Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25

Thread: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

  1. #1
    qnzkid711's Avatar Princeps
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Queens, New York
    Posts
    1,126
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default

    STRADIOTI: BALKAN MERCENARIES IN FIFTEENTH AND SIXTEENTH CENTURY ITALY

    By Nicholas C. J. Pappas



    The stradioti, mounted troops of Albanian and Greek origin who initially entered Venetian military service during the Republic's wars with the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth century, were among pioneers of light cavalry tactics in European armies in the early modern era. These warriors, who had previously served Byzantine and Albanian rulers, initially found asylum and employment in the Venetian strongholds of Napoli di Romagna, Corone, Modone, and Malvasia in the Peloponnesus. Later they were also stationed in Venetian holdings at Trau, Sibenico, Castellonuovo, and Zara in Dalmatia, and the islands of Corfu, Zante, Cephalonia, Crete and Cyprus. They were also introduced into Italy by the Venetians in the 1470's and participated in wars in Italy through much of the 16th century, not only for Venice, but also for other employers. It was in these wars that the stratioti made an impact on warfare in Italy and the west, chiefly by their style of fighting and tactics. The stradioti were armed and fought as light cavalry in a manner that developed from warfare among Byzantine, Slavic, Albanian and Ottoman forces. They carried spear, a long saber, mace, and dagger, and were attired in a mixture of oriental, Byzantine and western military garb. The stradioti continued the Balkan traditions of cavalry warfare, which used hit-and-run attacks, ambushes, feigned retreats, counterattacks and other tactics little known to western armies of the time.

    A number of contemporary writers and later historians, notably Charles Oman,[1] Coriolano Cippico,[2] Marino Sanuto[3], Philip de Comines,[4] F. L. Taylor,[5] Konstantinos Sathas,[6] John Hale,[7] M. E. Mallett,[8] and others, have recounted the activities of stradioti in Italy and the west. Some of these authorities even claimed that the stradioti were instrumental in the reintroduction of light cavalry tactics in western armies. In the sixteenth century, stradioti troops expanded their service to the armies of Milan, Genoa, Spain, France, the Holy Roman Empire, and England. Aside from their military activities, the stradioti were instrumental in the establishment of Greek Orthodox communities in Venice and Dalmatia.

    This paper will investigate the origins of the stradioti, their ethnic and regional composition, their role in the armies of the15th and 16th centuries, and their participation in the founding of Greek Orthodox Communities in the Italy and elsewhere.

    In the late fifteenth century, companies of stradioti were brought to Italy and served in Venice's armed conflicts on the terrafirma. They entered service in Italy at the crucial period in which the military system of the Italian states, as well as their independence, were being threatened by transalpine armies in the late 15th century. One observer, Marino Sanuto, described the stradioti and their arrival in Venice thusly:[9]

    On 22 April [1482] the first ship of cavalry arrived which carried seven stradioti from Corone, who, when they disembarked at the Lido, paraded in their accustomed way before the unaccustomed crowd which marvelled at the speed of their horses and the skill of the horsemen... the stradioti are Greeks and they wear broad capes and tall caps, some wear corselets; they carry lance in hand, and a mace, and hang a sword at their side; they move like birds and remain incessantly on their horses...They are accustomed to brigandage and frequently pillage the Peloponnesus. They are excellent adversaries against the Turks; they arrange their raids very well, hitting the enemy unexpectedly; they are loyal to their lords. They do not take prisoners, but rather cut the heads of their adversaries, receiving according to their custom one ducat per head.

    In another work Sanuto describes them again:[10]

    They have sword, lance with pennant, and mace. Very few wear cuirasses, generally they wear cotton cloaks, sewn in a particular fashion. Their horses are large, accustomed to hardships, run like birds, always hold their heads high and surpass all others in maneuver of battle. Countless of these stradioti are found in Napoli di Romagna and other areas of Greece which are under the signoria and they consider their fortified towns as their true armor and lance.

    The French Memoirist, Philip de Commines, describes the stradioti that opposed the French at the Battle of Fornovo:[11]

    Marchal de Gie sent to the king word that he had passed the mountains, and that having sent out a party of horse to reconnoitre the enemy, they had been charged by the Estradiots, one of them called Lebeuf being slain, the Estradiots cut off his head, put it on top of a lance, carried it to their proveditor, and demanded a ducat. These Estradiots are of the same nature as the Genetaires [Spanish light cavalry]; they are attired like Turks both on horse and on foot, except they wear no turbans on their heads. They are a rugged people, couched all the year round on their horses. They were all Greeks, coming from places possessed by the Venetians, some from Napoli di Romagna [Nauplion], others from Albania at Durrazzo, and their horses are good and are all from Turkey...I saw them all at their first arrival at Venice, and they mustered on an island...numbering a good fifteen hundred, and they are stout, active men who greatly harry an opposing force when they set themselves to it.

    There are some discrepancies in both primary and secondary sources as to how the stradioti were armed. The majority of sources indicate that they were armed with sabres, or one-edged swords, maces and a short lance with iron points on each end known as an arzagaye or assagaye.[12] Other sources indicate that they may have been armed with bows as well. They also seemed to have carried a type of eared dagger, which saw wide use in Italy. The stradioti are reputed to have introduced this dagger into western Europe, which came to be known generally as an estradiot. [13]2

    According to most sources the stradioti wore little or no armor. If they did, it was usually padded linen tunics or shirts of chain mail. Contemporary authors indicate that they were attired and armored like the Turks except that they wore no turban.[14]3 Since there was much intermingling of military styles, tactics, garb, and weaponry in the Balkans in the 14th and 15th centuries, it is difficult to say what aspects of weaponry; armor and attire were adopted from or lent to the Ottoman Turks. This writer believes it is safe to say that the stradioti were armed and attired in a mixture of Balkan and Turkish styles. There is no doubt that they later adopted some western arms and garb the longer they remained in service in Western Europe and in the Venetian-held areas of the Balkans and the Levant.

    Two versions of the name stradioti have been cited by sources, while scholars have debated which of these versions is accurate. According to some authorities, the terms stradiotto and stradioti (plural) are Italian variants of the Greek stratiotês or stratiotai which generally means soldier, but in later Byzantine times meant cavalry man who held a military fief (pronoia). Other authors assert that stradioti came from the Italian root strada (road) and that the term stradiotto meant a wanderer or wayfarer, thus denoting an errant cavalrymen or warrior.[15] The question of the etymology of the appellation stradioti is further complicated by the various spellings and versions of the term in the primary sources. The few Greek sources, such as the Andragathêmata tou Merkouriou Boua, use stratiotes/stratiotai, the Greek word for soldier.[16] Latin sources, such as the dispatches of Jacomo Barbarigo, use the variant stratiotos/stratiotorum or strathiotos/strathiotorum[17] The bulk of primary sources in Italian, such as Coriolano Cippico, Marino Sanuto and Venetian state documents, use stradiotto/stradioti, adopted by this paper, or strathiotto/strathioti.[18] French sources, such as Philip de Comines, use the variation estradiot/estradiots.[19] Although arguments on the side of the wayfarer theory predominate, the fact that some of the older Latin sources from the early 15th century use a variation of the Greek stratiotes tends to make this writer favor the "soldier" theory. Be as it may, the term indicated light cavalry forces of Balkan origin, chiefly from Greece and Albania.

    Most modern, as well as a good number of early authors have indicated that the stradioti were Albanian. This is true to a certain extent but has to be qualified. A Greek author made a study of the names of stradioti found in the most extensive documentary collection of materials dealing with the stradioti and found that some 80% of the names were of Albanian origin, while the rest were of Greek origin.[20] This writer looked over lists of stradioti in the same source, Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias: Documents inedits a l'histoire de la Grece au Moyen Age, edited by Konstantinos Sathas, as well as the indices of the fifty-odd volumes of I Diarii di Marino Sanuto. This investigation found that indeed many of the names were Albanian, but a good number of the names particularly those of officers, were of Greek origin, such as Palaiologos, Spandounios, Laskaris, Rhalles, Comnenos, Psendakis, Maniatis, Spyliotis, Alexopoulos, Psaris, Zacharopoulos, Klirakopoulos, Kondomitis, etc. Others seemed to be of South Slavic origin, such Soimiris, Vlastimiris, and Voicha.[21] The study of names does not indicate that most of these troops came directly from Albania proper, as has been asserted by some authors. Fernand Braudel, for example, in his classic study of the Mediterranean in the 16th century somewhat kaleidoscopically describes the stradioti's history in the following manner:[22]

    The story of the Albanians deserves a study in itself. Attracted by the 'sword, the gold trappings, and the honours', they left their mountains chiefly in order to become soldiers. In the sixteenth century they were to be found in Cyprus, in Venice, in Mantua, in Rome, in Naples, and Sicily, and as far abroad as Madrid, where they went to present their projects and their grievances, to ask for barrels of gunpowder or years of pension, arrogant imperious, always ready for a fight. In the end Italy gradually shut its doors to them. They moved on to the Low Countries, England, and France during the Wars of Religion, soldier-adventurers followed everywhere by there wives, children, and priests.

    This description and others do not take into account that most of the stradioti did not come from Albania proper, but from the Venetian holdings in southern and central Greece, that is Malvasia (Monemvasia), Modone (Methone), Corone, Napoli di Romagna (Nauplion), the Mani, and Lepanto (Naupaktos). Most of the stradioti who entered Italy in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, together with their families, had been born in the Peloponnesus, their progenitors having immigrated there in the late 14th and early 15th century. They had settled in southern Greece through the encouragement of the Byzantine Despots of the Morea, Theodore I Palaiologos (1384-1407) and Theodore II Palaiologos (1407-1443). The Albanians served as military colonists in the Peloponnesus in the attempt of the Despotate, an appanage of the moribund Byzantine Empire, to survive the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans.[23] In addition, the Venetians began to settle Albanians in Napoli di Romagna (Nauplion) in the Argos region.[24] With the demise of the Byzantine state in 1453 and the dissolution of the Despotate of the Morea through civil war in the 1450's and 1460's, more and more of the Albanian and Greek stradioti found refuge and employment with the Venetians. The Venetians increasingly used them as troops in their conflicts with the Ottomans in Greece and the Levant in the second half of the 15th and throughout the 16th century.

    In time the Venetians introduced some of these stradioti into their forces in Italy. Three factors probably played a role in the extensive use of these troops by the Venetians. One important factor was that there was an abundance of these troops. The small Venetian holdings in Greece could not employ the large number of refugee stradioti that sought asylum and employment. By the end of the 15th century some stradioti companies were transferred and reassigned to the Venetian-held Ionian Islands of Corfu, Cephalonia, and Zante.[25] Soon afterwards, other stradioti were sent to Italy, to the Venetian-Ottoman border in Friuli, and to the Dalmatian holdings of Sebenico (Sibenik), Spalato (Split), Zara (Zadar), Trogir, and Bocca di Cattaro (Kotor).[26] As the Venetians lost one stronghold on the mainland Greece after the other in the Veneto-Turkish conflicts of first half of the 16th century, more and more military colonists resettled on the Ionian Islands, Dalmatia and Italy.[27] One Greek writer has estimated that the number of Albanian and Greek stradioti that settled in Venetian territories and in Italy reached 4500 men, together with their families they numbered about 15,500. If one includes those settled in Southern Italy and Sicily, the numbers reach about 25,000.[28]

    A second factor in the widespread employment of stradioti by the Venetian Republic was economy. The pay of the stradioti was lower, at least until 1519, than western mercenaries, be they Italians, Swiss, Germans or others.[29] The stradioti were not mercenaries in the strictest sense, they were refugees who maintained themselves and their families in exile by their skill at arms. Wherever they were garrisoned or deployed, they brought their families and settled them at or near their place of duty. Indeed the stradioti seemed to appreciate honors and privileges over pay. The stradioti actually sought out favors in the form of parades and titles, and the frugal Venetian government was only too glad to oblige them. This is evidenced by the titles their leaders accumulated and the sentiments expressed in the poems, both in Greek and Italian, which dealt with their exploits.[30] They also appreciated the right to practice their religion, the Greek rite, be it Orthodox or Uniate. The stradioti were instrumental in the founding of Greek Churches in Venice, Naples and the towns of Dalmatia, as will be elucidated later.

    The third factor in the Venetian preference in employing stradioti was the troops' unorthodox tactics and methods of fighting, which could be utilized in different ways. The stradioti's light cavalry tactics matched those of Ottoman sipahi (feudal) and akinci (irregular) cavalry, which made them an asset to Venice in the garrisons of its Balkan and Levantine possessions, where they were maintained well after the 16th century. In Italy and elsewhere in Western Europe they proved to be useful in scouting reconnaissance, and in raiding forces in disarray or retreat, as seen in the descriptions above. According to the most important study of the Venetian army, "They may have been especially praised for raiding deep into enemy-occupied country where opportunities for loot were freest…"[31] However the style and conduct of the stradioti was criticized, according to some Venetian officials, they were "Anti-Christian, perfidious, born thieves and potential traitors..." and "...so disobedient that they can do us no good."[32]

    The most notorious example of their reputed unreliability was in the crucial battle of Fornovo of 1494 in which they wasted their tactical advantage by looting the French baggage train. According to one description of the battle:[33]

    In the rout of the baggage train the Stradiots had captured thirty-five pack horses, including those with the richest loads, and it will be estimated that, when all was reckoned up, spoils up to the value of at least 100,000 ducats had fallen into the hands of the Italians. The losses included, the King's sword and helmet, two Royal standards, several royal pavilions, the King's prayer book and relics,...the rich fittings and vessals of his chapel,...[and] an album full of portraits of the mistresses to whom Charles had given his affections in the various cities of Italy. The rich booty served as a pretext upon which the Venetian signory proceeded to set up a claim of victory, decreeing to their general a triumphal entry and a splendid reward.

    The battle of Fornovo was not a victory for Venice and its allies but rather a serious turning point in Italian history, according to Charles Oman:[34]

    ...[T]he stradiots, from whom much had been hoped, turned out to be savages who lost their heads when they saw plunder available, and forgot the purpose for which they had been told off. It was clear, after July 6, 1495, that the Italian states could not survive if defended by mercenary armies who fought on the old principles of much pay, no casualties, and the pleasant chance of rich ransoms.

    Nevertheless in subsequent campaigns the stradioti impressed the Venetians and their adversaries with their tactics, which included repeated attacks and disengagement, which enticed opposing forces to pursue. Enemy forces would lose formation and become even more vulnerable to the stradioti attacks. Opponents would have to deploy infantry armed with arquebus, or artillery in defense against the stradioti.[35]

    Other states also discovered these tactical assets and began to wean away stradioti from Venetian service by better pay or conditions of service. According to Comines and others, France under Louis XII recruited some 2000 stradioti in 1497; some two years after French forces in Italy encountered them at Fornovo. Among the French they were known as estradiots and argoulets. The use of the two names has led some historians to consider that there were two separate corps of light cavalry in service to the French king.[36] However it seems that the two terms were initially interchangeable, and only later indicated separate forces. Some historians have identified the term argoulet with the Greek argetes or Argive, because it seems that a significant number of troops who went over to the French service originally came from Napoli di Romagna (Nauplion) on the Argive plain near the ancient Greek city of Argos.[37] The French maintained a corps of light cavalry known as estradiots or argoulets until the reign of Henry III.[38]

    Naples under Spanish suzerainty also recruited stradioti in the late 15th and early 16th century. The first entry of stradioti into Neapolitan or Spanish service occurred in the 1470's in the wake of a revolt in the Mani under one Korkodeilos Kladas. A Neapolitan ship picked up the rebels and brought to them Neapolitan territory, where together with Albanian refugees under the son of Scanderbeg, John Kastrioti, they participated in fomenting a revolt in the Himara (Cheimarra) region of Epirus. After the failure of this insurrection, most of Kladas' and Kastrioti's men, together with other refugees from Himara, served the Spanish in Italy.[39] Later in 1538, after the Venetians abandoned Corone, the Spanish government in Naples accepted many refugees from that Peloponnesian town and region, some of whom had served the Venetians as stradioti. These troops now took on service with the Spanish in Naples. Spain continued to employ stradioti in the 16th and 17th century, chiefly in Naples and elsewhere in Italy. The most important recruiting area for these troops was Cheimarra.[40]

    Since Spain and Naples were connected with the Holy Roman Empire through the person of Charles V in the first half of the 16th century, stradioti were soon found serving the Habsburgs not only in Italy, but also in Germany and the Netherlands. Among those who distinguished themselves in Habsburg service and became knights of the Holy Roman Empire were the captains Iakovos Diassorinos, Georgios Bastas, the Brothers Vasilikos, and the redoubtable Merkourios Bouas. Bouas was given titles by the Venetians and French as well.[41] Henry VIII also employed Stradioti in France and England, notably under the captains Thomas Buas of Argos, Theodore Luchisi, and Antonios Stesinos. The former was named colonel and commander of stradioti in Henry's service at Calais.[42] There is also some evidence that Greeks served as cavalrymen, together with Serbs, in the Muscovite armies in the late 16th and early 17th century, during the notorious "Time of Troubles."[43]

    By the end of the 16th century, however, the number of stradioti companies employed in Italian and other western armies dwindled. The creation of light cavalry formations, borrowing from the traditions of the stradioti, as well as those of the Spanish genitours (genitaires) and the Hungarian hussars, replaced the stradioti in many European armies. These new units, made up of natives or various ethnic groups, also added firearms to their panoply, and the mention of stradioti, argoulets, estradiots, Albanese, Albains, Greci, Levantini, etc. become less and less frequent. Western armies had formed their own light cavalry units and relied less and less upon the stradioti.

    There are indications that the stradioti were called both Albanians and Greeks in various sources for good reason. While the bulk of stradioti rank and file were of Albanian origin from Greece, by the middle of the 16th century there is evidence that many had become Hellenized or even Italianized. The most telling examples of this phenomenon are in the works of Tzanes Koronaios and Manoli Blessi. The former work is a long epic poem in vernacular Greek on the exploits of one of the most famous of stradioti, Merkourios Bouas, in the armies of Venice, France, and the Holy Roman Empire. The author, Koronaios, seems to have been stradiotto-troubadour of Zantiote origin that was a companion of Merkourios Bouas. In his poem, which is a paean to Merkourios Bouas, Koronaios gives Bouas' mythological pedigree, which includes Achilles, Alexander the Great and Pyrrhus. The language of the poem, the pedigree and other allusions, give an indication of the process of Hellenization of the Albanian stradioti.[44] Manoli Blessi's poetic works, songs of the stradioti, are in Italian with many words and phrases in Greek, very colloquial Greek. There are no Albanian words in his poems.[45] Hellenization was perhaps well on its way prior to service abroad, since Albanian stradioti had settled in Greek lands for two generations prior to their emigration to Italy. Since many served under Greek commanders and served together with Greek stradioti, the process continued. Another factor in this assimilative process was the stradioti's and their families' active involvement and affiliation with the Greek Orthodox or Uniate Church communities in Naples, Venice and elsewhere. Hellenization thus occurred as a result of common service and church affiliation.[46]

    Stradioti were still employed by some Italian states, notably Venice and Spanish Naples. The hiring and maintenance of stradioti troops was continued in Naples until the early 18th century. Most of these troops were later recruited from Epirus and Southern Albania, in particular from the Greco-Albanian region of Cheimarra. According to histories of the Reggimento Real Macedone, a Balkan light infantry force which served the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies between 1735 and 1820, its first commander and organizer was one Count Strates Gkikas, who is described as a veteran stradiotto. This may be further indication of stradioti in Neapolitan service into the eighteenth century.[47]

    Likewise stradioti continued to be employed by Venice as capelatti (rural gendarmes) in the Terra Firma well into the seventeenth century. Stradioti companies also continued to be garrisoned in some of the towns of Dalmatia (Sibenik, Trogir, Zadar, Split, and Kotor), and on the Ionian Islands of Cephalonia, Corfu and Zante.[48] On the Ionian Islands the stradioti continued their service through the 18th century. This stradioti were descendents of refugees from the lost Venetian holdings on the mainland who had settled on the islands in the 15th and 16th centuries. They received land and privileges, and served as cavalry and participated in Venice's conflicts with the Turks throughout the 17th century. Eventually these units became anachronisms, their ranks virtually a hereditary caste. Some of the stradioti or their descendents became in time members of the Ionian nobility, while others took to farming and other pursuits. By the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Venetian authorities found it necessary to reorganize the stradioti companies. On Zante, for example, they reduced their numbers and privileges because of absenteeism and discipline problems in the rank and file. Nevertheless the stradioti formations remained in nominal service through the 18th century. The Corfiote Stradioti Company existed until the end of Venetian rule and the French occupation in 1797.[49]

    One can say that the stradioti in time were assimilated into the local Italian, South Slavic and Greek populations of the areas in which they were settled. But nonetheless they did leave their impact upon the areas in which they sojourned. As mentioned earlier, the stradioti were instrumental in the founding of Greek churches, Uniate or Orthodox (or both in some cases) in Venice and Naples in Italy, as well as Pola, Trogir, Zadar, Split, and Sibenik, in Northern Dalmatia. In all of these regions, the stradioti and their families melted into the milieu of the church communities and eventually into the society at large. In northern Dalmatia, there was, as one authors calls it in German, a kirchensymbiose; a slow acculturation of Greek (stradioti) and South Slav elements in the Orthodox Church communities in predominantly Catholic Dalmatia until most of the old stradioti families eventually identified themselves as Serbs by the 19th century. Similar processes may have occurred in the Greek Church communities in Italy as well. The stradioti were first integrated into the Greek church community and then assimilated into the general society of the Italian towns.[50]

    As we have seen in this brief study, companies of stradioti were brought to Italy in the late fifteenth century and served in Venice's armed conflicts on the terrafirma. It was in these wars that the stratioti made an impact on warfare in Italy and the west, chiefly by their style of fighting and tactics. The stradioti were armed and fought as light cavalry in a manner that developed from warfare among Byzantine, Slavic, Albanian and Ottoman forces. They carried spear, a long saber, mace, and dagger, and were attired in a mixture of oriental and Byzantine military garb. The stradioti introduced the Near Eastern methods of cavalry warfare, which used hit-and-attacks, ambushes, feigned retreats, counterattacks and other tactics little known to western armies of the era. The activities of the stradioti has been noted by a number of historians, notably Charles Oman, Mario Sanuto, Coriolano Cippico, Erculi Riccoti, Daniel Hardy, Konstantinos Sathas, John Hale, Franz Babinger and others, some even claiming that the stradioti were instrumental in the reintroduction of light cavalry tactics in western armies. In the sixteenth century, stradioti troops also served the armies of Milan, Genoa, Spain, France, the Holy Roman Empire, and England. Aside from their military activities, the stradioti were instrumental in the establishment of Greek Orthodox communities in Venice and Dalmatia.



    BIBLIOGRAPHY


    Sir Charles Oman, The History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1937), pp. 41, 92, 109-111.
    Coriolano Cippico, Della guerre de' Veneziani nell' Asia dal 1470 al 1473 (Venice, 1796), p. 10.
    Marino Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII in Italia , ed. R. Fulin (Venice, 1883), pp. 313-314; idem, Commentarii della guerra di Ferrara (Venice, 1829), p. 115.
    Philippe de Comines, Memoires, vol.2, (London and Paris, 1747), pp. 27-28; and Philip de Commines (sic), The Memoirs of Philip de Commines, Lord of Argenton: Containing the Histories of Louis XI and Chales VIII, Kings of France, and of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, ed. and tr. by Anrew R. Scoble, vol. 2 (London, 1856), pp. 200-201.
    F. L. Taylor, The Art of War in Italy, 1494-1529 (Cambridge University Press, 1921), pp. 72-73.
    Konstantinos Sathas, Hellenes stratiotai en tei dysei kai he anagennesis tes hellenikes taktikes (Athens, 1885). Originally published in the journal Hestia.
    M. E. Mallet and J. R.Hale, The Military organization of a Renaissance State: Venice ca. 1400 to 1617 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1984), passim.
    Mallet and Hale, The Military organization of a Renaissance State, passim.
    Marino Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII in Italia , ed. R. Fulin (Venice, 1883), pp. 313-314.
    Marino Sanuto, Commentarii della guerra di Ferrara (Venice, 1829), p. 115.
    Philippe de Comines, Memoires, vol.2, (London and Paris, 1747), pp. 27-28; and Philip de Commines (sic), The Memoirs of Philip de Commines, Lord of Argenton: Containing the Histories of Louis XI and Chales VIII, Kings of France, and of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, ed. and tr. by Anrew R. Scoble, vol. 2 (London, 1856), pp. 200-201;
    the term assagaye does not seem to be of Balkan origin, but rather from the Portugese. The genitaires or genitours, the iberian light cavalry of moorish origin, seem to have used a similar lance, which was common in the Near East and the Islamic world. This type did not have two spearpoints, as indicated by some sources, but rather had a spike on the butt end. This spike was used to keep the lance upright in the ground in camp when not in use. This not only kept the lance ready for action, but also kept the lance head from wear and lance as a whole from being bent by leaning it against something. They were much shorter an lighter than western European lances. The spike at the butt counterbalanced the lance head which made it maneuverable in a melee. See George Cameron Stone, A Glossary of the Contruction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and at All Times (New York: Jack Brussel, 1961), pp. 77, 408-409.
    Stone, A Glossary of the Contruction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor , pp. 214-215.
    Contemporary illustrations of stradioti can be found in Sathas, Hellenes stradioti, passim.
    Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias: Documents inedits a l'histoire de la Grece au Moyen Age, Konstantinos Sathas, ed. , vol. 4 (Paris, 1880-1890), pp. LIV-LVI.
    "Andragathemata tou Merkouriou Boua," in Hellenika Anekdota--Anecdota Graeca, Konstantinos Sathas, ed. , vol. 1 (Athens, 1873), pp. 1-153.
    Jacomo Barbarigo, "Dispacci della Guerra di Peloponneso," in Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias: Documents inedits a l'histoire de la Grece au Moyen Age, Konstan-tinos Sathas, ed. Vol. 6 (Paris, 1885), pp. 1-92.
    See materials published in Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias, vols. 1,4, 6-9; Commis-siones et Relationes Venetae, vols. 5, 7, Annorum 1591-1600, 1621-1671, Grga Novak, ed. Monumenta Spectantia Historiam Slavorum Meridionalium, vol. 48, 50 (Zagreb: Jugoslovenska Akademija Znanosti i Umjetnosti, 1966, 1972); and Secrets de l' Etat de Venise, Vladimir Lamanskii, ed. (St. Petersburgh, 1884.
    Philippe de Comines, Memoires, vol.2, (London and Paris, 1747), pp. 27-28.
    Kostas Mpires, Oi Arvanites, oi Dorieis tou neoterou Hellenismou. (Athens, 1960), pp. 191-192
    Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias, vols. 1,4, 6-9;
    Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, vol. 1, Sian Reynolds, tr. (New York: Harper and Row, 1975), pp.48-49.
    Nicholas Cheetham, Medieval Greece (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), pp. 195-207; M. E. Mallet and J. R.Hale, The Military organization of a Renaissance State: Venice ca. 1400 to 1617 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1984), p. 47, 50; Denis Zakythinos, Le Despotat grec de Moree. vol. 2. Vie et institutions. London: Variorum, 1975, pp. 31-37, 135-145.
    Peter Topping, "Albanian Settlements in Medieval Greece: Some Venetian Testimonies," in Charanis Studies: Essays in Honor of Peter Charanis, ed. by Angelike E. Laiou Thomadakis (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1980), pp. 261-271.
    Mpires, Oi Arvanites, pp. 156-162; Apostolos Vakalopoulos, Historia tou Neou Hellenismou, vol. 3 (Thessalonike, 1968), pp. 79-88; Laurentios Vrokines, "He peri ta mesa tou IST' aionos en Kerkyrai apoikesis ton Naupleion kai Monem-vaseion," in Erga, Kostas Daphnes, ed. Vols. 16-17 of Kerkyra'i'ka Chronika. Corfu, 1972; Leonidas Zoes, "Hellenikos lochos en Zakynthoi kata tous chronous tes douleias," O Hellenismos 14 (1911): 367-371.
    Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias, vol. 8; Mallet and Hale, The Military organization of a Renaissance State:, p. 173.
    William Miller, The Latins in the Levant: A History of Frankish Greece (1204-1566) (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1937), pp. 489-511;
    Mpires, Oi Arvanites (Athens, 1960), pp. 172.
    Mallet and Hale, The Military Organization of a Renaissance State:, pp. 375-380. See pages 447-447, 451 on pay scales of stradioti.
    Mallet and Hale, pp. 376-377; Manoli Blessi, "Balzeletta," in Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias: Documents inedits a l'histoire de la Grece au Moyen Age, Konstantinos Sathas, ed. Vol. 8 (Paris, 1888), pp. 461-465; Blessi, "Manoli Blessi sopra la presa de Margaritin con un dialogo di un Greco et di un Fachino," in Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias, vol. 8, pp. 466-470, Blessi, "La presa di Nicosia," in Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias, vol. 9, pp. 262-280.
    Mallet and Hale, The Military organization of a Renaissance State:, pp. 376-377.
    Mallet and Hale, p. 376.
    John S. C. Bridge, A History of France from the Death of Louis XI, vol. 2 (Oxford University Press, 1924), p. 263.
    Oman, A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century, p. 114.
    F. L. Taylor, The Art of War in Italy, 1494-1529 (Cambridge University Press, 1921), pp. 72-73.
    Philippe de Comines, Memoires, vol.2, (London and Paris, 1747), pp. 27-28.
    Sathas, Hellenikoi Stratiotai , pp. 11-14
    Gabiele Daniel in his Histoire de la Milice Francaise vol. 2 (Paris, 1721), pp. 168, divides the stradiots in the 16th century French army into two seperate corps of argoulets and estradiots.

    1P. Aravantinos, Chronographia tes Epeirou ton te homoron hellenikon kai Illyrikon choron diatrechousa kata seiran ta en autais symbanta apo tou soteriou etous mechri tou 1854, vol. 1 (Athens, 1856), p. 191.
    Ioannes K. Chasiotes, "La comunita greca di Napoli et i moti insurrectionali nella penisola Balcanica meridionale durante la seconda meta del XVI secolo," Balkan Studies 10 (Thessalonike, 1969): 279-288; Vincenzo Giura, "La Comunita Greca di Napoli (1534-1861)," in Storie de Minoranze Ebrei, Greci, Albanesi nel Regno di Napoli (Naples, 1982), pp. 119-156; Attanasio Lehasca, Cenno storico dei servigi militari prestati nel Regno delle Due Sicilie dai Greci, Epiroti, Albanesi e Macedoni in epoche diverse (Corfu, 1843), pp. 3-15.
    Sathas, Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias, vol. 9, pp. xiv-xxviii.
    Millar, "The Albanians," pp. 470, 472; idem, Tudor Mercenaries and Auxiliaries 1485-1547 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1980), pp. 44, 48, 69, 73, 133, 146, 148-149, 151, 161, 164-165; Apostolos Vakalopoulos, Historia tou Neou Hellenismou, vol. 3 (Thessalonike, 1968), p. 191
    B. N. Floria, "Vykhodtsy iz Balkanakh stran na russkoi sluzhbe," Balkanskia issledovaniia. 3. Osloboditel'nye dvizheniia na Balkanakh (Moscow, 1978), pp. 57-63.
    "Andragathemata tou Merkouriou Boua," in Hellenika Anekdota, vol. 1 (Athens, 1873), pp. 1-153.
    Manoli Blessi, "Balzeletta," and "Manoli Blessi sopra la presa de Margaritin con un dialogo di un Greco et di un Fachino,"in Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias, vol. 8 (Paris, 1888), pp. 461-470; and idem, "La presa di Nicosia," in Mnemeia Hellenikes Historias, vol. 9 (Paris, 1890), pp. 262-280.
    Ioannes Veloudos, Hellenon Orthodoxon apoikia en Venetia historikon hypomnema, ed. 2 (Venice, 1893), pp. 16-27; Giura, "La Comunita Greca di Napoli (1534-1861)," pp. 121-127; Dusan Kasic, "Die Griechisch-Serbische kirchen-symbiose in Norddalmatien vom XV. bis zum XIX jahrhundert," Balkan Studies 15 (Thessalonike, 1974): 21-48.
    Dissertazione istorico-cronologica delle Reggimento Real Macedone nella qualle si tratta sua origine, formazione e progressi, e delle vicissitudini, che gli sono accadute fino all' anno 1767. ed. 2. (Bologna, 1768), pp. 201-203, 205-209; Raoul Manselli, "Il Reggimento Albanese Real Macedonia durante il Regno di Carlo di Borbone," Archivio Storico per le Provincie Napoletane, n.s. vol. 32 (1950-1951), pp. 143-145; Nicholas C. Pappas, " Balkan Foreign Legions in Eighteenth Century Italy: Reggimento Real Macedone and Its Successors" in Nation and Ideology: Essays in Honor of Wayne S. Vucinich. Ivo Banac, John C. Ackerman and Roman Szporluk, eds. (Boulder, Colorado: East European Monographs, 1981), pp. 35-39.
    Mallet and Hale, The Military Organization of a Renaissance State:, pp. 375-380, 426-427, 447-451.
    Laurentios Vrokines, "He peri ta mesa tou IST' aionos en Kerkyrai apoikesis ton Naupleion kai Monem-vaseion," in Erga, Kostas Daphnes, ed. Vols. 16-17 of Kerkyra'i'ka Chronika. Corfu, 1972; Leonidas Zoes, "Hellenikos lochos en Zakynthoi kata tous chronous tes douleias," O Hellenismos 14 (1911): 367-371.
    Ioannes Veloudos, Hellenon Orthodoxon apoikia en Venetia historikon hypomnema, ed. 2 (Venice, 1893), pp. 16-27; Giura, "La Comunita Greca di Napoli (1534-1861)," pp. 121-127; Dusan Kasic, "Die Griechisch-Serbische kirchensymbiose in Norddalmatien vom XV. bis zum XIX jahrhundert," Balkan Studies 15 (Thessalonike, 1974): 21-48.

  2. #2
    qnzkid711's Avatar Princeps
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Queens, New York
    Posts
    1,126
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default

    For more info on Nicholas C.J. Pappas check out http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/

    He looks like a pretty good scholar and from what I read of this very unbiased in his information(its hard to find unbiased stuff on the Balkans nowdays unfortunately).

  3. #3
    k/t's Avatar Auxiliarius
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    6,333
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    I liked the article. Thanks for posting.

  4. #4
    Xanthippus of Sparta's Avatar Pili
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    near Pittsburgh PA
    Posts
    1,752
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Interesting stuff.

    I had never made the connection about the Stradiots as ex-Byzantine cavalry, even though the word itself would suggest that.



    "The fact is that every war suffers a kind of progressive degradation with every month that it continues, because such things as individual liberty and a truthful press are not compatible with military efficency."
    -George Orwell, in Homage to Catalonia, 1938.

  5. #5
    neoptolemos's Avatar Breatannach Romanus
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Seirios,a parallel space,at your right
    Posts
    10,750
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Quote Originally Posted by Xanthippus of Sparta View Post
    Interesting stuff.

    I had never made the connection about the Stradiots as ex-Byzantine cavalry, even though the word itself would suggest that.
    They are proof of the cavalry mastery of the Byzantines.
    Cavalry was the most important arm in the Byzantine army in the contrast with classical Rome who relied on the infantry.

    The Imperial Tagmatic Army Preview is out!!!!!




    TOTAL WAR HELLAS UNIT PACK V1.7 released-NEW MACEDONIAN,EPIROT PONTIC AND SELEUCID UNITS ARE HERE!!!!(CLICK)

    TOTAL WAR HELLAS SPARTA-ATHENS-PTOLEMIES AND BAKTRIANS released!!!! (click)

    "Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity".
    Hippocrates
    “There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.” Hippocrates
    "Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are." Bertolt Brecht
    "The doctor sees all the weakness of mankind; the lawyer all the wickedness, the theologian all the stupidity." Arthur Schopenhauer
    "Nowadays historians generally agree that the Macedonian ethnos forms part of the Greek ethnos;hence they also shared in the common religious and cultural features of the Hellenic world"M.Opperman

    under the patronage of jimkatalanos
    .Proud member of the fellowship of CBUR project-TGC/proud member of East of Rome mod



    Quem faz injúria vil e sem razão,Com forças e poder em que está posto,Não vence; que a vitória verdadeira É saber ter justiça nua e inteira-He who, solely to oppress,Employs or martial force, or power, achieves No victory; but a true victory Is gained,when justice triumphs and prevails.
    Luís de Camões

  6. #6
    Erebus Pasha's Avatar vezir-i âzam
    Moderator Emeritus

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Leicestershire, UK
    Posts
    9,434
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Yes a very good article, and an interesting read. I have an article by Pappas that deals with Serbian survival after Kosovo so I would agree that he seems to be an unbiased and reputable scholar.

    www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/
    Under the patronage of the Noble Savage.

  7. #7
    René Artois's Avatar Praefectus Castrorum
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    18,996
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Quote Originally Posted by k/t View Post
    I liked the article. Thanks for posting.
    Excellent thread revival. After 5 years it again sees daylight and quite rightly so.
    Bitter is the wind tonight,
    it stirs up the white-waved sea.
    I do not fear the coursing of the Irish sea
    by the fierce warriors of Lothlind.

  8. #8
    VINC.XXIII's Avatar Dûxe
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Pâxo
    Posts
    3,176
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    any link posted in SS forum have some chances to be re-actualized


    Patronized by phoenix[illusion]

  9. #9
    druzhina345's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    983
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Icon3 Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Last edited by druzhina345; August 29, 2012 at 02:56 AM.

  10. #10
    hellheaven1987's Avatar Praefectus Cohortis
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Somewhere snowing... This damned holiday...
    Posts
    33,509
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Can someone move this thread to College section? The details are worthy to move to more serious section.
    Quote Originally Posted by Markas View Post
    Hellheaven, sometimes you remind me of King Canute trying to hold back the tide, except without the winning parable.
    Quote Originally Posted by O'Hea View Post
    The only reason why Charlemagne came into this at all is because Hellheaven thought it'd be a fun way to troll some byzantophiles.

  11. #11
    Exarch's Avatar Praefectus Castrorum
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    19,568
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    Can someone move this thread to College section? The details are worthy to move to more serious section.
    i concur

  12. #12
    Princeps
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    1,121
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Below is my message from another forum. Unfortunately there was no reaction. Maybe you have some idea:

    ------------
    I have found in Maciej Stryjkowski's chronicle (published in 1582) a short notice about deli warriors:

    "Dalijunaci, Epirotsci. Wenetowie ich zowią Stradioti

    Bo i teraz z tego Epiru turecki cesarz nalepsze do jezdnego boju i do harców męże miewa"

    It means:

    'deli plucky fellows, Epirus people. Venetians call them stradioti

    Because even now the Turkish sultan has the best men to cavalry fighting and to harc from this Epirus'

    harc was an individual fight, which took place before a battle


    What do you think about this identification of delis with stradioti?

    Abdullah Turhal states that the first record about delis / deliler comes from around 1490 and refers to 1448. But IMO, even if the name deliler is from the end of 15th c., those cavalrymen could exist earlier under another name. Nicolas de Nicolay, who saw delis of a Serb origin in 1551, stated that they called themselves zatočnici. Stryjkowski in 1582 stated that Venetians called them stradioti. I don't know, maybe he was wrong. But if not...?
    BTW, the same Balkan territory gave Poland the first hussars, who were so similar to delis (they used the same hollowed lances, the same shields, similar hats, feathers, boots, stirrups, pants, tunics, sabres, koncerz swords, etc. etc. etc.). Samuel Beňa has written to me that a Hungarian historian Dr. B Szabó János mentions in his book (A honfoglalóktól a huszárokig) that an observer from Ferrara called Matthias Corvinus' light cavalry (among them were "Rascians" / Serbs) Stradioti.
    "Rascians" / Serbs were also the first Polish hussars, hired in the begining of 16th c. Polish cavalrymen used a suit called stradiotka. There is so many connections between stradioti, delis and early Polish hussars... Even their behaviour was similar. For example stradioti "were known for cutting off the heads of dead or captured enemies, and according to Commines they were paid by their leaders one ducat per head". Rascians hired by the Poles in the begining of 16th c. did it too.

    All in all, I'd like to know your opinion - were stradioti, Rascians and delis/deliler the same cavalrymen, who existed under different names?

    p.s
    According to Nicholas C.J. Pappas ( http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Stradioti.html ):

    "Most of these troops [stradioti] were later recruited from Epirus and Southern Albania, in particular from the Greco-Albanian region of Cheimarra."

    It fits to Stryjkowski's opinion from 1582:

    'deli plucky fellows, Epirus people. Venetians call them stradioti

    Because even now the Turkish sultan has the best men to cavalry fighting and
    to harc from this Epirus'
    Last edited by Radosław Sikora; October 04, 2011 at 12:51 AM.

  13. #13
    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar Sixth Heaven Demon Lord
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Azuchi-jō Tenshu
    Posts
    11,475
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Pretty swift cavalry that hold their own in melee.

  14. #14
    white-wolf's Avatar Centurio Primus Ordine
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    7,044
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    P.S. "deli" means "crazy, mad" in Turkish. "Deliler" means "mads". "Harc", as far as I know does not mean individual fight, it could mean something about money.
    In tribute to concerned friends:
    - You know nothing Jon Snow.





    Samples from the Turkish Cuisine by white-wolf

  15. #15
    Princeps
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    1,121
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Quote Originally Posted by white-wolf View Post
    "Harc", as far as I know does not mean individual fight, it could mean something about money.
    Harc is a Polish term and means an individual fight, which usually took place before a battle

  16. #16
    druzhina345's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    983
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Here is a description and a picture of a Delli. As they were generally Christian, it is possible that they were drawn from the same pool of manpower as the Stradiots. Many military families that had fought for the Byzantines continued the military tradition under the Ottomans. (Some of these families also became Muslim.)

    druzhina 345
    sites of wargaming interest
    Last edited by druzhina345; August 29, 2012 at 03:07 AM.

  17. #17
    Tangaxuan's Avatar Kirā
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    240
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    I very much enjoyed this little article.
    The redux of 2011's Turtledove Award winner for Best New Renaissance & Reformation:
    Anahuatlacanco
    Chapter XI: Teuhtlile and Cortes meet at last!

  18. #18
    druzhina345's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    983
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century - Delli

    Here is an illustration including Dellis from the Nusretname (top left)
    and an illustration including a Delli from the Suleymanname (bottom right).

    Also an illustration of an armoured Stradiot (under the heading 'Venice').

    It is not because of a similar costume that Dellis might be called Stradioti.

    druzhina345
    sites of wargaming interest

    Last edited by druzhina345; July 02, 2012 at 08:17 PM.

  19. #19
    Princeps
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    1,121
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Quote Originally Posted by druzhina345 View Post
    Also an illustration of an armoured Stradiot (under the heading 'Venice').
    Thanks. I didn't know this picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by druzhina345 View Post
    It is not because of a similar costume that Dellis might be called Stradioti.
    Well, there were also huge differences in appearance of Polish hussars. Still they all were hussars.

  20. #20
    druzhina345's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    983
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: Stradioti; Balkan Mercenaries of the 15th century

    Quote Originally Posted by Radosław Sikora View Post
    Well, there were also huge differences in appearance of Polish hussars. Still they all were hussars.
    Agreed. It was for some other reason.

    druzhina345

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •