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The Late Byzantine Military (1204-1461)

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: General History
Forum Name: Military History
Forum Description: Discussions related to military history: generals, battles, campaigns, etc...
Moderators: Constantine XI, Byzantine Emperor, Knights, Sparten, Temujin
URL: http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713
Printed Date: 26-Sep-2018 at 15:15
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Topic: The Late Byzantine Military (1204-1461)
Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Subject: The Late Byzantine Military (1204-1461)
Date Posted: 14-Jun-2006 at 13:44
Byzantine military history is my favorite topic of discussion.  Specifically I enjoy the late period, which I like to define as the period from the fall of Constantinople to the crusaders (1204) to the conquest of the final Byzantine Greek outpost, Trebizond, in 1461.
 
So, with this post I would like to open a topic for the discussion of the late Byzantine army, its units, its weapons, its armor, its enemies, its tactics/strategies, and its battles.  Feel free to use my timeframe (1204-1461) and include discussions on the army of Trebizond if you wish.
 
I encourage seasoned Byzantinists to be as detailed and as specialized as you want.  Furthermore, I would like to encourage anyone (Byzantinist and non-Byzantinist) who has questions about late Byzantine military history to ask them here.
 
To start out, I will pose a question of my own:
 
Concerning the armor of late Byzantine soldiers, to what degree can we trust depictions of them in things such as military saint icons and the Alexander Romances?
 
-Was there still a classical Greek and Roman influence on late period armor, which reflected typical Byzantine conservatism?
 
-Or, did the Byzantines adapt armor from Western Europe and the Turks?
 
-Is the modern statue of Constantine XI Palaiologos accurate in its depiction of armor, or is it fantasy?
 
     -If not, what did a 15th century Byzantine soldier look like in terms of armor - was it different than that of the 14th century?
 
Let the discussion begin! Clap
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas



Replies:
Posted By: Menumorut
Date Posted: 14-Jun-2006 at 15:01
    
I think any depiction made in an epoch like that (in West and even more in East), and even later (in Eastern countries), corresponds only with the epoch in which the depiction was made. There are no reason to believe that the men of 15th century and before have any idea about the difference of clothing in different epochs.


I think that the last elements of classical Greek and Roman tradition vanished in 7-8th centuries, when was a great fall of Byzantine civilization. What was before 8th century is totaly different of what followed, in everything.

The lost of classical elements started in 4th century, accentuated in 6th century (when we could put the border between Antiquity and Middle Age) and later but the disorganization in 7-8th century where like the death of a society and world and the born of another one, of few resemblances to the old one.



I thing that in all epochs Byzantine clothing was an amalgam of elements of different traditions. Before the 9th century the Western influences missed because we cannt say that was a distinct Western tradition.



The soldier from 15th century should have been more Western like in appearance than one of 14th century.



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Posted By: Digenis
Date Posted: 14-Jun-2006 at 16:24
Too many questions Smile

I hope i ll find time to try give some evidence too.

For now...
As for differences in armor between 14th -15 th centuries .

During the 14th century there was a continuous collapse of the numbers of the army ,as well as a territorial elimination of the Empire.

2 civil wars,
the destructive pass of catalan company,
the conquests of Turks in Asia Minor,
and Serbians of Stephan Dusan,followed by the Ottomans in the Balcans,
resulted an empire extended in the Constantinople ,Thessaloniki,and Peloponnesos in the end of 14th century.

So ,there wasnt enough land for raising local soldiers,traditional swordsmith centers have been lost,there werent mines for metal,and the economics of the empire were in terrible condition.

So,simply in the 15th century,armor was imported.
Imports were made mainly by Italy,through the Venetian and Genoese lands of the East.


Posted By: Kapikulu
Date Posted: 14-Jun-2006 at 18:25
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

  
So, with this post I would like to open a topic for the discussion of the late Byzantine army, its units, its weapons, its armor, its enemies, its tactics/strategies, and its battles.  Feel free to use my timeframe (1204-1461) and include discussions on the army of Trebizond if you wish.
  
 
About battles, I don't remember any major victory in that era except liberation of Constantinople from Crusaders.
 
Byzantines were actually destined to decline after a certain time...At the final era you mentioned, Byzantines lost control of even Peloponnisus to local governors and even the small kingdoms of Balkans were more powerful then Byzantines.And lately, even though the city(Byzantium) was taken back,Genoese was colonizing around in Galata, while the Venetians were getting control of Aegean islands,which is crucial for security of the Straits.
 
I actually connect liberation of Constantinople to Mongol invasion...Had the Mongols haven't invaded Anatolia and Turkish strikes to the West hadn't stopped, I doubt the Byzantines could have found enough force to take Constantinople back, even though the whole folk of the city was against Crusader rule and rebelling periodically.
 
Even though he is counted as a good emperor by some, there was a great mistake that Cantacuzenos did...In order to eliminate factions against him to strengthen his rule, he requested help from Orhan I, the Ottoman Sultan and gave him the Fortress of Çimpe, in southern part of Gallipoli...And this had been a stepping stone, and a great base for Ottomans towards their expansion in Europe.
 
The year that Çimpe was given to Ottomans was 1353, and Adrianople fell in 1363Confused...So quick...And the Ottomans encircled Byzantium very soon, enabling a conquest attempt by Bayezid I.
 
And basically, the empire was short of sufficient manpower and economical power to raise new armies or qualified soldiers with good armaments and training.


-------------
We gave up your happiness
Your hope would be enough;
we couldn't find neither;
we made up sorrows for ourselves;
we couldn't be consoled;

A Strange Orhan Veli


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 14-Jun-2006 at 21:51
Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:

I think any depiction made in an epoch like that (in West and even more in East), and even later (in Eastern countries), corresponds only with the epoch in which the depiction was made. There are no reason to believe that the men of 15th century and before have any idea about the difference of clothing in different epochs.
 
Well, the Byzantines considered themselves to be the heirs of the Roman Augusti right down to the late period.  And they did have most of the old military manuals available for them to read and emulate (like Vegetius).  So they would know what the cuirass and shields of the Roman legionnaire looked like.  The traditional style of 14th and 15th century icons depicting military saints is either highly classicized (which the Byzantines were apt to doing) or a representation of real military uniforms, or perhaps both.  I tend to think that there was a little of both.
 
Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:

The lost of classical elements started in 4th century, accentuated in 6th century (when we could put the border between Antiquity and Middle Age) and later but the disorganization in 7-8th century where like the death of a society and world and the born of another one, of few resemblances to the old one.
 
I agree, but do you think that the military saints do look in essence Roman in their armor?  Maybe it is just classicizing on the part of the icon painters...
 
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

Too many questions

I hope i ll find time to try give some evidence too.
 
That is a good thing!  We have plenty of space; take all the time you need and reply more, please.  :)
 
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

So ,there wasnt enough land for raising local soldiers,traditional swordsmith centers have been lost,there werent mines for metal,and the economics of the empire were in terrible condition.
 
This is an interesting point.  Where did the Byzantines end up in terms of smithing and armor construction?  I don't think they were making plate armor like in Western Europe, so that leads me to think they did not have blast furnace technology and certain metallurgy techniques.
 
I remember reading some early this year in a fairly new study on Byzantine economics, edited by Angeliki Laiou.  It had a couple articles on Byzantine mines in one of the volumes.  I will have to look up what the condition of the mines was in the 14th and 15th centuries.
 
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

So,simply in the 15th century,armor was imported.
Imports were made mainly by Italy,through the Venetian and Genoese lands of the East.
 
Are you talking about the full suits of plate armor, like Maximilian armor and the like?  It would seem that only nobles could afford that kind of gear.  Perhaps Constantine XI and Lukas Notaras were armored in such suits at the siege of 1453?  Or were they wearing the klibanion, Roman style skirting, and grieves?
 
Originally posted by Kapikulu Kapikulu wrote:

At the final era you mentioned, Byzantines lost control of even Peloponnisus to local governors and even the small kingdoms of Balkans were more powerful then Byzantines.
 
Eventually this happened.  But in the 14th century Andronikos III and John VI Kantakuzenos did make some headway in Serbia and Thrace.  They kind of went back and forth in sovereignty, but Andronikos took advantage of weakness in the Serbian kingdom and re-established imperial control over northern Thrace.
 
The Serbs had a tricky way about them:  they offered the services of heavily armed cavalry to the late Byzantine emperors and gave the illusion that they were helping.  But at the first sign of a loophole they either recalled the troops or took what they could get at Byzantine expense.  LOL 
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Menumorut
Date Posted: 15-Jun-2006 at 02:03
   
Quote So they would know what the cuirass and shields of the Roman legionnaire looked like.




Sorry for that hurried opinion. I think that the Byzantine territory was full of sculptures from Antiquity, like that in the center of Constantinople:






Quote The traditional style of 14th and 15th century icons depicting military saints is either highly classicized (which the Byzantines were apt to doing) or a representation of real military uniforms, or perhaps both.


I also think for both. The iconographic tradition and the military uniform tradition were mantained (I supose) by the presence of that sculptures.


The iconographic tradition was totaly breaked off in the long iconoclastic period.


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Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 15-Jun-2006 at 02:25
I think that Byzantine designs in armour and weaponary were by the late period secondary to that dictated by the equipment that the mercenary armies brought with them. In Heraclian, Isaurian, Macedonian, 11th century Chronographia succession and to a lesser extent under the Komnenoi, the basis of the Byzantine army appears to me to have been a local force supplemented by mercenaries. Mercenaries were always a feature of the Byzantine military, often a specialised and reliable part of it.

It is when mercenaries became the dominant force in Byzantium that the equipment and soldiery are of types dictated by foreign customs rather than Byzantine standardisation. Hiring an entire foreign force wholesale became extremely common, while their rate of pay must have been disproportionately high compared to earlier centuries because Byzantium was economically much weaker and because the mercenaries knew they could squeeze more cash out of the militarily weak Byzantines.

Often the Byzantines had more soldiers down on paper than they did actually under arms. The theme system was destroyed and no viable replacement structure for providing military and economic power was properly devised. Frequently, in the late period the soldiers levied up in times of crisis were demoralised before even seeing battle. There was a lack of martial professionalism in the late Byzantine culture which compounded existing problems with recruiting local forces.

The result was outsourcing to foreigners on a massive scale, Alan steppe cavalry fought for the Basilaeos alongside Catalan heavy infantry, Genoese marines, Turkish cavalry archers and the infantry of Serbs and Bulgarians.

Also to note is that it is clear the West had an important effect on Byzantine military development, rather than before as had been the case. Both Manuel I and Andronikos III were noted for their love of the sport of jousting, considered a low class barbarian practice by the Byzantines. In the aftermath of 1204 I know that one author of the times made note of how the mixed offspring of Latins and Greeks seemed able to combine the martial abilities of both races.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 15-Jun-2006 at 14:15

Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:

I also think for both. The iconographic tradition and the military uniform tradition were mantained (I supose) by the presence of that sculptures.

The iconographic tradition was totaly breaked off in the long iconoclastic period.

That is an interesting sculpture you posted.  Is it from the 3rd-4th centuries or the Iconoclasm period?  I don't think it is from later than that.  Scultpure, especially of the secular nature, decreased in the later Byzantine periods.  Most sculpture would be found as a decoration on church buildings in the late period.
 
When I look at icons of the military saints (Demetrios, Nestor, etc.) from the Palaiologan period, I can see some continuity in the style of armor that is depicted. 
 
Here are some pictures that I think illustrate what I am talking about:
 
http://imageshack.us">   http://imageshack.us">  
 
These first two are representations of Saint Demetrios, one on ivory (c. 950) and the other fresco (5th/6th c.?)  It looks like he is wearing the klibanion on his body, and then there is the very Roman skirting.  The armor looks like that worn by late Roman infantry:
 
http://imageshack.us">
 
Now, here are some icons from the Palaiologan period (c. 14th-15th):
 
http://imageshack.us">   http://imageshack.us">    
 
The first is of Demtrios, and look at his body armor.  It looks like a klibanion, however, there is the classical muscle definition in the armor, plus the bottom portion which extends down over the lower abdomen a bit farther.  This seems to be a feature that the others do not have.  Then the skirting, again.  The second icon of Theodore Tiro, has the klibanion and the skirting.
 
There does seem to be continuity in the style of armor from late Roman to the late Byzantine period, as portrayed in military saint icons and monastery wall-paintings.  Now, the question is do the icons and paintings depict the reality of what late Byzantine armor  really looked like, or is it mere classicizing by the Byzantines?
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 15-Jun-2006 at 14:29
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

I think that Byzantine designs in armour and weaponary were by the late period secondary to that dictated by the equipment that the mercenary armies brought with them. In Heraclian, Isaurian, Macedonian, 11th century Chronographia succession and to a lesser extent under the Komnenoi, the basis of the Byzantine army appears to me to have been a local force supplemented by mercenaries. Mercenaries were always a feature of the Byzantine military, often a specialised and reliable part of it.
 
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

It is when mercenaries became the dominant force in Byzantium that the equipment and soldiery are of types dictated by foreign customs rather than Byzantine standardisation.
 
Do you mean that there was some direct influence from the Latins, Turks, and Serbs on late Byzantine armor?  It is puzzling to me, should we consider the native Byzantine troops to be "behind the times" or less sophisticated in terms of Armor than that of the mercenaries that they were hiring in the Palaiologan period?  I tend to think the mercenaries still supplemented the numbers of the native troops, not their actual ability and effectiveness.
 
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

There was a lack of martial professionalism in the late Byzantine culture which compounded existing problems with recruiting local forces.
 
Well, I would say possibly in the ranks of the standard infantry, since they were still tied to the land as thematic soldiers through the Komnenian period.  In Palaiologan times, and possibly earlier, there was a shift towards cavalry being the most important component in the army.  The Pronoiar Cavalry to me make up a professional element in the late Byzantine army.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Menumorut
Date Posted: 15-Jun-2006 at 16:17
Quote hat is an interesting sculpture you posted. Is it from the 3rd-4th centuries or the Iconoclasm period?


It's perhaps the most famous piece of Byzantine sculpture, even it's actualy from the late classical period.

It were disputes if it's from Constantine's time or Theodosius I (the end of 4th century) and now is considered correct the last opinion.


This is the basement of the Obelisc of Theodosius, an original Egyptian (1549-1503 BC), brought to Constantinople and erected just in the very center of the City, in the center of the Hypodrome. All the four sides of this sculptued base presents scenes with Emperor and it's court at the spectacles on the Hypodrome.



There are three columns in this point, the oldest, brought from Delphi, is the Serpentine column, made of bronze, from 3rd century BC. Another one is the so/called "Column of Porphyrogenetus". Since recently was considered to be erected in the time of Constantine Porphyrogenetos (912-959 AD) but recently is considered to be built by COnstantine the Great or Theodosius I.



In foreground the Obelisc of Theodosius, in background the Column "of Porphyrogenetos". Between them, the small Serpentine column:




Another side of the base of Theodosius' Obelisc:




The Sepentine column:





The "Porphyrogenetos" Column:





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http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/3992/10ms4.jpg">



Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 16-Jun-2006 at 00:48
Originally posted by Constantine XI

There was a lack of martial professionalism in the late Byzantine culture which compounded existing problems with recruiting local forces.
 
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

Well, I would say possibly in the ranks of the standard infantry, since they were still tied to the land as thematic soldiers through the Komnenian period.  In Palaiologan times, and possibly earlier, there was a shift towards cavalry being the most important component in the army.  The Pronoiar Cavalry to me make up a professional element in the late Byzantine army.


I gleaned that conclusion from a passage I read in a book (sorry but I forget which) that detailed how the Byzantines assembled an army in Europe for campaign. The 2,000 cavalrymen turned up and were ready for action, but the thousands of foot soldiers were little better than a collection of untried artisans. The first concern of these men was to escape, which the quickly proceded to do so when the opportunity presented itself. While the dashing morale of the cavalry may have been enough to keep them together, the chronic problems of discipline seemed to have had a pretty bad effect on Late Byzantine infantry's staying power.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 16-Jun-2006 at 19:33
Constantine XI, Digenis, and Kapikulu:
 
What do you think about the depictions of the armor in the Palaiologan icons?  Reality or classicizing?
 
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Kapikulu
Date Posted: 17-Jun-2006 at 06:06
Originally posted by Menumorut Menumorut wrote:

Quote hat is an interesting sculpture you posted. Is it from the 3rd-4th centuries or the Iconoclasm period?


It's perhaps the most famous piece of Byzantine sculpture, even it's actualy from the late classical period.

It were disputes if it's from Constantine's time or Theodosius I (the end of 4th century) and now is considered correct the last opinion.


This is the basement of the Obelisc of Theodosius, an original Egyptian (1549-1503 BC), brought to Constantinople and erected just in the very center of the City, in the center of the Hypodrome. All the four sides of this sculptued base presents scenes with Emperor and it's court at the spectacles on the Hypodrome.



There are three columns in this point, the oldest, brought from Delphi, is the Serpentine column, made of bronze, from 3rd century BC. Another one is the so/called "Column of Porphyrogenetus". Since recently was considered to be erected in the time of Constantine Porphyrogenetos (912-959 AD) but recently is considered to be built by COnstantine the Great or Theodosius I.



In foreground the Obelisc of Theodosius, in background the Column "of Porphyrogenetos". Between them, the small Serpentine column:




Another side of the base of Theodosius' Obelisc:




The Sepentine column:





The "Porphyrogenetos" Column:



 
I am even bored of seeing those three everydayTongue Just 10 minutes to my university...If you'd like some more specific pictures about some parts of them, I can take photos and bring them, together with some other Byzantine remnants in the area.


-------------
We gave up your happiness
Your hope would be enough;
we couldn't find neither;
we made up sorrows for ourselves;
we couldn't be consoled;

A Strange Orhan Veli


Posted By: Menumorut
Date Posted: 17-Jun-2006 at 08:00
Could you put some photos with the column of Constantine?

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http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/3992/10ms4.jpg">



Posted By: Kapikulu
Date Posted: 17-Jun-2006 at 11:01
The column of Constantine(Cemberlitas) is being restorated right now, so it is all covered for several months or so...
 
The old photos can be found all around internet, but I am eagerly waiting to see how it will be after the restoration..


-------------
We gave up your happiness
Your hope would be enough;
we couldn't find neither;
we made up sorrows for ourselves;
we couldn't be consoled;

A Strange Orhan Veli


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 17-Jun-2006 at 15:19
Originally posted by Kapikulu Kapikulu wrote:

I am even bored of seeing those three everydayTongue Just 10 minutes to my university...If you'd like some more specific pictures about some parts of them, I can take photos and bring them, together with some other Byzantine remnants in the area.
 
I know you said the land walls are a bit out of your way, but if you are ever in the vicinity, I would very much like to see pics of the towers on the walls and the breaches made by Mehmet II's bombards.
 
Are there any museums in Istanbul that have Byzantine weapons or armor?  This would be interesting to see, especially if they have equipment from the late period.
 
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 17-Jun-2006 at 21:35
I think that regarding the icons that they can be taken as mostly authentic representations of the clothing of Byzantine soldiers. We see the soldiers wearing the skirts of the classical era, but we also see many non-classical features in their attire which leads me to believe the depictions were of contemporary dress.  They do come with skirting, but not with chiseled Greek or segmented Roman torso armour. The scale mail armour I think is a feature through most of Byzantine history and can be taken as an authentic representation of the times. The Byzantines were very conservative in their tastes, it seems if they were going to preserve depictions of the classical period they would go all the way rather than show classical skirting alongside medieval capes and scale mail armour.

Also, the convex shield is authentically medieval. Later Roman soldiers, from what I have read, typically carried their sword on their right side. Yet the saint in the icon carries it on the left, perhaps a representation of contemporary practice and an indication of a departure from strict adherance to classical representation.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: BigL
Date Posted: 17-Jun-2006 at 21:56

Im not sure if this is Late Byzantine but Do you have any information on the Battle With Prince Syvalostov of Kiev and byzantines.



Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 17-Jun-2006 at 22:09
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

We see the soldiers wearing the skirts of the classical era, but we also see many non-classical features in their attire which leads me to believe the depictions were of contemporary dress.  They do come with skirting, but not with chiseled Greek or segmented Roman torso armour.
 
I tend to agree that they are an accurate representation of the time.  However, we must be careful in what we take at face value with the Byzantines in terms of art.  They are quite conservative in taste, and, especially in the arts and literature, they were always careful to pay homage to antiquity before revealing anything vernacular.  Maybe it is different with icons; saints' lives tend to depict real life settings in their stories, so perhaps the icons do as well.
 
It seems that there was not as much mass-production of arms and armor in the late period as opposed to other more prosperous times when the coffers were full.  Late armies gathered what equipment was available from imperial or contracted sources.  Perhaps individual Byzantine soldiers who had the wealth could commission the casting/creation of an outfit of armor that suited their tastes, hence armor that might hearken back to classical designs.
 
http://imageshack.us/">
 
This one, I believe, comes rather close to looking like a classical Greek cuirass or breastplate.  It does not look like the klibanion, chain mail, or the Roman segmented chest protection - but it does look like classical Greek armor with the muscular outlines and the part that extends at the bottom over the lower abdomen, plus it has the skirting.
 
Anyways, I guess we can conclude that officers or nobles who were independently wealthy could afford to have customized armor made for them.  The armor was by no means mass-produced for late Byzantine footsoldiers as it had been in the old days.
 
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Also, the convex shield is authentically medieval. Later Roman soldiers, from what I have read, typically carried their sword on their right side. Yet the saint in the icon carries it on the left, perhaps a representation of contemporary practice and an indication of a departure from strict adherance to classical representation.
 
Good point, I did not know this! Big smile
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Tobodai
Date Posted: 18-Jun-2006 at 00:54
Found a website you all might find intresting
 
http://www.angelfire.com/empire/egfroth/Project1453.html - http://www.angelfire.com/empire/egfroth/Project1453.html
 
Heavy cavalry and cataphracts are of course my favorite military unit of all and any times, I once heard its prevalence in Byzantiums armies was a reaction and adaptation to war against the Sassanids.  Is this the correct chain of events if we know such things?
 
My knowledge of medieval Persian history is quite alot better than that of Byzantium, though this is soemthing I seek to rectify.


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"the people are nothing but a great beast...
I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value."
-Alexander Hamilton


Posted By: Kapikulu
Date Posted: 18-Jun-2006 at 06:41
http://www.byzantium1200.com - http://www.byzantium1200.com
 
For those who haven't heard about, a great site prepared with the help of professors,with computer drawings and historical info of Byzantine monuments,palaces,walls etc. of Istanbul.


-------------
We gave up your happiness
Your hope would be enough;
we couldn't find neither;
we made up sorrows for ourselves;
we couldn't be consoled;

A Strange Orhan Veli


Posted By: Digenis
Date Posted: 21-Jun-2006 at 04:56
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

Constantine XI, Digenis, and Kapikulu:
 
What do you think about the depictions of the armor in the Palaiologan icons?  Reality or classicizing?
 
 


During the palaiologian dynasty (and before of course) there was a tend to classicization.
This blurs much the image of military armor of the period.
But u can still see some elements of the real armor.
For example the frescos of the macedonian school are quiet reliable,although stylize and idealize much the images.
You must search in local artwork ,in wich the more impulse and naive artists depict armor more close to reality.

More reliable are  manuscripts like the Romance of Alexander,or some manuscripts in mount Athos.

I ll try to post some examples.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 21-Jun-2006 at 16:25
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

During the palaiologian dynasty (and before of course) there was a tend to classicization.
This blurs much the image of military armor of the period.
 
Do you mean there was a trend towards classicization in real Palaiologan armor, or in depictions in icons and manuscripts?
 
I guess in the end we have to accept what we see in the art.  Digenis, I assume that you live in Greece, are there any museums that have actual armor from the late period? 
 
As far as literature on late Byzantine archaeology, Anastasios Orlandos did some excavations in the Morea and southern Peloponnesos.  Also, Taxiarches Kolias has written about some weapons unearthed from the middle period; I am not sure if he mentions late period findings.
 
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

More reliable are  manuscripts like the Romance of Alexander,or some manuscripts in mount Athos.

I ll try to post some examples.
 
I wanted to post some images from the Alexander Romances, but I couldn't find any online.  Do you have any?
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 28-Jun-2006 at 07:55
Tobodai, more the cataphract line goes from Ancient Persia to Seleucid to Rome to Sassanid... all quite owned cataphracts... there was somewhere quite nice a quote about them... but don't know where.
 
The Roman Empire had cataphracts as small units even in the times of Traianus if I am correct. (Which even happens from time to time).


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There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Digenis
Date Posted: 28-Jun-2006 at 11:05
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

 
Do you mean there was a trend towards classicization in real Palaiologan armor, or in depictions in icons and manuscripts?

I am talking about Art.

Quote
I assume that you live in Greece, are there any museums that have actual armor from the late period? 


There is no much left..
There are some factors about this.

1.Because of the type of armor
2.Byzantine artifacts were negleted the past years in Greece in favor of the glorious ancient past.
Only the last 15 years some effort is made towards the Byzantine culture (for ex in Thessaloniki the Byzantine museum was founded just before 10 years! Just consider that Thessaloniki was for 1000 years the second city of the Empire,and has really many byz.monuments.)


Anyway.
From those i have seen:
1 helmet in Kozani's museum (Byzantine or early Ottoman)
1 helmet in Halkis ( " )
1 chainmail shirt in Byzantine museum -Athens
1 chainmail from Athos
several arrow heds and spear heads from thessaloniki's museum,and from Ouranoupolis museum in Halkidiki.


Quote
I wanted to post some images from the Alexander Romances, but I couldn't find any online.  Do you have any?
 

yes,but i ll have to find time to find them Smile
Take a look at a thread for cataphracts-i have posted 2-3.


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 28-Jun-2006 at 14:02
I would say that I think the cities varied but Thessalonica became important after the loss of Asia Minor. Although Nicaea remained in friendly hands and so did Chersonesus... it can be disputed over but also there was Adrianapolis which was quite important because it determined the access to Konstantinopolis.

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There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 28-Jun-2006 at 15:31
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

 
http://imageshack.us/">
 
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Also, the convex shield is authentically medieval. Later Roman soldiers, from what I have read, typically carried their sword on their right side. Yet the saint in the icon carries it on the left, perhaps a representation of contemporary practice and an indication of a departure from strict adherance to classical representation.
 
Good point, I did not know this! Big smile
 
 
Byzantine EMperor encouraged me to post here about this topic too, and now my little point of interest: Byzantines were clever as they can ever be (in the best possible sense) so wouldn't that keep them at advantages against enemies because their broader shields can defect the enemies shield and swords but the Greek can attack freely without any obstacle.'
 
What do you think of that?
As scheme:
 
S - Shield
B - Blade
 
European enemies:
S     B
B    S
 
European against Byzantine:
S     S
B     B
 
Europeans would be used to attack other shields being defended at the same time but this leaves them wounreable..

 



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There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 29-Jun-2006 at 20:54

Let's shift gears a bit and move on to a different topic.  If anyone finds something new on or would like to reply to the discussion on late Byzantine armor, please post on that.

New topic: Remuneration of Late Byzantine soldiers and the Pronoia Cavalry
 
It is a commonly-held misconception that the late Byzantine military was simply a hodge-podge of foreign mercenaries and some native troop elements.  This characterization implies that there was no organization on the level of the Thematic troops of the middle period or the disciplined legions of the early Byzantine/late Roman period. 
 
It is true that the later army was composed of a combination of foreign mercenaries (the Latinikon, Skythikon, and the imperial bodyguard) and native elements (Pronoia cavalry, smallholding soldiers, militias).  However these two components often worked in tandem and made up a surprisingly formidable force.  Exceptions to this, of course, are the chaotic times of the hiring of the Catalan Company and the civil wars of the mid 14th century.
 
Furthermore, the imperial system of administration was not entirely archaized and broken down.  One can see efficiency of the method for assigning pronoia to cavalry soldiers.  An imperial apographeus would compose an official praktika, which meticulously listed the sources of revenue, taxes, and peasant households from which the cavalryman received his remuneration. These imperial officials were definitely administrative experts.  A testament to this is the complexity of the sources of funding that were listed on praktika: sometimes stretching over several villages and multiple households.  John VI Kantakuzenos even had elements added to worthy soldiers' pronoia from wealthy monasteries' properties.  Later, these properties would be returned to the monasteries when the soldier died and his pronoia reverted back to the state.
 
For more background information, see Mark Bartusis, The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society, 1204-1453.
 
So, what do you think about this late Byzantine system?  Was it merely a desperate ploy of a dying empire that was trying to defend itself, or possibly a well thought-out plan to deal with its contemporary circumstances?
 
Was the Pronoia Cavalry in fact the new Klibanophoroi/Kataphraktoi of the late Byzantine army, i.e. heavy cavalry?
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: BigL
Date Posted: 30-Jun-2006 at 00:00
This may not be late medieval question i apologize but did the byzantines continue to use Legionarres as infantry?


Posted By: Gundamor
Date Posted: 30-Jun-2006 at 00:40
Wasnt the Pronoia a fuedal system like the empire provided land in exchange for military service? Also I thought I read people would get out of it by paying money resulting in mercenaries. Might be way off but kind of confused with the Pronoia question

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"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind"


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 30-Jun-2006 at 06:31
Pronoia cav should have been... just a medium cavalry, not light nor heavy I believe. I am ofcourse not sure.
 
But I have heard authors describing the Thema system as the only good and effecitve military system of ERE so I cannot describe the Pronoia system very well.


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 01-Jul-2006 at 16:10

Originally posted by BigL BigL wrote:

This may not be late medieval question i apologize but did the byzantines continue to use Legionarres as infantry?

 

I think it is safe to say that there was an incarnation of the Roman legionnaire in the late Roman/early Byzantine period (4th-5th c.).  That is, the infantry soldier wearing something resembling the segmented armor, etc. (see the picture on the first page).  However, by the time of Justinian to Anastasius there was an influx of barbarian foederati into the Byzantine army.  Even before that too, after the disaster of Adrianople.  I think it was during this time that the old legionnaire was phased out for good.

 

Originally posted by Gundamor Gundamor wrote:

Wasnt the Pronoia a fuedal system like the empire provided land in exchange for military service? Also I thought I read people would get out of it by paying money resulting in mercenaries. Might be way off but kind of confused with the Pronoia question

 

The old military service tax of the stratiotes was commuted to a simple tac starting in the middle period.  That is, the military service obligation and the call to perform public corvees.  The soldiery was still organized in their respective themes, but were not really the "Thematic" soldiers of the 7th and 8th centuries.  They were called more by their collective ethnicity now than anything else - Amerniakon, Skythikon, Italikon, etc.

 

The late Byzantine period did see the development of certain feudal tendencies, although not to the same scale as in Western Europe.  In the West feudalism arose out of a power vacuum after the Roman Empire ended.  It was a system of personal relationships between a lord and his vassals, on the one hand socio-economic, and on the other military - to provide security to families and peasants in the absence of a central government. 

 

In Byzantium, however, still had a central government, obviously.  It was not as closely connected and networked as it had been in former times and resources were scarcer.  So the emperors created the pronoia system whereby they granted the revenues and the right to collect the taxes of certain peasants (paroikoi) living on state-owned land.  These grants were given to individual soldiers, groups of soldiers, and also to civil officials.  For the soldiers it was in return for military service.  The land and the peasants themselves were not granted to the Pronoiar.  The Byzantine peasants were free to alienate land, bequeath it, and move to other villages unlike western serfs who were tied to their lands.

 

The Pronoiar soldiers were therefore in a separate category than mercenaries, who were hired for a specific amount of time, were usually foreign, and were paid in cash.

 



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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Gundamor
Date Posted: 04-Jul-2006 at 23:06
Yeah I understand that better now. I kind of thought that mercenaries played a heavier roll but apperantly not so. What was the timeframe of the Varangian Guard? And were they mercenaries or considred home forces. Also the Pronoia system was only used during the Komnenian Trio or was it used before then?

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"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind"


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 04-Jul-2006 at 23:23
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Byzantine EMperor encouraged me to post here about this topic too, and now my little point of interest: Byzantines were clever as they can ever be (in the best possible sense) so wouldn't that keep them at advantages against enemies because their broader shields can defect the enemies shield and swords but the Greek can attack freely without any obstacle.'
 
What do you think of that?
As scheme:
 
S - Shield
B - Blade
 
European enemies:
S     B
B    S
 
European against Byzantine:
S     S
B     B
 
Europeans would be used to attack other shields being defended at the same time but this leaves them wounreable..
 
I think I should have been a little clearer in my original post. The Late Romans carried their scabbard on their right side, this is where the sword was when they were not using it. Other soldiers carried the scabbard on their left side, so that when they unsheathed the sword they drew it across the chest. The Romans still most likely used their right hands to hold their swords, but they simply unsheathed it out from a different side of the body.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 06-Jul-2006 at 23:45

Originally posted by Gundamor Gundamor wrote:

Yeah I understand that better now. I kind of thought that mercenaries played a heavier roll but apperantly not so.

Oh, but they did play a significant role!  I think it is unfortunate to say that unlike former times, when the Byzantines were at the forefront of medieval military science, writing their own Strategika in the tradition of their Roman predecessors, in the late period they were behind the times.  This was partly due to their extreme conservatism in relation to adopting new military ideas/technology, and also because of the shrinking territory, manpower, and resources.  So, in the end, the late emperors resorted to hiring mercenaries to supplement the native Byzantine army.  However, the mercenaries in the late army were not just a wild bunch of looters (sometimes they were, when they were not promptly paid).  They were organized by ethnicity and by the function which they served, which was often specialized - the later emperors knew where to find the talent.
 
Originally posted by Gundamor Gundamor wrote:

What was the timeframe of the Varangian Guard?
 
I believe they first started to appear after the battle of Hastings in 1066.  We see a Norman character present in the early Varangian Guard.  There were also some Rus.  They increased in number during the reign of Basil II and on into the Komnenian dynasty.  Later, and up until the fall of Constantinople in 1204, the Guard was composed mainly of Anglo-Saxons, who had steadily made their exit from England after the conquest.  I think Choniates mentions the ferocity of the Varangians in defending the ramparts against the Crusaders in 1204, lopping off their limbs with the double-bladed axes as they climbed up!
 
Not much is mentioned about the Varangians post 1204.  There are some clues that they might have still been around in the late period fulfilling the role of parade units, where there is mention of palace guards with axes.
 
Originally posted by Gundamor Gundamor wrote:

And were they mercenaries or considred home forces.
 
I believe they were paid  a salary by the emperor, as palace guard units.  I will have to check the exact method in which they were paid.  I do recall that they were always awarded a donative at the accession of a new emperor and for good service.  Traditionally, after a coup the Varangians were permitted to ransack the palace and keep what they found.
 
Originally posted by Gundamor Gundamor wrote:

Also the Pronoia system was only used during the Komnenian Trio or was it used before then?
 
The idea supposedly came out of the land reforms of the 10th century, where the amount of land for mounted cavalry was increased in order to provide for heavier armor (kataphraktoi).  This combined with the fact that the former obligation of military service was commuted to a simple tax.
 
Real pronoia, like a described above, was not granted on a large scale until right before and after the accession of Michael VIII Palaiologos.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 07-Jul-2006 at 00:26
The first arrival of Norse warriors to be established as a standing force appears to have occured as early as under Emperor Theophilus in the mid 9th century, yet I would not regard these men as properly constituting the famouse Varangian guard itself. With the establishment of the Nordic Rus as rulers of much of the Slavic regions to the north of the Black Sea, Byzantine contact in war and trade with the new arrivals got underway at a surprising speed.
 
The Varangians as they are properly known, IMHO, came into being under Basil II when 6,000 Rus were sent to help him in his civil war by Vladimir of Kiev. Basil must have been impressed by the way the Varangians "cheerfully hacked to pieces" the rebels in Bythinia, he better than anyone understood after a precarious early reign of how useful a bunch of fierce foreigners would be to him, with no loyalties to any potential rival aristocrat.
 
The Varangians were at first largely Scandinavian, but over time their ethnicity altered thanks to combat defeats critically reducing their numbers (e.g. Manzikert) and sudden influxes of new recruits (such as the already mentioned Anglosaxons and Danes after 1066).


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 07-Jul-2006 at 00:47
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

The Varangians as they are properly known, IMHO, came into being under Basil II when 6,000 Rus were sent to help him in his civil war by Vladimir of Kiev. Basil must have been impressed by the way the Varangians "cheerfully hacked to pieces" the rebels in Bythinia, he better than anyone understood after a precarious early reign of how useful a bunch of fierce foreigners would be to him, with no loyalties to any potential rival aristocrat.
 
I think it is in Psellos' chronicle where he describes the reaction of the Bulgarian dignitaries to the Varangian guardsmen when they came to Basil II's tent to sue for peace.  He describes their awe and fear at the site of these blonde giants in gleaming armor with axes slung over their shoulders, posted next to the soldier-emperor Basil.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 14-Jul-2006 at 05:42
Hmmh, wasn't it even so that the Anglo-Saxons deemed it worthy and good to serve for a time in the Varangian Guard? It sems to me that I have heard of a few princes serving in the guard. Am I wrong?

-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 14-Jul-2006 at 23:39
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Hmmh, wasn't it even so that the Anglo-Saxons deemed it worthy and good to serve for a time in the Varangian Guard? It sems to me that I have heard of a few princes serving in the guard. Am I wrong?
 
Oh yeah, service in the Varangian guard was quite lucrative!  When there was a palace coup, the Varangians had an expressed right to plunder the palace and keep whatever they found.  Also, they received periodic donatives from the emperor and a salary.  They received a salary as part of the palace personnel, unlike regular mercenaries.  Harald Hadradi served as a Varangian for a while.  He toured the Holy Land as an escort for Byzantine painters who were working on the churches.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 15-Jul-2006 at 02:48
But what replaced the Guard during the Late Empire then? Just some remains of the Scholae units or what? It couldn't have been a unit from the Proionoia system.
 
 


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 15-Jul-2006 at 18:53
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

But what replaced the Guard during the Late Empire then? Just some remains of the Scholae units or what? It couldn't have been a unit from the Proionoia system.
 
Good question.  The Varangians were still around in the late period.  For example, at the opening of what is considered "the late period" (1204), the Varangians are mentioned as being on the ramparts and fiercely defending the walls of Constantinople on the sea side, against the Latins who were climbing from the ships onto the walls.
 
Later, though, references are quite scarce.  It is believed that the Varangians lost their original military significance and became parade units, much like the Scholae eventually did.


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Gundamor
Date Posted: 15-Jul-2006 at 19:53
When did they actually cease to exsist? I cant find much about it other then books that just stop mentioning them. They just kind of faded away.

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"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind"


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 15-Jul-2006 at 22:44
Originally posted by Gundamor Gundamor wrote:

When did they actually cease to exsist? I cant find much about it other then books that just stop mentioning them. They just kind of faded away.
 
What books have you been looking at? (just curious) Smile
 
I will have to look and get back to you.  If I remember correctly, the French mercenary captain Bertrandon La Brocquiere (mid 15th century) mentions some palace guards comparable to the Varangians in his memoires.  He came to Constantinople as a mercenary captain of some men-at-arms sent by the Valois ruler (I think he was Valois, or it could have been the French king himself).  The context of the mentioning is where he says he saw some guards (his language qualifies them in some way to distinguish from regular guards) escorting John VIII Palaiologos' wife to mass at the Hagia Sophia.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Gundamor
Date Posted: 15-Jul-2006 at 23:11
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:


 What books have you been looking at? (just curious)



Well I visit the library alot(everyother day)and only recent one that came to mind was The Fall of Constantinople 1453 which I'm not even sure was accurate and maybe more storyline. Another one was just about the rulers(14 rulers?) and a some that were titled like The Bzyantine Empire. Both the libraries I visit are a bit short on this topic. Maybe only 10-12 books on it. And mostly are culture and society heavy. Not my strengths of interest.     

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"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind"


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 16-Jul-2006 at 06:46
Agreed. For some reason most of the Western historians tend to "specialize" always on something else than the Byzantium.

-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 16-Jul-2006 at 13:17
Originally posted by Gundamor Gundamor wrote:

Well I visit the library alot(everyother day)and only recent one that came to mind was The Fall of Constantinople 1453 which I'm not even sure was accurate and maybe more storyline.
 
If you mean the one by Sir Steven Runciman, yes, it is an excellent narrative of the siege.  But there are a good deal of careless factual errors that were uncharacteristic of Runciman's work.
 
Originally posted by Gundamor Gundamor wrote:

Both the libraries I visit are a bit short on this topic. Maybe only 10-12 books on it. And mostly are culture and society heavy. Not my strengths of interest.
 
Do you have access to Interlibrary Loan?  If you want some book recommendations and references on specific topics, I would be glad to provide some.  Don't worry if it is not your historical strength - I don't mind.  It is fun just talking about this stuff! Smile
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Agreed. For some reason most of the Western historians tend to "specialize" always on something else than the Byzantium.
 
Although I am not a professional "historian" yet (I haven't published anything), I do have other interests besides Byzantium.  It is just I am reading a lot on and studying this subject, so I post on Byzantium often.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: BigL
Date Posted: 16-Jul-2006 at 23:50
Can you please join my new topic Prince of kiev vs byzantines for discussion  
 
I would also like to know about the famous battles between Byzantium and Avars


Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 19-Jul-2006 at 11:01
Did the Byzantines have legionaries in the traditional roman sense?

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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 23-Jul-2006 at 19:45
Originally posted by Earl Aster Earl Aster wrote:

Did the Byzantines have legionaries in the traditional roman sense?
 
Earl Aster:  Thanks for replying to my thread.  Please continue to contribute if you would like.  I don't know if you saw it, but I talked about this on the second page:
 
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

I think it is safe to say that there was an incarnation of the Roman legionnaire in the late Roman/early Byzantine period (4th-5th c.).  That is, the infantry soldier wearing something resembling the segmented armor, etc. (see the picture on the first page).  However, by the time of Justinian to Anastasius there was an influx of barbarian foederati into the Byzantine army.  Even before that too, after the disaster of Adrianople.  I think it was during this time that the old legionnaire was phased out for good.
 
Originally posted by BigL BigL wrote:

Can you please join my new topic Prince of kiev vs byzantines for discussion  
 
I would also like to know about the famous battles between Byzantium and Avars
 
I saw that you had posted this recently and it looks quite interesting.  When I get a chance here, aside from schoolwork, I will join the discussion.  Thanks for inviting me!  Big smile
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 25-Jul-2006 at 18:48

As far as I've read so far (David Nicolle; Ian Heath, et al.), late Roman (Byzantine) equipment would reflect more Turkish influence than anything else.

According to some drawings made by an Italian in the mid 15th cent, the Emperor's retinue was armed and dressed in the Turkish manner (small cavalry bow, quiver and sabre; long coat; and the horse harness - all in Turkish fashion), the only distinctive difference being a brimmed hat like the one portrait by our friend "Byzantine Emperor".

As for Western equipment (more than the way of dressing), that is more than probable, as even the Serbian and Bulgarians had that kind of equipment (look at the "dog-face helmets" in the Museums of Kazanlak and Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria). Complete body armour could as was surely used by high ranking nobles like Constantine XI.

The Varangian Guard isue is interesting. In the early 13th cent. , both the original Rus and the Anglo-Saxons had abandoned the axe as a weapon. By that time, however, the Varangians were still armed with an axe. The only explanation for this is to assume that Roman State furnished the palatine unit with State-isued axes. Interesting, don't you think?
 
And as for the the armour represented in the Icons, well, I've seen 16th -19th icons and they ALL represent Demetrius, Georgius and all hose "warrior saints" with the same kind of equipment, namely the klibanion. I doubt that the klibanion could have survibed to the 12th century, much less to the 14th/th centuries.
 


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 26-Jul-2006 at 19:17
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

As far as I've read so far (David Nicolle; Ian Heath, et al.), late Roman (Byzantine) equipment would reflect more Turkish influence than anything else.

According to some drawings made by an Italian in the mid 15th cent, the Emperor's retinue was armed and dressed in the Turkish manner (small cavalry bow, quiver and sabre; long coat; and the horse harness - all in Turkish fashion)(...)

Very observant!  The Florentine artist Pisanello did indeed make some drawings of the emperor John VIII Palaiologos, the patriarch Joseph II, and the Byzantine retinue attending the Council of Florence in 1439.  He also cast a medallion of the emperor and used is likeness for some royal characters in a few Biblical paintings he was commissioned to do.
 
I agree that there was undoubtedly a Turkish influence on Byzantine arms in the late period.  A few emperors preferred Turkish mercenaries to any other kind in the civil wars.  The medallion of John VIII on horseback depicts him with a Turkish style bow and quiver and with the long coat and distinctive hat. 
 
However, I do think the Late Byzantine Army 1118-1461 book by Nicolle takes things a bit too far in using this lightly armored/armed representation of the emperor as the basis for the picture of 15th century Byzantine soldiers.  I would agree that Trapezuntine soldiers might have been armed this way, for Trebizond was farther East, isolated from the rest of Byzantium, and had been open to direct Turkish influence the longest.  Soldiers of Constantinople and the Morea probably had heavier armor like the Latins, along with some Turkish influence, for example, the adoption of the scimitar (see icon of St. Merkourios at Ochrid).
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

(...)the only distinctive difference being a brimmed hat like the one portrait by our friend "Byzantine Emperor".
 
Big smile
 
Some historians say that these wonderful hats had an eastern or Turkish origin.  Either Pisanello or another Italian painter was hired by the Grand Komnenoi of Trebizond to paint a giant mural in a palace.  The mural depicts the Trapezuntines in battle with the Turks.  All the Trapezuntine soldiers are wearing the disctinctive coats and hats, and are fighting on horseback with bows and curved swords.  If anyone can find a picture of this magnificent painting, please post it here.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

The Varangian Guard isue is interesting. In the early 13th cent. , both the original Rus and the Anglo-Saxons had abandoned the axe as a weapon. By that time, however, the Varangians were still armed with an axe. The only explanation for this is to assume that Roman State furnished the palatine unit with State-isued axes. Interesting, don't you think?
 
Interesting point!  It could be, as was usually the case, that the continued use of axes by the Varangians was an example of the conservative outlook that the Byzantines had towards military (and other areas) adaptation and change.  While soldiers in the homelands of the Varangians stopped using axes, the Byzantinized Varangians held on to them.  As to whether or not the state furnished them with the weapons, I am not sure.  I believe that some of the sources describe their axes as looking like silver.  The Byzantines had expert gold- and silversmiths who could have produced such weapons.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

And as for the the armour represented in the Icons, well, I've seen 16th -19th icons and they ALL represent Demetrius, Georgius and all hose "warrior saints" with the same kind of equipment, namely the klibanion. I doubt that the klibanion could have survibed to the 12th century, much less to the 14th/th centuries.
 
What leads you to doubt that the klibanion survived in practical use into the 14th and 15th centuries?
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 27-Jul-2006 at 07:02
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

In the early 13th cent. , both the original Rus and the Anglo-Saxons had abandoned the axe as a weapon.
 
Really? Nevski, I am quite sure about it, that he used axes to beat the Swedes at Neva.
 
And later too, Skandinavians used the axe into the 14th century.


-------------
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There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
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There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Digenis
Date Posted: 29-Jul-2006 at 15:12
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

As for Western equipment (more than the way of dressing), that is more than probable, as even the Serbian and Bulgarians had that kind of equipment (look at the "dog-face helmets" in the Museums of Kazanlak and Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria). Complete body armour could as was surely used by high ranking nobles like Constantine XI.

 


Here is one mid 14th century depict of "March" in a manuscript from Athos.


The man wears a western type helmet,but also a klibanion cuirass.


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 29-Jul-2006 at 18:08
Hmmh. I see many questions here (not the last ones) about the Early Military. Should have a separate thread. Wait for a second, just had different issues in my mind:
 
1) Is there any evidence of the Kataphraktos or Klibinarios unit being used after 1204 or even in the late 12th century? I have read from somewhere that the expense of the units was so high that they were pretty much all disbanded.
 
2) How did the Trebizondian Military differ from Byzantian? There were in the Early Period such units as Trebizond Archers, weren't there? So after the creation of the Empire of Trebizond, those units must have belonged only to it's variety and the Byzantines didn't use such units any more?
 
3) Was the use of Greek Fire forgotten after 1204? I haven't heard or seen of any evidence of it's usage in the Later Empire.


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 30-Jul-2006 at 17:10
Yes, I concede that "Byzantine Emperor" may be wright when he says that
"soldiers of Constantinople and the Morea probably had heavier armor like the Latins". Those places were open to Western influence, namely to the Italians and the Catalonians, not to mention the remnants of the "Latins" (the "Latinikon", if I'm not mistaken) so Western armour would be used along with native and Turkish types.
 
In the same line of though I can only suppose (but not confirm) that the klibanion, an allmost 1000 year old piece of equipment would be replaced by simpler mail and cuirases, namely of Western origin, that were avaiable. But I can perfectly be wrong.
 
As for the axes, yes, it is true that this sort of weapon continued to be used in Scandinavia (and even Russia, and so forth) but eventualy it was replaced by "handier", though more expensive, weapons like the sword. The fact is that the big battle axe although being an unexpensive and dreadfull weapon is also unbalanced. Later Varangians were of Saxon-English origin and, as far as I know, there's no sign of a large usage of axes in Britain from the early 13th century onwards.
 
The Trapezuntine army was originaly made of Caucasians (Lazes, Armenians, etc.) because the aunt of the first Trapezuntine Emperor, of the Komnenoi stock, was a Caucasian queen (don't remember her name, sorry).
Their's was a very small army: the cavalry amounted to a few hundred men, at first armed with lances and then with swords and bows, like the Turks. The infantry was mostly light. Later on (early 15th c.) they got some guns. According to some souces (a Castillian or Aragonese diplomat - or perhaps a Papal envoy of "spanish" origin) the Trapezuntines dressed like Turks, fought after the turkish style but were better than the Turks :)  The Trapezuntine cavalry was greatly feared.
 
I know nothing about the "Greek fire" and I'm also looking forward to see anything about the interesting isue of the cataphraktoi/klibanorophoi post 1204.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 02-Aug-2006 at 00:00
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

2) How did the Trebizondian Military differ from Byzantian? There were in the Early Period such units as Trebizond Archers, weren't there? So after the creation of the Empire of Trebizond, those units must have belonged only to it's variety and the Byzantines didn't use such units any more?
 
The Trapezuntine army in the early period of its existence (1204-1261), if there indeed was one, was probably very similar to the Byzantine army of the late early 13th century and to the subsequent Nicean army after the breakup of the Empire.
 
As for the infamous "Trebizond Archer" of MTW, I don't think there was such a specialized unit.  Soldiers who came from Cappadocia and the Caucasus mountains were traditionally famous for their archery skills; perhaps these were the inspiration for the "Trebizond Archers."
 
Trebizond's later history and military development was linked closely with that of eastern Turkoman tribes and less with the Byzantine Empire itself.  The Grand Komnenoi often allied with the Turkish "White Sheep" tribe against both the Mongols and the Ottomans.  Perhaps this is where the Trapezuntine army was influenced towards horse archery.  At any rate, the army was very small as Sikander pointed out and not much is known about their specific armament and tactics. 
 
Does anyone know the painting I mentioned, that an Italian artist did circa 1462 of Trapezuntines battling Ottomans? 
 
Trebizond is a fascinating aspect of Byzantine history.  Please continue to discuss it here.  I would be especially interested in their later military history, late 14th century-1461.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

The Trapezuntine army was originaly made of Caucasians (Lazes, Armenians, etc.) because the aunt of the first Trapezuntine Emperor, of the Komnenoi stock, was a Caucasian queen (don't remember her name, sorry).
Their's was a very small army: the cavalry amounted to a few hundred men, at first armed with lances and then with swords and bows, like the Turks. The infantry was mostly light. Later on (early 15th c.) they got some guns. According to some souces (a Castillian or Aragonese diplomat - or perhaps a Papal envoy of "spanish" origin) the Trapezuntines dressed like Turks, fought after the turkish style but were better than the Turks :)  The Trapezuntine cavalry was greatly feared.
 
Please tell more!  I think I know the Spanish diplomat you are talking about.  Was it Clavijo?  I have not yet been able to look at his account of late Byzantium and Trebizond.  What does it say specifically about their adoption of firearms?
 
Someone really needs to post a picture of that painting.  There is a crappy black-and-white reproduction of it in the late Byzantine army Osprey book.  I doubt it would scan well so that we can see the details.  It shows the Trapezuntines to be very similar in dress and armament to the Turks.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

As for the axes, yes, it is true that this sort of weapon continued to be used in Scandinavia (and even Russia, and so forth) but eventualy it was replaced by "handier", though more expensive, weapons like the sword. The fact is that the big battle axe although being an unexpensive and dreadfull weapon is also unbalanced. Later Varangians were of Saxon-English origin and, as far as I know, there's no sign of a large usage of axes in Britain from the early 13th century onwards.
 
It could also be a matter of primary and secondary use of weapons.  The Osprey books depict Varangians with the characteristic axes in hand and with either a sword or short-sword/dagger as a side arm.  So, going along with my initial suggestion of the Varangians adopting Byzantine conservatism towards military things, perhaps they hung on to their awe-inspiring axes and used swords as secondary weapons or sidearms.
 
As for how long the Varangian Guard lasted, I found some more clues when reading Pseudo-Kodinos.  He was a 14th century writer who composed a survey of court procedures and hierarchy.  His work also includes a good deal of information on military functions.  He does describe the Varangians as still fulfilling at least a ceremonial role as guards of imperial persons in processions.  As for whether or not at this point they still fought in battle is pretty much unknown and unlikely.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

In the same line of though I can only suppose (but not confirm) that the klibanion, an allmost 1000 year old piece of equipment would be replaced by simpler mail and cuirases, namely of Western origin, that were avaiable. But I can perfectly be wrong.
 
Call me a romanticist, but I am still not entirely convinced that the klibanion died out by the 14th and 15th centuries.  Practically speaking, the klibanion coupled with a chainmail shirt underneath (see the icon of Niketas below) provides as much protection for the body as plate armor.  Byzantine heavy cavalry units usually wore at least 2 layers of chain over the face and mask too, with just the eyes exposed.  If there was anything that would lead me to doubt its survival, it would be the late empire's poverty and inability to fincance the construction and upkeep of this armor.
 
http://img215.imageshack.us/my.php?image=niketassmallib2.jpg">
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 02-Aug-2006 at 00:10
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

Here is one mid 14th century depict of "March" in a manuscript from Athos(...)The man wears a western type helmet,but also a klibanion cuirass.
 
Cool!  Thanks for posting some images, Digenis.  I have not seen this particular manuscript illumination before.  It is interesting to see this combination of western and Byzantine armor.  I have not seen this kind of helmet paired with Byzantine armor.  There are some other western-type helmets (hats) on Byzantine soldiers in some pictures that I have seen, but not one that is made out of plate material that covers most of the head like this one.
 
Which monastery on Athos did it come from?
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 02-Aug-2006 at 05:02
The picture you are talking about is very hard to find. Indeed it is. Do you know the name of the painter?
 
It seems to me that the Trebizondian Archers were indeed such unit as the Chivalry: Total War Modification makers have a great research tea<m and they have found something about it, and have said that no ahistorical units they will not include so I believe such had to exist.


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 02-Aug-2006 at 12:37
"Please tell more!  I think I know the Spanish diplomat you are talking about.  Was it Clavijo?  I have not yet been able to look at his account of late Byzantium and Trebizond.  What does it say specifically about their adoption of firearms?"
 
BINGO!!! It was Clavijo all right!
Here goes some bibliography about the Trapezuntine subject, and the author of a text on it.
 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Barker Phil-Scott Richard Bodley, DBM, Army Lists, Book 4: 1071 AD TO 1500 AD, WRG, 2nd edition, March 1999, p. 34.

2. Bryar A., The Littoral of the Empire of Trebizond in two fourteenth century Portolano maps, File of Pontos, XXIV(1961), pp. 97-127.

3. Bryer Anthony A.M., The Empire of Trebizond and the Pontos, 1980.

4. Euaggelides Tr., History of Pontic Trebizond, Athens.

5. Heath Ian, Armies of the Middle Ages, volume 2, WRG, pp. 23-25 and pp. 131-133.

6. Heath Ian-McBride Angus (translation into the Greek language by Papathanases Helias), The last Byzantine armies (1118-1461 AD), "Combatants" series, 3, Free Thinking Publishing House, Athens, 1996.

7. History of the Hellenic Nation, Book IX, Byzantine Hellenism(Middle Byzantine and Late Byzantine years), Athenian Publishing House, Athens, 1970, pp. 325-335.

8. Lampsides Od., How did Trebizond fall, File of Pontos, XVII (1952), pp. 15-54.

9. Lampsides Od., Opinions about the state of the Great Komnenoi, File of Pontos, XXIV(1961), pp. 14-34.

10. Lymperopoulos Vasileios Ch., The Byzantine Pontos, The Empire of Trebizond (1204-1461), Creation Publishing House, Athens.

11. Miller W., Trebizond, the last Greek empire, London, 1926.

12. Nikoloudes Nikolaos, The slow death of Byzantium and the problem of the foreign assistance, Military History, issue 33, pp. 26-35, Athens.

13. Panagiotopoulos Chrestos-Anagnostakes Helias, The Greek-Turkisk conflict in Asia Minor during the Middle Ages (1040-1461), Military History, issue 42, pp. 40-49, Athens.

14. Skalieres G.K., The Empire of Trebizond, Free Thinking Publishing House,editio altera, Athens, 1995.

15. Vakalopoulos Apostolos E., Origins of the Greek Nation: the Byzantine period, 1204-1461, 1970.

16. Vasiliev A.E., The foundation of the Empire of Trebizond, Speculum, XI(1936), pp. 3-37.

17. Vasiliev A.E., The Empire of Trebizond in history and literature, Byzantion, XV (1940-1941), pp. 316-377.

Sokrates Krakras,

Professor of Ancient Greek and Latin Literature,

Private school "Paideia"

e-mail: mailto:demofilos1@hotmail.com - demofilos1@hotmail.com

 
 
"Someone really needs to post a picture of that painting.  There is a crappy black-and-white reproduction of it in the late Byzantine army Osprey book.  I doubt it would scan well so that we can see the details.  It shows the Trapezuntines to be very similar in dress and armament to the Turks."
 
Maybe, just maybe, I can that for us. I have a Turkish friend, he' a tourist guide and so he may have it.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 02-Aug-2006 at 22:06
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

The picture you are talking about is very hard to find. Indeed it is. Do you know the name of the painter?
 
I *think* it is by Pisanello; however, it might be after the time he was working.  Pisanello was doing his drawings and castings of John VIII and company in 1439.  The painting was supposedly done in 1462.
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

It seems to me that the Trebizondian Archers were indeed such unit as the Chivalry: Total War Modification makers have a great research tea<m and they have found something about it, and have said that no ahistorical units they will not include so I believe such had to exist.
 
The Trebizond Archers were part of the original game, not a mod.  I will have to respectfully disagree with you about their historical accuracy.  There are so many other units they could have chosen that are attested in the sources - Mourtatoi, Tourkopouloi, Tzangatores.  All of these are late Byzantine archery units of some kind that are mentioned in documentary and chronicle sources.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

BINGO!!! It was Clavijo all right!
Here goes some bibliography about the Trapezuntine subject, and the author of a text on it.
 
Clap
 
Do you remember if Clavijo says that Trapezuntines used the gunpowder weapons effectively?  Did these weapons include both artillery and handguns?
 
I found a obscure website once about Trebizond and this looks like the bibliography from it.  Most of the sources (Bryer, Vasiliev, Vakalopoulos, Miller) I have read or looked at.  They do not, sadly, say much about the army.  The other works by Greek authors are in modern Greek and would take me forever to get through.  Can either of you read modern Greek?
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

Maybe, just maybe, I can that for us. I have a Turkish friend, he' a tourist guide and so he may have it.
 
PLEASE do! Smile  That would be awesome.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 03-Aug-2006 at 08:11
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

The Trebizond Archers were part of the original game, not a mod.  I will have to respectfully disagree with you about their historical accuracy.  There are so many other units they could have chosen that are attested in the sources - Mourtatoi, Tourkopouloi, Tzangatores.  All of these are late Byzantine archery units of some kind that are mentioned in documentary and chronicle sources.
 
Damned, Tongue you don't listen at all.
 
I wasn't talking of Medieval, I was talking about a Modification for Rome that is about Medieval Ages.


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 03-Aug-2006 at 11:31
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

 
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

The Trebizond Archers were part of the original game, not a mod.  I will have to respectfully disagree with you about their historical accuracy.  There are so many other units they could have chosen that are attested in the sources - Mourtatoi, Tourkopouloi, Tzangatores.  All of these are late Byzantine archery units of some kind that are mentioned in documentary and chronicle sources.
 
Damned, Tongue you don't listen at all.
 
I wasn't talking of Medieval, I was talking about a Modification for Rome that is about Medieval Ages.
 
Oh yes I did listen/read! LOL
 
I saw "Chivalry: Total War" and I thought of MTW.  Please excuse my ignorance of all the various mods, for I have only played the original MTW with the Viking expansion.  I have not played Rome Total War at all because my PC won't handle it! LOL
 
Still, though, I do not think the Trebizond Archer is a historically accurate unit for the Byzantines.  Don't get me wrong, there could have been plain old archers from Trebizond, but I am talking about specialized units that had their own division or organization within the army.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 03-Aug-2006 at 11:59
Oh, very well. Sorry about that. My computer doesn't handle RTW neither, that doesn't mean my friends computers' don't. Anyways, I asked about the Archers and will soon see if anyone gives any sources we can further investigate.

-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Digenis
Date Posted: 03-Aug-2006 at 14:55
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

 
Still, though, I do not think the Trebizond Archer is a historically accurate unit for the Byzantines.  Don't get me wrong, there could have been plain old archers from Trebizond, but I am talking about specialized units that had their own division or organization within the army.
 


Exactly.
"Trebizond archers" are an invention of Medieval Total War.
(unfortunately they survive in MTW2)

(it is sad that not an existing unit was used,since -at least until 1204- the Byzantine army had a great variety of different units (incl.archers),in comparison with western armies:knights,sergeants,peasants)

There wasnt anything to specialize them as a unit.
The only mention them is a unit of some 400 of them to serve in Cilician Armenia's forces.
They were Byzantine archers from Trebizond-nothing special-nothing different from the other byzantine archers.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 03-Aug-2006 at 15:12
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Anyways, I asked about the Archers and will soon see if anyone gives any sources we can further investigate.
 
Yes, I would like to keep discussing the Trapezuntine army.  It is fascinating, what little we do know, and a rarely discussed aspect of Byzantium.
 
As far as sources for Trebizond go, they are sadly few and far between.  Any descriptions of the military are scant as well.  Cry
 
But we are free to compare Trebizond with what is what is found in Byzantium and speculate on the possibilities!  And, if anyone knows anything about Trebizond and especially its army, please feel free to post.  Thanks to Sikander and rider for starting us off.  Clap
 
Primary sources for Trebizond include the chronicle of Michael Panaretos and the writings of Mesarites.  Cardinal Bessarion, who was born in Trebizond, wrote about it in his letters.  There are some relavent mentionings in various Georgian chronicles.
 
The main secondary source is William Miller's Trebizond: The Last Greek Empire, which is very old but still remains the definitive work on the subject in English.  Anthony Bryer has done various articles on cultural history of Trebizond.  Alexander Vasiliev has some articles on the political organization of the empire.  The rest is in modern Greek - Digenis or our other Greek colleagues can inform us better on these.
 
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

There wasnt anything to specialize them as a unit.
The only mention them is a unit of some 400 of them to serve in Cilician Armenia's forces.
 
Yes.  Michael VIII and Andronikos II enlisted some of the Cilician and Caucasian highlanders, who were noted as proficient archers, not as archery units in the army, but as border defenders.  The emperors wanted them to guard the frontier against the Turks by staying in the area with their families and performing periodic raids.  These highlanders were even granted a small-scale pronoia at one point.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 03-Aug-2006 at 17:00
I would firstly strike out the possibilities of a resurrection of a klibinarios or a kataphraktos unit as definetly, the Trapezuntines had no funds for that. Or can you prove me wrong? I hope not...
 
But what do you think of their infantry? Trained in the same type as earlier Tagmata units or a new method?


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 03-Aug-2006 at 21:42
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

I would firstly strike out the possibilities of a resurrection of a klibinarios or a kataphraktos unit as definetly, the Trapezuntines had no funds for that.
 
Yes, I agree.  Either they did not have the funds or they were unwilling to put any of their resources towards reforming the army in terms of cavalry.
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

But what do you think of their infantry? Trained in the same type as earlier Tagmata units or a new method?
 
I would say that because Trebizond, although still Greek and Byzantine, had been cut off from direct influence from Byzantium and was in contact with Turkoman tribes on a regular basis, they were probably influenced by them militarily.  So, probably lightly armored and armed primarily with bows and scimitars/sabres as sidearms. 
 
However, as Sikander pointed out, the Spanish traveller Clavijo observed that the Trapezuntines had imported some firearms from the Italians.  I wonder if this was a desparate attempt at finding a way to combat the Turks or if the Trapezuntines planned to outfit soldiers with them?  At any rate, I think the Trapezuntine generals could have done well in reading the old Roman and Byzantine taktika and going back to the old Roman ways of military discipline.
 
I was wrong about the painter of "The Conquest of Trebizond."  It was not Pisanello but another Florentine artist named Marco del Buono Giamberti, who painted it in 1462.  Also, the painting was not in Trebizond but on a wooden chest called a cassone.  There are some pictures of it floating around online but not a detail of just the painting.  If anyone can find a detail of the painting, please post it!
 
Pisanello, however, was commissioned to paint some wall paintings in Trebizond in the 1430s.  Here is the surviving portion of it, entitled "Saint George and the Princess of Trebizond.":
 
http://img227.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pisanellotrebizondzb3.jpg">
 
It is not as revealing for military details as Giamberti's painting is.  But the depiction of the walls and buildings are interesting.  I wonder if St. George's attire, being that he is a military saint, gives any clues about what Trapezuntine soldiers might have wore?
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 04-Aug-2006 at 03:47
Wasn't it in contact with Georgia too? I have heard that the Georgians deployed heavily armed infantry troops, or am I wrong.
 
Ofcourse, hevy troops wouldn't match nor catch the light Turks but I believe that their cavalry was so much better than the infantry that they could bug the enemy.
 
And, I think that they had no navy. Or if they had, then very small. None of the successors ever had a decent navy. (Well, Nicaea had a decent but not a good one). And even the Latin Empire lacked ships and the Genoese and Venetians transported the Latins.


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 04-Aug-2006 at 12:33
"I was wrong about the painter of "The Conquest of Trebizond." [...]  the painting was not in Trebizond but on a wooden chest called a cassone.  "
 
My friend doesn't recall any painting in the palace. He will investigate though now that we have now info on the subject.
 
The painting who've showed us is very small so I cannot see a thing!
 
I suppose the firearms the Trapezuntines had were guns (bombards), not handguns which by that time were still underdeveloped anyway, even in Central Europe (Bohemia). And bombards would be more effective to defend a fortress than handguns, I think.
 
The Trapezuntine navy was small in deed. It seems that they couln't field even 20 ships. They had 3 transport galleys that could transport up to 600 men.


Posted By: Digenis
Date Posted: 04-Aug-2006 at 16:09
"Romance of Alexander the Great", (Fyllada tou Megalexandrou) is a manuscript (mentioned in this forum too) ,full of paintings of battles ,armies and soldiers ,made in Trapezous (Trebzon) in the mid 14th century.
Although we could not claim that it represents in detail the Trapezountine army,it has many interesting depicts.
So,although generally follows the type of "byzantine soldier of manuscripts" ,we can clearly see muslim(turkish) as well as western elements at the armor of the soldiers depicted.

I have p[osted in the past some pics of it.


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 04-Aug-2006 at 16:20
Hmmh. Even Constantinople had some bombards in the 15th century, although they were old and rusty. The Ottomans had decent ones however.
 
Did the Byzantines use galleys too? I thought they reformed and moved on to something better. I don't know to what but there were better things.
 
Now I begin wondering: what was the population of Trebizond?


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 05-Aug-2006 at 00:30

Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Wasn't it in contact with Georgia too? I have heard that the Georgians deployed heavily armed infantry troops, or am I wrong.

I don't know much about Georgian history and its relation to Byzantium.  Georgia as a state/kingdom is rarely mentioned in the stuff that I have read.
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

And, I think that they had no navy. Or if they had, then very small. None of the successors ever had a decent navy. (Well, Nicaea had a decent but not a good one). And even the Latin Empire lacked ships and the Genoese and Venetians transported the Latins.
 
You would think that the successors of the usurper Andronikos I would have taken the time to develop a navy when they established Trebizond.  The Black Sea and the Dardenelles is such a lucrative area for trade.  This might have put them ahead of the other splinter states.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

My friend doesn't recall any painting in the palace. He will investigate though now that we have now info on the subject.
 
Cool, thanks a lot for mentioning this to your friend.  Pisanello's painting, "Saint George and the Princess of Trebizond," is in one of the palaces of Trebizond or Sinope.  Which one I am not sure.  As for Giamberti's cassone, I could not find where it resides.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

The painting who've showed us is very small so I cannot see a thing!
 
I made it small on the forum so as to not take up space and to make the page easier to open for people on dial-up.  If you click the picture you will be able to see the enlarged version.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

I suppose the firearms the Trapezuntines had were guns (bombards), not handguns which by that time were still underdeveloped anyway, even in Central Europe (Bohemia). And bombards would be more effective to defend a fortress than handguns, I think.
 
That makes sense.  But at this time the Ottomans had infantry that were armed with arquebuses and I am pretty sure that the Italians and certain Balkan states had them. 
 
Trapezuntines armed with arquebuses and stationed on the ramparts would have added extra covering protection for the bombards.  The walls of Trebizond were quite high and had excellent angles from which they could provide flanking fire.  Some of the angles of the walls at the corners seem almost similar to Renaissance angle bastions.  Here is a picture of the walls (click to enlarge):
 
http://img227.imageshack.us/my.php?image=trebwallsor9.jpg">
 
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

"Romance of Alexander the Great", (Fyllada tou Megalexandrou) is a manuscript (mentioned in this forum too) ,full of paintings of battles ,armies and soldiers ,made in Trapezous (Trebzon) in the mid 14th century.
Although we could not claim that it represents in detail the Trapezountine army,it has many interesting depicts.
So,although generally follows the type of "byzantine soldier of manuscripts" ,we can clearly see muslim(turkish) as well as western elements at the armor of the soldiers depicted.
 
I did not know that the Romances originated in Trebizond.  This is interesting because the equipment of the soldiers looks like what would have been found in mainland Byzantium at this time.  The soldiers in the manuscript look a lot different than the Trapezuntine ones Giamberti depicts in "The Conquest of Trebizond."
 
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

I have posted in the past some pics of it.
 
Where?  I remember you saying you would.  Are they in a different thread?
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Hmmh. Even Constantinople had some bombards in the 15th century, although they were old and rusty. The Ottomans had decent ones however.
 
The Byzantines did have some small-caliber cannon in 1453.  Doukas and Chalkokondyles mentioned that they had shot the size of "Pontic walnuts."  These cannon could not be used, however, because their reverberations shook the foundation of the Theodosian walls.
 
Back to Pisanello's painting of Saint George.  The figure of George (to the left of the princess) looks to be dressed in Turkish silks or leather armor very similar to the soldiers in Giamberti's painting.  Notice the figure on horseback to the right of the princess.  He has a lance and is wearing a helmet (metal?) that is covering most of his face.  Because of his angle, it is difficult to see what else he is wearing.  Here is a detail of the cavalryman (click to enlarge):
 
http://img231.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cavalrymandetailbg3.jpg">
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 07-Aug-2006 at 12:21
"As for Giamberti's cassone, I could not find where it resides"
It's at the Metro Museum, NY, USA
A little bit far away for me to go there Smile


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 07-Aug-2006 at 14:27
Second that... But you might try to go in the tracks of Columbus... set sail and be there or somewhere else in a few months.
 
How about you, Byzantine Emperor?


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 11:30
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Second that... But you might try to go in the tracks of Columbus... set sail and be there or somewhere else in a few months.
 
How about you, Byzantine Emperor?
 
Unfortunately, I am in Michigan which is about 10 hours away from New York.  It is even more impossible for me to go there since I am in the middle of my second summer class!  Cry
 
Anyways, let's keep the discussion going!
 
I am really interested in what the Trapezuntine infantry (especially in the 14th and 15th centuries) might have looked like and fought with.  Do any of you have any guesses?
 
Here is the best picture available online (that I could find) of "The Conquest of Trebizond" by Marco del Buono Giamberti:
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Roberts
Date Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 11:49
Btw when did Byzantine units "Skutatoi" (AFAIK they were infantry spearmens) become obsolete? I somehow dont notice them after 1204.


Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 12:14
That's exactly what I've seen at the Metro Museum web page. Not very good though as we would need much more detailed photos from it.
 
Somehow I suppose the majority of the Trapezuntine infantry would look just like the guys from the left side of the cassone's panel: long coats, tall hats, bows/swords (curved?) and spears, i.e., lightly armed/dressed soldiers, not heavy stuff.
 
It is also interesting that yeni çeri head covers resemble those "byzantine" hats a lot. Would there be a link? I know that the firts janissaries were Greek POW ...


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 08-Aug-2006 at 15:32
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

That's exactly what I've seen at the Metro Museum web page. Not very good though as we would need much more detailed photos from it.
 
When I get done with my schoolwork for the summer (next week), I plan on writing to the curator of the European exhibit at the Met to try and get a detail of the painting.  The thing is, if I get an image for my own research and study, I don't think I am permitted to "publish" it; i.e post it online as well as in a book or article.   We'll see what happens.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

Somehow I suppose the majority of the Trapezuntine infantry would look just like the guys from the left side of the cassone's panel: long coats, tall hats, bows/swords (curved?) and spears, i.e., lightly armed/dressed soldiers, not heavy stuff.
 
I tend to agree.  However, we have to take into account artistic license and the fact that the figures do not look anything like representations of soldiers in Byzantine iconography or in manuscripts from the 14th-15th centuries.  You would think that, although Trebizond was detached from Byzantium geographically, and was subject to heavy Turkish influence, it would still retain some "Byzantinity" in clothing and military equipment in a typically conservative Byzantine manner.
 
Did you click on the image of the detail from the St. George painting?  What do you think about that cavalryman?  Also, in the large painting, look at the figures on the left side - could they be soldiers?
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

It is also interesting that yeni çeri head covers resemble those "byzantine" hats a lot. Would there be a link? I know that the firts janissaries were Greek POW ...
 
Yes, these are attested in pictorial sources.  They are found in Constantinople too.  I can provide some images of these later.
 
Originally posted by axeman axeman wrote:

Btw when did Byzantine units "Skutatoi" (AFAIK they were infantry spearmens) become obsolete? I somehow dont notice them after 1204.
 
 
Good question, axeman.  Once I get done with my schoolwork (next week), I want to do more reading into this and other questions we have raised in this thread. 
 
If anyone else in the meantime wants to discuss the skutatoi (Digenis, BlindOne, Sikander, rider to name a few), please proceed!
 
I am very much enjoying the present discussion on Trebizond's military.  There has to be more members out there who can contribute.  PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!  Big smile
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 09-Aug-2006 at 06:09
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

I am very much enjoying the present discussion on Trebizond's military.  There has to be more members out there who can contribute.  PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!  Big smile
 
For you to be successful and gain from our knowledge? NEVER!!!
 
Sorry, just kidding, happily would continue.
 
 
Now, maybe the losing of skutatoi as units would yet come from the many newer 'western-like' mercenaries and all money going to them. So financial issues? This is my only thought at this moment.
 
It seems that in the short existence of Nicaea, the Nicaeans forgot all previous Roman units (but not Roman tactics). If I am correct, then the pre-1204 Constantinople contained the Tagmata units of Scholae, Arithmos, Numeri, the Theodosian Walls (forgot the Greek name), Optimoi, Vigla.... were they ever used in the Late Empire?
 
 
NB! To be correct, I use the term 'Roman' for referring both to Roman Kingdom, Republic, Empire, Western Empire, Byzantines, both Early and Late.


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 09-Aug-2006 at 12:12

I couldn't see very clearly the St George picture, I'm affraid to say so... but although the Romans were conservative, they were also very fast to adopt new ways. The Pisanello's drawings show that quite clearly: the Emperor's retinue dressed and equipped themselves like Turks, not like "tradicional" Romans.

I think the "Theodosian Walls (forgot the Greek name)" unit was the Vigla, who were in charge of keeping an eye on the walls (or "to make the watch" = Vigla/vigia).
 


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 09-Aug-2006 at 15:18
Possible. The Vigla means Watch but did it guard the Theodosian Walls? Will check:
 
Cavalry tagmata:
 
the Scholae         Imperial Guard
the Excubitores   
the Vigla              police forces
the Hikanatoi       
 
Infantry tagmata:
 
the Numeroi                     police forces
the Optimatoi                  
the Tagma ton Teikhon    Theodosian Walls
 
 
A short overview and it shows that the Tagma ton Teikhon would have been correct. 'Teikhon' translates as 'Walls' and 'Vigla' as 'numbers'.


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 09-Aug-2006 at 20:01
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

For you to be successful and gain from our knowledge? NEVER!!!
 
Sorry, just kidding, happily would continue.
 
Ha ha.  Seriously, I really have enjoyed discussing this stuff with you guys.  I really don't care what level of intellectualism the replies are on, or if people just ask questions; both stimulate discussion.  I just want more people to come in and discuss!  Smile 
 
There are some members who are quite knowledgable in Byzantine stuff.  Digenis (I wish he would frequent this thread more often), BlindOne, Heraclius (what happened to him?), Constantine XI (maybe his mod. duties are to time-consuming), Byzanz, Jazz, and Herschel have all posted in Byzantine threads before.  It was cool having Gundamor and Menumorut posting in here in the beginning.  Where did they go?
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Now, maybe the losing of skutatoi as units would yet come from the many newer 'western-like' mercenaries and all money going to them. So financial issues? This is my only thought at this moment.
 
I am sure conservatism had something to do with it.  But conservatism did not stifle all Byzantine attempts at updating their army and society.  Lack of funds (especially ready cash) was probably the biggest detriment, like you pointed out.
 
I would have been awesome to see the Byzantines in the late period take the skutatoi and bring them up to date with the latest in spear-armed tactics and armament.  By this I mean model them after the Swiss pikemen, perhaps.  In this they could also include some antique elements (as they were apt to doing), such as from the Macedonian pike-hoplites of Philip II.  This combination would have been a tour-de-forceClap
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

It seems that in the short existence of Nicaea, the Nicaeans forgot all previous Roman units (but not Roman tactics). If I am correct, then the pre-1204 Constantinople contained the Tagmata units of Scholae, Arithmos, Numeri, the Theodosian Walls (forgot the Greek name), Optimoi, Vigla.... were they ever used in the Late Empire?
 
I think most of these groups either became parade units or died out all together by the late period.  Some of their functions were commuted to other military units or were sought out in mercenaries.  Pseudo-Kodinos, in his list of Palaiologan court titles, mentions the Droungarios of the Vigla.  In former times this title went to the chief of the guards of the Theodosian Walls, like Sikander pointed out.
 
Originally posted by Sikander Sikander wrote:

(...)but although the Romans were conservative, they were also very fast to adopt new ways. The Pisanello's drawings show that quite clearly: the Emperor's retinue dressed and equipped themselves like Turks, not like "tradicional" Romans.
 
Yes, I agree.  Conservative in some things but practical when they had to be.  The figures in Giamberti's painting do look almost indistinguishable from the Turks.  The only difference is that the Trapezuntines have the tall Byzantine hats (the ones Clavijo described as being trimmed with marten fur and feathers) and the Ottomans have turbans.
 
Let me get a little imaginative here for a moment.  What if, in a sudden rush of nostalgia and practicality, the Trapezuntines decided to go back to their roots.  The Grand Komnenos orders the commanders to be trained using the old Roman and early Byzantine taktika.  They would be required to instill discipline and reform the army using Vegetius and Maurice's handbooks as guidelines.  The blacksmiths are ordered to make klibania and splint vambraces for the infantry.  Perhaps some infantry (elite?) would be armored in lorica segmentata, which are crafted using new metal technology, but Roman in design.  Seeing the advantage in having quick, lightly armed horse archers to fight Trebizond's worst enemy, the Ottomans, the Grand Komnenos keeps these in tact.  Finally, from the gunpowder weapons brought by the Genoese, some of the new Trapezuntine infantry are armed with handguns/arqebuses and the walls are outfitted for cannon emplacements.  How would the "new" army of Trebizond do in battle?  Big smile 
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 10-Aug-2006 at 04:03
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

There are some members who are quite knowledgable in Byzantine stuff.  Digenis (I wish he would frequent this thread more often), BlindOne, Heraclius (what happened to him?), Constantine XI (maybe his mod. duties are to time-consuming), Byzanz, Jazz, and Herschel have all posted in Byzantine threads before.  It was cool having Gundamor and Menumorut posting in here in the beginning.  Where did they go?
 
Quite possible is that many people forget or lose interest in this topic and so go away, fade into the dimensions of history.
 
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

I think most of these groups either became parade units or died out all together by the late period.  Some of their functions were commuted to other military units or were sought out in mercenaries.  Pseudo-Kodinos, in his list of Palaiologan court titles, mentions the Droungarios of the Vigla.  In former times this title went to the chief of the guards of the Theodosian Walls, like Sikander pointed out.
 
Are you sure? Vigla couldn't be at the Walls. This goes heavily against my previous post that the Tagma ton Teikhon was there.
 
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

How would the "new" army of Trebizond do in battle?
 
Defeat all Byzantine (non-mercenary) forces in a swift to be itself defeated by ten times more Turks...


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: BlindOne
Date Posted: 10-Aug-2006 at 10:01
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

There are some members who are quite knowledgable in Byzantine stuff.  Digenis (I wish he would frequent this thread more often), BlindOne, Heraclius (what happened to him?), Constantine XI (maybe his mod. duties are to time-consuming), Byzanz, Jazz, and Herschel have all posted in Byzantine threads before.  It was cool having Gundamor and Menumorut posting in here in the beginning.  Where did they go?
 
Quite possible is that many people forget or lose interest in this topic and so go away, fade into the dimensions of history.
 
 Well it is true that i have stopped  to post in AE for a while because of univercity studies. Anyway all though i am not very active i still read your post and when i find some time to read again my history books ( i am not a historian expert as you guysSmile) i will respond.
 PS: Byzantine emperor thank you for the PM Smile.


-------------
That I am stricken and can't let you go
When the heart is cold, there's no hope, and we know
That I am crippled by all that you've done
Into the abyss, will I run




Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 10-Aug-2006 at 15:14
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Quite possible is that many people forget or lose interest in this topic and so go away, fade into the dimensions of history.
 
Man, that is a depressing way to look at it!  I hope people haven't lost interest in this thread and have been ignoring it as a result.
 
We have kept the discussion high on an intellectual level, provided a lot of interesting details, but not to the extent that no one except professional Byzantine historians (which none of us are) could interpret and reply to.
 
Let me reiterate that I do not consider myself to be an expert on Byzantium.  I am still learning and reading all the time.  I have a long way to go.  I am still working on my Masters degree so I am not a professional historian.  Above all else, I really enjoy studying Byzantium and its armies and love discussing it with other people who are interested.  That is why I am a member of AE!  Smile
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Are you sure? Vigla couldn't be at the Walls. This goes heavily against my previous post that the Tagma ton Teikhon was there.
 
I will have to look up the word in my dictionaries.  The word vigla pretty much means "the watch" in Latin and in Greek.  There might be some alternative definitions, however.
 
Originally posted by BlindOne BlindOne wrote:

Well it is true that i have stopped  to post in AE for a while because of univercity studies. Anyway all though i am not very active i still read your post and when i find some time to read again my history books ( i am not a historian expert as you guysSmile) i will respond.
 PS: Byzantine emperor thank you for the PM Smile.
 
I totally understand!  My studies have occupied the vast majority of my time lately too.  Hopefully in the next couple of weeks this will change.
 
Thanks for at least reading the posts here when you have time.  We are looking forward to your insights when you have the time to post.  Remember, we are all Byzantine-history fans here, not stuffy arrogant experts!  LOL
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Defeat all Byzantine (non-mercenary) forces in a swift to be itself defeated by ten times more Turks...
 
I think revamping the military along the lines I mentioned would at least enable the Trapezuntines to defend better and possibly to meet the Ottomans on the field in smale-scale sortees.  Refurbished walls and artillery emplacements would definitely give the Trapezuntines a fighting chance.  The defenders of Constantinople were able to defend for a while and they were surely not well prepared!
 
How about on an economic and intellectual level; would Trebizond have been able to realistically carry out these reforms?  I believe they were wealthier than their counterparts in Constantinople and the Morea.
 
For people new to this discussion, rider and I are referring to this statement I made above:
 
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

Let me get a little imaginative here for a moment.  What if, in a sudden rush of nostalgia and practicality, the Trapezuntines decided to go back to their roots.  The Grand Komnenos orders the commanders to be trained using the old Roman and early Byzantine taktika.  They would be required to instill discipline and reform the army using Vegetius and Maurice's handbooks as guidelines.  The blacksmiths are ordered to make klibania and splint vambraces for the infantry.  Perhaps some infantry (elite?) would be armored in lorica segmentata, which are crafted using new metal technology, but Roman in design.  Seeing the advantage in having quick, lightly armed horse archers to fight Trebizond's worst enemy, the Ottomans, the Grand Komnenos keeps these in tact.  Finally, from the gunpowder weapons brought by the Genoese, some of the new Trapezuntine infantry are armed with handguns/arqebuses and the walls are outfitted for cannon emplacements.  How would the "new" army of Trebizond do in battle?
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 10-Aug-2006 at 19:50
I was more thinking that 'vigla' means 'watchmen' and 'teikhon' is for 'walls'. Then from it would come the assignments of police and guarding the Walls.
 
Economic: The Trapezuntines clearly might have had a connection with Georgia (peaceful one) and with the Kievan Rus (don't believe in it) although their navy was indeed small (and you had no place to go to either). So the most of their economic gain had to come from Georgia or Roman Empire. I believe that the connections with Bulgaria and Rus states can be left out.
 
Although I know their approximate territories, I have no idea of their territories. I believe that the mountains might have contained some iron ore and maybe even bronze but totally possible that there were no valuable (then valuable) resources. No idea of the fields and farmers. Although it is possible that fishing became an important business.
 
 
This post is extremely lousy in everything, sorry; my only excuse is that it is 3 AM in Estonia and I have been up from 8 AM or so...


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 11-Aug-2006 at 00:56
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

I was more thinking that 'vigla' means 'watchmen' and 'teikhon' is for 'walls'. Then from it would come the assignments of police and guarding the Walls.
 
Okay, I see what you mean now.  Yes, you are correct, the vigla and teichon mean "the watch" and "wall" respectively.  And the group you described guarded the walls in the early and middle Byzantine periods.  The Droungarios of the Vigla commanded the guards.  There might be something comparable in the late period; I will have to check.  I do know that the Droungarios of the Vigla became a court title in the late period and probably lost its original function as a lot of functionary titles did.
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Economic: The Trapezuntines clearly might have had a connection with Georgia (peaceful one) and with the Kievan Rus (don't believe in it) although their navy was indeed small (and you had no place to go to either). So the most of their economic gain had to come from Georgia or Roman Empire. I believe that the connections with Bulgaria and Rus states can be left out.
 
Was the medieval kingdom of Georgia landlocked?  If it was, I doubt there was much trading going on between it and Trebizond.  The Rus had access to the Eastern European rivers and into the Black Sea.  They were probably a good trading partner if they did indeed have a connection with Trebizond.  Who here at AE could inform us about this?  I know BigL started a thread about the Rus, perhaps he knows.  Other than that, they are left with the Genoese, who did have contacts in the Black Sea area and with Trebizond.  As Sikander pointed out, the Trapezuntines were able to acquire firearms from the Genoese.
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Although I know their approximate territories, I have no idea of their territories. I believe that the mountains might have contained some iron ore and maybe even bronze but totally possible that there were no valuable (then valuable) resources. No idea of the fields and farmers. Although it is possible that fishing became an important business.
 
Good point.  We need to find out if there was a source of precious metals in the mountainous area surrounding Trebizond and who had control over it, of course.  If Trebizond did not have access to the mines, the metals would probably need to be imported.  This could be very costly, especially if it was done over land.  Also, I wonder if Trebizond had competent native blacksmiths and technicians who could do something with the metals at this time?
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 11-Aug-2006 at 02:42
Pretty certain is that everyone had native metalsmiths. The buying of such persons into your state might be very costly as such skills were difficult to learn.
 
I just remembered my Periodical Historical Atlas' Demo that I have. Will check for the borders of Trebizond and Georgia. I shall have them uploaded to Photobucket very soon.
 
Meanwhile, I may question:
 
Quote The Droungarios of the Vigla
 
You are sure? It seems that my mind works against it.
 
Are you sure there wasn't a Domestikos of the Vigla just as there was the Domestikos of the Scholae (which later on became an important title).
 
Reconsidering, you are correct. The Arithmos (or Vigla) had a Droungarious as the head, but it was the only unit. Damned names, Arithmos and Vigla: make me confused. I personally prefer Arithmos... sounds cooler.
 
 
Meanwhile, is it possible for us to make certain which Emperors created these tagmata. Nikephoros I created the Hikanatoi and Constantine the Great created the Scholae but who were the others?
 
Trebizond in 1300:
  http://s20.photobucket.com/albums/b244/koiduonu/AllEmpires/?action=view&current=Trebizond1300.jpg&refPage=&imgAnch=imgAnch4">
 
Trebizond in 1400:
  http://s20.photobucket.com/albums/b244/koiduonu/AllEmpires/?action=view&current=Trebizond1400.jpg&refPage=&imgAnch=imgAnch3">
 
the Western Part of Trebizond in 1300:
  http://s20.photobucket.com/albums/b244/koiduonu/AllEmpires/?action=view&current=TrebizondWest1300.jpg&refPage=&imgAnch=imgAnch2">
 
the Eastern Part of Trebizond in 1300:
  http://s20.photobucket.com/albums/b244/koiduonu/AllEmpires/?action=view&current=TrebizondEast1300.jpg&refPage=&imgAnch=imgAnch1">
 
 
These thumbnails SHOULD direct you to larger images. Hopefully they work.
 


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 12-Aug-2006 at 18:19
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Pretty certain is that everyone had native metalsmiths. The buying of such persons into your state might be very costly as such skills were difficult to learn.
 
Do you know of any sources that tell of Trapezuntine blacksmiths?  Please post anything that you find.  I will have to do some searching; there are some sources that might provide some clues.
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Meanwhile, I may question:
 
The Droungarios of the Vigla
 
You are sure? It seems that my mind works against it.
 
Are you sure there wasn't a Domestikos of the Vigla just as there was the Domestikos of the Scholae (which later on became an important title).
 
Reconsidering, you are correct. The Arithmos (or Vigla) had a Droungarious as the head, but it was the only unit. Damned names, Arithmos and Vigla: make me confused. I personally prefer Arithmos... sounds cooler.
 
I have come across the specific title of "Droungarios of the Vigla" in the primary sources that I have been working with.  It appears in Pseudo-Kodinos' list of titles and in some of the fiscal documents of the Athonite monasteries.
 
Domestikos was still used in the late period as a title for the second in command and the right hand man of the emperor.  He was a general and commanded the campaign army.
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Meanwhile, is it possible for us to make certain which Emperors created these tagmata. Nikephoros I created the Hikanatoi and Constantine the Great created the Scholae but who were the others?
 
Which "other tagmata" are you referring to?  Please clarify.
 
Rider, thanks for the maps of Trebizond.  It looks like Georgia was landlocked for a good part of the 14th century.  Then its borders moved out to the Black Sea littoral during the 15th century.  I wonder if Georgia did this by treaty or conquest?  Perhaps the kingdom of Georgia did trade with Trebizond in the 15th century.  I would like to know if there were Georgian mercenaries serving Trebizond in the 14th and 15th centuries.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 12-Aug-2006 at 18:51
This is very possible that such mercenaries served the Empire. After all, the Georgians fought the Turks too, and they were sometimes quite successful.
 
Quote other tagmata
 
I am talking of the Arithmos/Vigla, tagma ton Teikhon, Numeroi, Optimatoi...
 
Why do you exclude landlocked trades? If there were borders then trading by land could have been a much better solution. Not very fast but certain.
 
Quote Do you know of any sources that tell of Trapezuntine blacksmiths?.
 
No, I don't. I was just talking about my overall experience in Medieval and Imperial states. It would be logical to assume that such connections exist in Trebizond too.


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 12-Aug-2006 at 19:04
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

I am talking of the Arithmos/Vigla, tagma ton Teikhon, Numeroi, Optimatoi...
 
Ok, I will have to check this out.  Treadgold and Haldon probably have something to say about the origin of these tagmata units in their army surveys.
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Why do you exclude landlocked trades? If there were borders then trading by land could have been a much better solution. Not very fast but certain.
 
I was taking into account the fact that overland trade was quite expensive as compared to trade by ship.  Maybe Georgia had access to some rivers in the area?
 
I PM'd and invited some Georgians here at AE to help us out with our discussion on Trebizond and Georgia.  Hopefully they will respond.
 
Quite frankly, I am a bit discouraged that the Byzantinists and people with even an inkling of an interest in Byzantium and medieval warfare here at AE have been ignoring this thread.  I know we all have commitments and lives outside of cyberspace; I definitely do with grad school and all, but the least they could do is drop by an interact!  Maybe this will change.
 
Should I start making individual threads on the topics we are discussing in here?
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

No, I don't. I was just talking about my overall experience in Medieval and Imperial states. It would be logical to assume that such connections exist in Trebizond too.
 
If you find anything in the reading that you are doing, please let us know!  A possible connection is enough to start investigating. Smile
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 12-Aug-2006 at 19:26
I will tell you all everything I find out.
 
Quote Should I start making individual threads on the topics we are discussing in here?
 
Never, I would rename this topic into Byzantine Military so we could very easily discuss everything here. If people want to come they will, I am sure many of them check here often but find nothing to contribute. Many of the Byzantine interestees are Mods or Global Mods and so have more important things to do.
 
Quote overland trade was quite expensive as compared to trade by ship
 
But the Roman Empire did trade with the Cilician Armenia in the centuries before, is it true? And by land if I am not completely mistaken?
 
Trades by land were very popular in the Northern European areas (during winter).
 
Rivers of Georgia:
almost none go into the Black Sea, but the Google Map showed a Mtkvari River.


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 12-Aug-2006 at 23:18
I would like to introduce discussion about the Byzantine Empire's ability to sustain its military and extravegant diplomacy - its two pronged way of ensuring security - in the aftermath of the loss of naval capabilities and key port cities following 1204. In an earlier thread, I concluded that the organisation suggestes by Plethon, though very admirable, was not viable thanks to the Venetian grip over the port cities of the Pelopennesos. This grip extended right around the former Byzantine mercantile territories, incorporating key islands such as Euboea and Crete also.

While in the aftermath of 1261, Michael VIII and the Genoese held a degree of dominance in parts of the Aegean, this power was relinquished when Andronicus III scrapped the navy to save cash. I posit that through a gradual and pragmatic policy of consolidation, that the Byzantine could have regained the naval dominance required to launch a mercantile revival, thereby allowing them the revenies to put their armies and diplomatic paraphernalia on a sounder footing.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 15-Aug-2006 at 16:05
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

I would like to introduce discussion about the Byzantine Empire's ability to sustain its military and extravegant diplomacy - its two pronged way of ensuring security - in the aftermath of the loss of naval capabilities and key port cities following 1204. In an earlier thread, I concluded that the organisation suggestes by Plethon, though very admirable, was not viable thanks to the Venetian grip over the port cities of the Pelopennesos. This grip extended right around the former Byzantine mercantile territories, incorporating key islands such as Euboea and Crete also.
 
I have never understood why the Byzantines acquiesed to such humiliation and deprivation when they signed the series of treaties with Venice during the Komnenian period.  There was still a navy at that time (it took part in naval ventures with crusaders against Mamluks), why could they not also build up their merchant marine?  Either it was Byzantine poverty (which was not as bad as in the Palaiologan period), or the Venetians and other Italian states already had such a stranglehold on Levantine trade that it was pointless to resist.  Where did the Byzantines derive profit from these treaties?  One of the stipulations is that Byzantine customs duties were revoked; this was quite a chunk of revenue that they let slip away.

Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

While in the aftermath of 1261, Michael VIII and the Genoese held a degree of dominance in parts of the Aegean, this power was relinquished when Andronicus III scrapped the navy to save cash. I posit that through a gradual and pragmatic policy of consolidation, that the Byzantine could have regained the naval dominance required to launch a mercantile revival, thereby allowing them the revenies to put their armies and diplomatic paraphernalia on a sounder footing.
 
In my studies, the main reason I have come across for Andronikos II's scrapping the navy was to free up funds for hiring mercenaries.  It definitely was not needed to subsidize pronoia, since these produced incomes out of peasant taxes and charges.  Before Asia Minor was lost for good Andronikos tried to launch a fiscal reassessment of the territory to even out pronoiai and to curb abuses.  But this ended in disaster since the Anatolians thought Michael and the apographeus he sent were religious heretics; and then the whole province fell to the Seljuks.  And, after the second disaster with the Catalans, there really was no time and money to set apart for a naval revival.  I think if Andronikos II had been given the chance to revive it, he would have.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 15-Aug-2006 at 18:04
Well, it never could have regained it's former glory for it's decline was long and steady. If I remember correctly (I use that phrase very often, if you have noticed) then even the Armenian dynasty's Emperors disbanded small parts of the navy to get some money.
 
Quote Either it was Byzantine poverty (which was not as bad as in the Palaiologan period), or the Venetians and other Italian states already had such a stranglehold on Levantine trade that it was pointless to resist.
 
The second half is more correct. The Genoese and Venetians were trading with Outremer and Muslim states in the south and so their power only grew. The Byzantines could not have resisted.


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 15-Aug-2006 at 21:26
I think the Byzantines may have had the opportunity to regain their hold on naval strength. The Italian states were not a homogeneous bloc but rather a jeolous group of rivals who could be played against one another. The Byzantines, as we have seen, certainly knew how to make that type of game work in their favour.

It boggles the mind to learn of how Isaac II Angelas actually outsourced the entire production of the Byzantine fleet to Venice. Venice's naval production was impressive. Their Arsenal, meaning the place where their navy was actually produced, built ships by floating them from one island to the next. Each island on the chain making a specific improvement or addition to the structure until the finished product came sailing out the end. Not bad eh? It is exactly like the 20th century's Fordist model of production, assembly line style.

Surely Constantinople was capable of a similar method of naval production and maintenance. With her great natural harbours, safe sea inside the Golden Horne and her large population I think it is conceivable that a similar process could have been performed on the northern shipyards of Constantinople as was performed at the Venetian Arsenal.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 15-Aug-2006 at 22:11
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

I am talking of the Arithmos/Vigla, tagma ton Teikhon, Numeroi, Optimatoi...
 
Last night I was reading in the Treaty of Offices of Pseudo-Kodinos and the titles we were talking about are listed.  He includes the Grand Droungarios of the Watch (bigla/vigla), Droungarios, Droungarios of the Fleet, and Domestikos of the Walls (teicheon).  Perhaps the Arithmos of the Walls either fell out of use or was absorbed into the title of Domestikos of the Walls.  Either way, Kodinos does not tell us if they had a specific military function in the late period.  Cry
 
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

I think the Byzantines may have had the opportunity to regain their hold on naval strength. The Italian states were not a homogeneous bloc but rather a jeolous group of rivals who could be played against one another. The Byzantines, as we have seen, certainly knew how to make that type of game work in their favour.
 
You are right.  We can see the Byzantines working with the Genoese against the Venetians in the in the Italian sea wars of the late 13th and 14th century.  I think one of the main problems is that the emperors often pushed for ideological recognition of their status as the heads of Christendom and the Roman Empire in official treaties.  At this point the Italians could have cared less about Byzantine imperial ideology and probably were willing to go along with it on paper as long as they got the trading rights.  And if the Italians or anyone refused at this time, the Byzantines were unable to bring them to heel by force because of the military problems.
 
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

It boggles the mind to learn of how Isaac II Angelas actually outsourced the entire production of the Byzantine fleet to Venice. Venice's naval production was impressive. Their Arsenal, meaning the place where their navy was actually produced, built ships by floating them from one island to the next. Each island on the chain making a specific improvement or addition to the structure until the finished product came sailing out the end. Not bad eh? It is exactly like the 20th century's Fordist model of production, assembly line style.
 
Wow, this is interesting!  I didn't know that this was their method of shipbuilding, basically a giant assembly line.  Yeah, the Angeloi were a sorry bunch for the most part.  Isaac II took the Komnenoi practice of trade concessions to the extreme.  One wishes that Michael VIII had come along a bit earlier.  LOL
 
I think for the most part the last hurrah for the Byzantine navy was during Michael VIII's reign.  He was the last emperor who seemed to have the resources and the good sense to tend to the navy. 
 
There is an incident where Manuel II Palaiologos seems to have raised a fleet and put it in charge of his illegitimate brother Manuel, who was given the title of Mega Duke (the "Droungarios of the Fleet" of the late period).  This fleet was successful in thwarting the investiture of Constantinople by the Ottoman prince Musa in 1411.  See John Barker, Manuel II Palaeologus, 1391-1425: A Study in Late Byzantine Statesmanship, pp. 283-285.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 16-Aug-2006 at 09:08
Quote Last night I was reading in the Treaty of Offices of Pseudo-Kodinos and the titles we were talking about are listed.  He includes the Grand Droungarios of the Watch (bigla/vigla), Droungarios, Droungarios of the Fleet, and Domestikos of the Walls (teicheon).  Perhaps the Arithmos of the Walls either fell out of use or was absorbed into the title of Domestikos of the Walls.  Either way, Kodinos does not tell us if they had a specific military function in the late period.  Cry
 
Not Arithmos of the Walls, and it is not a title but another name for Vigla (and I like it much much more).


-------------
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 16-Aug-2006 at 13:18
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

Last night I was reading in the Treaty of Offices of Pseudo-Kodinos and the titles we were talking about are listed.  He includes the Grand Droungarios of the Watch (bigla/vigla), Droungarios, Droungarios of the Fleet, and Domestikos of the Walls (teicheon).  Perhaps the Arithmos of the Walls either fell out of use or was absorbed into the title of Domestikos of the Walls.  Either way, Kodinos does not tell us if they had a specific military function in the late period.  Cry
 
Not Arithmos of the Walls, and it is not a title but another name for Vigla (and I like it much much more).
 
I know that I mixed up the terms.  Sorry.  Arithmos is a synonym for bigla/vigla.  Anyways, this is what I found in Kodinos:  It seems that Arithmos fell out of use as a term for the watch.
 
What do you think about the discussion Constantine XI proposed and that I replied to?
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Datuna
Date Posted: 16-Aug-2006 at 13:44
Hope it will work!
 
Smth about Trebizond.
In the begining of 13th century trebizond was conquered by georgian queen ''Tamar" who named it as empire setting there her close relative alexy comnenos as a king. Before that georgia encluded the whole region of south caucasus, north tribes were giving tribute so Georgia needed a strong gate through the region from the west, that kingdom was trebizond
which was under georgian enfluence for over a century. During this time it blossomed just like other regions of Georgia and our relations became vital to both of us.



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