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Byzantine Weapons and Warfare
#1
Feel free to post here anything related to Byzantine warfare (up to the Battle of Manzikert, August 26 1071). Smile
Ioannis Georganas, PhD
Secretary and Newsletter Editor
The Society of Ancient Military Historians
http://www.ancientmilitaryhistorians.org/


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#2
Ioannis,
I'd like to post a question. Do we have much evidence for the paramerion? I am aware of the literary sources, the illuminated manuscript depicting Nikephoros Phokas and a steatite with what looks like a paramerion. Has anyone studied this in great detail?
Peter Raftos
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#3
Here is the manuscript illumination of Nikephoros Phokas. I am unsure of the source manuscript or date but the crown suggests the 13th C to me.
Peter Raftos
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#4
Literaly in Greek means "by the thigh"
It is a heated debate:
Some think it is "scimitar-like" as in the image above.
Others claim is a "falcion-type" short sword and others think it was just a dagger.

Kind regards
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#5
Dear Peter,

I don't know of anyone working on parameria right now. However, as far as I know, this type of sabre came into use in the 11th century and it was used by both infantry and cavalry.

Moreover, it seems that it wasn't hung from a waist-belt but from a baldric.
Ioannis Georganas, PhD
Secretary and Newsletter Editor
The Society of Ancient Military Historians
http://www.ancientmilitaryhistorians.org/


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#6
Well "scimitar" type sabres came into play with the increase numbers of Cuman and Turkic mercenaries after the late 11th century but I doubt if they were "parameria".
Please take into account that your average monk chronicler might not be accurate in his use of weapon names or other military terms.

Some reconstructions of weapons here

http://www.levantia.com.au/

Personaly I belive that the plcion was the parmaerion.
Sort enought to be "by the thigh".


Kind regards
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#7
Thanks for that link Stefane!

Smile
Ioannis Georganas, PhD
Secretary and Newsletter Editor
The Society of Ancient Military Historians
http://www.ancientmilitaryhistorians.org/


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#8
Ioanni do you have images of Byzantine Era chain mail?
Meuseum pieces if possible.

Kind regards
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#9
If I remeber correctly, I should have one pic. But I have first to remember where it is! Smile
Ioannis Georganas, PhD
Secretary and Newsletter Editor
The Society of Ancient Military Historians
http://www.ancientmilitaryhistorians.org/


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#10
Gentlemen
This is a great thread. From memory a short curved style sword was in use by Byzantine sailors and is documented from the 9th C. Basilios Parakoimomenos (Naumachia, 5,5) writes, about the equipment of the fighting sailors: " ...spears (dorata) and curved swords (drepana), and arm protection (cheiropsella)...

In an agricultural context drepana (drepanon - s.) are curved sickles for cutting grain crops. Many curved islands or bays are given this name even in classical times. Here I can only use the english word cutlass to describe this but falchion may be just as suitable.

It is a pity the state of Byzantine archaeology is so fragmented. There must be some sword finds out there. Skylitzes seems to have a lot of slightly curved swords but I wonder if the Menelogion of Basil has any. I have only seen a few illuminations from this magnificent work.
Peter Raftos
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#11
Ahh, the Levantia site. Tim Dawson has done some excellent work and his research on Byzantine costume is pretty much the best available. Peter Beatson has a good article on a conjectural reconstruction of lamellar found in the Great Palace here: [url:fuk9t7ot]http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/lamellar/lamellar.html[/url]
Peter Raftos
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#12
Thanks for the link Peter! Smile
Ioannis Georganas, PhD
Secretary and Newsletter Editor
The Society of Ancient Military Historians
http://www.ancientmilitaryhistorians.org/


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#13
Quote:Literaly in Greek means "by the thigh"
It is a heated debate
Indeed. The closest English equivalent would be "arming sword." It refers to any sword carried on a weapon belt around the waist. The typology is irrelevant.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#14
Thanks Dan.
We can add to that that many scholars use the term "drepano" for various carved blades and the term "romphaia" for various swords and one can find himself in total confusion.

When was possible people used instruments specific for war.
This instruments might have been inspired by agricultural weapons or served a double purpose.
There are many cases of people forced to fight with "poor" or "inadequate" weapons but in all caltures there was an atempt to have something proper for a fight.
Byzabtine manuals stated the need to "up-arm" if possible even "second-line" units to boost their moral.

Kind regards
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#15
Quote:Ahh, the Levantia site. Tim Dawson has done some excellent work and his research on Byzantine costume is pretty much the best available. Peter Beatson has a good article on a conjectural reconstruction of lamellar found in the Great Palace here: [url:23jbac5v]http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/lamellar/lamellar.html[/url]

Ah, very nice, thanks for that link! I had it before but lost it...
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