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9TH-10TH CENTURY BYZANTINE INFANTRY OFFICER
An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath
6. 9TH-10TH CENTURY BYZANTINE INFANTRY OFFICER
[Based on the Joshua Roll, Byzantine, early 10th century. Biblioteca Apostolica, Vatican, Vat. Pal. Graec. 431.]
This figure is based on the Joshua Roll of c. 925. He differs little from 3 except that he sports an impressive helmet crest and has a sash or cloak wrapped round his torso and tied at the front. Such 'sashes' appear in a number of contemporary illustrations, often wrapped horizontally round the chest as in figure 20, and quite clearly they served to denote rank. They are shown in the sources being worn by both infantrymen and cavalrymen whose equipment is otherwise virtually indistinguishable from that of the rank and file that they led except in being often more ornate. Standard-bearers (bandophoroi) may have also worn the sash.
Byzantine officers appear to have favoured the mace (see note 13) but many probably carried a kontarion like their men. Clothing was decorative and elaborately embroidered and equipment was often engraved and inlaid.
6a shows an officer's crest of the 11th century. An earlier one is shown in 2b.
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