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Byzantine Weapons and Warfare
#61
It might be instructive to make a bunch of menavlioi in their theoretical incarnation as short heavy polearms (presumably in the form of a spear?) and take the field with them, and see what happens.

However, as they seem mainly to have been for use against cavalry (presumably at close quarters) it might be a bit difficult to arrange the horses . . .

I can envision their use - the enemy cavalry have been put into disarray to a greater or lesser degree by the kontarioi but at least some have broken through the infantry line. You'd probably be looking at either a number of individual cavalrymen, or one or more small cohesive groups. They would probably be moving slowly and surrounded by Roman hoplitai whose kontarioi, however, would be too long to be wielded effectively. The menavlatoi move in to surround and hack up these individuals or groups at close range.

My God! IT - COULD - WORK!!!!

If a large group of enemy cavalry broke through, I doubt that even menavlatoi would be enough to stop them.

Now, on another subject, who has a theory for that strange circular feature at belly level that seems to appear so often in illustrations of Roman military saints, such as at http://www.geocities.com/egfrothos/ThreeSaints3.html , part of http://www.geocities.com/egfrothos/Dovecote.html

Is this a gap in the armour which closes up when the cavalryman bends at the middle as he sits in the saddle? I've seen this theory advanced, but it seriously seems unlikely to me - would anyone in his right mind really allow such vital organs to be exposed, on the assumpion that he won't be unhorsed? And anyhow, look at pictures of cavalry in the saddle. They're almost standing up, with their legs vertical. Tends to blow that theory.

But then, what IS it? Anybody have any ideas?
"It is safer and more advantageous to overcome the enemy by planning and generalship than by sheer force"
The Strategikon of Emperor Maurice

Steven Lowe
Australia
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#62
Mmm,
Do we have any mid Byzantine archaeological examples of say a winged hunting spear. I imagine that would be the closest thing to use for the sharp end of the menaulion.

Have a look at this chinese warrior. He has a similar circular thing. This looks like extra protection for byzantine warrior at the area where the gap between kabadion and klibanos may present a problem.
[url:2vnq6t2w]http://img28.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc000555yx.jpg[/url]
Peter Raftos
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#63
I've got an illustration of a hunting spear from (I think) the mosaic floor of the Great Palace. Maybe I can scan and post it here (once my scanner is up and working again! GRRRR!)

Yes, the "circle" at the stomach MIGHT be extra protection, but IIRC I've seen a contemporary illustration that shows it as a gap - with the same mail showing through as at the borders of the klivanion. I'll have to see if I can search it up. It's all a bit of a mystery to me, and I'd love to get it resolved.

BTW, I haven't got your snail mail address yet. Can you send it?
"It is safer and more advantageous to overcome the enemy by planning and generalship than by sheer force"
The Strategikon of Emperor Maurice

Steven Lowe
Australia
Reply
#64
Peters image made thing a lot.
But I still wonder can we rule out the posibility that the Byzantine military saints held a "stylizised" image of a buckler?
Kind regards
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#65
Good point Stefanos but look at the close up it seems there is a belt of some fabric wrapped around the thing,holding it close to the body.
[url:3a8dd3al]http://www.geocities.com/egfrothos/ThreeSaints3.html[/url]
Peter Raftos
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#66
Peter ,
As I said you are probaly right because Central Asian influence traveled both to China and Byzantium.
But "naturalism" was not the strongest point in Byzantine art-that iwhy I do not dismiss the bucklers 100%
Kind regards
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#67
Chairete filoi,

A question for the experts. I’m reading the Belisarius’ Saga by Eric Flint, it’s fantasy, I know but still I love it so far Big Grin . Could someone please post a picture of a clibanarius from that era? Also, who different were the equipments (Armor, spatha etc) of a VI century cataphract compared to III century?

Thanks in advance
Spyros Kaltikopoulos


Honor to those who in the life they lead
define and guard a Thermopylae.
Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do
but showing pity also, and compassion
Kavafis the Alexandrian
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#68
The cavalry in Belisarios' army appear to have been armoured mounted archers in the main.

IIRC Prokopios describes them as wearing body armour and greaves, armed with a bow and sword and having a small shield on their left shoulder.

A minority also carried a spear.

Horse armour is not mentioned so it seems likely that the clibanarii/catafractarii of the later empire have disappeared. However, works from just after this period do talk about the front rank having horse armour for the front of the horse but, again IIRC, this is seen as an Avar inspired change.
Nik Gaukroger

"Never ask a man if he comes from Yorkshire. If he does, he will tell you.
If he does not, why humiliate him?" - Canon Sydney Smith

mailto:[email protected]

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.endoftime.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/">http://www.endoftime.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/
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#69
Quote: A question for the experts. I’m reading the Belisarius’ Saga by Eric Flint, it’s fantasy, I know but still I love it so far Big Grin . Could someone please post a picture of a clibanarius from that era?
But of course Big Grin
http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic. ... 12&start=0

Quote: Also, who different were the equipments (Armor, spatha etc) of a VI century cataphract compared to III century?
When during the 3rd c.? This is the era of change from lorica segmentata and gladius to lorica hamata (long-sleeved) and spatha. For cavalry, new helemts but not so much changes in armour I think. Also, spatha and hasta remained in use, although there were cavalry with bows during later centuries.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#70
A picture by my friend Nikos Panos is Posted on the Roman Section Spyro
Nikolas is partly right in his comments.
Prokopios though mentions that Belissarios Boukellarioi were almost katafract compaired to other nobles retinues that were less well armed.
Kind regards
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#71
Thank you all Big Grin .

When did the the heavy cataphract re-emerged in the imperial armies?
I'm quite certain that Heraclios used them, but definately this is not my era.
I've read somewhere (don't ask me where, i can't remember) that one reason that cataphracts wore paded covers over the ermour was as protection from the heat. Could this be true?

Did they still use the scythian bow?

What did their spathae looked like?

Steefanos, Nikos Panos artwork shows chain armour, I thought they used lameral and scale mostly, comments?

My, my do I have a load of questions or what? :lol:

Again thank you in advance
Spyros Kaltikopoulos


Honor to those who in the life they lead
define and guard a Thermopylae.
Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do
but showing pity also, and compassion
Kavafis the Alexandrian
Reply
#72
Suppose we could start by asking what you mean by "the heavy catafract".

If you mean a fully armoured man on a fully armoured horse then you are looking at the Kataphraktoi as described by Nikephoros Phokas in his Praecepta - so the middle of the C10thAD.

Heraklios' army certainly used horse armour - there is the account of the emperor's horse being hit but not being hurt because of it's armour. However, if we assume that their equipment was more or less that described in the Strategikon of Maurikios then you are looking at horse armour for the front of the horse only.

The Byzantines use the Hunnic bow as I recall which was longer and more powerful than the Skythian bow.

As for armour mail remained pretty common from what I understand, although, lamellar was also popular and often appears on pictures of warrior saints IIRC.

The padded armour over mail would be, I think, the Epilorikon - I doubt padding would be protection from heat.
Nik Gaukroger

"Never ask a man if he comes from Yorkshire. If he does, he will tell you.
If he does not, why humiliate him?" - Canon Sydney Smith

mailto:[email protected]

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.endoftime.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/">http://www.endoftime.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/
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#73
A lightweight outer garment would keep the direct sun off the metal of the armour - there is speculation that Western European knights adopted the surcoat as a result of the Crusades, as the Holy Land was much hotter than their own homeland.

But as one who has worn padding in combat, I can assure you that protection from the heat is the last quality you'd be expecting from it. Think of wearing winter woollies in a sauna and you get the idea.

The padding is an extra layer of protection. It has two functions - partly to absorb the force of a blow, and partly to distribute it so all the force is not concentrated in a single point.

Depictions of Eastern Romans (in ikons of Military saints, illuminations etc) show mail, scale and lamellar being used pretty much interchangeably.

Peter Raftos, I'm sending that quote to you in the mail today, along with some photocopied pages from McGeer with some questions of translation I'd like to discuss with you.
"It is safer and more advantageous to overcome the enemy by planning and generalship than by sheer force"
The Strategikon of Emperor Maurice

Steven Lowe
Australia
Reply
#74
Quote:Good point Stefanos but look at the close up it seems there is a belt of some fabric wrapped around the thing,holding it close to the body.
[url:3k0bi4m5]http://www.geocities.com/egfrothos/ThreeSaints3.html[/url]

That's the sash which seems to have signified one's status as a noble/officer.

BTW, I've found the picture I referred to which shows the thing as a definite gap in the armour it's at http://www.geocities.com/egfroth/Dscf0171.jpg - if you look carefully, you can see the mail shirt showing through the gap, as it does at the bottom of the klivanion. It's 14th century, from Kastoria - Taxiarchis Metropoleos.

DAMMIT!!!
"It is safer and more advantageous to overcome the enemy by planning and generalship than by sheer force"
The Strategikon of Emperor Maurice

Steven Lowe
Australia
Reply
#75
Steve,
Then I would have to say it is there to increase mobility most likely for cavalry. There are some other illuminations with the rider "scrunched up" like a jockey.

Look at the botom of this page under the big hairy Kipcak. [url:2gsgb127]http://users.bigpond.net.au/quarfwa/quarfwa/my_homepage.htm[/url] Besides the lamella you'll see a familiar scale corslet and zaba. This shows the seperated area as well. Graham designed this from with cavalry armour in mind. It allows a lot of mobility and movement on foot as well. I think that you would need at least a kabadion and or lorika of mail to give some potection there.
Peter Raftos
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