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Κωνσταντινούπολη, Βασιλίς πόλεων

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Η παρούσα ανάρτηση αφορά τις εντυπωσιακές αναπαραστάσεις της Κωνσταντινούπολης, της ‘Βασιλίδος πόλεων’, από τον σημαντικό Γάλλο καλλιτέχνη  Antoine Helbert. Εντυπωσιάσθηκα ιδιαίτερα από τις διατομές του και τις απόψεις από αέρος. Οι ακόλουθες αναπαραστάσεις περιλαμβάνουν πέντε απόψεις της Πόλης από αέρος (οι οποίες απεικονίζουν μεταξύ πολλών άλλων κτισμάτων, τον Ιππόδρομο, την Αγία Σοφία κ.α.), δύο διατομές της Αγίας Σοφίας (από τις οποίες η μία είναι λεπτομέρεια της άλλης), διατομές του Βουκολέοντος ήτοι του παράκτιου αυτοκρατορικού παλατίου, και του Περιστυλίου του Μεγάλου Παλατίου, τα τείχη της Πόλης το 1204 όταν οι Σταυροφόροι είχαν στρατοπεδεύσει μπροστά τους, και τέλος τη σκληρή μάχη εναντίον των Οθωμανών στην πύλη του Αγίου Ρωμανού το 1453.

© Τα πνευματικά δικαιώματα των ακολούθων αναπαραστάσεων ανήκουν στον Antoine Helbert.

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Constantinople, Queen of cities –part IΙ

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© Credit/copyright of the following representations belongs to Antoine Helbert.

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Constantinople, Queen of cities – part I

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Today I’ m posting the impressive representations of Constantinople, the Byzantine ‘Queen of cities’, by Antoine Helbert, a French artist. I was impressed mostly by his cross-sections and aerial views. The following representations include five aerial views of Constantinople (depicting among many other features the Hippodrome, the cathedral of Aghia Sophia and many others), two cross-sections of Aghia Sophia (the one being a detail of the other), cross-sections of Boukoleon being the royal palace by the sea, and the Peristylion of the central grand palace and its hall, the walls of the city in 1204 when the Crusaders camped in front of them, and finally the battle at the gate of St. Romanos in 1453 when the city was besieged and captured by the Ottomans.

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© Credit/copyright of the following representations belongs to Antoine Helbert.

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Cataphractarii! (3) – The cataphract cavalry in a period of 2,500 years

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Continued from Part 2

Mongol 3

Mongol cataphract, 13th century.

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By Periklis  Deligiannis

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Cataphractarii! (2) – The cataphract cavalry in a period of 2,500 years

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Continued from Part I

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sassanid cataphract

A superb restoration of a Sassanid  cataphract (credit: Total War: Rome II, Sega).

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By Periklis  Deligiannis

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Cataphractarii! (I) – The cataphract cavalry in a period of 2,500 years

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cataphract

The onslaught of a unit of Sassanid or Central Asia Iranian  cataphracts in a marvelous artwork by Mariusz Kozik (credit: Creative Assembly Sega/Mariusz Kozik).

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By Periklis  Deligiannis

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The following text is a small part of the Introduction of my study: Kataphraktarii and Clibanarii: Late Roman full-armoured cavalry. Along with it I give a gallery of cataphracts from most of the ethnic and cultural regions in which their use was spread over a period of two and a half millennia.
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The first cataphracts or clibanarii were rather an invention of the Iranian Saka tribes of the Central Asian steppes – being the ancestors of the Sarmatians, the Scythians, the Dahae and the Massagetae among many others – or the non-Iranian but Indo-European as well Tocharians of the same steppes that is the ancestors of the Wu Sun and the Yuezhi of the Chinese chronicles. The term  cataphract is a Greek word (κατάφρακτος) meaning the ‘fully armoured’ warrior and was adopted by the Romans (catafractarius) while the other almost synonymous Latin term clibanarius is actually the Latinized and originally Iranian term grivpanvar which is possibly analyzed as grivapanabara, meaning the bearer of neck-guard plates being a feature of the early cataphracts. I prefer to use the more correct verbal type kataphraktos which is closer to the original Greek word κατάφρακτος but in this abstract I will use the Latin-originated term cataphract in order not to confuse the reader.

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Evidence for an origin of the Armenians from Bronze Age mixing of multiple populations

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Republication from biorxiv.org

67984563454[Map credit: armenica.org]

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Marc Haber, Massimo Mezzavilla, Yali Xue, David Comas, Paolo Gasparini, Pierre Zalloua, Chris Tyler-Smith

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The Armenians are a culturally isolated population who historically inhabited a region in the Near East bounded by the Mediterranean and Black seas and the Caucasus, but remain underrepresented in genetic studies and have a complex history including a major geographic displacement during World War One. Here, we analyse genome-wide variation in 173 Armenians and compare them to 78 other worldwide populations. We find that Armenians form a distinctive cluster linking the Near East, Europe, and the Caucasus. We show that Armenian diversity can be explained by several mixtures of Eurasian populations that occurred between ~3,000 and ~2,000 BCE, a period characterized by major population migrations after the domestication of the horse, appearance of chariots, and the rise of advanced civilizations in the Near East.

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MIDDLE BYZANTINE FIGHTING TACTICS AGAINST MUSLIM ARMIES

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Byzantine armor(Dumbarton  oaks)

Eastern Roman/Byzantine  armour (Dumbarton Oaks – cuirasses made by  the  armourer  Dimitris  Katsikis)

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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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The  military  action  of  the  Arabs,  Iranians  and  other  early  Muslims  against  the  Middle  Byzantine  Empire,  was  characterized  mainly  by  rapid  raids  in  Asia Minor,  which  were  carried  out  in  some  cases  by  numerous  troops.  The  scope  of  the  invaders  was  widespread,  reaching  sometimes  Propontis  (Sea of Marmara).  The  Muslim  attacks  were  ranging  from  simple  raids  of  several  hundred  fighters,  to  massive  invasions  of  tens  of  thousands.  However,  most  attacks  were  aimed  at  looting.  The  reported  large  numbers  (in  some  cases)  of  the  invaders,  their  increased  speed  while  advancing  and  their  large  radius  of  action,  although  these  strategic  elements  seem  incompatible  from  the  strategic  point  of  view,  they  were  consistent  without  problems  in  the  case  of  the  Muslims.  This  was  due  to  their  mostly  light  military  equipment,  to  the  presence  of  a  large  percentage  of  cavalry  among  them  (usually  the  majority  of  their  armies  in  this  period)  and  to  the  use  of  numerous  camels  and  horses.

The  camels  carried  supplies  and  people,  and  were  particularly  useful  in  long  campaigns.  The  Arab  horsemen  were  riding  them  in  the  process  of  a  campaign,  in  order  not  to  tire  the  horses.  They  rode  the  horses  almost  only  in  battles.  They  also  used  to  bring  together  large  numbers  of  horses,  in  order  to  change  them  and  thus  the  animals  would  be  rested.  The  camels  had  infinite  resistance  to  hunger  and  thirst  on  long  marches.  They  could  traverse  long  distances  without  stopping  frequently  to  rest  and  eat,  thus  providing  a  significant  strategic  advantage  to  the  Muslim  troops.

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MIDDLE BYZANTINE (EAST ROMAN) GENERIC TACTICS AND STRATEGY (Part II)

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Byzantine St-LucasByzantine fresco depicting Joshua (from the Hosios Loukas monastery, 12th century AD) bearing a lamellar ‘clibanion’  (‘klibanion’) cuirass, and armed with a “kontarion” (spear) and a “spathion” (sword). The figure is sometimes considered as a model of the appearance and equipment of the Byzantine “skoutatoi” heavy infantrymen.
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CONTINUED from PART I
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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In the order of battle in front of the front line, units of archers and some javeliners and slingers (and a few light horse-archers) were lined up. Those units were usually starting the imperial attack with their missiles against the enemy army in order to cause confusion on its ranks, in order for the attack of the armored cavalry of the first line to follow. The lightly armed Byzantines were usually engaged in skirmishes with their enemy counterparts before the main combat, but when threatened by heavy enemy units conducting a frontal assault on them, they were fleeing behind the line of their fellow horsemen.
Over the centuries, the native Byzantine archers and horse-archers were gradually replaced by Altaic and Alanic mercenary horse-archers (the so-called “Prokoursatores“, see below) who additionally used their favorite nomad tactics of “feigned retreat” at the start of the battle. According to those tactics, they were pretending to have been defeated in the initial skirmishes with the enemy forces so that they could lure them in their pursuit. The ultimate goal of this nomadic vanguard was to disband the ranks of the advancing enemies because of the speed of the ‘chase’, so that they would be unorganized enough when they would face the attack of the Byzantine frontline armored cavalry. In this case, the imperial horse-archers were galloping through the interstices of the front line to the safety of the rear, while the marching enemy who had considerably lost his compact order, confronted the “catapultic” attack of the Bucellarii, Kavallarii or Cataphract cavalry.

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MIDDLE BYZANTINE (EAST ROMAN) GENERIC TACTICS AND STRATEGY (Part I)

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Skylitzes
A battle between Byzantine and Arab cavalry, from the Madrid Skylitzes manuscript (late 13th century, but representative enough of the late phase of the Middle Period). A bloody fighting is taking place with decapitations and troopers trampled by the horses. Byzantines and Muslims alike wear mostly scale armor
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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The Middle Byzantine Age (7th-12th c. AD) was decisive for the history of the Byzantine Empire. The loss of the Middle Eastern provinces and Egypt by the invading Arabs marks its beginnings, but the “hard core” of the Empire managed to halt the forces of the invaders at the eastern border of Asia Minor, and additionally the forces of the numerous Avaro-Slavic and Proto-Bulgarian (and other Later Hunnic nomad) raiders at the Balkan borders. The experienced Byzantine Army being after all the descedant of the Roman Imperial Army, went on dealing effectively with the pressure by the same enemies and also by the Lombards (Longobards) and the Franks in Italy and some new nomadic peoples on the borders of the Balkan peninsula (Byzantine Sicily and Northwest Africa (modern Maghreb) were finally conquered by the Arabs). Its strengthening during the reign of the emperor Nikephoros Phokas (963-969) led to a strong imperial counterattack on all fronts ending in major territorial recoveries of the “Byzantine Epic Era” (this term has been used by the modern historical research, to denote the period around 963-1025 AD).

However, the fatigue of the army because of the war effort, and especially its neglect due to a series of weak emperors and the civil strife during the fifty years which followed the brilliant reign of Basil II (976-1025) to the Battle of Manzikert (AD 1071) and after that, led to its rapid weakening. Finally, new dangerous enemies, the Seljuq Turks in Asia Minor and the Normans in Italy and the Balkan Peninsula, gave decisive blows to the Empire. The renowned Byzantine army never managed to recover from the disaster of Manzikert, despite the best efforts of some emperors and some temporary military successes. The parallel decline of the Thematic administrative and military organization of the state which declined after the battle of Manzikert and was eventually abolished, had an additional negative role in the weakening of the army. The imperial defense was further weakened, leading to the capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204.

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Fighting Tactics and Strategy of the Middle Byzantine Armies against Slavs & Eurasian Steppe Peoples – PART II

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aaaaaaByzantine  iron  mail  cuirass  (Byzantine  Museum,  Athens,  Photo copyright: Giovanni  Dall’ Orto).

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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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Continued from PART  I

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The  best  time  of   the  year  to  unleash  a  campaign  against  the  steppe  peoples  was  February  or  March,  when  the    nomad  horses  were  not  in  a  good  physical  condition,  due  to  their  stress  from  the  winter  weather.
When  a  Byzantine  army  defended  the  imperial  territory  against  the  nomad  onslaught,  it  was  better  for  its  commander  to  cover  its  rear  which  could  be  rapidly  overtaken  by  galloping  enemy  horse-archers,  having  in  the  back  of  the  imperial  army  an  impassable  for  horses  geophysical  obstacle  (rugged  terrain,  river,  marshes  etc.).  During  the  battle,  the  Byzantine  frontline  should  be  consisted  of  infantry  spearmen (a  sort  of  pikemen),  who  pointed  their  spearheads  against  the  enemy  horses.  Usually  the  Byzantine  infantrymen  could  confront  the  steppe  warriors  more  effectively  than  the  imperial  cavalrymen,  so  the  Byzantine  infantry  and  cavalry  should  not  in  any  way,  be  severed  during  the  battle  against  them.  The  steppe  horse-archers  usually  feared  of  the  Middle  Byzantine  infantry  archers,  because  their  bows  had  usually  a  greater  range  of  bowshot  than  their  own  nomadic.  Both  of  them  (Byzantines  and  nomads)  used  types  of  composite  bows (mostly  of  Hunnic  design)  but  the  Middle  Byzantine  bows  were  more  effective.  The  tactics  of  the  combined  military  action  of  the  imperial  frontline  (infantry  spearmen)  with  the  archers of  the  middle  lines  of  the  Byzantine  order  of  battle  (who  hurled  bowshots  over  the  heads  of  their  fellow  spearmen),  were  almost  impossible  to  be  encountered  by  the  nomad  horse-archers.  Generally,  the  nomads  could  hardly  break  a  defensive  formation  of  this  type,  even  if  they  unleashed  against  it their  cataphracts/heavy  cavalry  (which  would  be  confronted  immediately  by  the  enemy  heavy  cavalry – Byzantine  or  any  other  imperial).
From  the  6th  century and on, the  Byzantine  Empire  had  to  deal  with  the  Slavic  invasion  of  its  territories.  The  Slavs  were  led  initially  by  Altaic (mostly  Turkic),  Sarmatian  and  other  steppe  tribes  which  had  been  imposed  to  them  as  suzerains  (sometimes  without  any  Slavic  reaction  as  it  seems,  due  to  the  military  benefits  for  the  Slavs  from  their  cooperation  in  raids  with  the  powerful  nomad  cavalry).  This  is the  reason  why  the  Byzantine  tactics  against  them,  are  dealt  in  this  essay  along  with  the  imperial  tactics  against  the  Eurasian  nomads.

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