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Military contents

Rômaic armour

C10th infantry

C10th infantry boots

C10th horse archer

C10th khoursor

C10th katafraktos

C12th infantry

C12th katafraktos

Scale armour



Infantry equipment

byzantine soldier, byzantine infantryman

For the front line infantry the Composition on Warfare (I.3-4) describes a set of minimal equipment consisting of a turban over a thick felt cap and a coat (kavadion) made of coarse silk quilted with cotton wadding “as thick as can be stitched”. To avoid the encumbrance to movement that such a stiff, heavy garment would inflict, the arms are to pass out through openings in the armpits and the sleeves buttoned back to the shoulders. Leo’s Taktika is more optimistic, implying that such troops might have mail or lamellar, helmets and other armour.
This man also wears padded leggings, kampotouva or touvia and the type of boot probably called mouzakia in our source.1
These troops were to be armed with spears 4 to 5 metres long, “belt-hung swords” and an axe carried in a scabbard on the belt. This variety of axe is called a tzikourion.

Later sources imply that something very like this remained in use to the late twelfth century, and probably beyond.2

For more information see the author’s volume Byzantine Infantryman: Eastern Roman Empire, c.900 - 1204,Osprey Publishing, 2007.


  1. Writing in the mid-tenth century, Achmet gives a highly informative commentary a variety of clothing. Francis Drexl, ed., Achmetis Oneirocriticon, Leipzig 1925, p. 198 for touvia. Steven Micheal Oberhelman, tr., The Oneirocriticon of Achmet, Lubbock, 1991, p. 216, however, as with most translations, this is not very reliable regarding technical details.
  2. John R. Melville Jones, tr., Eustathios of Thessaloniki: The Capture of Thessaloniki, Canberra 1988, p. 89/90 (Greek/English).