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Book Review: The Byzantine Wars by John Haldon, History Press, 2008

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At times I receive emails with which my readers ask me to suggest to them some studies, treatises, sourcebooks etc for specific issues of history, military history and engineering/architecture. Due to the unfortunate fact that I do not have the time to answer to each one separately (which is why I also had to disable the comments on the posts), I decided to write some reviews on books that I’ve studied on such topics. The Greek readers know that I’ve written two historical novels on Antiquity, so some readers ask me which my favorite historical novels are; thereby from time to time I’ll also suggest some of these works for the English-speaking and German-speaking readers, especially recent ones and some older.
I will start this new section with a military study that is a work by the well known Byzantinologist John Haldon: The Byzantine Wars.          The Byzantine Empire during her very long history, faced a multitude of enemy states, peoples and nomadic hordes, thus developing the characteristic Byzantine warfare, one of the most advanced of its time concerning the entire planet. Her geographical position at the “crossroads of civilizations”, her weighty heritage from both the Roman and the ancient Greek armies and her confrontation with particularly dangerous enemies in all her borders, led her to always maintain a vigorous and well-organized army, an army of the real “imperial” kind.

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Crusades

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Some interesting maps on the crusades and the states of the cruaders in Syria c.1100 AD.

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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: Architecture (part IΙ)

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

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Constantinople, Queen of cities: Architecture (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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ON THE SASSANID ARMY – Part II

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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

sassanian  cavalry

sassanian cavalry 2
A reconstruction of a Sassanian medium cavalryman by Ardeshir Radpour. He bears a mail cuirass, a helmet of composite structure with mail visor adopted by the Romans as well, forearm-guard plates, light lance, a composite bow of the Sacian type (heritage from the Parthian predecessors of the Sassanids) and a cavalry sword (Image by  Ardeshir  Radpour).

CONTINUED FROM PART I

The infantry (and partly cavalry) of the Qadisini and the ‘Immortals’ are also mentioned in the medieval sources (mainly Byzantine) as parts of the Sassanid army. The Qadisini were the Arabo-Aramaic people of Qadisiya (in Arabic), a Semitic region subject to the Persians in modern Western Iraq. The ‘Immortals’ (Varhranigan khvaday in Iranian) were the elite corps of the Persian army, the palace guard of the Great King, corresponding to the homonymous personal guard of the ancient Achaemenid kings of Persia. Xerxes’ ‘Immortals’ had fought against the Greeks in 480-479 BC without success. The Sassanian Empire, claiming steadily the whole Achaemenid heritage had reestablished this unit. Another unit under the direct orders of the Sassanid monarch was called ‘self-sacrificing heroes’. One of the commanders of this unit was of Byzantine origin. This possibly indicates that they were mercenaries or foreign fugitives sheltered by the Persians.

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