Joshua and his military retinue, fresco, 11th-century, St Sophia Museum, Kiev


Joshua and his military retinue, in an 11th-century fresco from Kiev; see reconstruction, Plate H3. This may be the earliest known representation of the Varangians in Byzantine service, since it is contemporary with the founder of the regiment, the Emperor Basil II. The officer (archon) in the foreground seems to be wearing leather armour, clearly of Byzantine manufacture.
Source: p.38, Byzantine Imperial Guardsmen 925-1025: The Tághmata and Imperial Guard by Timothy Dawson
(Detail:) the high boot or hypodhémata. The device shown in black seems to have been peculiar to the Varangian Guard, and may be a stylization of the emblem of Kiev, whose ruler first sent them to the Emperor Basil’s aid. (St Sophia Museum, Kiev; author’s photos, courtesy of the Museum)
Source: p.38, Byzantine Imperial Guardsmen 925-1025: The Tághmata and Imperial Guard by Timothy Dawson
Detail from the Joshua fresco, showing (left) the archon’s helmet; it resembles simple Late Roman models, but is worn with a white quilted face and neck-guard. The man on the right, wearing a folded and tied head-cloth, has a red beard – another indication that these are Varangians. (St Sophia Museum, Kiev; author’s photos, courtesy of the Museum)
Source: p.39, Byzantine Imperial Guardsmen 925-1025: The Tághmata and Imperial Guard by Timothy Dawson




by Giuseppe Rava
THE GEORGIAN CAMPAIGN, 1020
H3: Early Varangian Archon

This Russo-Scandinavian officer is based on recently cleaned frescoes from St Sophia in Kiev. Over a quilted defence for the neck he wears a helmet clearly descended from Late Roman models. His typical Byzantine armour incorporates scales and padded leather or fabric, and a white sash of rank can just be seen knotted characteristically high on the torso. Note his white kampotouvia boots, decorated with a typical motif – a feature apparently peculiar to the Varangians. In the foreground is a Georgian cross-standard, virtually indistinguishable from the East Roman type.

Source: pp.58-59, Byzantine Imperial Guardsmen 925-1025: The Tághmata and Imperial Guard by Timothy Dawson



Other Russian Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers
11th Century Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers