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Nikephorean Byzantine

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 10 months ago

Nikephorian Byzantine 963 AD - 1024 AD (III/64)


1. Ulf Olsson's proposed Nikephorian list

2. Michael Anastasiadis' proposed Middle Byzantine list

3. Byzantine artillery

4. Grading javelinmen



4. Grading javelinmen


Author: Toby Partridge



Grade Akontistai javelinmen as Ax (O) or Ax (S) instead of Ps (S)




In the published DBM Nikephorian and Konstantinian Byzantine lists, the akontistai infantry javelinmen are graded as Ps (S). Michael Anastasiadis' proposed Middle Byzantine list still grades javelinmen as Ps(S); Ulf Olsson's proposed Nikephorian list gives them the option of Ps or of Ax (O).


Is there any reason why they are graded as Ps rather than as Ax(O) or Ax(S)?


The Praecepta says "...whenever the cavalry wheels about under pursuit from the enemy and enters the formation, the javelineers will press forward into the opening and turn the enemy away, with the archers and slingers ranked in with them cooperating in this task." (p15, last sentence) - assuming that the pursuing enemy are cavalry themselves, this doesn't sound an appropriate activity for Ps(S) supported by Ps(O).


Later (p19, first sentence), he says "All the akontistai ought to have shields more modest in size than the heavy infantrymen, but the rest of their equipment should be the same as theirs.", although this equipment is admittedly pretty light - tunic, boots and a felt cap.


Later (p19, section 12) he says "The javeliners (akontistai) should go out through the two intervals on both sides to join battle with the enemy kataphractoi and divert them." - again fairly suicidal for Ps(S) but more appropriate for supported Ax(S).


Later (p27, section 8, end of page) he describes the javelineers and archers to hasten to the aid of the cavalry (who are engaged with the enemy at this point).


Nowhere can I find a reference to the akontistai/javelineers skirmishing in a way reminiscent of classical psiloi, rather they are always being used as a more mobile arm to plug holes and fight enemy cavalry. This suggests Auxilia rather than psiloi classification. Note that under DBMM, unlike DBM, their own cavalry could move through auxilia without penalty. Under DBM, metal body-armour or a long spear as well as javelins is required for Auxilia (S) classification; under DBMM the capacity to fight at close quarters is enough, not particular items of equipment. The Byzantine akontistai would seem to fit the DBMM definition of Ax (S) if not the DBM one.


MC: IMO the justifications proposed by Toby are probably adequate for these troops to be classed as Bd as much as Ax.


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