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Thread: Politeia tōn Hrōmaiōn (info and units)

  1. #61

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jurcek1987 View Post
    Varangians aren't limited to the capital, but they are very rare because they are recruited from a mayor's palace which requires a huge city. I like it this way, because they were used sparingly, most often in critical moments during battle.
    On that note,would being able to recruit them in castles as well,once they reached a specific level be able to be implemented? It seems like a logical feature. You'd need a specific and expensive building I'd imagine to be able to do so,and possibly a scripted event as well,which would have consequences for the castle in question.

  2. #62
    Boogie Knight's Avatar Biarchus
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Does anyone know how to properly pronounce Iōannēse? Great thread by the way, this submod's looking better all the time.

  3. #63

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    what do you think about this link? it is about romans...do you like these romans units? are they historically correct?
    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showt...W-Roman-Empire
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  4. #64

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by j.a.luna View Post
    what do you think about this link? it is about romans...do you like these romans units? are they historically correct?
    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showt...W-Roman-Empire
    i think they are more historically correct, i still prefer the current ones though, if all those small inaccuracies in the current ones could be corrected they would be perfect

  5. #65

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie Knight View Post
    Does anyone know how to properly pronounce Iōannēse? Great thread by the way, this submod's looking better all the time.
    Same as the German name Johannes, but with an "e" sound at the end. "Yo-an-es-eh"

  6. #66
    jurcek1987's Avatar Vicarius
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dekhatres View Post
    i think they are more historically correct, i still prefer the current ones though, if all those small inaccuracies in the current ones could be corrected they would be perfect
    Their roster certainly looks extensively researched, but they are made for a mod that starts over 200 years later.

    I really have no major complaints regarding current units, the problem is that 12th century sources mostly describe cavalry but contain only limited descriptions of infantry, only Varangians are described in more detail, that's why some other mods use different interpretations of Komnenian army. Tsardoms and other provincial mods also have an added advantage of focusing on less factions than SS so their roster are more extensive.

  7. #67
    Elianus's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    There is no mention of the Scholarioi after the death of Alexios. The Archontopouloi are also never mentioned as a regiment again after his death but certain individuals are mentioned as people close to the king or pronoiarioi. It seems to me that what we should have is kataphracts as good quality ultra heavies but more of them as they were thematic troops, unlike the Scholai. Instead of Athanatoi we should have the Oikeioi as the bodyguard unit and they should be the absolute best and heaviest IMHO. We could also have two Latin regiments where one is mercenaries and the other the permanent ''Frankish'' troops (IE Latinikon) with more ''roman'' appearance. All cavalry units by this time should be using lances, including the thematic cataphracts.
    Possible List: Latin Knights
    Latinikon(latin descendants with roman equipment)
    Archontopoulai for starters....
    Pronoiarioi
    Stratiotae
    Kataphracts (line) You could find cataphracts both in the imperial household and in the thematic armies. Have them use lances and maces. The use of the cataphract armed with lance,bow and mace was gone by this time frame
    Oikeioi(absolutely elite guards. These should be the current elite cataphracts)
    IMHO all heavy cav should use lances and have improved charge. These are the changes that Manuel tried to implement. Also, get rid of the wedge. It was a possible cause of the roman cav's inability to face the normans as it required a much slower charge.
    Edit: The mourtatoi could also be repsesented as heavy horse archers as well as foot archers. A cataphract/half-armored horse archer would also be a possible addition to the roster.
    Last edited by Elianus; July 03, 2015 at 05:21 AM.
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  8. #68

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    These units might be an improvement over the current ones, if you haven't seen them yet, and I believe they are correct for the time period. http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showt...Reskin-standby

  9. #69

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jurcek1987 View Post
    Their roster certainly looks extensively researched, but they are made for a mod that starts over 200 years later.

    I really have no major complaints regarding current units, the problem is that 12th century sources mostly describe cavalry but contain only limited descriptions of infantry, only Varangians are described in more detail, that's why some other mods use different interpretations of Komnenian army. Tsardoms and other provincial mods also have an added advantage of focusing on less factions than SS so their roster are more extensive.
    oh i dont have any major complaints with current units either, i am just saying there are maybe a few small things, such as the scoutatoi shield wich i think is oversized aswell as that shoulder armor (sory i dont know it's name) and that's pretty much it

    i think the models proposed by Ser Gareth are perfect, iirc they arent released yet though

  10. #70
    jurcek1987's Avatar Vicarius
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Elianus View Post
    There is no mention of the Scholarioi after the death of Alexios. The Archontopouloi are also never mentioned as a regiment again after his death but certain individuals are mentioned as people close to the king or pronoiarioi. It seems to me that what we should have is kataphracts as good quality ultra heavies but more of them as they were thematic troops, unlike the Scholai. Instead of Athanatoi we should have the Oikeioi as the bodyguard unit and they should be the absolute best and heaviest IMHO. We could also have two Latin regiments where one is mercenaries and the other the permanent ''Frankish'' troops (IE Latinikon) with more ''roman'' appearance. All cavalry units by this time should be using lances, including the thematic cataphracts.
    Possible List: Latin Knights
    Latinikon(latin descendants with roman equipment)
    Archontopoulai for starters....
    Pronoiarioi
    Stratiotae
    Kataphracts (line) You could find cataphracts both in the imperial household and in the thematic armies. Have them use lances and maces. The use of the cataphract armed with lance,bow and mace was gone by this time frame
    Oikeioi(absolutely elite guards. These should be the current elite cataphracts)
    IMHO all heavy cav should use lances and have improved charge. These are the changes that Manuel tried to implement. Also, get rid of the wedge. It was a possible cause of the roman cav's inability to face the normans as it required a much slower charge.
    Edit: The mourtatoi could also be repsesented as heavy horse archers as well as foot archers. A cataphract/half-armored horse archer would also be a possible addition to the roster.
    Excellent post! Scholarii in their current form with their slow charge and wedge formation are outdated. I have no sources to corroborate, but I would guess these units or at least their tactics were abandoned sometime after the battle of Dyrrhachium in 1081, where the Roman "superheavy" cavalry performed badly against lighter Norman cavalry, not to mention their huge cost.
    I would like to see more mace armed units, maces are specifically mentioned in Battle of Sirmium, one of the major battles in Komnenian era, so they weren't limited to just cataphracts.

  11. #71
    jurcek1987's Avatar Vicarius
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    I've found these really nice Byzantine city stratmap models made by Aura if someone is interested. Although their design is probably more appropriate for castles . Fort model looks really good especially the walls, it's a shame there are no forts in SSHIP.

  12. #72
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    As promised in another thread, here are information about the Komnenian period (1081 to 1180). More regarding the other periods will come later.
    This document is basically a synthesis of many historical sources. Most of them were gathered already. I've just tried to put things in order

    Part 1: KOMNENIAN BYZANTINE ARMY: General information

    The Komnenian Byzantine army or Komnenian army was the force established by Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos during the late 11th/early 12th century, and perfected by his successors John II Komnenos and Manuel I Komnenos during the 12th century. Alexios constructed a new army from the ground up, completely replacing previous forms of the Byzantine army. The Komnenian army was instrumental in the Komnenian restoration of the Byzantine Empire during the period of its existence, and was deployed in the Balkans, Italy, Hungary, Russia, Anatolia, Syria, the Holy Land and Egypt.

    At the beginning of the Komnenian period in 1081, the Byzantine Empire had been reduced tothe smallest territorial extent in its history. During the 11th century, decades of peace and neglect had reduced the old thematic forces, and the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 had destroyed the professional tagmata, the core of the Byzantine army. At Manzikert and later at Dyrrhachium, units tracing their lineage for centuries back to Late Roman army were wiped out, and the subsequent loss of Asia Minor deprived the Empire of its main recruiting ground. In the Balkans, at the same time, the Empire was exposed to invasions by the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, and by Pecheneg raids across the Danube. Surrounded by enemies, and financially ruined by a long period of civil war, the empire's prospects had looked grim.

    Yet, through a combination of skill, determination and years of campaigning, Alexios I Komnenos, John II Komnenos and Manuel I Komnenos managed to restore the power of the Byzantine Empire by constructing a new army from the ground up. The new force is known as the Komnenian army. It was both professional and disciplined. It contained formidable guards units such as the Varangian Guard and the Immortals (a unit of heavy cavalry) stationed in Constantinople, and also levies from the provinces. These levies included cataphract cavalry from Macedonia, Thessaly and Thrace, and various other provincial forces from regions such as the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor.

    Under John II, a Macedonian division was maintained, and new native Byzantine troops were recruited from the provinces. As Byzantine Asia Minor began to prosper under John and Manuel, more soldiers were raised from the Asiatic provinces of Neokastra, Paphlagonia and even Seleucia (in the south east). Soldiers were also drawn from defeated peoples, such as the Pechenegs (cavalry archers), and the Serbs, who were used as settlers stationed at Nicomedia. Native troops were organised into regular units and stationed in both the Asian and European provinces. Komnenian contingents from the Principality of Antioch, Serbia and Hungary composed two-thirds of the Byzantine troops to one-third of foreigners.
    Emperor John II Komnenos became renowned for his superb generalship and conducted many successful sieges. Under his leadership, the Byzantine army reconquered substantial territories from the Turks.

    The new force had a core of units which were both professional and disciplined. It contained formidable guards units such as the Varangians, the Athanatoi, a unit of heavy cavalry stationed in Constantinople, the Vardariotai and the Archontopouloi, recruited by Alexios from the sons of dead Byzantine officers, foreign mercenary regiments, and also units of professional soldiers recruited from the provinces. These provincial troops included Kataphraktoi cavalry from Macedonia, Thessaly and Thrace, and various other provincial forces such as Trebizond Archers from the Black Sea coast of Anatolia. Alongside troops raised and paid for directly by the state the Komnenian army included the armed followers of members of the wider imperial family and its extensive connections. In this can be seen the beginnings of the feudalisation of the Byzantine military. The granting of pronoia holdings, where land, or more accurately rights to revenue from land, was held in return for military obligations, was beginning to become a notable element in the military infrastructure towards the end of the Komnenian period, though it became much more important subsequently.
    This Komnenian army was a highly effective, well-trained and well-equipped force, capable of campaigning in Egypt, Hungary, Italy and Palestine. However, like many aspects of the Byzantine state under the Komnenoi, its biggest weakness was that it relied on a powerful and competent ruler to direct and maintain its operations. While Alexios, John and Manuel ruled (c. 1081— c. 1180), the Komnenian army provided the empire with a period of security that enabled Byzantine civilization to flourish. Yet, as we shall see, at the end of the twelfth century the competent leadership upon which the effectiveness of the Komnenian army depended largely disappeared. The consequences of this breakdown in command were to prove disastrous for the Byzantine Empire.

    The Komnenian period, despite almost constant warfare, is notable for the lack of military treatise writing, which seems to have petered out during the 11th century. So, unlike in earlier periods, there are no detailed descriptions of Byzantine tactics and military equipment. Information on military matters in the Komnenian era must be gleaned from passing comments in contemporary historical and biographical literature, court panegyrics and from pictorial evidence.
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  13. #73
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Part 2a: KOMNENIAN BYZANTINE ARMY: Development

    Alexios I inherited an army which had been painstakingly reconstituted _ through the administrative efforts of the able eunuch Nikephoritzes. This army, though small due to the loss of territory and revenue, was in its nature similar to that of earlier Byzantine armies back as far as Nikephoros Phokas and beyond; indeed some units could trace their history back to Late Roman times. This rather traditional Byzantine army was destroyed by the Italo-Normans at Dyrrhakhion in 1081. In the aftermath of this disaster Alexios laid the foundations of a new military structure. He raised troops entirely by ad hoc means: raising the regiment of the archontopouloi from the sons of dead soldiers and even pressing heretic Paulicians from Philippopolis I into the ranks. Most important is the prominent place in this new army of Alexios' extended family and their many connections, each aristocrat bringing to the field his armed retinue and retainers. Before campaigning against the Pechenegs in 1090 he is recorded as summoning "his kinsmen by birth or marriage and all the nobles enrolled in the army." From pure necessity an army based on a model derived ultimately from Classical Antiquity was transformed, like the empire as a whole, into a type of family business. At this point the army could be characterised as being a feudal host with a substantial mercenary element. Later in his reign, when the empire had recovered territory and its economic condition had improved, the increased monetary revenue available allowed Alexios to impose a greater regularity on the army, with a higher proportion of troops raised directly by the state; however, the extended imperial family continued to play a very prominent role. This was the army that his successors inherited and further modified.

    Under John II, a Macedonian division was maintained, and new native Byzantine troops were recruited from the provinces. As Byzantine Asia Minor began to prosper under John and Manuel, more soldiers were raised from the Asiatic provinces of Thrakesion, Neokastra, Paphlagonia and even Seleucia (in the south-east). Soldiers were also drawn from defeated peoples, such as the Pechenegs (cavalry archers), and Serbs, who were transplanted as military settlers to the region around Nicomedia. Native troops were organised into regular units and stationed in both the Asian and European provinces. Later Komnenian armies were also often reinforced by allied contingents from Antioch, Serbia and Hungary, yet even so they generally consisted of about two-thirds Byzantine troops to one-third foreigners. Units of archers, infantry and cavalry were grouped together so as to provide combined arms support to each other. John fought fewer pitched battles than either his father or son. His military strategy revolved around sieges and the taking and holding of fortified settlements.

    The emperor Manuel I was heavily influenced by Westerners (both of his empresses were Franks) and at the beginning of his reign he is reported to have re-equipped and retrained his native Byzantine heavy cavalry along Western lines. It is inferred that Manuel introduced the couched lance technique, the close order charge at speed and increased the use of heavier armour. Manuel personally took part in knightly tournaments in the Western fashion; his considerable prowess impressed Western observers. Manuel organised his army in the Myriokephalon campaign as a number of 'divisions' each of which could act as small independent army. It has been argued that it was this organisation which allowed the greater part of his army to survive the ambush inflicted on it by the Seljuk Turks. Indeed it was a stock of Byzantine writing to contrast the order of the Byzantine battle array with the disorder of barbarian military dispositions.

    Permanent military camps were established in the Balkans and in Anatolia, they are first mentioned during the reign of Alexios I (Kypsella and Lopadion), but as Lopadion is recorded as being newly fortified in the reign of John II, it is the latter who seems to have fully realised the advantages of this type of permanent camp. The main Anatolian camp was at Lopadion on the Rhyndakos River near the Sea of Marmora, the European equivalent was at Kypsella in Thrace, others were at Sofia (Serdica) and at Pelagonia, west of Thessalonica. Manuel I rebuilt Dorylaion on the Anatolian plateau to serve the same function for his Myriokephalon campaign of 1175-76. These great military camps seem to have been an innovation of the Komnenian emperors, possibly as a more highly developed form of the earlier aplekta (military station along a major communication route), and may have played an important role in the improvement in the effectiveness of the Byzantine forces seen in the period. The camps were used for the training of troops and for the preparation of armies for the rigours of campaign; they also functioned as supply depots, transit stations for the movement of troops and concentration points for field armies.

    In 1097, the Byzantine army numbered around 70,000 men altogether. By 1180 and the death of Manuel Komnenos, whose frequent campaigns had been on a grand scale, the army was probably considerably larger. During the reign of Alexios I, the field army numbered around 20,000 men which was increased to about 30,000 men in John II's reign. By the end of Manuel I's reign the Byzantine field army had risen to 40,000 men.

    The Komnenian Byzantine army was a resilient and effective force, but it was over-reliant on the leadership of an able emperor. After the death of Manuel II in 1180, first a child-emperor, Alexios II, then a tyrant, Andronikos I, who attempted to break the power of the aristocracy who provided the leadership of the army, and finally the rule of the incompetents of the Angeloi dynasty allowed the centifugal tendencies generated by the self-interests of the powerful aristocracy to fatally weaken the Empire and the army which served it. When Constantinople fell to the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the Byzantine successor states established at Epirus, Trebizond and especially Nicaea based their military systems on the Komnenian army. The success of the Empire of Nicaea in particular in reconquering former Byzantine territories (including Constantinople) after 1204 may be seen as evidence of the strengths of the Komnenian army model. However, there is reason to restrict the term Komnenian army solely to the period of the rule of the Komnenian emperors; the Byzantine army after the recovery of Constantinople in 1261 was sufficiently distinct from its earlier form to deserve a separate identity as the Palaiologan army.

    Part 2b: KOMNENIAN BYZANTINE ARMY: Size

    During the reign of Alexios I, the field army numbered around 20,000 men. By the end of John II's reign, the entire Byzantine army amounted to about 50,000 men. By 1180 and the death of Manuel Komnenos, whose frequent campaigns had been on a grand scale, the army was probably considerably larger. Modern historians have estimated the size of Komnenian armies on campaign at about 15,000 to 20,000 men. In 1176 Manuel I managed to gather approximately 35-40,000 men, of which 25,000 were Byzantines and the rest were allied contingents from Hungary, Serbia, and Antioch, though this was for an exceptional campaign. His military resources stretched to putting another, smaller, army in the field simultaneously. During this period, the European provinces in the Balkans were able to provide more than 6,000 cavalry in total while the Eastern provinces of Asia Minor provided about the same number. This amounted to more than 12,000 cavalry for the entire Empire, not including those from allied contingents. In 1200, the field army numbered 30,000 men while the entire army was estimated at 60,000 men (of which 15,000 men were foreign mercenaries). Constantinople had a permanent garrison of 10,000 troops not including the 5,000 Varangians garrisoned in the two Imperial palaces.

    However, the exact size and composition of the Byzantine army and its units is a matter of considerable debate, due to the scantness and ambiguous nature of the primary sources. The following table contains approximate estimates. All estimates exclude the number of oarsmen; those are included in the Byzantine Navy.

    According to Mark Whittow the military resources of the Byzantine Empire were broadly comparable to those of other early medieval European states. As such Byzantium may not have been wealthier or more powerful than other European states, but it was more centralized and more united, and this was a vital factory in its survival. By using various Byzantine sources he guesses the entire cavalry forces of the empire, between the 8th and 10th centuries, were somewhere just over 10,000 and the number of infantry 20,000, and argues that the Byzantine armies should be numbered in hundreds or thousands and not tens of thousands.
    Last edited by Lifthrasir; August 06, 2015 at 06:26 AM.
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  14. #74
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Part 3: KOMNENIAN BYZANTINE ARMY: Structure

    -
    Command hierarchy and unit composition

    Under the emperor, the commander-in-chief of the army was the megas domestikos (Grand Domestic). His second-in-command was the protostrator. The commander of the navy was the megas doux (Grand Duke), who was also the military commander for Crete, the Aegean Islands and the southern parts of mainland Greece. A commander entrusted with an independent field force or one of the major divisions of a large expeditionary army was termed a strategos (general).

    Individual provinces and the defensive forces they contained were governed by a doux (duke) or katepano (though this title was sometimes bestowed on the senior administrator below the doux), who was a military officer with civil authority; under the doux a fortified settlement or a fortress was commanded by an officer with the title kastrophylax (castle-warden). Lesser commanders, with the exception of some archaic titles, were known by the size of the unit they commanded, for example a tagmatarches commanded a tagma (regiment). The commander of the Varangians had a unique title, akolouthos (acolyte), indicating his close personal attendance on the emperor.

    During the Komnenian period the earlier names for the basic units of the Byzantine cavalry, bandon and moira, gradually disappear to be replaced by the allagion, believed to have been between 300 and 500 men strong. The allagion, commanded by an allagator, was probably divided into subunits of 100, 50 and 10 men. On campaign the allagia could be grouped together (usually in threes) into larger bodies called taxeis, syntaxeis, lochoi or tagmata. The infantry unit was the taxiarchia, a unit type first recorded under Nikephoros II Phokas; it was theoretically 1000 men strong, and was commanded by a taxiarches.

    -
    Guards units and the Imperial household

    Many of the earlier guard units did not survive the reign of Alexios I: the scholai, Immortals (athanatoi), and exkoubitoi are not mentioned in the reigns of his immediate successors. The notable exceptions to this process being the Varangians and vestiaritai, and probably the archontopouloi. The hetaireia (literally "companions"), commanded by the megas hetaireiarches, is still mentioned, though it was always more a collection of individual units under an administrative title than a regiment as such. In this period, the Varangian Guard consisted of Englishmen, Russians, and Scandinavians, totalling 5,000 men.

    Immediately after the Battle of Dyrrhachium, Alexios I recruited 2,000 men to form the tagma of the archontopouloi. The Vardariots, a cavalry unit initially recruited from the Christianized Magyars of the Vardar valley, were a later addition to the guard and were probably raised by John II. They were commanded by an officer with the rank of primmikerios. Of increasing importance during the family-centric Komnenian period were the men known as oikeioi (olkelol, "those of the household"); when mobilized for war the oikeioi were the equivalent of the household knights of western kings and would have served as kataphraktoi. These household troops would have included the emperor's personal retinue, his relatives and close associates, also accompanied by their immediate retinues, and the young aristocrats attached to the court; plus they probably also included the vestiaritai guards.

    The oikeioi would have been equipped with the finest arms and armour and mounted on the highest quality war-horses available. Although not an entirely formal regiment the "household" (oikos) would have been a formidable fighting force, however, it would have been available only when the emperor took the field in person. Officers of the vestiaritai were given the lofty court title of sebastos and two of their number, Andronikos Lampardas and Alexios Petraliphas, were prominent generals. Under Alexios I, and probably subsequently, the imperial oikos also served as a sort of "staff college" for training promising young officers. Alexios took 300 young officers into his household, whom he trained personally. In the campaign against Bohemund in 1107-1108, the best of these officers commanded the blockading forces keeping the Norman army pent up on the Albanian coast. The victorious outcome of this campaign probably resulted, in part, from the increased discipline the Byzantine forces showed due to the quality of their commanders.

    Though Georgian and from the 11th century an icon of St. George shows the armour most often depicted on Byzantine heavy cavalrymen of the Komnenian period. Despite being superficially "Classical" in appearance the armour is in fact contemporary: a lamellar klivanion cuirass with tubular splint defences for the upper arms and the kremasmata, a splinted 'skirt,' to protect the hips and thighs; the boots are of a typical knee-length Byzantine type employed by cavalry.

    -
    Native regiments

    In the course of the 11th century the units of part-time soldier-farmers belonging to the themata (military provinces) were largely replaced by smaller, full-time, provincial tagmata (regiments). The political and military anarchy of the later 11th century meant that it was solely the provincial tagmata of the southern Balkans which survived. These regiments, whose soldiers could be characterized as "native mercenaries," became an integral part of the central army and many field armies of the Komnenian period, the tagmata of Macedonia, Thrace and Thessaly being particularly notable. Though raised in particular provinces these regiments had long ceased to have any local defence role. As regions were reconquered and brought under greater control provincial forces were re-established, though initially they often only served to provide local garrisons. In the reign of Manuel I the historian Niketas Choniates mentions a division of a field army composed of "the eastern and western tagmata." This wording implies that regular regiments were once again being raised in Anatolia. Military settlers, often derived from defeated foes, also supplied soldiers; one such group of settlers, defeated Pechenegs, was settled in the Moglena district and provided a unit to the army; another was composed of Serbs who were settled around Nicomedia in Anatolia. Towards the end of the period pronoia revenue grants, from the income generated by parcels of land, allowed the provinces to be used to raise heavy cavalrymen with less immediate drain on the state treasury. The origins and organisation of the native infantry of the Byzantine army of this period are obscure. It is known that there was an official register of soldiers serving as infantry, but their geographical origins and unit names are not recorded. As the native cavalry were organised into regional units it is probable that the infantry had a similar organisation. It is possible that each native provincial tagma, such as that described in the sources as the "Macedonian Legion" or "Macedonian Division," included an infantry taxiarchia, or possibly more than one, alongside the better attested contingents of kataphraktos heavy cavalry.

    -
    Foreign regiments and allied contingents

    The central army (basilika allagia or taxeis), in addition to the guards units and the native regiments raised from particular provinces, comprised a number of tagmata of foreign soldiers. These included the latinikon, a heavy cavalry formation of Western European 'knights,' and members of families of western origin who had been in Byzantine employ for generations. It has been suggested that to regard these knights as mercenaries is somewhat mistaken and that they were essentially regular soldiers paid directly from the state treasury, but having foreign origins or ancestry. Another unit was the tourkopouloi ("sons of Turks"), which, as its name implies, was composed of Byzantinised Turks and mercenaries recruited from the Seljuk realms. A third was the skythikon recruited from the Turkic Pechenegs, Cumans and Uzes of the Ukrainian Steppes.

    In order to increase the size of his army, Alexios I even recruited 3,000 Paulicians from Philippopolis and formed them into the "Tagma of the Manichaeans", while 7,000 Turks were also hired. Foreign mercenaries and the soldiers provided by imperial vassals (such as the Serbs and Antiochenes), serving under their own leaders, were another feature of the Byzantine army of the time. These troops would usually be placed under a Byzantine general as part of his command, to be brigaded with other troops of a similar fighting capability, or combined to create field forces of mixed type. However, if the foreign contingent were particularly large and its leader a powerful and prominent figure then it might remain separate; Baldwin of Antioch commanded a major division, composed of Westerners (Antiochenes, Hungarians and other 'Latins'), of the Byzantine army at the Battle of Myriokephalon. The Byzantines usually took care to mix ethnic groups within the formations making up a field army in order to minimize the risk of all the soldiers of a particular nationality changing sides or decamping to the rear during battle. During the early part of the 12th century, the Serbs were required to send 300 cavalry whenever the Byzantine emperor was campaigning in Asia Minor. This number was increased after Manuel I defeated the Serb rebellion in 1150 to 2,000 Serbs for European campaigns and 500 Serbs for Anatolian campaigns. Towards the end of the Komnenian period Alan soldiers, undoubtedly cavalry, became an important element in Byzantine armies.

    -
    Armed followers of the aristocracy

    The semi-feudal forces raised by the dynatoi or provincial magnates were a useful addition to the Byzantine army, and during the middle years of the reign of Alexios I probably made up the greater proportion of many field armies. Some leading provincial families became very powerful; for example, the Gabras family of Trebizond achieved virtual independence of central authority at times during the 12th century. The wealthy and influential members of the regional aristocracy could raise substantial numbers of troops from their retainers, relatives and tenants. Their quality, however, would tend to be inferior to the professional troops of the basilika allagia. The "personal guards" of aristocrats who were also generals in the Byzantine army are also notable in this period. These guards would have resembled smaller versions of the imperial oikos. The sebastokrator Isaac, brother of John II, even maintained his own unit of vestiaritai guards. The guard of the megas domestikos John Axouch was large enough to put down an outbreak of rioting between Byzantine troops and allied Venetians during the siege of Corfu in 1149. Such units would have been composed of well-equipped, effective soldiers and would often have included kinsmen of the general.
    Last edited by Lifthrasir; August 06, 2015 at 06:38 AM.
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Part 4: KOMNENIAN BYZANTINE ARMY: Byzantine troop types

    The Byzantine Empire was a highly developed society with a long military history and could recruit soldiers from various peoples, both within and beyond its borders; as a result of these factors a wide variety of troop types were to be found in its army.

    -
    Infantry

    The Byzantine Empire's military tradition originated in the late Roman period, and its armies always included professional infantry soldiers. Though they varied in relative importance during the Byzantine army's history, under Basil II in particular heavy infantry were an important component of the Byzantine army. These troops generally had mail armour, large shields, and were armed with swords and spears. Under militarily competent emperors such as Basil II, they were among the best heavy infantry in the world.
    With the notable exception of the Varangians, the Byzantine infantry of the Komnenian period are poorly described in the sources. The emperors and aristocracy, who form the primary subjects of contemporary historians, were associated with the high-status heavy cavalry and as a result the infantry received little mention.

    o
    Varangians

    The most famous of all Byzantine regiments was the legendary Varangian Guard. This unit traced its roots to the 6,000 Rus sent to Emperor Basil II by Vladimir of Kiev in 988. The tremendous fighting abilities of these axe-wielding, barbarian Northerners and their intense loyalty (bought with much gold) established them as an elite body, which soon rose to become the Emperors' personal bodyguard. This is further exemplified by the title of their commander, Akolouthos ("Acolyte/follower" to the Emperor). Initially the Varangians were mostly of Scandinavian origin, but later the guard came to include many Anglo-Saxons (after the Norman Conquest) as well. The Varangian Guards were the elite of the infantry. In the field they operated as heavy infantry, well armoured and protected by long shields, armed with spears and their distinctive two-handed Danish axes. Unlike other Byzantine heavy infantry their battlefield employment appears to have been essentially offensive in character. In both of the battles in which they are recorded as playing a prominent role they are described as making aggressive attacks. At Dyrrhachion they defeated a Norman cavalry charge but then their counterattack was pushed too far and, finding themselves unsupported, they were broken. At Beroia the Varangians were more successful, with John II commanding them personally, they assaulted the Pecheneg wagon laager and cut their way into it, achieving a very complete victory (Varangian Guardsmen, with prominently displayed Danish axes, arranged around a Byzantine palace. Note the sub-conical helmets of both composite and single-piece skull construction, with attached neck defences and the use of both round and kite-shaped shields). The Varangian Guard fought also at the Battle of Beroia in 1122 with great distinction, and were present at the Battle of Sirmium in 1167, in which the Byzantine army smashed the forces of the Kingdom of Hungary. It is likely, given their elite status and their constant attendance on the emperor, that the Varangians were mounted on the march though they usually fought on foot. It has been estimated that throughout Alexios I's reign, some 4,000—5,000 Varangians in total joined the Byzantine army. Before he set out to relieve Dyrrhachion in 1081, the emperor left 300 Varangians to guard Constantinople. After the defeat, Alexios left 500 Varangians to garrison Kastoria in an unsuccessful attempt to halt the Norman advance. At Dyrrhachion there were 1,400 Varangians while at Beroia, only 480—540 were present. This suggests that emperors usually only brought around 500 Varangians for personal protection on campaigns, unless they needed a particularly strong force of infantry. A garrison of Varangians was also stationed in the city of Paphos in Cyprus during the Komnenian period, until the island's conquest by King Richard I. The Varangian Guard is thought to have been disbanded after the sack of Constantinople by the forces of the Fourth Crusade in 1204; nearly all contemporary accounts agreed that they were the most important Byzantine unit present and were instrumental in driving off the first Crusader assaults. o Native heavy infantry

    Heavy infantry are almost invisible in the contemporary sources. In the Macedonian period a heavy infantryman was described as a skoutatos (shieldbearer) or hoplites. These terms are not mentioned in 12th century sources; Choniates used the terms kontophoros and lonchephoros (spearbearer/spearman). Choniates' usage was, however, literary and may not accurately represent contemporary technical terminology. Byzantine heavy infantry were armed with a long spear {kontos or kontariori) but it is possible that a minority may have been armed with the menavlion polearm. They carried large shields, and were given as much armour as was available. Those in the front rank, at least, might be expected to have metal armour, perhaps even a klivanion. The role of such infantrymen, drawn up in serried ranks, was largely defensive. They constituted a bulwark which could resist enemy heavy cavalry charges, and formed a movable battlefield base from which the cavalry and other more mobile troops could mount attacks, and behind which they could rally.

    o
    Peltasts

    The type of infantryman called a peltast (peltastes) is far more heavily referenced in contemporary sources than the "spearman". Although the peltasts of Antiquity were light skirmish infantry armed with javelins, it would be unsafe to assume that the troops given this name in the Komnenian period were identical in function; indeed, Byzantine peltasts were sometimes described as assault troops. Komnenian peltasts appear to have been relatively lightly equipped soldiers capable of great battlefield mobility, who could skirmish but who were equally capable of close combat. Their arms may have included a shorter version of the kontarion spear than that employed by the heavy infantry. At Dyrrachion, for example, a large force of peltasts achieved the feat of driving off Norman cavalry. Peltasts were sometimes employed in a mutually supportive association with heavy cavalry.

    o
    Light infantry

    The true skirmish infantry, usually entirely unarmoured, of the Byzantine army were the psiloi. This term included foot archers, javelineers and slingers, though archers were sometimes differentiated from the others in descriptions. The psiloi were clearly regarded as being quite separate from the peltasts. Such troops usually carried a small buckler for protection and would have had an auxiliary weapon, a sword or light axe, for use in a close combat situation. These missile troops could be deployed in open battle behind the protective ranks of the heavy infantry, or thrown forward to skirmish. The light troops were especially effective when deployed in ambush, as at the Battle of Hyelion and Leimocheir in 1177.

    o
    Akritoi

    Akrites (plural Akritoi or Akritai) were defenders of the Anatolian borders of the Empire. They appeared after either the Arab conquests, or much later when Turkish tribes raided Anatolia from the east. The Akritoi units were formed from native Greeks living near the eastern borders. Whether such men were really soldier-farmers or lived on rents from smallholdings while concentrating on their military duties is still a matter of debate. The Akritoi were probably mostly light troops, armed with bows and javelins. They were most adept at defensive warfare, often against raiding Turkish light horsemen in the Anatolian mountains, but could also cover the advance of the regular Byzantine army. Their tactics probably consisted of skirmishing and ambushes in order to catch the fast-moving Turkish horse-archers. Greek folklore and traditional songs of the Byzantine era to the 19th century heavily feature Akrites and their (always exaggerated) deeds (see acritic songs).

    -
    Cavalry

    The Byzantine cavalry were usually armed with bows, lances and swords, they were ideally suited to combat on the plains of Anatolia and northern Syria, which, from the seventh century onwards, constituted the principal battleground in the struggle against the forces of Islam. While not as heavily armoured as western Knights , they were more heavily armed using lance, mace and sword as well as strong composite bows which allowed them to achieve success against lighter, faster enemies, being particularly effective against both the Arabs and Turks in the east, and the Hungarians and Pechenegs in the west. However, the earlier Byzantine heavy cavalryman, who combined the use of a bow with a lance for close combat, seems to have disappeared before the Komnenian age. The typical heavy cavalryman of the Komnenian army was a dedicated lancer, though armoured horse-archers continued to be employed. The heavy cavalry were the social and military elite of the whole army and were considered to be the pre-eminent battle winners. The charge of the lancers, and the subsequent melee, was often the decisive event in battle. The lance-armed heavy cavalry of the Komnenian army were of two origins, firstly 'Latin knights', and secondly native kataphraktoi.

    o
    Latin knights

    Latin heavy cavalry was recruited from the warriors and knights of Italy, France, The Low Countries, Germany and the Crusader States. The Byzantines considered the French to be more formidable mounted warriors than the Germans. Some Latin cavalrymen formed part of the regular soldiery of the empire and were supported by pay from the imperial treasury, or by pronoia grants, and were organised into formal regiments. Regular Latin 'knightly' heavy cavalry were part of the guard, with individual Latins or those of Western descent to be found in the imperial household, others were grouped into a formation later known as the latinikon. Alternatively, bands of mercenary knights were often hired for the duration of a particular campaign. The charge of the western knight was held in considerable awe by the Byzantines; Anna Komnene stated that "A mounted Kelt [an archaism for a Norman or Frank] is irresistible; he would bore his way through the walls of Babylon." The Latins' equipment and tactics were identical to those of their regions of origin; though the appearance and equipment of such troops must have become progressively more Byzantine the longer they were in the emperor's employ. Some Latin soldiers, for example the Norman Roger son of Dagobert, became thoroughly integrated into Byzantine society. The descendants of such men, including the general Alexios Petraliphas and the naval commander Constantine Frangopoulos ("son-of-a-Frank"), often remained in military employ. The son of the Norman knight Roger son of Dagobert, John Rogerios Dalassenos, married a daughter of John II, was made caesar and even made an unsuccessful bid for the imperial throne.

    o
    Kataphraktoi

    The word cataphract (from the Greek Kataphraktos, with a literal meaning of “completely armored” in English) was what Greek — and later Latin-speaking peoples used to describe heavy cavalry. Historically the cataphract was a heavily-armed and armoured cavalryman who saw action from the earliest days of Antiquity up through the High Middle Ages. Originally, the term cataphract referred to a type of armour worn to cover the whole body and that of the horse. Eventually the term described the trooper himself. The cataphracts were both fearsome and disciplined. Both man and horse were heavily armoured, the riders equipped with lances, bows and maces. These troops were slow compared to other cavalry, but their effect on the battlefield, particularly under the Emperor Nikephoros II, was devastating. More heavily armoured types of cataphract were called clibanarii (klibanaphoroi). These were eventually subsumed by the cataphract, and as such most Byzantine heavy cavalry became known as cataphracts. The native kataphraktoi were to be found in the imperial oikos, some imperial guards units and the personal guards of generals, but the largest numbers were found within the provincial tagmata. The level of military effectiveness, especially the quality of the armour and mount, of the individual provincial kataphraktos probably varied considerably, as both John II and Manuel I are recorded as employing formations of "picked lancers" who were taken from their parent units and combined. This approach may have been adopted in order to re-create the concentration of very effective heavy cavalry represented by the 'imperial tagmata' of former times. The kataphraktoi were the most heavily armoured type of Byzantine soldier and a wealthy kataphraktos could be very well armoured indeed. The Alexiad relates that when the emperor Alexios was simultaneously thrust at from both flanks by lance wielding Norman knights his armour was so effective that he suffered no serious injury. In the reign of Alexios I, the Byzantine kataphraktoi proved to be unable to withstand the charge of Norman knights, and Alexios, in his later campaigns, was forced to use stratagems which were aimed at avoiding the exposure of his heavy cavalry to such a charge. Contemporary Byzantine armour was probably more effective than that of Western Europe therefore reasons other than a deficit in armour protection must be sought for the poor performance of the Byzantine cavalry. It is probable that the Byzantine heavy cavalry traditionally made charges at relatively slow speed, certainly the deep wedge formations described in Nikephoros Phokas' day would have been impossible to deploy at anything faster than a round trot. In the course of the late 11th century, the Normans, and other Westerners, seem to have evolved a disciplined charge at high speed which developed great impetus, and it is this which outclassed the Byzantines. The role of the couched lance technique and the connected development of the high-cantled war saddle, in this process is obscure but may have had some influence. There is evidence of a relative lack of quality warhorses in the Byzantine cavalry. The Byzantines may have suffered considerable disruption to access to Cappadocia and Northern Syria, traditional sources of good quality cavalry mounts, in the wake of the fall of Anatolia to the Turks. However, by the reign of Manuel I the Byzantine kataphraktos was the equal of his Western counterpart. Although Manuel was credited by the historian Kinnamos with introducing Latin 'knightly' equipment and techniques to his native cavalry, it is likely that the process was far more gradual and began in the reign of Alexios. Manuel's enthusiastic adoption of the western pastime of jousting probably had beneficial effects on the proficiency of his heavy cavalry. The kataphraktos was famed for his use of a fearsome iron mace in melee combat.

    o
    Pronoiars

    Pronoiar troops began to appear during the twelfth century, particularly during the reign of the emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1143—1180). These were soldiers paid in land instead of money, but they did not operate under the old theme system of the middle Byzantine period. Pronoiai developed into essentially a license to tax the citizens who lived within the boundaries of the grant (the paroikoi). Pronoiars (those who had been granted a pronoia) became something like tax collectors, who were allowed to keep some of the revenue they collected. These men are therefore generally considered to have been the Byzantine equivalent of western knights: part soldiers, part local rulers. However, it is important to note that the emperor was still the legal owner of the Pronoiars' land. Usually cavalry, pronoiars would have been equipped with mail armour, lances, and horse barding. Manuel re-equipped his heavy cavalry in western style at some point during his reign; it is likely that many of these troops would have been pronoiars. These troops became particularly common after 1204, in the service of the Empire of Nicaea in western Asia Minor.

    o Koursores

    A cavalryman termed a koursor (pi. koursores) is described in 11th century and earlier military writings. The name derives from the Latin term cursarius meaning 'raider' (from cursus: course, line of advance, running, speed, zeal) and is believed to be the etymological root of term hussar, used for a later cavalry type. The koursor had a defined tactical role but may or may not have been an officially defined cavalry type. Koursores were mobile close-combat cavalry and may be considered as being drawn from the more lightly equipped kataphraktoi. The koursores were primarily intended to engage enemy cavalry and were usually placed on the flanks of the main battle line. Those on the left wing, termed defensores, were placed to defend that flank from enemy cavalry attack, whilst the cavalry placed on the right wing, termed prokoursatores, were intended to attack the enemy's flank. Cavalry on detached duty, such as scouting or screening the main army, were also called prokoursatores. It is thought that this type of cavalry were armed identically to the heavy kataphraktoi but were armoured more lightly, and were mounted on lighter, swifter horses. Being relatively lightly equipped they were more suited to the pursuit of fleeing enemies than the heavyweight kataphraktoi. In the Komnenian period, the more heavily equipped of the kataphraktoi were often segregated to create formations of "picked lancers," presumably the remainder, being more lightly equipped, provided the koursores. A type of cavalry, differentiated from both horse archers and those with the heaviest armour, is referred to by Kinnamos in 1147 as forming a sub-section of a Byzantine army array; they are described as "those who rode swift horses," it would appear that these were the koursores. o Light cavalry

    The light cavalry of the Komnenian army consisted of horse-archers. There were two distinct forms of horse-archer: the lightly equipped skirmisher and the heavier, often armoured, bow-armed cavalryman who shot from disciplined ranks. The native Byzantine horse-archer was of the latter type. They shot arrows by command from, often static, ranks and offered a mobile concentration of missile fire on the battlefield. The native horse-archer had declined in numbers and importance by the Komnenian period, being largely replaced by soldiers of foreign origins. However, in 1191 Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus is recorded firing arrows at Richard I of England from horseback during the latter's conquest of Cyprus. This suggests that mounted archery remained a martial skill practised within the upper reaches of Byzantine aristocracy. Turks from the Seljuk and Danishmend realms of central and eastern Anatolia, and those Byzantinised Turks and Magyars settled within the Empire, such as the Vardariots, supplied the bulk of the heavy horse-archers of the Komnenian army. Towards the end of the period Alans were also supplying this type of cavalry. Such horse archers were often highly disciplined. The Byzantine horse-archers (termed doryphoroi — indicating guard status) at Sozopolis in 1120 performed a feigned flight manoeuvre, always demanding the greatest self-confidence and discipline, which led to the taking of the city from the Turks. Given that they were usually armoured, even if it was comparatively light armour, this type of horse-archer also had the capability to fight with melee weapons in close combat. Skirmish horse-archers, usually unarmoured, were supplied by the Turkic Pechenegs, Cumans and Uzes of the steppes. These troops were ideal scouts and were adept at harassment tactics. They usually attacked as a swarm and were very difficult for a more heavily equipped enemy to bring into close combat. Light horse-archers were also effective as a screening force, preventing an enemy discerning the dispositions of other troops (for example at the Battle of Sirmium).

    - Foreign and mercenary soldiers

    The Byzantine army frequently employed foreign mercenary troops from many different regions. These troops often supplemented or assisted the empire's regular forces; at times, they even formed the bulk of the Byzantine army. But for most of the Byzantine army's long history, foreign and military soldiers reflected the wealth and might of the Byzantine empire, for the emperor who was able to gather together armies from all corners of the known world was formidable. Foreign troops during the late Roman period were known as the foederati ("allies") in Latin, and during the Byzantine period were known as the Phoideratoi in Greek. From this point, foreign troops (mainly mercenaries) were known as the Hetairoi ("Companionships") and most frequently employed in the Imperial Guard. This force was in turn divided into the Great Companionships, the Middle Companionships and the Minor Companionships, commanded by their respective Hetaireiarches — "Companionship lords". These may have been divided upon a religious basis separating the Christian subjects, Christian foreigners, and non-Christians, respectively. Additionally, during the Komnenian period, the mercenary units would simply be divided by ethnicity and called after their native lands: the Inglinoi (Englishmen), the Phragkoi (Franks), the Skythikoi (Scythians), the Latinikoi (Latins), and so on. Ethiopians even served during the reign of Theophilos. These mercenary units, especially the Skythikoi, were also often used as a police force in Constantinople.
    Last edited by Lifthrasir; August 06, 2015 at 09:20 AM.
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Part 5a: KOMNENIAN BYZANTINE ARMY: Byzantine weapons

    The Byzantines originally used weapons developed from their Roman origins, swords, spears, javelins, slings and bows etc… The arms and armour of the Byzantine forces in the late 11th and 12th centuries were generally more sophisticated and varied than those found in contemporary Western Europe. Byzantium was open to military influences from the Muslim world and the Eurasian steppe, the latter being especially productive of military equipment innovation. They were gradually influenced by the weapons of their Turkish and Arab neighbours, adopting the use of the composite bow and the cavalry mace.

    -
    Arms

    Close combat troops, infantry and cavalry, made use of a spear, of varying length, usually referred to as a kontarion. Specialist infantry called menavlatoi used a heavy-shafted weapon called the menavlion the precise nature of which is uncertain; they are mentioned in the earlier Sylloge Tacticorum but may still have been extant. There were many sword (xiphos) types; straight, curved, one- and two-handed, which are depicted in illustrations. According to the Strategika, by the 6th century the short Roman gladius had been abandoned in favor of a long two-edged sword, the spathion, used by both the infantry and cavalry. The 10th century Sylloge tacticorum gives the length of this kind of sword as the equivalent of 94 cm and mentions a new saber-like sword of the same length, the paramerion, a curved one-edged slashing weapon for cavalrymen. Both weapons could be carried from a belt or by a shoulder strap. Most Byzantine soldiers would have worn swords as secondary weapons, usually suspended from a baldric rather than a waist belt. Heavy cavalry are described (in slightly earlier writings) as being doubly equipped with both the spathion and paramerion. Some missile-armed skirmish infantry used a relatively light axe (tzikourion or tzikouria) as a secondary weapon, whilst the Varangians were known as the "Axe-bearing Guard" because of their use of the double-handed Danish axe. The rhomphaia a long-bladed, cleaver-like, weapon was carried by guardsmen in close attendance on the emperor. Heavy cavalry made use of maces. Byzantine maces were given a variety of names including: mantzoukion, apelatikion and siderorabdion, suggesting that the weapons themselves were of varied construction. Byzantine axes were single-bladed (rounded or straight edged), sometimes with a spike opposite the blade. Maces (rabdia) and axes (pelekia, tzikouria) served as shock weapons. The 10th century Kataphraktoi carried heavy all-iron maces {siderorabdia) — 6, 4 or 3 cornered — to smash their way through enemy infantry. Missile weapons included a javelin, riptarion, used by light infantry and powerful composite bows used by both infantry and cavalry. The earlier Byzantine bow was of Hunnic origin, but by the Komnenian period bows of Turkish Komnenian Byzantine army form were in widespread use. Such bows could be used to fire short bolts (myai, "flies") with the use of an 'arrow guide called the solenarion. Slings and staff-slings are also mentioned on occasion. The sling (sphendone) and the bow (toxori) were the weapons used by light soldiers. Slings were the ordinary hand-held type; the Roman staff sling (fustibalis) was apparently little used. The Byzantine bow, like the late Roman bow, was the composite, reflex type featuring an unbendable horn grip with the reinforced wooden bowstave slung in reverse of the bow's natural flex when unstrung. A bowshot (flight, not target, range) is over three hundred meters for an infantry bow, but cavalry bows, standing 1.2 meters high, were smaller and less tightly strung for greater accuracy and ease of handling, they had a flight range of 130 to 135 meters. The solenarion is a hollow tube through which an archer could launch several small arrows (mues, i.e., "mice") at a time; Anna Komnene remarked that the Crusader's Western-type crossbow, which she called a tzangra, was unknown to Byzantium before the 12th century. Infantrymen and cavalrymen carried spears for thrusting and javelins for throwing. Cavalrymen of the 6th and 7th century wielded lances with a thong in the middle of the shaft (Avar style) and a pennant. Infantrymen's spears (kontaria) in the 10th century were 4 to 4.5 meters long (cavalry lances were slightly shorter) with an iron point (xipharion, aichme). One type of spear, the menaulion, is described in detail; it was very thick, taken whole from young oak or cornel saplings and capped by a long blade (45—50 cm), for use by especially strong infantrymen (called Menaulatoi after their weapon) against enemy heavy cavalry - an excellent example of a weapon and a type of specialized soldier developed for a specific tactical role. Both light infantry and cavalry carried javelins (akontia, riptaria) no longer than 3 meters.

    - Shields


    St. George as a Byzantine cavalryman wearing a klivanion with splint defences for the arms and a splint kremasmata. The kremasmata skirt shows evidence of a construction of splints secured by rivets and lacing. Note again the straight-legged riding posture. Shields, skoutaria, were usually of the long "kite" shape, though round shields are still shown in pictorial sources. Whatever their overall shape, all shields were strongly convex. A large pavise-like infantry shield may also have been used.

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    Body armour

    The Byzantines made great use of 'soft armour' of quilted, padded textile construction identical to the "jack" or aketon found later in the Latin West. Such a garment, called the kavadion, usually reaching to just above the knees with elbow or full-length sleeves, was often the sole body protection for lighter troops, both infantry and cavalry. Alternatively the kavadion could provide the base garment (like an arming doublet) worn under metallic armour by more heavily protected troops. Another form of padded armour, the epilorikion, could be worn over a metal cuirass.
    The repertoire of metal body armour included mail {lorikion alysidoton), scale {lorikion folidoton) and lamellar (klivanion). Both mail and scale armours were similar to equivalent armours found in Western Europe, a pull-on "shirt" reaching to the mid-thigh or knee with elbow length sleeves. The lamellar klivanion was a rather different type of garment. Byzantine lamellar, from pictorial evidence, possessed some unique features. It was made up of round-topped metal lamellae riveted, edge to edge, to horizontal leather backing bands; these bands were then laced together, overlapping vertically, by laces passing through holes in the lamellae. Modern reconstructions have shown this armour to be remarkably resistant to piercing and cutting weapons. Because of the expense of its manufacture, in particular the lamellae surrounding the arm and neck apertures had to be individually shaped, this form of armour was probably largely confined to heavy cavalry and elite units. Because lamellar armour was inherently less flexible than other types of protection the klivanion was restricted to a cuirass covering the torso only. It did not have integral sleeves and reached only to the hips; it covered much the same body area as a bronze 'muscle cuirass' of antiquity. The klivanion was usually worn with other armour elements which would extend the area of the body protected. The klivanion could be worn over a mail shirt, as shown on some contemporary icons depicting military saints. More commonly the klivanion is depicted being worn with tubular upper arm defences of a splinted construction often with small pauldrons or 'cops' to protect the shoulders. In illustrated manuscripts, such as the Madrid Skylitzes, these defences are shown decorated with gold leaf in an identical manner to the klivanion thus indicating that they are also constructed of metal. Less often depicted are rerebraces made of inverted lamellar." A garment often shown worn with the klivanion was the kremasmata. This was a skirt, perhaps quilted or of pleated fabric, usually reinforced with metal splints similar to those found in the arm defences. Although the splinted construction is that most often shown in pictorial sources, there are indications that the kremasmata could also be constructed of mail, scale or inverted lamellar over a textile base. This garment protected the hips and thighs of the wearer. Byzantine fresco of Joshua from the Hosios Loukas monastery, 12th to 13th century. A good view of the construction of the lamellar klivanion. The image also shows the tubular nature of the upper arm defences of the raised arm, that is the defences are not made up of separate strips (ptentges). Unusually, the Biblical figure (Joshua) is shown wearing headgear; the helmet and its attached neck and throat defences appear to be cloth-covered. It is possible that the figure depicts mail manikellia guards for the forearm (the forearms are not shown in the same green as the hem of the tunic and there is no appearance of folds as would be used to indicate cloth). Defences for the forearm are mentioned in earlier treatises, under the name cheiropsella or manikellia, but are not very evident in pictorial representations of the Komnenian period. Most images show knee-high boots {krepides, hypodemata) as the only form of defence for the lower leg though a few images of military saints show tubular greaves (with no detailing indicative of a composite construction). These would presumably be termed podopsella or chalkotouba. Greaves of a splint construction also occur, very sporadically, in illustrated manuscripts and church murals. A single illustration, in the Psalter of Theodore of Caesarea dating to 1066, shows mail chausses being worn (with boots) by a Byzantine soldier. Mail defences for the hands and a type of metal sabaton for the foot are mentioned in Byzantine military writings of the late 10th century, but are not described or illustrated in the Komnenian era.

    - Helmets

    The helmet of a Russian prince dating to the early 13th century — probably very indicative of the appearance of Byzantine helmets with a single-piece skull. The decoration of this helmet, with its religious iconography, is of direct Byzantine inspiration. Icons of soldier-saints, often showing very detailed illustrations of body armour, usually depict their subjects bare-headed for devotional reasons and therefore give no information on helmets and other head protection. Illustrations in manuscripts tend to be relatively small and give a limited amount of detail. However, some description of the helmets in use by the Byzantines can be given. The so-called 'Caucasian' type of helmet in use in the North Pontic Steppe area and the Slavic areas of Eastern Europe is also indicated in Byzantium. This was a tall, pointed spangenhelm where the segments of the composite skull were riveted directly to one another and not to a frame. Illustrations also indicate conical helmets, and the related type with a forward deflected apex (the Phrygian cap style), of a single-piece skull construction, often with an added brow-band. Helmets with a more rounded shape are also illustrated, being of a composite construction and perhaps derived from the earlier 'ridge helmet' dating back to Late Roman times. Few archaeological specimens of helmets attributable to Byzantine manufacture have been discovered to date, though it is probable that some of the helmets found in pagan graves in the Ukrainian steppe are of ultimately Byzantine origin. A rare find of a helmet in Yasenovo in Bulgaria, dating to the 10th century, may represent an example of a distinctively Byzantine style. This rounded helmet is horizontally divided with a brow-band constructed for the attachment of a face-covering camail, above this is a deep lower skull section surmounted by an upper skull-piece raised from a single plate. The upper part of the helmet has a riveted iron crosspiece reinforcement. A high-quality Byzantine helmet, decorated in gilt brass inlay, was found in Vatra Moldovitei in Rumania. This helmet, dating to the late 12th century, is similar to the Yasenovo helmet in having a deep lower skull section with a separate upper skull. However, this helmet is considerably taller and of a conical 'pear shape', indeed it bears some similarity in outline to the later bascinet helmets of Western Europe. The helmet has a decorative finial, and a riveted brow-reinforce. A second helmet found in the same place is very like the Russian helmet illustrated here, having an almost identical combined brow-piece and nasal, this helmet has a single piece conical skull which is fluted vertically and has overall gilding. It has been characterised as a Russo-Byzantine helmet, indicative of the close cultural connection between Kievan Russia and Byzantium. A remarkably tall Byzantine helmet, of the elegant 'Phrygian cap' shape and dating to the late 12th century, was found at Pernik in Bulgaria. It has a single-piece skull with a separate brow-band and had a nasal (now missing) which was riveted to the skull. In the course of the 12th century the brimmed 'chapel de fer' helmet begins to be depicted and is, perhaps, a Byzantine development. Most Byzantine helmets are shown being worn with armour for the neck. Somewhat less frequently the defences also cover the throat and there are indications that full facial protection was occasionally afforded. The most often illustrated example of such armour is a sectioned skirt depending from the back and sides of the helmet; this may have been of quilted construction, leather strips or of metal splint reinforced fabric. Other depictions of helmets, especially the 'Caucasian' type, are shown with a mail aventail or camail attached to the brow-band (which is confirmed by actual examples from the Balkans, Romania, Russia and elsewhere). Face protection is mentioned at least three times in the literature of the Komnenian period, and probably indicates face-covering mail, leaving only the eyes visible. This would accord with accounts of such protection in earlier military writings, which describe double-layered mail covering the face, and later illustrations. Such a complete camail could be raised off the face by hooking up the mail to studs on the brow of the helmet. However, the remains of metal 'face-mask' anthropomorphic visors were discovered at the site of the Great Palace of Constantinople in association with a coin of Manuel I Komnenos. Such masks were found on some ancient Roman helmets and on contemporary helmets found in grave sites associated with Kipchak Turks from the North Pontic Steppe. The existence of these masks could indicate that A 'Caucasian type' spangenhelm the references to face-protection in Byzantine literature describe the use of this type of solid visor.

    -
    Horse armour

    There are no Byzantine pictorial sources depicting horse armour dating from the Komnenian period. The only description of horse armour in the Byzantine writing of this time is by Choniates and is a description of the front ranks of the cavalry of the Hungarian army at the Battle of Sirmium. However, earlier military treatises, such as that of Nikephoros Ouranos, mention horse armour being used and a later, 14th century, Byzantine book illustration shows horse armour. It is therefore very likely that horse armour continued to be used by the Byzantines through the Komnenian era; though its use was probably limited to the very wealthiest of the provincial kataphraktoi, aristocrats serving in the army, members of some guards units and the imperial household. The construction of horse armour was probably somewhat varied; including bardings composed of metal or rawhide lamellae, or soft armour of quilted or felted textile. The historian John Birkenmeier has stated: "The Byzantines, like their Hungarian opponents, relied on mailed lancers astride armored horses for their first charge.' Depiction of two armoured horses in a 14th century Byzantine manuscript — also notable is the leftmost man hanging over the battlements, there is a seam depicted on the back of his klivanion suggesting that it opened at the back.

    -
    Equipment: Artillery

    The Komnenian army had a formidable artillery arm which was particularly feared by its eastern enemies. Stone-firing and bolt-firing machines were used both for attacking enemy fortresses and fortified cities and for the defence of their Byzantine equivalents. In contemporary accounts the most conspicuous engines of war were stone-throwing trebuchets, often termed helepolis (city-takers); both the man-powered and the more powerful and accurate counterweight trebuchets were known to the Byzantines. The development of the trebuchet, the largest of which could batter down contemporary defensive walls, was attributed to the Byzantines by some western writers. Additionally, the Byzantines also used long range, anti-personnel, bolt firing machines such as the 'great crossbow,' which was often mounted on a mobile chassis, and the 'skein-bow' or 'espringal' which was a torsion device using twisted skeins of silk or sinew to power two bow-arms. The artillerists of the Byzantine army were accorded high status, being described as "illustrious men." The emperor John II and the generals Stephanos and Andronikos Kontostephanos, both leading commanders with the rank of megas doux, are recorded personally operating siege engines.

    Part 5b: KOMNENIAN BYZANTINE ARMY: Evidences for weapons

    Representational evidence, including propaganda monuments, gravestones, tombs, and the Exodus fresco, often shows Roman soldiers with one or two spears; one tombstone shows a soldier with five shorter javelins. Archaeological evidence, from Roman burials and Scandinavian bog-deposits, shows similar spearheads, though the shafts are rarely preserved. Representational evidence sometimes still shows Roman swords. Archaeological evidence shows that the gladius has disappeared; various short semispathae supplement the older pugiones while medium-long spathae replace the medium-short gladii. These have the same straight double-edged blades as older Roman swords. Representational evidence and recovered laths, as well as arrowheads and bracers, show Roman use of composite bows. Evidence for Shields: Representational evidence, recovered bosses, and some complete shields from Dara, show that most Roman infantry and some Roman cavalry carried shields. Evidence for Armor: Although the representational evidence, including gravestones and tombs, often shows soldiers without armor, the archaeological evidence includes remains of lamellar, mail, and helmets.
    Last edited by Lifthrasir; August 06, 2015 at 09:25 AM.
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  17. #77
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Notes

    Later references to archontopouloi do not make it clear whether the men given this title were part of a fighting regiment or merely young aristocrats attached to the emperor's household. The Byzantine Army had a long history of elite formations raised as fighting regiments declining over time into merely ornamental appendages of the imperial court (the Scholae Palatinae in Justinian the Great's time was manned by unwarlike rich civilians who had bought positions in the regiment as a social perk). See Bartusis, p. 206.

    The hetaireia are mentioned by Kinnamos as being present at the Battle of Sirmium in 1167 and a megas hetaireiarches named John Doukas is recorded (Magdalino, p, 344).

    Magdalino, p. 231, Haldon (1999), p. 120. Though probably in origin horse archers of Magyar ancestry by the latter part of the reign of Manuel II the Vardariots are described as being composed of Byzantines of good birth, and therefore almost certainly kataphraktoi.

    The distinction between the oikeioi and the vestiaritai is not clear, though the vestiaritai appear to have been considered as composing part of the emperor's household. One function of the vestiaritai was guarding the public and private imperial treasuries (Magdalino, p. 231).

    Heath, p. 14. Exceptionally, the megas doux Andronikos Kontostephanos is described by the historian Kinnamos as being surrounded by those troops usually attendant on the emperor, when he commanded the Byzantine army at the Battle of Sirmium.

    Heath, Ian: Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096—1291, Wargames Research Group. (1978), p. 28. The sources unequivocally give names to the foreign tagmata only in the Nicaean period, but references to formations of troops, often translated as 'divisions,' from these ethnic groups abound in the Komnenian sources.

    Dawson, Timothy: Kresmasmata, Kabbadion, Klibanion: Some Aspects of Middle Byzantine Military Equipment Reconsidered (http:// www.levantia.com.au/military/KKK.html), Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 22 (1998), pp. 38—50.

    The general Andronikos Kontostephanos is described as donning his mailshirt and then "the rest of his armour" just before the Battle of Sirmium, a good indicator that the kivanion was indeed worn over mail. Choniates, p. 87.

    For example: Komnene, Alexiad, p. 42. "... Alexius covered his face, drawing down the vizor fastened to the rim of his helmet..." Both Choniates and Kinnamos describe the Emperor Manuel I having armour covering his face.

    Nicolle, pp. 173—174, the espringal is depicted, in the form of a fairly detailed diagram, in an 11th century Byzantine manuscript

    Anna Komnene records that the Emperor Alexios I ordered the Varangians to dismount and march at the head of the army, in the opening stages of the Battle of Dyrrachion — Alexiad, IV, 6.

    Komnene, Alexiad, pp. 149—150. The circumstances of the passage make it clear that the incident was in a melee context, no armour would have been proof to a lance propelled by the impetus of a horse charging at speed. Whereas a Western knight would have had merely a padded undergarment and a single layer of mail as protection a well armoured Byzantine could have had up to four layers of protection to the torso; that is: first a padded kavadion, then a mail shirt, over this a klivanion and then a further layer of quilted protection, the epilorikion, outside all.

    Haldon (2000) pp. 111—112. Western knights usually charged in a shallow formation, usually of two ranks, a formation later termed en haie (like a hedge) in French. Byzantine sources, such as Choniates, often refer to heavy cavalry formations as "phalanxes"; this tends to suggest a deeper formation. The deeper the formation the less the speed that can be achieved in a charge.

    Kinnamos, 112, 125, 156—157, 273—274. Kinnamos credits Manuel with the adoption of the long "kite" shield in place of round shields, this is manifestly untrue as Byzantine illustrations of kite shields are found much earlier than Manuel's reign.

    Additional Sources:
    - Dawson, Timothy: Byzantine Infantryman, Oxford (2007), p. 23 (illustration).
    - Nicolle, David: Medieval Warfare Source Book, Vol. II London (1996), p. 78.
    - Dawson, Timothy: Byzantine Infantryman, Oxford (2007), p. 23..
    - Oman, Charles: The Art of War in the Middle Ages, Vol. I: 378-1278AD, London (1924). pp. (illustration facing) 190, and 191.
    - Dawson, Timothy: Byzantine Infantryman, Oxford (2007), pp. 20—21.
    - Dawson, Timothy: Byzantine Cavalryman, Oxford (2009), pp. 34—36, 53, 54
    Under the patronage of Flinn, proud patron of Jadli, of the Imperial House of Hader



  18. #78

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Wow. You're insane lifth...

  19. #79
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Probably

    I've also contacted people with a better knowledge than me on the ERE. I hope that they will take the time to read these posts and to comment. But, for most of the contents, it should be correct and accurate.
    Last edited by Lifthrasir; August 06, 2015 at 11:06 AM.
    Under the patronage of Flinn, proud patron of Jadli, of the Imperial House of Hader



  20. #80

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Unfortunately I cannot give you rep for all that Lifthrasir. Needs to spread it around apparently.
    Very good research!
    I hope similar levels of research is given to the other factions who aren't declining when the game starts

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