Monday, October 26, 2020

Start of the Komnenan Byzantines

 I always enjoy doing s bit of research when embarking on a  new army which I have little knowledge of. A Byzantine force has long been an army which has been on my radar for my Crusades based games. The release of the new Dragon Lion Rampant: The Crusader States, was all the inspiration I needed to get this force up and running at last, well that and the new fireforge kickstarter from earlier in the year which I happily backed.

 The Komnenan Byzantine Army   

The Byzantrine (aka the Eastern Roman) Empire survived many centuries after the fall of the Western empire and its army was one of the most powerful and effective military forces in the world. However, the army over the centuries the army did dcline and the disaster at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 destroyed much of the professional standing army (the Tagmata) which had provided the core of the Byzantine army. At Manzikert, units tracing their lineage to the Roman Empire were wiped out, and the subsequent loss of Anatolia deprived the Empire of its main recruiting ground.  not only that but the Empire was facng addiotnal threats posed by the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, the expansionist activities of the principality of Dioclea (Duklja) and by Pecheneg (Patzinak) raids across the Danube.

The death knell of the traditional Byzantine army was at the Battle of Dyrrachion in 1081, where Alexios I was very heavily defeated by the Normans of southern Italy. However,  in time Alexios was able to slowly rebuild the army and restore the power of the Byzantine Empire. The new army had a core of units which were both professional and disciplined, elite units such as the famous Varangian Guard and other foreign mercenary regiments, not to mention units of professional soldiers recruited from the provinces. These provincial troops included kataphraktoi cavalry from Macedonia, Thessaly and Thrace, plus various other provincial forces. Alongside troops raised and paid for directly by the state the Komnenian army included the armed followers of members of the wider imperial family and provincial aristocracy. 

The rise of the Komnenan army coincided with the rise of the Crusades in Western Europe and the Byzantines were to prove to be allies, rivals and enemies of the Crusader states.  

The first units:

2x units of Skoutatoi, spear armed infantry

I need a couple of units of misile troops,  some Frankish knights, a couple of units of both medium cavalry and  lighter cavalry to round the force out but at least it is under way. 




  1. SUperb and very impressive Skutatois!!

  2. Thank you both. I am quite impressed with the firefrge Byzantines. Alas two units does not an army make... but it is a start!

  3. ... a very good start. If I have a quibble, it is a very personal one: I would not have chosen green as the shield colour, because your table backgrounds are likely to be green... ish. It is a very nice green, though...

  4. Good point Archduke! I'll probaably mainly use them on sandy/deserty/medetteanean themed tables, well at home any way. I've not had any greens I've liked for a long time- mainly dark WWII colours, so while up for the game of Dragon Rampant the other day stopped in at the local model store and grabbed half a dozen lighter shades and that is the one I liked best, Vallejo Park Green flat. I don't uslly do Green shields etc and wanted them to be a bit different from my typicial colours- though truth be told I was eyig up the transfers for them.

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