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Thread: Roman cataphracts - general discussion

  1. #1

    Icon14 Roman cataphracts - general discussion

    I hope that CA will make Roman cataphracts similar to these:

    http://www.scalemates.com/products/p....php?id=143614


  2. #2

    Default Re: Roman cataphracts - general discussion

    They are recorded in the mid 4th century, but most likely were Noble Sarmation recruits. And with Hun control of the territories these would have been denied to the Romans in the 5th century. They reappear in Byzantium in the latter 6th century. But that won't stop CA!
    Proculus: Divine Caesar, PLEASE! What have I done? Why am I here?
    Caligula: Treason!
    Proculus: Treason? I have always been loyal to you!
    Caligula: [laughs insanely] That IS your treason! You're an honest man, Proculus, which means a bad Roman! Therefore, you are a traitor! Logical, hmm? Ha, ha, ha!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Roman cataphracts - general discussion

    Ammianus marcellinus talks about them,when describing constantius II's entry into rome in 351 so they should be in the game

  4. #4

    Default Re: Roman cataphracts - general discussion

    Those guys on picture are Clibanarii, Cataphracts were more light armored (only rider, not horse).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Roman cataphracts - general discussion

    The two terms are used by Amminaus without discrimination (there are lots of discussions if the two concepts mean the same thing), anyway he also mentions Julian used Cataphracts against the Alamanni in the battle of Strasbourg.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Roman cataphracts - general discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanciarius_90 View Post
    Those guys on picture are Clibanarii, Cataphracts were more light armored (only rider, not horse).
    No.
    There is no concrete evidence to prove that there's any practical distinction between the two terms. Most likely the fact that there are two come from the fact that "cataphract" is a Greek word and "clibanarii" is more Latin in origin. Though thanks to the lack of good source material for the period, there is no way to prove this either.

    As for the idea of a heavily armored rider without a armored horse in the Persian tradition, I think that's extremely unlikely. The armor is mainly meant to stop arrows, the main threat against cavalry in the East. The horses need the armor as much as the rider, a downed horse in a charge is more disruptive than a dead rider.

    And I don't think it's reasonable to assume that clibanarii were all auxiliaries or foederati. As later Europeans have shown, it only takes a few months to train a civilian into a heavy cavalryman, unlike the years it takes to train a horse archer.
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    Default Re: Roman cataphracts - general discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Ecthelion View Post
    No.
    There is no concrete evidence to prove that there's any practical distinction between the two terms. Most likely the fact that there are two come from the fact that "cataphract" is a Greek word and "clibanarii" is more Latin in origin. Though thanks to the lack of good source material for the period, there is no way to prove this either.

    As for the idea of a heavily armored rider without a armored horse in the Persian tradition, I think that's extremely unlikely. The armor is mainly meant to stop arrows, the main threat against cavalry in the East. The horses need the armor as much as the rider, a downed horse in a charge is more disruptive than a dead rider.

    And I don't think it's reasonable to assume that clibanarii were all auxiliaries or foederati. As later Europeans have shown, it only takes a few months to train a civilian into a heavy cavalryman, unlike the years it takes to train a horse archer.
    The terms "Catafractarius" and "Clibanarius" are distinct ONLY to the Roman military: the general term for the use of Cataphracts outside the empire was simply things like "Contrarii" meaning lancers or simply "Equites" and other generic terms meaning cavalry. You cannot call anything outside of the Roman military a "Catafractarius" or "Clibanarius" due to the technical nature of these terms.

    The current argument amongst scholars is that the Catafractarius was denoted by a heavily armored person, while Clibanarius was a heavily armored rider and horse. But these terms are inexplicably interchangeable, and used with wild abandon by authors. By the 6th century they become blurred beyond recognition.

    As for the recruitment of cataphract units, although Sarmatians (Iazyges, Roxolani, etc) and Alans were popular recruits because they specialized in Cataphract warfare, the majority of these units were recruited from Roman citizens. By Aetius' day, the Alans of Goar and Sambida made up his cavalry (other than the Hun Bucellarii), and the textual evidence from the Gallic chronicle of 452 says that they were settled as "Roman Military Veterans" in 442, indicating that Goar and Sambida's Alans were not "Foederati" operating under their own commanders, but organized into professional Roman military units. Upon their settlement in Aurelianum Civitas and Valentia (near Arvernis) respectively, they become Laeti and Foederati.

    Surprisingly enough, the abscence of Sarmatian names amongst Huns in the 5th century suggests there were not a lot of Sarmatians serving with Attila's Hunnic groups (Otto Maenchen-Helfen had several linguists analyze the Hunnic names and proposed this.) The Taifali, groups of Iazyges and Roxolani, and the Alans were all settled in the Roman Empire under Attila's time, although many Alans remained in the Pontic/Caspian basins (and would later become the Ossetians).

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    Default Re: Roman cataphracts - general discussion

    I remember that there was a rumor which says the word Clibanarii comes from a Persian word "Griwbanwar".

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Roman cataphracts - general discussion

    Technically all three would fall under Clibanarius, but these aren't great representations.

    http://www.comitatus.net/cavalry.html

    These guys represent the Equites Taifali, a unit of Catafractarii in the Gallic Field Army.

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