by: Engin Kayral [ ]
The Byzantine army evolved from that of the late Roman Empire. The standard language of the army was still Latin (though later and especially after the 6th century Greek dominates, as Greek became the official language of the entire empire), but it became considerably more sophisticated in terms of strategy, tactics and organization. For example, the Byzantine army was the first army in the world to adopt combined arms task forces as part of its regular doctrine, similar in many ways to the German Kampfgruppen of WWII.
Unlike the Roman legions, the core of its strength was in its heavy cavalry Cataphracts, which evolved from the Clibanarii of the late empire. Infantry were still used but mainly in support roles and as a base of maneuver for the cavalry. Most of the footsoldiers of the empire were the heavy infantry. Byzantine soldiers were often depicted by Westerners as effeminate and reluctant to fight, but this was a false image. The Byzantines valued intelligence and discipline in their sodliers far more than bravery or brawn. Infantry conscription was still practiced, as in the Roman army, with every citizen eligible to serve. The training was very much like that of the legionaries, with the soldiers taught close quarters, melee techniques with their swords.
The figure represents a Byzantine Infantry Official on 6th century A.C. during Persian-Byzantine Wars, carrying a large oval shield and a lance.
The figure comes in 125 x 85 x 30 mm.standard Romeo Models light blue cardboard box. The front cover shows a photo of the painted figure from 2 different angles front and right to show shield pattern.
Inside the box, there is an A4 paper sheet including historical info about Byzantine Infanrty and painting instructions for this figure. This document is represented in 2 languages; Italian and English. The historical search of this figure is again made by Historicus Forma Associate Editor Costas Rodopoulos and text is translated by Riccardo Carrabino.
Parts are well protected between two slabs of thick white polyfoam and figure base is placed under the polyfoam not to damage the figure parts.
The figure is sculpted by Italian master sculptor Gianni La Rocca and made up of 11 white metal parts. All parts are cast clean and crisp in very good details. No need for a serious clean up, filling or sanding, there is only a small excess metal to clean inside the shield..
The main part is body with legs and upper arms. He wears an under-knee lenght chainmail with long sleeves. Over the chainmail; he has a short leather garment called epilorikion. He carries a long cloak which is crossed on the right shoulder and attached with a big metal cloak clasp. Chainmail, wide leather belt, right shoulder-crosswise sword belt and leather straps, buckles and cloth folds on the cloak are well defined. There are holes on the figures to make the assembly of dagger,bag and sword easier.
Other parts are ;
Head : He wears a rounded top helmet with a solid crest over his mail coif. The helmet has wide cheek guards and nose protector. Facial details are well defined.
Crest : Longitudinal solid crest in fine details. The crest is engraved as an indication of the high rank of the wearer
Right arm : Posed to hold the lance. The forearm is protected by a special guard made of long metal bands attached together.
Left arm : Left forearm is molded without hand. It is covered with a leather wrap over his chainmail.
Shield : Large and oval shield made of wood is called skutos, covered by leather and reinforced with steel. Left hand is cast on the shield.
Sword : He carries a spathion , typical double-edged and heavy Roman longsword about 90 cm on his left thigh. The details on scabbard and hilt are very good.
Dagger : He carries a dagger hanged horizontally to his belt with straps. The scabbard of the dagger shows the same nice pattern of the sword.
Bag : He carries a small bag hanged on his belt with a metal attachment.
Spear heads : 2 different spear heads are supplied in kit.
Figure base : Ground texture is well defined and different sizes of small rocks add realism to the base.
A nice posing figure sculpted and cast in good details in Romeo Models quality ; clean casting, easy assembly and perfect fit with pins on parts.