Warfare in Late Byzantium, 1204-1453


This book examines Byzantine attitudes towards warfare at a time of crisis when the empire ceased to be a first rate power in the Mediterranean. It investigates the correspondence between official rhetoric and propaganda, on the one hand, and military realities, on the other. It explores the military ethos of the late Byzantine aristocracy and examines Byzantine perceptions of military leadership in comparison to contemporary western European military thinking. The organisation and nature of military operations and the role of the various groups of soldiers are explored to set Byzantine warfare in the wider geographical and cultural context. In addition, this book provides a comprehensive analysis of the influences other medieval cultures exerted on Byzantine military thought, organisation and practice.
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Biographical Note

Savvas Kyriakidis, PhD (2007) in Byzantine Studies, University of Birmingham, is a former research fellow at Koç University and at Princeton University. Other publications include "The Division of Booty in Late Byzantium" in Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik (2009).

Table of contents

Acknowledgments ... ix
Note on Transliteration ... xi
Abbreviations ... xiii
Maps ... xvii

Introduction ... 1

1. Warfare and Imperial Propaganda ... 13
The inevitability of warfare ... 13
The militaristic ideology of Nicaea ... 16
Changes in the military profile of the emperor after the recovery of Constantinople ... 20
Andronikos II and the ideological importance of defensive wars against the Turks ... 25
The military profile of the emperor under Andronikos III and John VI Kantakouzenos ... 30
Fighting against impious barbarians and natural enemies ... 36
2. Commanders ... 45
The military character of the late Byzantine aristocracy ... 45
The role of Western European military ideals and practices ... 51
The effectiveness of Byzantine generals on the battlefield ... 60
The ideal leadership ... 69
3. Soldiers ... 75
Pronoia holders ... 75
The Allagia ... 82
The Nicaean frontier troops, the Proselantai and the Thelematarioi ... 93
The case of the despotate of the Morea ... 96
4. Mercenaries ... 101
The use of mercenaries ... 101
Categories of mercenaries ... 104
Byzantine attitudes towards mercenaries ... 118
5. Campaigns ... 137
6. Fortifications and Sieges ... 157
The role of fortifications ... 157
Siege warfare: The evidence of the written sources ... 170
The impact of gunpowder on Byzantine warfare ... 187
7. Tactics ... 197
Late Byzantine cavalry and field tactics against Western Europeans ... 197
Battlefield Tactics against the Turks ... 203
Infantry ... 216

Conclusion ... 221
Glossary ... 229
Primary Sources ... 231
Secondary Sources ... 234
Index ... 245


All those interested in Byzantine history, Medieval history, military history, Ottoman history, the Crusades, Balkan history, Near Eastern and Middle Eastern History.


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