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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > heavy lancers of the ancient world Reply to topic
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William P

Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,498

PostPosted: Wed 12 Jun, 2019 7:24 am    Post subject: heavy lancers of the ancient world         Reply with quote

so im looking to ask about who made use of lancer cavary armed with a kontos or some similar long lance during the 1st-3rd century AD around europe and eurasia, i am in particular looking for those the romans made contact with.

I am already familiar with the parthians with their conical helmets and manica with their kontos lance
and also heard that armenia may have been similar, but who else, possibly bactria, and possible those in the eurasian steppes of the province of 'scythia'?
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Sean Manning

Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 746

PostPosted: Wed 12 Jun, 2019 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi William,

what kind of research are you thinking of doing? If you just want a couple of books, there is a new one by Pen and Sword which I have not read yet: Erich B. Anderson, Cataphracts: The Knights of the Ancient Eastern World (2017)

I would also track down Valerii P. Nikonorov, Armies of Bactria in 2 volumes (Montvert, 1997) and Philip De Souza (ed.), The Ancient World at War. A Global History (London: Thames and Hudson, 2008) There are also some journal articles on the Roman period in particular.

Broadly speaking, armoured men on armoured horses wielding lances in both hands have reached areas like Chorasmia/Sogdia/Bactria by the 4th century BCE, and after Alexander they spread across the old Persian empire except for Egypt and across the steppes to the Danube. But armoured cavalry armed with lances and long swords had existed earlier as far west as Thrace and Macedonia, and they had all that they needed to gallop into combat in dense masses (and in fact, some people suspect that cataphracts entered combat more slowly and tried to push and spear-fence their way into enemy formations using the length of their spears, the height and weight of their horses, and their terrifying armour). These weren't the first heavy cavalry, they just had a specific style of equipment and fighting which was very successful in different environments.
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