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Lamellar cuirass from the Bizantine Cartago-Nova (Cartagena, Spain).

[size=150:3n9voul2]Full article here, in English[/size]
Quote:Lamellar cuirass from the Bizantine Cartago-Nova (Cartagena, Spain).

[size=150:1a60jjyn]Full article here, in English[/size]

Laudes for you, Iagoba. Thanks for posting this excellent article again. Smile


~Theo
Iagoba,
Excellent find. Thanks
A new book on Byzantine warfare has just been published :

[size=150:3emk60l9]The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire[/size], by Edward Luttwak.
http://www.amazon.com/Grand-Strategy-By ... 333&sr=8-1

I managed to browse through a copy yesterday and the book is more comprehensive than the author's
previous book, "The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire" (1976).

~Theo
Greetings one and all,
Well, I've another busy semester and just to get a little pre-research discussion going, I'd like to ask two related questions to our resident experts. Big Grin
Firstly, what are thoughts about the general use and meaning of thema/-ata in Theophanes Confessor? Secondly, I have noticed that the term tagma/-ata originally always appears in the context of close proximity to the imperial person(s); what do you suppose the significance of this is?

I know these are broad questions, but they are starting-off points only through which we may reach some interesting points.
I had promiced something about the "LATINIKON" regiment (Better late than never Big Grin )

In Greek: http://www.strategikon.com/articles/latinikon.htm

A decent translation with google translator:
http://translate.google.com/translate?j ... l=el&tl=en

or babel fish:
http://babelfish.yahoo.com/translate_ur ... =Translate


Also" Thema" can also mean "the subject" in Greek so the late Romans (Byzantines) used the term initially for the troubled border provinces.

TAGMA from TASSO= to set in place - to put troops in formation to appoint
Order and keeping one's place was strongly enforced by protocol loving Byzantines in presence of VIPS and dignitaries.

Kind regards
some events plans:
unit presentation at MTT, Marietta Mansion MD, USA, Apr 16-18 1060 Byzantine tagma with a Slav/Rus twist
Roman Days, MD, Jun 5... possibly some 6th, 11th, and 15th C. Eastern Roman presentation.
-Rick
really great timeline event with superb weather. Finished half the projects I planned - still need to rework all the lamellar armor, though. The oddball hit within our camp was
the Javlin. A bunch of us and every teen in our group have sore arms from excessive practice. We also practiced some sling work, but just a bit. Therefore...

Perhaps the highlight for me was during our second field demo... young Patrick
C., 13, had been practicing the arts of the Peltstatoi, the 'pelters'
skirmishers armed with sling and javlin. I told the gathered audience he would
sling a missle (surplus breakfast hard-boiled egg) at an imaginary enemy 100
meters away, a target represented by a solitary large oak tree 50 meters out. He wound up and
let fly and that egg splatted right square on the trunk in a trajectory that
clearly would have gone 100 meters. One shot, One goliath DOWN! Crowd goes wild.

Rick
I would think the coincidence of Tagma being associated with the emperor is not coincidence, since the emperor often enough commanded the tagmatic field armies or at least directed their command and sustenance and the tagmas 'peace time' activities.
---
TAGMA from TASSO= to set in place - to put troops in formation to appoint
Order and keeping one's place was strongly enforced by protocol loving Byzantines in presence of VIPS and dignitaries.

Kind regards[/quote]
Key Differences between Roman Principate Legionary armies and Middle Byzantine Armies

(Since we are attending an event hosted by the Legio XX of Principate era, I outlined some talking points when we compare /contrast. I would appreciate additions, corrections, arguments. -Rick)

Kit (Compared to the Principate legions)

• Pants or padded leggings
• High boots (sometimes)
• sometimes turbans, simpler rounded or conical helmets
• Lamellar and padded armor; Maile often longer and sometimes with long sleeves.
• Sword, longer & worn on left
• Shield/Scutum/skoutarion, lighter, smaller, variable carry positions. Oval or Kite shaped.
• Bow is common– strong, effective composite, usually with thumb but both thumb and 3-finger methods were used (explicitly both).
• Long Pike/spear instead of pilum/sword as primary heavy infantry weapon
• Stirrup - a critical advantage for horse archery, modest advantage for shock cavalry; allowed “B” and even “C” class riders to be militarily effective. (where a strong modern professional polo player is “A” class, strong amateur is “B” class, “C” class can ride a hunt with little chance of falling off …hint: “A” class riders’ leg bones and muscles deform during their youth to fit the saddle betterWink


Strategy (per Luttwak)
• Less emphasis on attempts at complete conquest (only two examples were Justinian’s 6th C reconquests and Basil II’s 11th C. Bulgarian conquest – 500 years apart). Today’s enemies are tomorrow’s allies; defeating an enemy utterly only means the power vacuum is filled by new, less known and possibly far more dangerous enemies.
• Generally avoid ‘decisive’ battle of the sort the Legions routinely sought out, and also avoid attrition battle. Fall back and let the enemy lose supply lines, exhaust himself and spread out; use maneuver, attack and defeat in detail. Employ harassment and interdiction and raiding tactics.
• Use tax revenue to achieve political/military ends creatively - buying off enemies, turning one against the other….
• Border protected by provincial forces – effectively reinforced border police with a small professional core plus militia; – (Thematic armies) these were to avoid serious threats and battle, unless supported by professional mobile field forces (Tagmatic armies)
• Semi-professional intelligence and diplomatic functions (not formal by modern standards, but far better and more consistent than any enemy managed)
• Plan engagements ‘relationally’ – exploit enemy’s weakness and avoid strengths.
• Invest in small, professional forces (e.g. with versatility to fight relationally…. To be horse archers when fighting Franks, and heavy cavalry when fighting Turks.) (Basic combat readiness training seems to be about 3 years while US Army training is usually about 3-4 months.)
• Invest in highly mobile and especially cavalry forces, to maneuver faster and also have greater ability to control engagement to reduce risk and avoid attrition.
• Use of Christian church as unifying force.
• State’s social contract is centralized and imperial (top down). Less reliance on voluntary service of senatorial class and civic leaders.
• Careful use of mercenaries and client state units – they knew the story of the Vandals and many others so were usually (not always) careful to keep tribal units small, dispersed and in tight control.

Unit Organization and Tactics (Compared to the Principate legions)
• Relational tactics (as Luttwak calls it) meaning explicit training to be flexible to face different enemies and situations optimally – including formations, maneuvers and weapon choices.
• Balanced ‘combined arms’ capability “fire and shock”, with infantry and cavalry, but clear Cavalry dominance in the strike/maneuver arm
• Combined fire and shock capability even from most individual soldiers
• Integrated formation (fire and shock in same formation) optional
• Heavy use of powerful bows and other fire weapons
• Pike & shield heavy infantry to keep cavalry off and arrows out
• Specialty anti-cavalry troops and tactics (the menavalatoi)
• Specialty ‘high tech’ expertise (e.g. war machinery and greek fire)
• Preference for (or comfort with) irregular operations and raids, night attacks, stratagems, tricks and traps (feigned retreats, ambushes, misdirection).
• Greek (not Latin) as command language
• Chiliarchion/Kentarkhion/Bandon/Tagma/Thema etc.


Epochs (for context)
Republic pre 27BC
Principate about 30BC-300 AD
Dominate 300-476 (to fall of Western Empire)
Early Byzantine 476-850
Middle Byzantine 850-1204 (Basil to Sack of Constantinople by 4th Crusade)
Late Byzantine -Greek kingdom 1204-1456.
Kit (Compared to the Principate legions)
• mace!
• long thrusting spear

Quote:• Less emphasis on attempts at complete conquest (only two examples were Justinian’s 6th C reconquests and Basil II’s 11th C. Bulgarian conquest – 500 years apart). Today’s enemies are tomorrow’s allies; defeating an enemy utterly only means the power vacuum is filled by new, less known and possibly far more dangerous enemies.
I would not limit that second conquest to Basil alone, nor to 'Bulgaria'. In fact the Byzantines from Theophilos onwards reconquered most of the Balkans (by c. 780 they only held on to SE Thrace, Thessalonike and parts of the Peleponnesos), the Taurus Mts. as well as Aremenia!

Quote:• Use tax revenue to achieve political/military ends creatively - buying off enemies, turning one against the other….
Did the Republic not do the same? I recall several client kings as well as allies - I think this was not strange to early Roman politics either.
Quote:• Invest in highly mobile and especially cavalry forces, to maneuver faster and also have greater ability to control engagement to reduce risk and avoid attrition.
Mobility in cavalry is only battlefield mobility. Infantry marches faster than horses. Unless you're thinking of changing horses every 3 days, which I don't think was a Byzantine tactic.
Quote:• Use of Christian church as unifying force.
Sure, but the Republic also had Rome asa unifying force, not to be underestimated.
Quote:• Combined fire and shock capability even from most individual soldiers
Does Luttwak write that? I'm not sure how the Republican legionary or auxiliary would differ there from his later counterpart.
Quote:• Heavy use of powerful bows and other fire weapons
A normal Roman tactic over the centuries. Nothing different.
Quote:• Specialty ‘high tech’ expertise (e.g. war machinery and greek fire)
Apart from the Greek Fire, the Republican army also had a corps of highly specialized artillery/siege experts.
Thanks!, all excellent points. Many of these are a matter of degree, not absolute, and I'll make sure its all properly qualified... for example, sure roman legions used fine bows, just not as many, and yes the Principate had client kings and so on, but that empire's survival did not hinge on playing that game to a T, as it did more than a few times down the road.

Quote:
Mobility in cavalry is only battlefield mobility. Infantry marches faster than horses. Unless you're thinking of changing horses
every 3 days, which I don't think was a Byzantine tactic.

Interesting point. I guess I don't know anything about Byz. remount practices but its pretty standard cavalry practice to have a low cost riding horse plus the extremely valuable trained fighting horse, if not two. On the other hand, we do know from the Stratekon that the cavalry (normally) had a fairly large horse-drawn wagon train in tow, with numerous servants, ( one servant for each senior trooper and one servant for every 2-3 junior, IIRC). Also I am confident that 17th C. mounted infantry (true dragoons) mounted on nags with only a small pool of remounts to make up casulties, had better operational mobility than the foote infantry, because, when the Poles operated in the wide steppe they often left the foote behind and only had dragoons for infantry.
Quote:
Quote:Mobility in cavalry is only battlefield mobility. Infantry marches faster than horses. Unless you're thinking of changing horses
every 3 days, which I don't think was a Byzantine tactic.
Interesting point. I guess I don't know anything about Byz. remount practices but its pretty standard cavalry practice to have a low cost riding horse plus the extremely valuable trained fighting horse, if not two. On the other hand, we do know from the Stratekon that the cavalry (normally) had a fairly large horse-drawn wagon train in tow, with numerous servants, ( one servant for each senior trooper and one servant for every 2-3 junior, IIRC). Also I am confident that 17th C. mounted infantry (true dragoons) mounted on nags with only a small pool of remounts to make up casulties, had better operational mobility than the foote infantry, because, when the Poles operated in the wide steppe they often left the foote behind and only had dragoons for infantry.
I was more thinking in the way of chnaging horses completely, not of bringing more horses along. For they, like the others, can't take the pace of a forced march as well as the infantry. Junkelmann lists some very good examples from the Amercican civil war as well as WW I, where the infantry is initially left behind, but always catches up and after several days outmarches the cavalry.
I'd be interested to learn more about those Polish examples - were they also from a march or from tactical operations? Operational mobility on a single day is certainly different from operational mobility after a week of marching, in which the stamina of the man is better than the stamina of the horse.
Not only that, but the stamina of humans versus horses even in the short term of a single day over long distance has been tested a number of times over marathon type distances, with the humans often winning. A horse is essentially a 'short sprint' creature which is why horse races are seldom more than a mile or two......

Of course, it is not the speed of the men or animals that governs the distance a unit can march, but rather the 'impedimenta'/baggage/supplies each has attached.
Mounted troops that are 'expedita' ( without encumbrances/baggage) will on occasion outmarch infantry in a 'forced march', depending on various other factors.
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