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"What Made You Decide To Get Your Own Byzantine Army" Topic

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Jon the Great28 Aug 2003 4:18 p.m. PST

It looks like the army of the Byzantine army is a favorite of many including me. What made you decide to get your Byzantine Army?

"History of the Byzantine State" by George Ostrogorsky got me interested in the first place. The WRG book, "Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066", by Ian sealed the deal. When I purchaced my first historical army I knew it was the army for me. All the rest followed after that.

Jon the Great28 Aug 2003 4:27 p.m. PST

I must say I was attracted to the intelegent way which they made war against their enemies. I love all that great cavalry they had. Reading about their battlefield tactics they used, and exicuting them on the wargame table can be a challenge. That I learned after I got them. But I find that having a 2nd line of not so good troups to gum up the enemies outflanking maneuvere, while your top notch front line troops distroy the enemy army works good for any army.

Phillius Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Aug 2003 4:47 p.m. PST

My Byzantines are Komnenan, the army of Alexius. I'm currently doing them in 25mm, after recently having sold my 15mm.
I think it was Alfred Duggans "Lady for ransom" that got me interested in the period originally. What fascinates me about the army of the Komnenans, is that it was such a rag bag of types, yet the Byzantines still maintained their rigid tactical control and pulled off many victories with it.

And of course, Alexius had to build the army from scratch a couple of times as well, so he was certainly one of the most memorable characters of that time.

Personal logo jimbomar Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Aug 2003 5:08 p.m. PST

I got into it after reading Norwich's great trilogy of books
I particulaly like the idea that the Byzantines reinvented themselves time after time.

Then of course there was Basil's blinding of 15,000 Bulgars!
these guys were smart and tough.

Jon the Great28 Aug 2003 5:29 p.m. PST

jimbomar, I remember that event well. That's why I settled on the NIkephorian Byzantine army, as it is known in the WRG army lists.

captain arjun Fezian28 Aug 2003 5:32 p.m. PST

1. Club decides to do a 1mm ancients or medieval campaign; I get tasked to choose the period.

2. I figured the Crusades would be good, featuring armies with different tactics and troop types.

3. I chose 1260s, to let the Mongols take part too.

4. I take the Byzantines since as the umpire, I play the 'smaller' state.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian28 Aug 2003 5:47 p.m. PST


Jim McDaniel28 Aug 2003 5:50 p.m. PST

As a former owner of two horses, cavalry or cavalry-heavy armies just have a natural appeal for me. Besides I once visited on Patmos a monestery founded by Alexius Comnena. Finally until the local big-time multi-million dollar developer gentlemen of the greek persausion withdrew his support, I had free acess to an incredible local hellenic studies institute headed by a former professor of Byzantine studies at Dumbarton Oaks and UCLA. In fact I even got to met one of his graduate students, Harry Turtledove the historical author once.

Finally there's something just outright subversive and satisfying because you know you aren't on the common trail with other gamers in studying the "dirty little secret" of the Second Rome.

vtsaogames28 Aug 2003 6:49 p.m. PST

Many moons ago, read about Belisarius. Friends were putting together a 25mm ancient campaign that spanned a huge amount of time, not very historical. The rules were WRG 5th edition. Strange things happened like my Byzantines fighting Republican Romans.

1.) I liked Belisarius and archer-lancer tactics.
2.) I was short on cash back then, and a Byzantine army that was expensive in points was the smallest in figures and thus the cheapest on my wallet.

Skannian28 Aug 2003 6:53 p.m. PST

Histories told me by Dr. William Sumruld; the man could tell the history in such depth and detail as if he had seen it and were there and knew the characters personally.
And the fact that another friend GAVE me and entire 25mm Thematic army, fully painted, consisting of several hundred figures!

enfant perdus28 Aug 2003 10:33 p.m. PST

--"History of the Byzantine State" by George Ostrogorsky got me interested in the first place.--

WOW. For me Ostrogorsky was the greatest soporific this side of two Valium and stiff gin. Don't get me wrong, he is (was?) a great historian, but I required some serious caffeine to get through a few chapters.

I've been wanting do a Byz army for a long time, but he only really nice ones I've seen in 28mm are GBeast. Crusader Miniatures is hinting that he'll be doing some next-ish, which will be grand as I just ordered a shedload of his Normans (I'm a sucker for a good sale).

Jakar Nilson29 Aug 2003 5:05 a.m. PST

I have a Bizantine amry?

KSmyth29 Aug 2003 6:23 a.m. PST

I've owned Byzantine armies twice in 15mm and sold them both times. I purchased a DBA Early Byzantine army and they are just awaiting paint. I like the bow and lance arrangement vstaogames mentioned--the descriptions in WRG's Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome were inspiring. A couple of years ago I read Count Belisarius by Robert Graves which really fired me up to return to ancients, particularly the Gothic Wars in Italy.


IGWARG Fezian29 Aug 2003 6:36 a.m. PST

Comnenan Byzantines were collection of many different armies: Norman, Muslim, Turks, Russians etc. I already had Normans and Turks. All I needed a unit or two of Byzantines and I had a brand new army.

teenage visigoth29 Aug 2003 7:54 a.m. PST

Pesky Bulgars raiding my themes. That's why I have my own ROMAN (thank you very much Frankish dog) army.

Bulgars, smell like yogurt you know.

Byzantines are the ultimate (after Macedonians)'morphable' army. Consider how little the core troop types changed in the 8th-12th C. With a few mods you can fight Arabs or Lombards. Heck, the Byzantines fought pretty much all their contemporaries. Great for lazy dudes like me.

Next stop, Khazar town.

RockyRusso29 Aug 2003 10:11 a.m. PST

At roughly the same time, I read histories on the Goths, aquired Oman's History of the Art of War in two volumes, and a dual translation of Ammianius Marcellinus(to brush upon my latin).
My friend MtM is a Norman/Medieval buff and to game with him I had aquired such... but I really dont enjoy the troops. To me, I either want super-trained expensive troops OR untrained mobs. The "in-betweeners" just don't do it.
What I wanted to do is 4th cen. Roman and goths. But at the time, there were NONE in 25. Closest was 6th cen. Byzantines. Liked the look. This was 27 years ago. Built a lameller shirt(impressed), built and tested martiobarbuli(also impressed), practiced horse archery(fun).
Since then, people have done the figs I wanted originally and more. So, besides a few hundred Goths. I have a 3ed and 4th c. Roman army, the 6th c., 9th, 11th and 12th.
Well, and Huns, Bulgars, Avars, and so on.
In decades of gaming, however, I have to play my dark ages stuff out of time and place. I once drew up a cool 7th c campaign modeling the great Jihad. While the period is perfect for wargaming(no natural allies so everyone can KAK everyone), I have never gotten anyone I play with to DO the subject.


JIMLAT29 Aug 2003 12:39 p.m. PST

Constantinople, the centre of the world. Move away from Western eurocentric notions and you have the perfect army/state to stand at the cross roads of two worlds. They fought everybody and had everybody fight for them. Pick a DBA campaign and expand from there to their enemies and allies and you can go on forever. Well not really forever, but you can build up lots of different armies that can fight each other in DBA but be one for DBM. In 25 mm recently though i have been buying Amazon miniatures QT range to use as Men of Gondor for Lord of the Rings. I was looking for a historical army that could serve in LOTR and in Hyboria with Conan. Byzantium was it.

Daffy Doug29 Aug 2003 3:01 p.m. PST

Byzantines? I loathe Byzantines;)

Rocky Russo got to them first, and they "Rock", and that makes me not want any myself. I would rather ignore them and hope that they go away.

Actually, I am angsting against the "cat's whiskers" army list: the c. 10th century army in its prime. I have nothing against the medieval/post Manzikert Byzzies; they are more RL to me and not "walk on water" fantasy troops. (Rocky and I have always been somewhat at loggerheads over what they can and cannot do ::sigh:: nothing in this life has any business being perfect.......)


Paul A Hannah30 Aug 2003 5:12 a.m. PST

Awhile back, I got a DBA army-pack of Morean Byzantines. I'm intrigued by their being the "Last Byzantines", which, historically, lost Constantinople to the Ottomans in AD 1453. --I guess it's a bit like painting Volksturm for the Battle of Berlin. ;-)

//Paul in Seattle

michaelguth30 Aug 2003 11:40 p.m. PST

Robert Graves' "Count Belisarius".

(Change Name)02 Sep 2003 2:21 p.m. PST

Everyone hates them. Lots of enemies. Enemies to the north. Enemies to the south. Enemies to the east. Enemies to the west.

Lots of enemies means lots of battles.

Aarbitrary Aardvark20 Feb 2004 1:58 p.m. PST

Playing WRG 6th edition at a convention using my Carolingian army with Viking allies and getting whupped repeatedly. (The cav was dead meat against armored cav, since javelin didn't count, and a spurious rules interpretation neutered the vikings poor terrain ability. (The rules say that troops recoiled in restrictive terrain are disorderd. The umpire ruled, incorrectly, that this didn't apply if the troops weren't actually slowed by the terrain.) Anyway, I really wanted to be able to actually win a tournement game. (Having lost six in two days), so I painted up a Maurikian Byzantine army.

Yettie20 Feb 2004 11:14 p.m. PST

For me the vast array of available troop types is a very appealing.

With an army that covers about 700+ years and
employed as mercenaries or were allied with, every enemy they ever faced the options are vast.

With a bit a research you could field a Viking/Saxon foot army, an Asian Horde of mounted Bow/lance or Kataphraks from 5or6 different ethnic groups, all under the Byzantine Banner. And the diversity of supporting light troops...Bowmen, crossbow, Javs, slings, staff slings, light spears, Greek fire, long spears, farm tools...if you like collecting oddball figs the Byz are the way to go.

Bill AKA yettie

Perris070725 Mar 2004 3:11 p.m. PST

I loved the color and variety of the Byzantines. I saw a picture in a military history book back in college that used military miniatures to depict various great battles from history and one of them was Daras with Belisarius v. the Sassanids. I liked the look of the Byzantine regulars with their Hun and Herul irregular allies. Then I read the Osprey books and got hooked on the later Byzantine forces. You have to love the diversity - Pechenegs, Turks, Normans, Armenians, Varangians, Vardariots, Turcopoles, Latinikon, the "Immortals"...
Now I have Thematic, Nikephorian, and Comnenan armies. Oddly enough I never did get a Belisarian Byzantine Army...

Jon the Great01 Apr 2004 5:14 p.m. PST

Nobody makes a Belisarian Bysintine army, and those are the wars I would like to fight. I have heard some who say use Late Romans. The question I have is what ones?

Yettie02 Apr 2004 5:24 a.m. PST

Old Glory does 15mm Belisarian. The site is not up right now, but I was looking at the "degenerate legionary" skutatoi just yesterday.(throwing jav, using sword)

museum miniatures also offers Early Byz.

Bill AKA yettie..."Otis"

(Change Name)02 Apr 2004 12:00 p.m. PST

Old Glory also makes 25mm Belisarian, as does Whitecross.

Scutatus17 Apr 2004 6:39 p.m. PST

Expanding on zarquon's answer above, I would heartily recomend Whitecross. Most of my Belisarian army consists of WhiteCross figures, with Old Glory second, followed by a light scattering of Gripping Beast and BTD. WhiteCross's Early Byzantine range may be small, but it's still the best specificly Early Byzantine range amongst the very few available. (ok, so that was sort of a back handed compliment. Sorry Barry, I do love your figures. Honest.) Whitecross's prices are nice and affordable too. If I understand the stuff I've read correctly, the spangenhelms and armour of the Whitecross range are spot on. A fair proportion of the figures have scale mail cuirasses as was common for armoured troops of the period, and most also have pteruges at the shoulders and lower torso as was also quite common at the time. Not to everyone's taste, but I LOVE the look. Chainmail is catered for too, of course. The heavy infantry are nicely done, with the option for "front rank" and "rear rank" spearmen. There are also unarmoured troops, who by this time would be rather numerous. The Bucelari have a nice nod to laminated limb armour without succumbing to the full over blown heavy panopoly, and have been modeled to hold their contus with both hands, as they should be. Not over arm unfortunately, but hey, you can't have everything, right? :) Oh, and the range has wonderful archer/lancer cavalry figures too, suitable for double armed cavalry.

You can expand on the range by using Whitecross's Late Romans, Goths and Huns, all of whom helped make up the Belisarian army. Actually you could use anybody's figures. Any Late Roman or Germanics/Huns/Sarmatians/Alans etc from the era would do. There was even known to be some Persians in the army! (Clibinari?) Interestingly enough, Arthurian Romano-Britons are perfect for a Belisarian Byzantine collection. Basically any figures wearing spangenhelms of the "Late Roman" period would fit into a Belisarian Army with no trouble at all. Ridge helmets are fine too, even with helmet crests, so really, your options are fairly open...:)

A word about the Old Glory range. They are very nice indeed. Beautiful in fact, but I am not sure that they have the helmets nor the terminology quite correct for the period. (Then again, I'n no expert, for all I know they've got it right) The Heavy infantry again have wonderfully detailed scale mail cuirasses with pteruges.

I also use Old Glory's Late Roman Legionary range. Their muscled cuirasses may be the stuff of fantasy, but with a bit of green stuff smoothing away the "muscles" of the chest, I suddenly have 30 legionaries wearing arming doublets, who unfortunately have misplaced the scale mail cuirasses that should have been worn on top. Cut backs don't you know. ;)

I was sucked into the Byzantines by the Belisarian period. A final time of short lived glory for the Roman Empire. The last grim and oh so costly endeavour to reunite the Roman World. The doomed struggle of a broken giant trying to hold off the unstoppable tide. The dying embers of the flickering light of antiquity burning amongst the encroaching darkness. This was the swansong of the true Roman spirit. Truly, these were the "last of the Romans", when the Empire was still really an empire just for a little while more, before the state's Roman identity was supplanted by a Greek one, before the last glimmer of Rome truly became wholly Byzantium, before it often became all they could do just to survive... Blah blah blah. Cliche Cliche cliche etc etc etc lol ;)

In many ways I think it could possibly bear some favourable comparison with our own legend of Arthur. And indeed, a canny collector could arrange it so that his Bellisarian army also doubles for Arthur's! Two magcal armies for the price of one! :) Hey, so I'm a romantic. So I have a special set of rose tinted glases for the army of Belisarius. So sue me! lol :p

sauron80815 Jan 2010 3:16 p.m. PST

For me getting into the byzantines came about Heraculius war w/persia. Imagine two superpowers going at it with all their resources. After they have exhausted each other a new enemy appears from the south.. The Moslems.
Hence I own Early,Maurikian, Thematic,Nikephorian, Kommenian, Theodoric Byzantine armies from multiple companines. They are a delight in reading and can morph to fantasy pretty easily.

Daffy Doug15 Jan 2010 3:43 p.m. PST

Judasfreakingpriest!!! Caught by the thread necromancers AGAIN!!!!…. (grateful for the post editor, yes I am)

the evil morlab19 Jan 2010 9:32 a.m. PST

exactly doug larsen. when a thread dies, there is usually a reason. really, really wish that people would not resurrect dead threads. but if you think it is bad here, oh my god you should see the sf discussion board. one or two repeat offenders there make that board quite hard to read. same offenders also have four or five threads going at the same time on any given topic. horrible.

mashrewba19 Jan 2010 11:57 a.m. PST

Always wanted one ever since the Hinchliffe figs -still haven't got one!!
Ditto Sassanids -what's wrong with me?

Daffy Doug19 Jan 2010 12:23 p.m. PST

@ mash: Your authentic self KNOWS a path into the Dark when it beckons? Be grateful that you subconsciously listen to warnings from yourself!…

Jeremy Sutcliffe20 Jan 2010 10:55 a.m. PST

Very simply.

Many (many, many) years ago seeing a mass of upright be-pennanted kontos armed Hinchliffe Byzantines marching across the table next to the one I was playing on.

mashrewba20 Jan 2010 2:18 p.m. PST

I hear you Doug but I know that once I get my A&A Palmyrans the pathway will be pretty clear from there…

Thurlac22 Jan 2010 3:42 p.m. PST

a trip to Istanbul and seeing the walls of Constaninople. Then a stroll around the Byzantine Museum and the realisation that these guys were cool.

They don't win much (particularly against my Norman armies) but they look soooo pretty.

mashrewba23 Jan 2010 3:51 a.m. PST

There was clearly something about the Byzantines that got the 40K boys all excited!!!

khurasanminiatures23 Jan 2010 11:36 a.m. PST

Skulls perhaps? (Rushes to have skulls added to his 15mm Byzantines.)

Vaughan191922 Aug 2021 12:07 p.m. PST

I have always loved he Roman Empire, I had studied military history all my life, though I'm still young, I have learned much. In my opinion, the Byzantine Army, in it's many renditions, was far superior to most other European nations, their main downfall was a corrupt aristocracy, bureaucracy, and poor leadership. Their prowess on the battle field has been proven many times, especially under Justinian, Basil II, Heraclius, and Andronikos III to name a few good Emperors.

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