effective as he escaped with no serious injury.

I think that some Byzantine cavalrymen of the Komnenian period, possibly only the military aristocracy, members of the imperial household (oikeoi) and some guards units, were very heavily armoured indeed, perhaps more so than most contemporary western knights.

Byzantine armour was, in many ways, more sophisticated than that of the west in the years before 1200. The western knight essentially had one layer of mail as protection for the whole body, with a padded garment beneath. The Byzantine heavy cavalryman had a greater concentration of protection in the most vital areas. The torso of of a Byzantine cavalryman could have a quilted inner "arming doublet" with a mailshirt over this, then a lamellar cuirass over the mail, and even a further quilted defence (the epilorikion) on top of the lamellar.

Ahh yes, the Dyrrhakion incident. Timothy Dawson's fave talk for the public when we do events.

I've been fortunate to see some of the art work for his forthcoming Osprey on Byzantine cavalry which depicts this incident. I will check with Timothy and see if it's possible to post the image up, although this may not be possible.
The incident is very interesting, as is mention of Alexios' face-protecting armour mentioned earlier in the Alexiad.

The only guards units mentioned after the reign of Alexios I are: the Varangians, Archontopouloi, Vestiaritae, Hetaireia, and the new formation of the Vardariots. The Hetaireia seems to have been a cover-all title for smaller units, often foreign, which were absorbed into the imperial guard.
Of the surviving units only the Archontopouloi strike me as being likely to have been composed of very heavily armoured cavalry.

However, like in the Justinianic army, the personal guards of generals and other aristocrats became very important, as did the emperor's oikeoi or "military household". The guard of the Megas Domestikos John Axuch was numerous enough to put down the infighting which had broken out between of a unit of mercenaries and some native Greek troops during the seige of Corfu (1149). I think that it is within these personal guards and in the emperor's own household that most of the very heavily armoured Byzantine cavalry were probably concentrated in the post-Manzikert period.
Okay thanks Smile Now what about klibanophoroi? what are those?
Clibanioforoi are probably Super-heavy catafracts.
Probably the Ikanatoi bataghlion of the Hetereia household troups.
The other two Excubitoi and Arithmos were not so heavily armored.
They are considered "native" Byzantine troops but the odd Frank or Lombard is not unlikely amongthme in the 8th-9th centuries.
Mostlry described in Nikiforos TAKTIKA.
Except charging with the lance they used martiobardula a plumbata kind of dart.

Kind regards
It is probably worth mentioning that written references to klibanophoroi begin with the reign of Nikephoros Phokas (963-969) and end in that of Basil Bulgaroktonos, who died 1025.

Constantine Monomachos, in the mid 11th century, cut back on army expenditure and he may well have disbanded any remaining units of these very expensive troops.
So how were they used? what were their tactics? what equipment did they have? what are the names for their equipment? how did they perform against the enemy? could they stand up to european heavy cavalry?
Quote:So how were they used? what were their tactics? what equipment did they have? what are the names for their equipment? how did they perform against the enemy? could they stand up to european heavy cavalry?

Their appearance and tactics are largely derived from descriptions in military treatises, there is little specific reference to them in battle accounts as to their actions being definitely separate from those of other heavy cavalry.

They were used as shock cavalry, drawn up in a blunt wedge formation. Some had maces others kontarion lances, whilst in the protected centre of the wedge there were mounted archers.

They wore a helmet, face covering mail, a lamellar klivanion with attached sleeves, some form of defence (not very well described) to cover the hips and thighs (possibly kremesmata), vambraces and greaves, mail gloves and "steel shoes." Over their metallic armour they wore a hooded epilorikion, a type of quilted textile armour. They rode barded, armoured, horses.

There isn't much indication of them being pitted against Western "knights". The army of the Katepan Basil Boiannes drubbed the Normans at Cannae, he might have had some Klibs. He did have a unit of Varangians, therefore he certainly had access to elite troops.
Boioanes beat the Normans using combined arms tactics.
He checked them with heavy infantry supported by archers,confused them with light horse and finally charged with his catafracts.

Probably Ioannis Paleologos had studied him in Pelagonia.

Kind regards
So were the 'steel shoes' a.k.a sabatons solid or segmented? what can you tell me about the horses barding?
Horse barding is an open question.
Most metal armor would be influenced by Eastern styles. Armenian, Parthic or Skythian. Yet horn and hide armor was known used by the Sarmatians.

It is generally believed that Imperial household catafracts had mostly metallic armor and full barding while thematic catafracts had semi-armored horses.

It is generally believed that vambrases and grieves were sehmented yet.
Yet a more solid form of grieves was unearthed in Kuban which raises more questions.

Kind regards
Quote:So were the 'steel shoes' a.k.a sabatons solid or segmented?

As it is impossible to walk in solid metal shoes they must have been articulated in some manner; they are not described in any detail and no pictorial evidence exists.
I can't help think of the 'tie on shoes' we see.....or a version of them.
The George T Dennis translation of Three Byzantine Military Treatises has a reference to "iron soles". It is found in the Anonymous Treatise on Strategy. See section 39 on Night Combat. These are explicity worn by the advance party as protection against caltrops and stakes they may encounter.

In section 17 of the Anonymous - The Cavalry Phalanx and Its Formation -the horses of the front line are to be given iron armour for head, breast and neck as well as "iron plates" to protect their hooves so that they will be protected by against caltrops and similar devices.

In Eric McGreers translations of the 10th C Praecepta Militaria of Nikephoros II Phokas and the Taktika of Nikephoros Ouranos kataphrakts are covered but no mention of iron shoes is made. However , he mentions a poem written by al-Mutanabbi commemorating Sayf al Dawla's triumph over Bardas Phokas at Hadat. In that poem al-Mutanabbi records the Arabs' amazement at the sight of kataphraktoi " who advanced on horses which seemed to have no legs" and whose" helmets and garments were of iron like their swords".

Phokas' Praecepta Militaria prescribes two sorts of horse armour. (See III. On the Kataphraktoi ) One was made from quilted felt or pieces of boiled leather fastened together and covering the horses face (except for eyes and nostrils) and its body down to the knees. The other was made of bison hides and covered the horse in the same way. Ouranos description in section 60 of his his Taktika is almost identical.
I read in my new osprey book that klibanophoroi had lamellar barding for their horses that was made of oxhide covered the horse completely, but was split at the front for ease of movement
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