Arms and Armour of the Warrior Saints

Tradition and Innovation in Byzantine Iconography (843–1261)

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The question of the independence of Byzantine iconography continues to draw attention. Following extensive research on the persistence of Classical motifs in Byzantine art, interest has recently turned to the originality of the latter and its reliability as a historical source. This study examines whether military equipment (armour, weapons, insignia and costume) shown in images of the warrior saints reflects items actually used in the mid-Byzantine Army or merely repeats Classical forms. Such representations are compared with documentary evidence gathered chiefly from Byzantine military manuals. The author demonstrates that military equipment, being a vital branch of material culture subject to constant evolution, provides a good indicator of iconographic innovation in the art of Byzantium.
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Biographical Note

Piotr Ł. Grotowski, Ph.D. (2003) in Art History, Jagiellonian University, Poland; lecturer of Byzantine Art (since 2005) at the Pontifical University, Cracow. His publications mostly concern Byzantine and Orthodox art, and include a Polish translation of Procopius' Buildings (Proszynski, 2006).

Table of contents

CONTENTS
List of illustrations ... ix
Acknowledgements ... xix
Translator’s Note ... xxi
Conventions used in this book ... xxiii

INTRODUCTION ... 1
Scope of Research ... 4
Time-frame ... 4
Selection of material ... 6
State of Research ... 11
Research on the development of the cult and iconography of warrior saints ... 11
Research on the military equipment of the Middle Byzantine army ... 14

Chapter One SOURCES ... 19
Material Sources (Archaeological) ... 19
Written Sources ... 34
Military treatises (Taktika and Strategika) ... 34
Taktikons and Books of Ceremony ... 40
Lexicography ... 42
Historiography ... 43
Literature ... 50
Non-Greek sources ... 51
Iconographical Sources ... 53

Chapter Two ORIGINS OF THE IMAGE OF THE WARRIOR SAINT ... 57
God’s Peace and Holy War in Christian Doctrine ... 63
The Image of the Warrior Saint in Art Before Iconoclasm ... 74
The type of the mounted warrior saint ... 74
The type of the warrior saint on foot ... 86
Warrior Saints and Ancient Gods ... 92
Heavenly supporters of the army ... 98
The Imperial Cohort ... 104
From local cult to nationwide image of the patron warrior saint ... 107
The two saint Theodores ... 117
Conclusions ... 121

Chapter Three ICONOGRAPHY OF THE COSTUME AND ARMOUR OF THE WARRIOR SAINTS ... 125
Armour ... 125
Corselet ... 125
The ‘muscled’ cuirass ... 129
Scale body armour ... 133
The lamellar cuirass (klibanion) ... 137
Soft armour (neurika, lorikion psilos) ... 151
The zaba and lorikion and the problem of the mail-shirt ... 154
Other elements of armour ... 162
Lower body protection (pteryges and kremasmata) ... 162
Kabadion (and skaramangion) ... 166
Shoulder-guards and sleeves (manikia) ... 170
Lower tunic (himation, peristethidia) ... 174
Shoulder pennants (phlamuliskia) ... 176
Epilorikion (epanoklibanion, epithorakion) ... 177
The Symbolism of Armour ... 179
Protection for Arms and Legs ... 183
Manikellia (cheiromanika, cheiropsella) ... 183
Armour for the lower leg (chalkotouba, podopsella) ... 187
Footwear (pedila) ... 191
Shoes (tzangia) ... 191
Tall boots (krepides, hypodemata) ... 193
Bast sandals—servoula (mouzakia) and kampagia ... 198
Trousers (toubia, anaxyrides) ... 203
The Shield ... 208
Construction of the shield ... 215
Shape of the shield ... 225
Circular and oval shields (thyreos, skoutarion, pelta, parma) ... 225
The kite-shaped shield ... 231
The elongated triangular shield and the Gothic or heater shield ... 234
Devices on the shields of the warrior saints ... 236
Ornamental motifs ... 238
Signs (simeia) for identifying military units ... 240
Inscriptions ... 241
Religious (and apotropaic) symbols ... 243
Proto-heraldic devices ... 246
Symbolism and customs related to the shield ... 250
The Cloak (Mandyas) ... 254
The chlamys or officer’s cloak ... 255
Cloaks of junior officers and ordinary soldiers (the sagion) ... 265
Insignia ... 271
Fibula (kornoukopion, porpe) ... 271
The officer’s sash (diadema, zone stratiotike) ... 277
Tablion ... 281
Symbolic insignia—diadem and tiara ... 284
Diadem ... 285
Tiara ... 293
The torque (maniakion) ... 294
Unusual Variants of Uniform in the Iconography of the Warrior Saints ... 300
Warrior saints in officer’s parade uniform ... 301
The warrior saint in a provincial guise (in a kabadion) ... 307
Continuation of the Early Byzantine image of the equestrian saint in a tunic ... 309
The fantastical image of the holy warrior ... 310
Conclusions ... 311

Chapter Four WEAPONS IN THE ICONOGRAPHY OF THE WARRIOR SAINTS ... 313
The Lance or Spear of the Warrior Saint ... 313
Types of Shafted Weapon in Byzantium ... 318
Javelins and spears (verytta, akontion, rhiptarion) ... 318
The heavy infantry pike (menaulion) ... 320
Lance and spear (dory, kontarion, longche) ... 323
The lance as a sign of status and a symbolic weapon ... 329
The Crux hastata ... 334
Military flags (phlamoulon, bandon) ... 340
Edged Weapons ... 342
The sword (spatha, xiphos) ... 342
The palash (proto-sabre?)—paramerion ... 357
Symbolism of the sword ... 360
Other Types of Weapons of the Warrior Saints ... 367
Conclusions ... 376

Chapter Five EQUESTRIAN EQUIPMENT ... 379
Horse Tack ... 379
Stirrups (skala, anavoleus) ... 379
Saddle and saddlecloth (sella and ephestris) ... 383
Other elements of riding equipment ... 386
Spurs ... 392
The Horse Armour Problem ... 395
Conclusions ... 397

Conclusions ... 399
Bibliography ... 405
Indices ... 447

Illustration Section

Readership

Byzantine and medieval art historians, military historians especially those interested in the arms and armour of the Medieval Mediterranean, and also Byzantine philologists and Orthodox theologians.

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