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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Komnenian army Heavy Cavalry arms and armour. Reply to topic
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Rodolfo Martínez




Location: Argentina
Joined: 30 Nov 2006

Posts: 347

PostPosted: Mon 22 Sep, 2008 7:41 pm    Post subject: Komnenian army Heavy Cavalry arms and armour.         Reply with quote

Hello guys.

I was reading an article about the Komnenian army (12th-13th century), and i wish to know if the heavy cavalry wore short sleeved-knee-lenght mail shirts over the Kavadion, and under the lamellar Klivanion.
Is there any proof of Byzantine ¨knights¨ usinf such gear (Specially reliable pictorial or a contemporary writter notes)?

Thanks.

¨Sólo me desenvainarás por honor y nunca me envainarás sin gloria¨
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Sep, 2008 9:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the Komnenian period, Byzantine armors were beginning to look very, very Western European, so a simple Norman-style hauberk would probably be a lot more appropriate than a klivanion over mail. The quilted kavadion probably stuck around but was far from being universal since there were some depictions and accounts of unarmored troops among the Byzantines at this time. There's a wargaming interpretation that might help here:

http://nwa.org.au/dba/armies/komenan/komnenan.html

A translation of Anna Comnena's Alexiad is also available for free at the Medieval Sourcebook--it's a bit earlier than the period you have in mind since it chronicles the earliest part of the Komnenian dynasty's reign, but it might still give some useful hints nevertheless:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/annacomnena-alexiad.html
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Rodolfo Martínez




Location: Argentina
Joined: 30 Nov 2006

Posts: 347

PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2008 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Lafayette.
Do you know then when Byzantine Kataphraktoi used lamellar armour over a mail shirt? (If used) And if there is any period representation?

Thanks.

¨Sólo me desenvainarás por honor y nunca me envainarás sin gloria¨
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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Reading list: 7 books

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PostPosted: Fri 03 Oct, 2008 1:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hard to say--I must admit to being not quite up to date with this stuff. In the part of the Komnenian era that you're talking about, though--the 12th and 13th centuries, that is--the Byzantines didn't seem to have had classical cataphracts anymore. It's interesting to note that cataphracts seemed to disappear somewhere in the middle of the 6th century (between Procopius's writeup of Belisarius's campaigns and (pseudo-)Maurice's Strategikon), then reappeared in the 9th or 10th century or so (starting with the anonymous Sylloge Taktikon) only to vanish again early in the 11th. The latest attested evidence we have for them is records of some garrison troops in 1001 or 1011(?).

So maybe you don't have to worry about the proper look of cataphracts at all--just illustrate the Byzantine heavy cavalry in the "Frankish" style with mail hauberk and all.
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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
Joined: 29 Feb 2008

Posts: 253

PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs I may be all wrong, but wasn't the rise of the Mercenary army based on Turk and West European soldiers under Anna Comnenius' father Alexios caused by the combined collapse of the theme system of recruitment and Emperor Diogenes Romanus' defeat by the Turks in which he lost most of his army? I think a great many changes in the tactics and armament of the Empire were the result of this. All the efforts of Emperior Alexios to raise any army anywhere (Including helping start the Crusades), are detailed in a number of Historys of Byzantium(Norwich's History of Byzantium being the best) and rhey all emphasize that the Empire was bare naked so to speak when Alexios seized the throne.
Ja68ms
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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
Joined: 29 Feb 2008

Posts: 253

PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs-as a P.S. I add the the battle where Emperior Diogenes lost his Army, which was most of what the empire had left, was the battle of Manzikurt, if that helps you place the dates. The reason the Empire didn't have the army it did under the previous dynasty,(The Macedonian Dynasty, founded by a Macedonian ,go figue) is that towards the end of the macedonian dynasty the nobility were buying up free peseant land like crazy. This wrecked the old army recruiting systm, the theme system, whereby each free peasent family was required to furmish one man for the theme(military district)
Ja68ms
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 9:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople in 1205 and took temporary control. I would expect a very heavy western influence in their arms after that. I am sure they started picking up ideas from the very first crusade that passed through.
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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
Joined: 29 Feb 2008

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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis- that is true but much too late. Emperor Alexios Commnenus was hiring mercenaries from the Norman knights that conquered Italy fron 1020 on, plus it was his influence with Pope Urban that helped start the First Crusade. (Not that Alexios wanted a Crusade, he wanted those valuable French and Norman knights, preferably an army of them,which he would not only pay well, but cede land in the Empire to hold on a feudal basis or land South of Antioch that the Empire didn't have the strength to hold anymore.) That was why he did not object to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, but objected strenously to the Principality of Antioch.The Crusaders never really grasped that they were being Paid to re-conquer the lands between the City and Antioch, and that they would be Alexios' feudal tennants for lands between the City and Antioch that they settled.
Ja68ms
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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
Joined: 29 Feb 2008

Posts: 253

PostPosted: Mon 03 Nov, 2008 2:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vasilis-I mixes up a date in my last post. The Normans starte infiltrating Italy around 1020 or so, the Emperior Alexios started hiring them around 1060, and Emperior Diogenes Romanus was defeated by the seljuk turks around 1010 or so which is why the Norman Mecernaries started infiltrating Italy, the Empire couldn't defend its Italian possessions properly.
Ja68ms
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