Nikephorian Byzantine (963-1042 AD)
|3Cv||Regular Tagmatic (including General's element) and/or picked thematic kavallarioi regiments, riding unarmored horses in alternating double ranks of lancers and bow; can be depicted in DBA with two lancer (kontos) and one bow figure.|
|6Kn||Heavy kataphraktoi, or cavalry in heavy armor on leather/felt barded horses equiped with lance/bow and heavy iron maces. They charged in deep wedges with lancers on the edges and archers in the center.|
|2Lh||Prokoursatores or Hyperkerastai. Prokoursatores were a small advanced command of mixes lancers and bow. Hyperkerastai were outflankers or flank guards comprised mainly of archers.|
|8Bw||Skoutatoi (kontos-armed pikeman) in mixed formations with archers. Skoutatoi were equipped with textile armor, felt caps and long shields to protect the ranks of archers. The DBA element can be depicted as a front rank of skoutatoi with a rear rank of archers.|
|2Ps||Akontistai (regular psiloi), Russ mercenary javelinmen, or skirmishing archers/slingers. Akontistai were regular troops trained to close the gaps between the skoutatoi blocks. Just for fun, the Nikephorian psiloi can also be depicted as a fire siphoner.|
|4Bd (opt.)||Varangian mercenaries after 988 AD or menavlatoi (soldiers armed with a mace-like polearm used to counter kataphraktoi).|
To field this army with all options, you will need 15 medium cavalry with round shield and long lance/kontos (kavallarioi) figures, including a General's element, 6 cataphracts on fully barded horses (kataphraktoi), 2 light horse (can use the same figures as medium cavalry), 16 foot with kontos and 16 Byzantine archers (to create the Skoutatoi elements), 4 Varangian mercenaries or Byzantine menavlatoi, and 2 skirmishers.
Early Bulgar (III/14c), Italian Lombards (III/21b), Early Serbian/Croatian (III/26ab), Pecheneg (III/47), Rus (III/48), Tulinid/Iqshidid Egyptian (III/49), Bagratid Armenian (III/50), Normans in Italy (III/51), East Frankish (III/52), Dynastic Bedouin (III/53), Nikephorian Byzantine (III/64), Fatimid Egyptian (III/65), Early Hungarian (III/67a), and Georgian (III/70a).
In 15mm, Essex offers a complete range of Nikephorian Byzantines (BZA21-28) plus other Byzantine ranges that can be scavenged for variety, as well as an all options army pack. Irregular offers figures suitable for 10th Century Byzantines (V20-V33) including Nikephorian kataphractoi and kavalleri. Similarly, Tin Soldier has a Byzantine range geared toward the 10th-11th Century. MiniFigs offers generic Byzantine cavalry and foot as part of its extended Imperial Rome range. Donnington Miniatures Romano-Byzantine range is geared toward the earlier Belisarian period (5th-6th C.) but may offer some options, as well as Old Glory's Belisarian Byzantine range and Museum Miniatures Early Byzantines range. Or you can scavenge from the later Commenon Byzantine range by Gladiator Miniatures. Outland Games is offering generic Byzantines (4th C. through Justinian). In 25mm, Byzantine figures are available from Amazon (QT Miniatures), Essex, Hinchliffe (Ellerburn Armies), Old Glory and Whitecross Games.
For painting guides and other historical detail, see: Byzantine Armies 886-1118 (Men-At-Arms, No 89) by Ian Heath (Osprey, July 1979).
For general historical background relevant to the Nikephorian period:
Byzantium: The Apogee by John Julius Norwich (Knopf, 1992).
Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081, by Warren Treadgold (Stanford Univ., Dec. 1995)
Byzantine's Balkan Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans 900-1204 AD, by Paul Stevenson (Cambridge University, July 2000).
The Byzantine Wars, by John F. Haldon (Tempest Pub., July 2001).
Byzantine Court Culture from 829 to 1204 AD by Henry Maguire, ed. (Dumbarton Oaks, April 1998).
The Days of the Warlords, by Paul A. Blaum (Univ. Press of America, Nov. 1994)(focus on Basil II's defense of his throne against the claims of Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phocas).
The Making of Byzantium, 600-1025, by Mark Whittow (Univ. of California, July 1996).
Warfare, State And Society In The Byzantine World 565-1204 (Warfare and History Series) by John F. Haldon, (UCL Press, July 1, 1999)
Also see Sowing the Dragon's Teeth: Byzantine Warfare in the 10th Century, by Eric McGrear, (Dumbarton Oaks, 1996), which includes the Praecepta of Nikephoros Phokas and the Taktika of Nikephoros Ouranos (John Tzimiskes).
Comments, questions or suggested additions to this page can be sent to Chris Brantley, IamFanaticus@gmail.com.
Last Updated: March 13, 2002.