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Forum LockedThe Late Byzantine Military (1204-1461)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2007 at 17:53
 
So is this a Russian or Cuman cavalryman opposing Byzantine footsoldiers?  The Byzantine lifting up the shield has on a gilded conical helmet the likes of which we have in a museum.  I think it is from the 8th-9th centuries.
 
This is very similar to the depiction of 13th-14th century Byzantine soldiers in the Osprey series.  However, instead of the klibanion, they seemed to be wearing quilted lamellar armor.  They also have on leather pteryges.
 
 
The depiction of the armor of Constantine XI seems to follow the Mystrean statue that can be seen on the first page of this thread.  He has on traditional Byzantine armor rather than imports from the West.  The far left figure is wearing Western plate armor much like that depicted on a Roman soldier in Nicholas Zafrios' painting of Christ carrying the cross to Calvary.  The gauntlets and elbow pieces on Constantine XI are not Byzantine, however.


Edited by Byzantine Emperor - 11-Aug-2007 at 17:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2007 at 19:13
Are you certain it was specifically Greek fire, eaglecap?

The source that I cited was from John Julius Norwich but I have seen it in other sources.

Any good books about the battle of Manzikert 1071?

Edited by eaglecap - 15-Aug-2007 at 18:26
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jubelu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Aug-2007 at 03:15
Dear Byzantine Emperor:
 
Couple of words in your last two pictures:
We can see that in the second one, the material of the armour is leather. Those, I guess through the formation of each layer, are rather scale armour than lamellar armour. For the infantryman, I particularly interested in his body armour. While he was protected by leather scale armour, he wears a mail coif. This may the difference between Byzantine army in XIV century and the Western armies, those of France for example, had a tendency of prefering mail aventail.
 
The last picture is very doubtful to me. The first soldier from left to right seems to be a Swiss or Flemmish mercenarry. Reason: He is well-equipped with a full plate armour. His body armour shows a German-style armour of Late Medieval, but his helmet is actually an Italian-style sallet. I can say that he is not a Byzantine unit!
 
If those are true, it is possible to judge that the army of Byzantine Empire is an old-fashioned one as compared to other armies from the West:
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jubelu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Aug-2007 at 03:18

For the spears as well. While in Western Europe, Complex polearms gradually replaced linear spears, Byzantine soldiers in the last picture shows that this is another backward of Byzantine Empire.



Edited by Jubelu - 20-Aug-2007 at 03:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeroen72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Aug-2007 at 15:25
To clear things up a bit:
 
The guy om the left in the last pic is a Genoan "volunteer"
 
The man in the middle is described as a cretan archer .
 
The last one is the emperor (obviously Tongue).
 
I'm not crazy enough to type over all descriptions but if someone has questions just ask them Smile
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Aug-2007 at 21:13
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

Couple of words in your last two pictures
 
Not that it matters, but it was Jeroen72 who posted the scanned images.  I was just commenting on them. Smile
 
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

We can see that in the second one, the material of the armour is leather. Those, I guess through the formation of each layer, are rather scale armour than lamellar armour.
 
Yes, you could be right.  But it looks like some kind of quilted, tough material with metal rivets for added deflection.  Perhaps the rivets actually hold together the "scales."  The overal pattern looks different than most klibania, leather or metal.
 
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

For the infantryman, I particularly interested in his body armour. While he was protected by leather scale armour, he wears a mail coif. This may the difference between Byzantine army in XIV century and the Western armies, those of France for example, had a tendency of prefering mail aventail.
 
Are you talking about the first or second picture here?
 
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

The last picture is very doubtful to me. The first soldier from left to right seems to be a Swiss or Flemmish mercenarry. Reason: He is well-equipped with a full plate armour. His body armour shows a German-style armour of Late Medieval, but his helmet is actually an Italian-style sallet. I can say that he is not a Byzantine unit!
 
Again, I am not trying to contend, but I realize he is not wearing Byzantine armor.  And, as you say, he may not even be a Byzantine.  Going along with what I said above, perhaps he is a Byzantine aristocrat wearing plate armor imported from the West.  Loukas Notaras was known to be an Italian sympathizer with republican connections and could have very well paid for such a suit.
 
Originally posted by Jeroen72 Jeroen72 wrote:

The guy om the left in the last pic is a Genoan "volunteer"
 
Probably like those that came with the condottieri captain Giustiniani.  In the Osprey volume on late Byzantine soldiers, there is depicted a Genoese in half-plate carrying a hand-gun or primitive matchlock, incidentally.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jubelu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Aug-2007 at 23:13

We all know that during these last days of Constantinople, a medium proportion of Genoa and Venetian sailors reinforced the emperor. If the first soldier is a Genoa volunteer, it is not astonshing for his helmet. Even this image implied that there was a certain interrelation between Gernamy and Italia, which were both considered as Eurpean Medieval Arsenal.

Had the whole Byzantine Armies were equipped like that Genoa volunteer, the situation might get a different outcome. Underneath his breast plates, we could see he wears chain mail and red, tough silk. Such a soldier was considered sophisticated at the time.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeroen72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Aug-2007 at 02:33
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

For the spears as well. While in Western Europe, Complex polearms gradually replaced linear spears, Byzantine soldiers in the last picture shows that this is another backward of Byzantine Empire.
 
I always got the impression that 15th century polearms were used fighting infantry (and dismouted knights) with heavy armor.
 
Maybe it's not backwardness but lack of necessity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jubelu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Aug-2007 at 14:31
First, we must keep in mind that although 15th century is the first time plate armour developed rapidly and become more popular, the major infantry in Western Europe showed another trend of improving their armour. Frome wearing chain mails, they started wearing lighter material, frabric brigandine. Plate armours were still expensive and only used maily for knights.
 
Heavy polearms replaced linear spears due to the developement of Plate Armour. Until the late 15th century, the only popular type of spear was Partisan.
 
 
The picture shows us a scene from Towton Campaign, 1461, majority of men-at-arms and longbowmen are equipped mainly with light armour such as frabric brigandines or lighter material accompanied with chain mails.
 
The Ottoman army that besieged Constantinople also equipped themselves with heavy polearms. The Anatolian Men-at-arms were even equipped better than their defended adversary, not mentioning the elite Janissary
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Athanasios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Aug-2007 at 07:44

I thought that the Ottomans were less heavily equipped than the westerners of the time. Anyway, i can't really see the advantages of a heavy plate armour against a fast moving army(non static tactics) who used gunpowder and missiles ,like the Ottomans.

I had the perception that the Byz. army during the siege , was described as heavier equipped than the Ottoman. It is characteristic that a noble defender cut in two pieces some of the attackers, but probably those were of the first attacking "wave". I don't have the source available this moment ... may someone illuminate me?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Sep-2007 at 14:06
Are you thinking of the Cretan archers that were found by Mehmet defending the tower in Constantinople?
Sorry for the delay but no! I cannot recall the source so I will have to look it up but maybe from the "Immortal Emperor."

Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jubelu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2007 at 14:10
If you think European Heavy Armour was unable to resist the Turks, you have been wrong. As a schollar who study European armour in Late 15th century and 16th century for nearly 10 years, I will venture to say that until the Plate armour was developed highly in late 15th century, there were no such cuirasses could compare to them in terms of quality of protection. Many experiments have been tested for this feature, including a precise on in University of Ultretch, concluded that Western 16th century plate armours are all able to STOP most of missile weapons, including the Mongol composite bow. After tested them with a Chinese crossbow, there are no even a scar in the surface. However, the Swiss crossbow in late 15th century is able to penetrate the plate, but fails to go through the chain mail layers or padded aketon. The decisive victory of combination of European knights at the siege of Vienna is one of the most typical examples for such an effeciency.
 
The Turks were not equipped so light as you think. The Janissaries in 17th century also wore plate armour. However, their quality is unable to compare to those of Europe, for instance, of Tudor knights.
 
Hope that you can understand now!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Sep-2007 at 23:25
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

If you think European Heavy Armour was unable to resist the Turks, you have been wrong. As a schollar who study European armour in Late 15th century and 16th century for nearly 10 years, I will venture to say that until the Plate armour was developed highly in late 15th century, there were no such cuirasses could compare to them in terms of quality of protection.
 
Yeah, I would agree that it was some of the best material for armor around to protect against missiles and slash attacks.
 
Have you published anything on this topic?
 
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

Many experiments have been tested for this feature, including a precise on in University of Ultretch, concluded that Western 16th century plate armours are all able to STOP most of missile weapons, including the Mongol composite bow. After tested them with a Chinese crossbow, there are no even a scar in the surface. However, the Swiss crossbow in late 15th century is able to penetrate the plate, but fails to go through the chain mail layers or padded aketon.
 
Was the plate tested with both the crossbow and a crank arbalest?  Or is this the "Swiss crossbow" you mentioned?  I have read that some of the Italian and German made plate could even withstand a blast from an arquebus.
 
One of the most fascinating studies done on metallurgy and ballistics testing is:
 

Williams, Alan R. The knight and the blast furnace : a history of the metallurgy of armour in the Middle Ages & the early modern period. Boston: Brill, 2003.

 
It has some beautiful full color photographs of a variety of different armors from the medieval through the early modern periods.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jubelu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2007 at 08:53
The Zhan Ma Dao of China was in the test as well. Mitchell Dickinson, a professor of Ultretch university later recalled that this weapon is able to cut through the plate armour, however, it is unable to touch the layer of aketon and chain mail. Flanged-maces are able to smash the armour with excessive force of attack. It is understandable because they was designed to do so. But if I tell you that all flanged-maces are able to penetrate, it is inaccurate:
 
 
In this image, the first prototype (D6S288A), its length is 90cm which gives it an advantage in penetrating the plate armour, while the second prototype (D788A00) with a shorter length 66cm but with special design in flange could even create more terrible damage. The first prototype is sporadically found in Byzantine armies, the second ones was more available in Western Europe.
 
I would say that Allan R. William is one of the most thorough schollar that I have ever heard of. And your book is indeed a highly recommended reading for military historians. What makes these books unaccessible to students or amateurs is their price.
 
I am working upon some tests that determine some formulars for plate armour in LATE 17th century. It is quite fascinating to see how Spaniards eliminated their adversary in the Battle of Cajarmaca.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Athanasios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2007 at 14:35
"The first prototype is sporadically found in Byzantine armies"

Is it called matzivarvoulon ? I think that Sipahis had a similar one called topuzion . I have no idea about their size, but i think that these were used by cavalry. As for the Byzantines , the katafrakts of the first rows had a kind of "skull crumblier"  but  i  think that only their edge was made from metal...

Anyway, i don't think that western European  armour was unable to provide effective protection against the Ottoman bows.I just can't imagine a  cumbersome army who bases its tactical advantage in heavy armored infantry and cavalry in combination with (probably )inferior archers in comparison to the Ottoman ones, defeating the Ottos. Don't forget that Ottomans used gunpowder widely ( maybe the main reason of the knighthood's collapse and the useless of the heavy armour, especially after the Spanish-Frankish  war  in Italy) .

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2007 at 16:00
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

Flanged-maces are able to smash the armour with excessive force of attack. It is understandable because they was designed to do so.
 
Sometimes smash damage could be just as deadly because it made the wearer unable to take off the armor.  If this happened to a helmet it could be a very ugly situation.
 
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

In this image, the first prototype (D6S288A), its length is 90cm which gives it an advantage in penetrating the plate armour, while the second prototype (D788A00) with a shorter length 66cm but with special design in flange could even create more terrible damage. The first prototype is sporadically found in Byzantine armies, the second ones was more available in Western Europe.
 
That Byzantine mace is nasty looking!  I wonder, have any tests been done on the damage it can inflict on Byzantine klibanion armor?
 
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

I would say that Allan R. William is one of the most thorough schollar that I have ever heard of. And your book is indeed a highly recommended reading for military historians. What makes these books unaccessible to students or amateurs is their price.
 
It is indeed a large and expensive book.  I borrowed it a couple times through interlibrary loan and was not disappointed.
 
Originally posted by Jubelu Jubelu wrote:

I am working upon some tests that determine some formulars for plate armour in LATE 17th century. It is quite fascinating to see how Spaniards eliminated their adversary in the Battle of Cajarmaca.
 
Yes, it does sound very interesting.  Will this be a journal article or part of a book-length project?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeroen72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Sep-2007 at 16:42
A question about this painting:
 
Pisanello's St. George and the Princess of Trebizond.
 
 Who's the guy i marked in red?? He doesn't look very European. Is he Turkish , a Trapezuntine archer? Is he this guy??
 
=>
 
 
What (or who) does he depict?? 
 


Edited by Jeroen72 - 07-Sep-2007 at 16:52
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Sep-2007 at 20:24

Originally posted by Jeroen72 Jeroen72 wrote:

A question about this painting:

 
Pisanello's St. George and the Princess of Trebizond.
 
You will also notice the mounted knight figure on the right hand side of the painting.  It does not show it on this reproduction.
 
Please see the discussion we had earlier in this thread on the Trapezuntine military.  We looked at this painting among others.
 
 
 
 
Originally posted by Jeroen72 Jeroen72 wrote:

Who's the guy i marked in red?? He doesn't look very European. Is he Turkish , a Trapezuntine archer? Is he this guy??
 
It could be either.  As you can see from the earlier discussions, the retinue of John VIII Palaiologos had a heavy Ottoman influence in their style of horseback riding and the way they handled the bow (we know this from the Spanish traveller Clavijo's account).  On the other hand, it could indeed be a Turkish mercenary of some sort.  The Florentine artist Pisanello, who did the painting, cast a medallion for John VIII and the reverse shows what appears to be cavalry dressed in a Turkish manner. 
 
Trebizond, of course, was surrounded by several different Turkish mountain tribes.  So it is conceivable that Turks could have been in the Trapezuntine army and imperial guard.


Edited by Byzantine Emperor - 07-Sep-2007 at 20:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Sep-2007 at 22:53
I found this kewl battle scene but it hardly looks like Constantinople.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZbmqQnMnYQ&mode=related&search=
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Saber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2007 at 10:30
wow I'm really impressed by this thread, splendid topic.
Concerning Jebulu post, I don't agree with a few things.
The "linear spear" did not go into extinction. As a matter of fact, it's role has increased, and because of becoming a "specialized" weapon it become less popular. The spear reemerged as the pike, a infantry weapon which would dominate 16th century onward. Further the spear also had an impact on the elite of Western armies. The reason for increasing use of polearms, is because of the power of the simple spear. A weapon such as the polearm, combined the cutting abilities of an axe, and thrusting abilities of a spear, i.e the perfect weapon.
 
 
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