The main armament of the Kataphractoi was the matzouka (heavy mace). This weapon was significantly heavier than most hand weapons and clearly designed for smashing armour, crushing bones and devastating the soft tissues of the human body. Each soldier would also carry a parmerion (curved sword) and a heavy spathion (sword) as well as number of back up matzouka (heavy maces) attached around his waist. Contrary to popular belief the Kontarion (a lighter version of the earlier Kontos) was not used by most in the wedge and only by those on the flanks. It makes sense, the whole idea of the Kataphractoi and the Blunt Noses Wedge formation was impact. Also, the aim was to spread as much terror and confusion into any enemy formation unlucky enough to get in the way.
I have modelled the miniatures in the unit as two ranks and in the Blunt nosed Wedge formation. Much ink has been spilled out into the pages of the Byzantine military manuals (which I have read) on the subject of the the Blunt Nosed Wedge formation and I will not attempt to go into any detail here except to say two things; i/ that the formation was designed to deliver maximum impact at a certain point on the enemy line which could then be exploited by the Kataphractoi or the accompanying cavalry units and ii/ archers were placed in the center of the formation and arrows would be loosed as they cantered into combat. The archers were less well protected than their fully armoured compatriots (a necessity if one wants to be able to loose a bow unencumbered).
These formations were extremely expensive to maintain and were actually only used in relatively small numbers.
Regarding the painting. I have attempted to make all of the units in this army quite uniform. This certainly would not have been the case with units from the Themes but, given that the Tagmata units were armed and equipped centrally by the State a degree of uniformity is least possible, but certainly forgivable. I have attempted to give the bards in each unit different patterns. This, I think has come out well enough though I have to admit to sweating it out when painting the very first unit!
Hopefully I have captured some of what it would have been, en masse, the equivalent of a medieval tank!
All the images are "clickable" should you wish to enlarge. The images of the unit as a whole are quite large files.
They are spectacular, and appreciate the background information as well!ReplyDelete
Now you're just showing off!!! Fantastic work as always. Inspirational.ReplyDelete
He-he.... thanks Phil :)Delete
Fantastic looking unit. Let's hope they perform on the tabletop as well as their paint job looks.ReplyDelete
Cheers mate. Not a chance, they'll be pegging it off the table shortly after deployment!! LOLDelete
Formidable from all angles. I particularly liked the shoulder tassels/plumes with the helmet plume. They really catch the eye. Thank you for sharing enough pictures to get a really good look.ReplyDelete
Many thanks StephenDelete
oh we are not worthy....bow, scrape, etcReplyDelete
Thanks. BTW, I noticed that you were starting as blog (and the latest copy of Slingshot)- do you want me to add you to my blog roll on this page?Delete
Really superb !!!
Thank you again for the kind words Nikko.Delete
Simply gorgeous work, bravo!ReplyDelete
Thanks you for the kind wordsDelete
Frickin' fantastic! I love Eastern Roman history, and military history in particular. Your work is an inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing your works.ReplyDelete
Thank you, very much appreciated PerrisDelete
Great painting as ever but a 15-man cavalry unit - nice and chunky it must fixate the opponent.ReplyDelete
Thanks Rob. It's actually a 16 man unit as I painted up a spare extra to I could put the unit into two neat ranks. The more I look at the un it the more I think of Barry Hilton's Waterloo Heavy Brigade he painted up a few years back!Delete