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Hmm. Good thought.
I've already tried it from moderator's controlboard but I cannot see how! Sad

Thanks for trying Aitor!
By the time the Praecepta Militaria is writen in the late 10th C what you say would be correct. However the Sylloge Tacticorum, which is the first to mention menavlatoi as a distinct body of troops, written in the mid 10th C Sylloge instructs them to operate as as an anti cataphract troop type:

“First of all, position the menavlatoi in the intervals alongside the front ranks: when the enemy approach to within bowshot range, the menavlatoi move through the intervals toward the enemy regiments and deploy from a distance of thirty fathoms, either having the frontage in a straight line or else in a wedge shape as stated in chapter 46. Their task is to stab boldly the horses of the cataphract cavalry with their menavlon.â€
Quote:I was wondering if we could turn this board to a sticky.
Have you asked Jasper?
The role of the menavlatoi cited by Peter raises the most questions about this weapon. If this weapon is a missile, the expected position of these soldiers was in an isolated body in front of the main mass of spearmen, throwing a short range missile against charging enemy heavy cavalry. I can think of no historical parallel to this role, which makes my very suspicious. Relying on javelins alone to stop heavy cavalry sounds extremely foolish. No missile weapon before the 19th century could be relied upon to stop oncoming cavalry; English longbowmen routinely fought behind hedges or palisades of stakes, musketeers fought with pikemen, and fusiliers fought in squares with bayonets. Heavy javelins lack range, and there is no indication these soldiers carried more than one of these weapons.

If this was merely a spear, even a stout one, the combat role remains problematic. This weapon doesn't outreach a lance; the cataphract would be stabbing the menavlatoi even before the menavlion would kill him (or his horse). Six foot spears were not the optimal anti-cavalry weapon in any culture, at any time.

Byzantine military culture was in general conservative, so I do not like the idea of radical untested theories turning up in their military manuals.

The one class of weapons that makes most sense for the role outlined above is that of a polearm. Halberds were indeed used as the primary weapon of the Swiss against the knightly forces of Austria, and the goedendag (with the pike) was used to great effect against the chivalry of France. These weapons didn't outreach a lance, but they hit hard enough to potentially kill even a heavily armoured mounted warrior, and combined with spearmen to deadly effect.
I concur. I think the analogy to a polearm is exactly how they were used ultimately - hence the change in tactics from one manual to another. It may be that the Sylloge omitted this description because it was the obvious thing to do. The menaulatoi could fulfil a variety of roles because the menaulion was much more like a pole arm than a spear.

Anastasiadis says that the Praecepta does not specify how the weapon 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.

Anastasiadis also says the Tactica of Ouranos mimics a passage in the De Re Militari and shows the menaulion could also be used for skirmishing - the Tactica says this:

"Also, if they are standing high up on the rocks and keep watch on the roads from below, then dispatch javelin-throwers, bowmen and slingers and, if it is possible, also some menaulatoi should set out imediately against them from the flat and more level terrain to encircle those precipitous places."

If the weapon was hurled I can only imagine it being a very short distance when skirmishing perhaps. I have to agree that the use of the weapon must at the end of the day be likened to a polearm.
This will no doubt be of interest to Byzantinists as well as Late Romans:

The news has already been discussed elsewhere...
Yes, exactly here:
link from old RAT

Aitor :wink:
Quote:Is the term Akolouthos ("Acolyte") a rank or title that appears anywhere else - I am unsure of this? I thought it had an ecclesiastical meaning as well. I haven't been able to find which source says the Akolouthos (Acolyte) is the title of the commander of the Varangian Guard. Perhaps it is cited in either Sigfus Blondal. Varangians of Byzantium: An Aspect of Byzantine Military History. . . . Perhaps someone could refresh our memories?

Peter; I have my own copy of Blondal/Benedikz. The statement appears on p. 184, but without any attribution. I can send you a copy of the relevant pages if you want. But I'll need your snail mail address.
Quote:In VI century context large part of lamellar cuirass was found in Viminacium, - M. Popovic, Starinar, 1986 or 1987. I will check today.

The Museum of Crypta Balbi in central Rome (just off Plaza di Venezia, quite close to the Forum)has a quite large collection of fragments from what is reported (IIRC) as a 6th century Lombardic lamellar cuirass, but Dr Raffaele d'Amato thinks could just as easily be Byzantine. I took photos, but they came out really badly.

I have also been told that there is another in the "Museo dell'alto medioevo" in Rome's outer suburbs, but I didn't get the chance to see it.

I had a quick look at Raffaele's "Maniakes" site, as recommended by Peter Raftos - hadn't seen it before. I really need to go over it in more detail, but I don't agree with some at least of his conclusions and interpretations.
Many thanks Steve,
Hope you are keeping well. Those references are great. I'll e-mail my snail mail adress to you. I would like to see that reference.

I was researching middle Byzantine tents and came across an interesting fact.

Dvornik ( Dvornik, Francis. Origins of Intelligence Services: The Ancient Near East, Persia, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, the Arab Muslim Empires, the Mongol Empire, China, Muscovy. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1974.p.151) observes that the rank of "count of the tents" was the officer in charge of intelligence security for the Thematic Strategos. This officer was in charge of the erection of the tent of the strategos’ and with the drungarios of the watch moved through the camp during the night.

It was also his responsibility to provide post horses for this officer when he was on imperial business. If the whole army was at war and led by the Emperor, the counts of the tents of all themes had to supervise the erection of the imperial tent and secure the camp. They were also sent on special missions at times.

However he does not give a reference or even the Greek word for this office. I would be grateful if anyone knows where this can be found.
Akolouthos literaly means the follower.
In the contemporary texts its used both literaly and as a title.
Byzantines had stactured ranks but they used titles rather independently as a matter of policy. Usually thethe title carried some financial or land grant with it.
Example: the Varangian officers oficial rank would be Protospatharios (literaly first swordman) but he would also carry the title of Akolouthos

As for officer attentdants the term "hypaspistis" appears.

Kind regards
Thanks guys,
That clears a few things up.

The 'Logos Nouthetetikos' or Oration of Admonition to an Emperor. was translated into English by W North, 1972. This is part of the Strategikon of Kekaumenos 11th C. There seem to bo other translations according to Paul Halsall's 1997 list:

ed Cecaumeni strategicon et incerti scriptoris de officiis regiis libellus, ed. B. Wassiliewsky and V. Jernstedt, (St. Petersburg: 1896; repr. Amsterdam: 1965)

German trans. Vademecum des byzantinischen Aristokraten; das sogenannte Strategikon des Kekaumenos, ubers., eingeleitet und erklart, by Hans Georg Beck, (Graz, Verlag Styria, 1956) Byzantinischer Geschichtsschreiber 5

and also also Paul Lemerle, Prolegemenes à une edition critique et commentee des "Conseils et Recits" de Kekavmenos, (Brussels: 1960)

Hallsall's list of Byzantine military texts in translation appears here:


These do not appear in his list as they were published later Siegecraft; Two Tenth-Century Instructional Manuals by "Heron of Byzantium"
Denis F. Sullivan "Parangelmata Poliorcetica" and the "Geodesia," two Greek treatises on the construction of devices for siege warfare, are products of 10th-century Byzantium. The texts are presented here in critical editions based on the archetype manuscript "Vaticanus graecus 1605" and accompanied by an English translation and commentary.

Also The History of Leo the Deacon Byzantine Military Expansion in the Tenth Century Alice-Mary Talbot & Denis F. Sullivan - " Leo's firsthand experience of the campaigns and courts of two Byzantine emperors provides vivid descriptions of sieges, pitched battles, and ambushes. His account of the conspiracy against Nikephoros II Phokas, murdered as he slept on the floor in front of his icons, is one of the most dramatic in Byzantine narrative histories. "

The partial Kekaumenos translation is here:

Halsall also mentions an English translation by C.W. Rouche in typescript. Does anyone know if this is going to be published?
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