The Development of the Komnenian Army: 1081-1180


The emperors of the Komnenian dynasty orchestrated the economic and military renewal of the Byzantine Empire. In 1081, Alexios I became emperor of a bankrupt and diminished empire. In 1180, Manuel I ruled the most powerful state in the eastern Mediterranean, capable of sending expeditions to Egypt, Hungary, Italy, and Palestine. This study examines how the Komnenian emperors restored the Byzantine state by building a professional army of mercenaries and Byzantine citizens. It examines the army's ethnic composition, tactics, equipment, and its financial support. Finally, it examines the army in battle. This is the only study of the Byzantine army during the privotal twelfth century. It provides an explanation for the complex Byzantine political and military problems of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, as well as another perspective on the European crusading movement.

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John W. Birkenmeier Ph.D. (1998) in History, The Catholic University of America, is a former Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks Research Institute. Other publications include Military Medicine and Injury in Byzantium, in the U.S. Army's Textbook of Military Medicine (2000).
"...unquestionably fills a major gap in the history of Byzantine military institutions…"
Walter E. Kaegi, DeReMilitari, 2003.
List of Maps

Ch. 1 Textual Sources for 12th- and 13th-Century History 1
Ch. 2 Historical Overview of Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Byzantium 27
Ch. 3 The Campaigns of Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) 56
Ch. 4 The Campaigns of John II Komnenos (1118-43) 85
Ch. 5 The Campaigns of Manuel I Komnenos (1143-80) 100
Ch. 6 Supporting the Komnenian Army 139
Ch. 7 Komnenian Siege Warfare 182
Ch. 8 The Komnenian Army in Battle 206

Conclusion 231

App. 1 The Sieges of John II and Manuel I 237
App. 2: Glossary 239
App. 3 Chronology of the Komnenian Historians 243

Bibliography 245
Index 253
Those interested in Byzantine history, military history, the Crusades, medieval history, Christian-Islamic relations, Balkan history, Turkish history, and Middle Eastern history.
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