A History of the Art of War: The Middle Ages from the Fourth by Charles Oman

By Charles Oman

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Complete equipment, sometimes a cuirass of mail or horn, at others only a light mail cape covering He the neck and shoulders. carried a large shield, a defence which the heavy horseman could not adopt, on account of his For arms the light requiring both hands to draw his bow. cavalry carried lance The infantry, and sword. which was much horsemen inferior to the in importance, was, like them, divided into two descriptions, heavy and light. The scutati (o-Kouraroi), or troops of the former ' class, wore a steel helmet with a crest, and a short mail shirt ; they carried a large oblong shield (Ovpis), which, like their crests, was of the same colour as the regimental banner.

They serve indeed as a key to the alike as whole system of the art of war as it was understood at Constantinople. ' The Frank/ says Leo ' *, believes that a retreat circumstances must be dishonourable ever you choose to offer him battle. you have secured all ; hence he This you must not do possible advantages cavalry, with their long lances under any when- will fight and large for yourself, as shields, till his charge with a tremendous impetus. You should deal with him by protracting the campaign, and if possible lead him into the hills, where his After a few weeks cavalry are less efficient than in the plain.

In metal value. 2 THE BYZANTINES AND THEIR ENEMIES. D. 582- drew a ditch and bank along the lines of the Mensores' ropes, each corps doing a fixed amount of the work. A thick chain of picquets was kept far out from the camp, so that a surprise, even on the darkest of nights, was almost impossible l . The main characteristic of the Byzantine system of tactics is the small size of the various units employed in the operations, a sure sign of the existence of a high degree of discipline and While a Western army went on its blundering way two or three enormous battles/ each mustering training.

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