By John Haldon
This publication lines the 800-year heritage of Byzantium. From the early doubtful years of the Empire, to the triumphal interval whilst its wealth attracted Viking and Asian warriors to affix its armies, and eventually to the dying of Byzantium's final emperor in 1453, the Empire's army heritage is laid naked.
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Additional resources for Byzantium at War AD 600-1453 (Essential Histories)
The growing political and cultural influence of the world around Byzantium, which had been held at bay for so long, meant that the empire was becoming more and more integrated into the tactical world of the lands around it. Byzantine order and discipline remained a significant element in the empire's armies, but the latter were a polyglot and multi-ethnic mixture of Seljuk, Pecheneg or Cuman horse archers, Norman, German and Frankish knights, Bulgarian and Anatolian light infantry, Georgians and Alans from the Caucasus, imperial guards recruited from outside the empire (Varangians, for example, from the 1070s chiefly made up of Anglo-Saxons who had left recently conquered Norman England).
The further away from Constantinople, the more likely such regulations are to have been ignored. By the 10th century the greater diversity in origins, military value and contexts in which soldiers for different types of unit were recruited must have led to an equal diversity in their conditions of enlistment and service, not just between simple thematic soldiers and soldiers of the imperial tagmata but between foreign units and the mercenary soldiers recruited for specific campaigns. 62 Essential Histories • Byzantium at War All soldiers paid by the government, whether tagmata or themata, were listed in military registers, copies of which were maintained in their province and in the government department responsible at Constantinople.
In a 10th-century account, for example, detailing some of the preparations for an expediton by sea, some provinces were commissioned to produce a certain number of weapons: the region of Thessaloniki was ordered to deliver 200,000 arrows, 3,000 heavy infantry spears and 'as many shields as possible'; the region of Hellas was asked to produce 1,000 heavy infantry spears; while the governor of Eurippos in Greece, and the commanders of the themes of Nikopolis and of the Peloponnese all undertook to provide 200,000 arrows and 3,000 heavy infantry spears.
Byzantium at War AD 600-1453 (Essential Histories) by John Haldon