byzantine empire military

This further reduced the resources available to the empire and its military system, as large regions passed outside central control. The men were also to have "swords and round neck pieces of the Avar type with linen fringes outside and wool inside." These levies included cataphract cavalry from Macedonia, Thessaly and Thrace, and various other provincial forces from regions such as the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor. Constantine didn’t create a new Empire he divided the existing Roman Empire into two administrative parts, which historians since the 1600’s have called the Eastern administration Byzantines. About half the cavalry consisted of heavy cavalry (including the stablesiani). Φοιδεράτοι) in Greek. Soldiers were also drawn from defeated peoples, such as the Pechenegs (cavalry archers), and the Serbs, who were used as settlers stationed at Nicomedia. However, the largest field army mentioned in the Strategikon is a force of 34,384 (16,384 heavy infantry, 8,000 light-armed troops and 10,000 cavalry) which is given as an example of "the past, when the legions were composed of large numbers of men." Defended the Empire during the Second Siege of Constantinople against an invading Arab army of 80,000 men and a fleet of over 2,500 ships. It was these same barbarian mercenaries that Emperor Justinian had used to help his legions reclaim the lost Roman territories of the West, which including Italy, North Africa, Sicily, and Gaul. Yet, as we shall see, at the end of the twelfth century the competent leadership upon which the effectiveness of the Komnenian army depended largely disappeared. While the theme system's demise did play a major role in the empire's military decline, other factors were important as well. These can be fired a great distance with the bows and cause harm to the enemy. Since much of the Byzantine military focused on the strategy and skill of generals utilizing militia troops, heavy infantry were recruited from Frankish and later Varangian mercenaries. The most famous of all Byzantine regiments was the legendary Varangian Guard. "[19], The strength of the Byzantine army and navy in 565 is estimated by Teadgold to have been 379,300 men, with a field army and part of the guards totaling 150,300, and the frontier troops, part of the guards and the oarsmen totaling 229,000. Only in the eleventh century, when the theme system and its free peasantry were abandoned, did the empire become weak and vulnerable. Since much of the Byzantine military focused on the strategy and skill of generals utilizing militia troops, heavy infantry were recruited from Frankish and later Varangian mercenaries. The Byzantines resisted the third attack by the Sultan's elite Janissaries and according to some accounts on both sides were on the brink of repelling them, but a Genoan general in charge of a section of the defense, Giovanni Giustiniani, was grievously wounded during the attack, and his evacuation from the ramparts caused a panic in the ranks of the defenders.

The Byzantine general Belisarius used Hunnic archers and Heruli mercenaries in his army to reclaim North Africa and the Balearic Islands from the Vandals, and in 535–537, he recruited Heruli infantry and Hunnic horsemen to help him secure Sicily and all of southern Italy, as well as defend the city of Rome from the Ostrogoths.

There were also auxiliary tagmata, such as the Noumeroi (Gr. Byzantium had come to rely too much on individual emperors, and its continued survival was now no longer certain. This, combined with their greater numbers, allowed them to provide greater defense in depth.

Tactics, organization and equipment had been largely modified to deal with the Persians. The considerable wealth and diplomatic skill of the Komnenian emperors, their constant attention to military matters, and their frequent energetic campaigning, had largely countered this change. The culmination of the empire's military disintegration under the Angeloi was reached on 13 April 1204, when the armies of the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople. For all of the reasons above, it is possible to argue that the demise of the theme system was a great loss to the Byzantine empire.

Native troops were organised into regular units and stationed in both the Asian and European provinces. The Roman-Byzantine Castle of Harput in Anatolia. It took three decades of internal strife before Alexios I Komnenos (1081 to 1118) restored stability to the Byzantines.

These include: After 1204 the emperors of Nicaea continued some aspects of the system established by the Komneni. Byzantium never really recovered from this debacle. [5] Ἀθάνατοι, the "Immortals") after the old Persian unit. Consequently, they were of inferior quality. Simon MacDowall, pages 3-4 "Late Roman Infantryman 236-565 AD", Simon MacDowall, page 28, "Late Roman Cavalryman 236-565 AD", ISBN1 85532 567 5, Simon MacDowall, pages 25-26, "Late Roman Cavalryman 236-565 AD", ISBN1 85532 567 5. Usually cavalry, pronoiars would have been equipped with mail armour, lances, and horse barding. Another period of neglect of the military followed in the reign of Andronikos II Palaiologos, which allowed Anatolia to fall prey to an emerging power, the Ottoman emirate. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful eco…

In addition to these more or less stable units, any number of shorter-lived tagmata were formed as favoured units of various emperors. The size of a retinue of bucellarii depended on the wealth of the employer. Another famous commander of the time was the imperial eunuch Narses, who defeated a Gothic army at Busta Gallorum on the eastern coast of Italy in 552. Byzantine battlefield tactics, although highly flexible and adaptable, were based invariably on archery first, then shock assault as needed. The Komnenian successes were undone by the subsequent Angeloi dynasty, leading to the dissolution of the Empire at the hands of the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

These wore a steel helmet and a coat of mail, and carried a spear, axe and dagger. [13], The Strategikon's author gives us a fair picture of the Byzantine army and its troops, including the equipment borrowed from the Herules, Goths, Slavs and especially the Avars, once barbarian enemies all.

The Eastern Empire dates from the creation of the Tetrarchy ("Quadrumvirate") by the Emperor Diocletian in 293. Other barbarians included the Huns, who had invaded the divided Roman Empire during the second quarter of the 5th century under Attila, and the Gepids, who had settled in the Romanian territories north of the Danube River. Pronoiar troops began to appear during the twelfth century, particularly during the reign of the emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1143–1180). Timothy Dawson, pages 10, 34 and 38 "Byzantine Cavalry c900-1204".

However, there is evidence that the thematic armies of earlier centuries had provided the empire with a numerically superior force. 971–975, lists almost 90 strategoi of themes and other military commands.[24]. Under the direction of the thematic strategoi, tourmarchai commanded from two up to four divisions of soldiers and territory, called tourmai. Eastern Anatolia saw many huge military campaigns from Roman to Byzantine times. Originally, the term cataphract referred to a type of armour worn to cover the whole body and that of the horse. Additionally, during the Komnenian period, the mercenary units would simply be divided by ethnicity and called after their native lands: the Inglinoi (Englishmen), the Phragkoi (Franks), the Skythikoi (Scythians), the Latinikoi (Latins), and so on. Their tactics probably consisted of skirmishing and ambushes in order to catch the fast-moving Turkish horse-archers. The name is peculiar; Treadgold's closest guess is that thema was being used to denote "emplacements". Although the empire had expanded enormously through conquest, the basic role of the Byzantine army was defensive. στρατηγός, strategos) exercised both civilian and military jurisdiction and a Judge (Κριτής του Θέματος, Krites tou thematos) held the judicial power. Again, the fear of empowering effective revolts was largely behind these subdivisions. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Empirein 1453. By 840, the population had grown by a million, while the army had expanded to a total strength of 154,600. [citation needed] The regiments were commanded by a tribunus ("tribune") and brigaded in pairs[citation needed] (cavalry units did, too) under a comes. [32], There was also the Hetaireia (Gr. These troops generally had mail armour, large shields, and were armed with swords and spears. One of the great secrets of the ancient world is the exact composition of Greek fire, but it probably contained pitch, kerosene, sulfur, resin, naphtha, and quicklime. Like their predecessors, the Roman legions, the Byzantine units formed a professional standing army which was trained to near-perfection as a fighting machine. The Allies. It contained formidable guards units such as the Varangian Guard and the Immortals (a unit of heavy cavalry) stationed in Constantinople, and also levies from the provinces. "[14], The manual then describes horse gear and the trooper's clothing. The Scholae Palatinae units, which were more properly known as the Schola Protectores Domestici and the "Protective Association of the Royal Escort" (also called the Obsequium), were the personal guard of the Emperor, and were created to replace the Praetorian Guard disbanded by Constantine I.

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