Cataphracts - Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires, Erich B. Anderson

Cataphracts - Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires, Erich B. Anderson

Cataphracts - Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires, Erich B. Anderson

Cataphracts - Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires, Erich B. Anderson

The cataphract was a form of cavalry which combined a heavily armoured rider and heavily armoured horse to produce the heaviest cavalry of the ancient world, a force that was capable of being devastating if used correctly.

The book covers a very wide time span, from pre-classical antiquity to late Byzantium. The origins of the cataphract are a bit unclear - the Seleucids were the first to use the name for a unit with very heavily armoured horses and riders, but they probably copied the idea from the Parthians or the Bactrians, after the eastern campaigns of Antiochus the Great, and there clearly isn’t enough evidence to say for sure who first used the type. I must admit I didn't realise just how long the cataphract was in use - from at least 200 BC to 1,000 AD, when it faded away in Byzantine use (some later attempts to revive the type failed and owned more to western knights than their ancient predecessors).

We start with a look at the earliest horse riding, the first use of cavalry and the increasing level of armour, before we move onto the development and the users of the cataphract (and related types). The type was mainly used in the Middle East, Byzantium and parts of central Asia, although it did enter Roman service before the fall of the Western Empire, and some were actually posted in Britain.

The cataphract emerges as quite a difficult type of troop to use correctly - there are just as many examples of the heavy armour working against them as there are of irritable charges.

This book is aimed at the general reader, rather than the more academic audience. As a result we avoid too many deeply technical discussions, and instead focus on the battlefield use of the cataphract and the development of the equipment used by them over the millennium that the type was in use.

Chapters
1 - Origins of the Cataphracts
2 - The First Cataphracts
3 - The Parthian Cataphracts
4 - Cataphracts of the Minor Kingdoms
5 - The Sassanian Persian Cataphracts and Clibanarii
6 - Imperial Roman Cataphracti, Cataphractarii and Clibanarii
7 - The Byzantine Kataphraktoi and Clibanarii

Author: Erich B. Anderson
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 188
Publisher: Pen and Sword Military
Year: 2016



Cataphracts - Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires, Erich B. Anderson - History

Cataphracts were the most heavily armored form of cavalry in the ancient world, with riders and mounts both clad in heavy armor. Originating among the wealthiest nobles of various central Asian steppe tribes, such as the Massegatae and Scythians, they were adopted and adapted by several major empires. The Achaemenid Persians, Seleucids, Sassanians and eventually the Romans and their Byzantine successors.

Usually armed with long lances, they harnessed the mobility and mass of the horse to the durability and solid fighting power of the spear-armed phalanx. Although very expensive to equip and maintain (not least due to the need for a supply of suitable horses), they were potential battle winners and remained in use for many centuries. Erich B Anderson assesses the development, equipment, tactics and combat record of cataphracts (and the similar clibinarii), showing also how enemies sought to counter them. This is a valuable study of one of the most interesting weapon systems of the ancient world.


Cataphracts - Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires, Erich B. Anderson - History

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Cataphracts were the most heavily armoured form of cavalry in the ancient world, with riders and mounts both clad in heavy armour. Originating among the wealthiest nobles of various central Asian steppe tribes, such as the Massegatae and Scythians, they were adopted and adapted by several major empires. The Achaemenid Persians, Seleucids, Sassanians and eventually the Romans and their Byzantine successors.

Usually armed with long lances, they harnessed the mobility and mass of the horse to the durability and solid fighting power of the spear-armed phalanx. Although very expensive to equip and maintain (not least due to the need for a supply of suitable horses), they were potential battle winners and remained in use for many centuries. Erich B Anderson assesses the development, equipment, tactics and combat record of cataphracts (and the similar clibinarii), showing also how enemies sought to counter them. This is a valuable study of one of the most interesting weapon systems of the ancient world.

Anderson takes great care
to explain the gradual transition that the Roman Empire underwent from an infantry-centric
army to a cavalry-centric one. Pressed by the urgent need to protect its weakening borders
against barbarian incursions, the Roman army valued mobility as the primary attribute. The
book does a great job of clearly distinguishing different types of Roman armoured cavalry. It
goes an extra step further as to even cover the famed Byzantine cataphracts as well.

Kunwon Saw, Freelance

This book is aimed at the general reader, rather than the more academic audience. As a result we avoid too many deeply technical discussions, and instead focus on the battlefield use of the cataphract and the development of the equipment used by them over the millennium that the type was in use.

Read the complete review here.

History of War, John Rickard

I have read somewhere that cataphracts were the “Tiger Tanks” of the ancient empires…. Heavily armored, powerful, awesome, mobile but rather slow, and very expensive. Whether cataphracts were worth the cost is an ongoing debate.

This book is a detailed account of the known history and development of cataphracts. From their origins in central Asia, to the Parthians, the Persians, the Romans and finally, the Byzantines.

Every battle in which the cataphracts were known to have been involved, is described in detail, with emphasis on the contribution of the cataphracts. The battle descriptions are excellent, and I enjoyed Erich B Anderson’s writing style. My only regret is that there are no maps.

There are extensive notes and a bibliography for those who wish to delve deeper.

I am happy to recommend this very interesting book, and to add it to my own library.

Dr John Viggers

This volume, from independent scholar Anderson, is the first comprehensive survey of heavy armored cavalry – dubbed clibanarii, cataphracti, and more – that played a particularly important role in the military history of Late Antiquity… This is a good survey of the history of heavy cavalry in the ancient world, covering arms, equipment, organization, tactics, and battles

New York Military Affairs

This is a valuable study of one of the most interesting troop types of the ancient world.

The Armourer Incorporating Classic Arms & Militaria - May 2017

I found this book a little difficult to get into at first, but as the chapters pass I began to feel really engaged. There is more evidence in the archaeological record later on and therefore more descriptive analysis of artifacts. Also, I had no idea that there is apparently theoretical evidence of the Arthurian legend originating with a transfer of a Sarmation Cataphract to the british Isles? How cool is that! Overall Cataphracts is written really well and flows nicely. It does well to introduce and spark an interest in ancient “metal-encased horseman”.

Goodreads, Michelle McMenamin

Cataphracts: Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires

Cataphracts were the most heavily armored form of cavalry in the ancient civilizations of the East, with riders and horses both clad in heavy armor. Originating among the wealthiest nobles of various central Asian steppe tribes such as the Massagetae and Scythians, the traditions and strategies of these proud warriors were adopted and adapted by several major empires—the Achaemenid Persians, Seleucids, Sassanians, and eventually the Romans and their Byzantine successors—from c. 4000 BCE to 1200 CE.

Usually armed with long lances, the cataphracts harnessed the mobility and sheer mass of their horses to the durability and solid fighting power of the spear-armed phalanx. Although very expensive to equip and maintain, they were a powerful force in battle and remained in use for many centuries.

In this compelling historical survey, Erich B. Anderson assesses the development, equipment, tactics, and combat record of cataphracts and the similar clibinarii, showing also how enemies sought to counter them. This is a valuable study of one of the most interesting weapon systems of the ancient world.

“A valuable study of one of the most interesting troop types of the ancient world.” —The Armourer

“The first comprehensive survey of heavy armored cavalry . . . that played a particularly important role in the military history of Late Antiquity . . . This is a good survey of the history of heavy cavalry in the ancient world, covering arms, equipment, organization, tactics, and battles.” —The NYMAS Review


Cataphracts

A deeply researched and page-turning history of armored cavalry in the ancient world from the Eurasian steppe tribes to the late Byzantine Empire.

Cataphracts were the most heavily armored form of cavalry in the ancient civilizations of the East, with riders and horses both clad in heavy armor. Originating among the wealthiest nobles of various central Asian steppe tribes such as the Massagetae and Scythians, the traditions and strategies of these proud warriors were adopted and adapted by several major empires-the Achaemenid Persians, Seleucids, Sassanians, and eventually the Romans and their Byzantine successors-from c. 4000 BCE to 1200 CE.

Usually armed with long lances, the cataphracts harnessed the mobility and sheer mass of their horses to the durability and solid fighting power of the spear-armed phalanx. Although very expensive to equip and maintain, they were a powerful force in battle and remained in use for many centuries.

In this compelling historical survey, Erich B. Anderson assesses the development, equipment, tactics, and combat record of cataphracts and the similar clibinarii, showing also how enemies sought to counter them. This is a valuable study of one of the most interesting weapon systems of the ancient world.

"A valuable study of one of the most interesting troop types of the ancient world." -The Armourer

"The first comprehensive survey of heavy armored cavalry . . . that played a particularly important role in the military history of Late Antiquity . . . This is a good survey of the history of heavy cavalry in the ancient world, covering arms, equipment, organization, tactics, and battles." -The NYMAS Review


Cataphracts - Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires, Erich B. Anderson - History

+£4.50 UK Delivery or free UK delivery if order is over £35
(click here for international delivery rates)

Order within the next 7 hours, 4 minutes to get your order processed the next working day!

Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Other formats available - Buy the Hardback and get the eBook for £1.99! Price
Cataphracts ePub (7.6 MB) Add to Basket £4.99
Cataphracts Kindle (17.1 MB) Add to Basket £4.99

Cataphracts were the most heavily armoured form of cavalry in the ancient world, with riders and mounts both clad in heavy armour. Originating among the wealthiest nobles of various central Asian steppe tribes, such as the Massegatae and Scythians, they were adopted and adapted by several major empires. The Achaemenid Persians, Seleucids, Sassanians and eventually the Romans and their Byzantine successors.

Usually armed with long lances, they harnessed the mobility and mass of the horse to the durability and solid fighting power of the spear-armed phalanx. Although very expensive to equip and maintain (not least due to the need for a supply of suitable horses), they were potential battle winners and remained in use for many centuries. Erich B Anderson assesses the development, equipment, tactics and combat record of cataphracts (and the similar clibinarii), showing also how enemies sought to counter them. This is a valuable study of one of the most interesting weapon systems of the ancient world.

Anderson takes great care
to explain the gradual transition that the Roman Empire underwent from an infantry-centric
army to a cavalry-centric one. Pressed by the urgent need to protect its weakening borders
against barbarian incursions, the Roman army valued mobility as the primary attribute. The
book does a great job of clearly distinguishing different types of Roman armoured cavalry. It
goes an extra step further as to even cover the famed Byzantine cataphracts as well.

Kunwon Saw, Freelance

This book is aimed at the general reader, rather than the more academic audience. As a result we avoid too many deeply technical discussions, and instead focus on the battlefield use of the cataphract and the development of the equipment used by them over the millennium that the type was in use.

Read the complete review here.

History of War, John Rickard

I have read somewhere that cataphracts were the “Tiger Tanks” of the ancient empires…. Heavily armored, powerful, awesome, mobile but rather slow, and very expensive. Whether cataphracts were worth the cost is an ongoing debate.

This book is a detailed account of the known history and development of cataphracts. From their origins in central Asia, to the Parthians, the Persians, the Romans and finally, the Byzantines.

Every battle in which the cataphracts were known to have been involved, is described in detail, with emphasis on the contribution of the cataphracts. The battle descriptions are excellent, and I enjoyed Erich B Anderson’s writing style. My only regret is that there are no maps.

There are extensive notes and a bibliography for those who wish to delve deeper.

I am happy to recommend this very interesting book, and to add it to my own library.

Dr John Viggers

This volume, from independent scholar Anderson, is the first comprehensive survey of heavy armored cavalry – dubbed clibanarii, cataphracti, and more – that played a particularly important role in the military history of Late Antiquity… This is a good survey of the history of heavy cavalry in the ancient world, covering arms, equipment, organization, tactics, and battles

New York Military Affairs

This is a valuable study of one of the most interesting troop types of the ancient world.

The Armourer Incorporating Classic Arms & Militaria - May 2017

I found this book a little difficult to get into at first, but as the chapters pass I began to feel really engaged. There is more evidence in the archaeological record later on and therefore more descriptive analysis of artifacts. Also, I had no idea that there is apparently theoretical evidence of the Arthurian legend originating with a transfer of a Sarmation Cataphract to the british Isles? How cool is that! Overall Cataphracts is written really well and flows nicely. It does well to introduce and spark an interest in ancient “metal-encased horseman”.

Goodreads, Michelle McMenamin

Cataphracts: Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires

Cataphracts is an original book that is centred on extra heavy cavalry from the Scythians to the Byzantine (or perhaps rather the East Roman) Empire. There is a lot to say in favour of this book, although it does also suffer from glitches, imprecisions and oversimplifications.

On the positive side, the seven chapters do retrace rather well the evolution of this super heavy cavalry and the adoption by sedentary empires (the Seleucids and the Romans in particular) what had originated as a type of steppe cavalry. Also a good feature is the discussion about such extra heavy cavalry where both the rider and the horse were protected by armour. Also well discussed is the fact that stirrups – which only appeared in Europe towards the very end of the sixth century and seem to have been brought from the Far East by the Avars – were not indispensable as long as the saddles were adapted to ensure a stable seat for the rider. Their introduction did however help considerable, as also shown. I did however have a number of problems with this book.

The first set is that the book would have improved if it had been better edited. Scenes and descriptions from both the Seleucids and the battle of Magnesia where their cataphracts broke through a Roman Legion and from Crassus’ disaster against a numerically inferior force of some 10000 Parthian cavalry appear several times across the book, making it somewhat repetitive. However, other battles featuring cataphracts – in particular that of Dara where Belisarius defeated the Sassanid heavy cavalry – are not even mentioned. This is somewhat curious for a couple of reasons.

One is that the author does discuss (and quite rightly so if I may) Belisarius’ subsequent defeat at Callinicum. Another is that he also insists (again, perfectly correctly) on what was the main weakness of this type of cavalry: its relative lack of mobility that rendered it vulnerable if not supported by lighter cavalry (as with the Parthian horse archers) and/or infantry (as with the Romans and Byzantines). In fact, it seems that Crassus’ defeat owned at least as much if not more to the unrelenting harassment of the Parthian horse archers than it did to the cataphracts on their own. When these attacked on their own and uphill against Roman legionaries, these were able to beat them off and rout them, as in fact shown in the book.

A second series of problems stem from the author getting sometimes a bit carried away with statements that are somewhat exaggerated and sometimes even wrong. For instance, the very first page of the introduction states that the army raised by Crassus for his war against Parthia is portrayed as a “huge host” and a “considerable force”. While the latter is correct (the force was about 45000), this was about the size of Alexander’s army when he first campaigned in Asia Minor. It was certainly not “huge” given the size of the Roman armies enlisted by Caesar, Pompey, Octavius or Marc Anthony a few years before and a few years later. Further on, the Russ are portrayed as “clearly terrified” of the Byzantine cataphracts that they nevertheless repeatedly and stubbornly confronted in multiple battles in their attempts to break free from their encirclement at Silistria. Another problematic case is to characterise Emperor Leo VI as an experienced general who knew what he was talking about when commissioning a military treaty while in reality he was an armchair general who never campaigned during his campaign. One last example at the very end of the book is to portray the Byzantine Empire as “devastated by from the defeat” at Myriokephalon in 1176. This is simply incorrect if only because three years later the byzantine army caught and destroyed a raiding force of some 24000 Turkish horsemen.

All these glitches and other similar ones across the book cannot obscure the fact that this is – to my knowledge at least – the first spirited effort to present in a single volume a history of extra heavy cavalry and this should be commended. It is also an effort where the author has attempted to be comprehensive with his chapter 4 on Cataphracts in the Minor Kingdoms which deals in particular with Sarmatians, Armenia (which is also addressed elsewhere) and Palmyra. Some topics would however have benefited from more discussion.

One point, for instance, would have been the distinction and evolution from heavily armoured lancer cavalry to heavily armoured horse archers. Another point is the absence of certain steppe people – the Avars and the Khazars for instance, despite the fact that they also fielded extra heavy cavalry that could qualify as cataphracts and that they heavily influenced the evolution of Byzantine cavalry. Another point would have been to discuss more in depth how efficient such heavy cavalry was and in particular what kind of adversary was it expected to overcome: other heavy cavalry? Enemy infantry? Both? Underpinning this is the evolution of what was termed a cataphract, with the meaning of the expression somewhat changing over time. A further point could have been to distinguish – or at least compare - this cavalry from medieval knights, since the book’s title chose to use such a term.

To do all or at least some of this, however, the author would have needed much more than 160 pages. Three stars nevertheless for a valiant first effort, even if incomplete and imperfect.


Cataphracts

Cataphracts

Cataphracts were the most heavily armored form of cavalry in the ancient world, with riders and mounts both clad in heavy armor. Originating among the wealthiest nobles of various central Asian steppe tribes, such as the Massegatae and Scythians, they were adopted and adapted by several major empires. The Achaemenid Persians, Seleucids, Sassanians and eventually the Romans and their Byzantine successors. Usually armed with long lances, they harnessed the mobility and mass of the horse to the durability and solid fighting power of the spear-armed phalanx. Although very expensive to equip and maintain (not least due to the need for a supply of suitable horses), they were potential battle winners and remained in use for many centuries. Erich B Anderson assesses the development, equipment, tactics and combat record of cataphracts (and the similar clibinarii), showing also how enemies sought to counter them. This is a valuable study of one of the most interesting weapon systems of the ancient world.

Cataphracts are basically ancient heavily armored knights. This book follows the origins, adoption, and adaptation of cataphracts through history. The book covers a time range from 4000 BC where traces of the first of the horse domestication appeared to 1204 AD with the Byzantine Empire.

I hate to be young ditsy Alice sitting on the bank proclaiming she needs pictures, but that’s what I’m gonna say. Anderson relies heavily on tactical descriptions, which are insightful. However, it tends to get rather dry at certain points. I have a visual book of battle at home and used this quite a bit as well as google. I realize that Anderson actually states that “…this book will serve as an introduction to the cataphracts for general readers of the public who are fascinated with ancient military history…” So, perhaps those who are used to reading military stratagem with just a description have no need. Even so, just a simple map, or a diagram every once in awhile for orientation as we move through would have been helpful, particularly in the beginning, where he covers a fair amount of ground of history pretty fast. There are eight pages of black and white photographs of artifacts and art in the middle of the book that are nice, but could have been sacrificed for simple maps, diagrams, or illustrations throughout.

I found this book a little difficult to get into at first, but as the chapters pass I began to feel really engaged. There is more evidence in the archaeological record later on and therefore more descriptive analysis of artifacts. Also, I had no idea that there is apparently theoretical evidence of the Arthurian legend originating with a transfer of a Sarmation Cataphract to the british Isles? How cool is that! Overall Cataphracts is written really well and flows nicely. It does well to introduce and spark an interest in ancient “metal-encased horseman”.


Talk:Battle of Barbalissos

The source Shadows in the Desert says the commander was Philip the Arab, not Valerian. The source seems wrong however since Philip was no longer in power, Kaveh Faroukh and the Shapur Kaba Zartusht both state “…Caesar [Phillip] lied again and did wrong to Armenia. We [Shapur and his army] marched against the Roman Empire and annihilated his army of 60,000 men at Barbalissos”.(Shapur Kaba Zartusht) in Appendix 4, 1984).

Erich B Anderson, "Cataphracts: Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires". Anderson's website states he has a BA in history.[1]
DK publishing, "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Warfare". Main contributors appear to be just authors.

Neither source is written by someone with a specialization in this field. --Kansas Bear (talk) 23:36, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Very loosely related material from different epochs plus some irrelevant material like "During the life of Roman empire, many great architectures and historical entertainment places such as the coliseum were made for people and nobles of Rome". No prelude. This is one of the most important battles it deserves a much better article--Dipa1965 (talk) 08:41, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

I think the article was much better before that edit. Do you agree to revert that edit, or at least, most parts of it?--Dipa1965 (talk) 08:45, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

Not to mention that the entire section is very poorly written and contains obvious cultural bias. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2607:FEA8:6C40:10DE:B060:84D2:A7DF:235D (talk) 18:30, 25 May 2020 (UTC)


Commentaires client

Meilleure évaluation de France

Un problème s'est produit lors du filtrage des commentaires. Veuillez réessayer ultérieurement.

« Cataphracts », d’Erich B. Anderson est une monographie entièrement consacrée aux cavaliers lourds et caparaçonnés des steppes de l’Asie antique, ensuite utilisés dans les armées des Achéménides, des Séleucides, des Romains et de leurs successeurs byzantins. Le texte évoque les armements, tactiques, et le récit des combats au cours desquels se sont illustrés ces cavaliers capables de décider à eux seuls du sort d’une bataille.

La partie la plus intéressante du livre concerne sans doute l'étude des origines des Cataphractaires chez les Messagètes et les Schytes. Leur utilisation par les Perses, les Grecs et le Romains (clibanarii) étant mieux connu et déjà couverte par d'autres ouvrages.

Si « Cataphracts » parvient à dresser une synthèse cohérente de son sujet en 188 pages seulement, on regrettera la pauvreté des illustrations car une représentation visuelle claire et précise aura été appréciable pour bien comprendre ce qu'est un Cataphractaire.

Meilleurs commentaires provenant d’autres pays

Cataphracts is an original book that is centred on extra heavy cavalry from the Scythians to the Byzantine (or perhaps rather the East Roman) Empire. There is a lot to say in favour of this book, although it does also suffer from glitches, imprecisions and oversimplifications.

On the positive side, the seven chapters do retrace rather well the evolution of this super heavy cavalry and the adoption by sedentary empires (the Seleucids and the Romans in particular) what had originated as a type of steppe cavalry. Also a good feature is the discussion about such extra heavy cavalry where both the rider and the horse were protected by armour. Also well discussed is the fact that stirrups – which only appeared in Europe towards the very end of the sixth century and seem to have been brought from the Far East by the Avars – were not indispensable as long as the saddles were adapted to ensure a stable seat for the rider. Their introduction did however help considerable, as also shown. I did however have a number of problems with this book.

The first set is that the book would have improved if it had been better edited. Scenes and descriptions from both the Seleucids and the battle of Magnesia where their cataphracts broke through a Roman Legion and from Crassus’ disaster against a numerically inferior force of some 10000 Parthian cavalry appear several times across the book, making it somewhat repetitive. However, other battles featuring cataphracts – in particular that of Dara where Belisarius defeated the Sassanid heavy cavalry – are not even mentioned. This is somewhat curious for a couple of reasons.

One is that the author does discuss (and quite rightly so if I may) Belisarius’ subsequent defeat at Callinicum. Another is that he also insists (again, perfectly correctly) on what was the main weakness of this type of cavalry: its relative lack of mobility that rendered it vulnerable if not supported by lighter cavalry (as with the Parthian horse archers) and/or infantry (as with the Romans and Byzantines). In fact, it seems that Crassus’ defeat owned at least as much if not more to the unrelenting harassment of the Parthian horse archers than it did to the cataphracts on their own. When these attacked on their own and uphill against Roman legionaries, these were able to beat them off and rout them, as in fact shown in the book.

A second series of problems stem from the author getting sometimes a bit carried away with statements that are somewhat exaggerated and sometimes even wrong. For instance, the very first page of the introduction states that the army raised by Crassus for his war against Parthia is portrayed as a “huge host” and a “considerable force”. While the latter is correct (the force was about 45000), this was about the size of Alexander’s army when he first campaigned in Asia Minor. It was certainly not “huge” given the size of the Roman armies enlisted by Caesar, Pompey, Octavius or Marc Anthony a few years before and a few years later. Further on, the Russ are portrayed as “clearly terrified” of the Byzantine cataphracts that they nevertheless repeatedly and stubbornly confronted in multiple battles in their attempts to break free from their encirclement at Silistria. Another problematic case is to characterise Emperor Leo VI as an experienced general who knew what he was talking about when commissioning a military treaty while in reality he was an armchair general who never campaigned during his campaign. One last example at the very end of the book is to portray the Byzantine Empire as “devastated by from the defeat” at Myriokephalon in 1176. This is simply incorrect if only because three years later the byzantine army caught and destroyed a raiding force of some 24000 Turkish horsemen.

All these glitches and other similar ones across the book cannot obscure the fact that this is – to my knowledge at least – the first spirited effort to present in a single volume a history of extra heavy cavalry and this should be commended. It is also an effort where the author has attempted to be comprehensive with his chapter 4 on Cataphracts in the Minor Kingdoms which deals in particular with Sarmatians, Armenia (which is also addressed elsewhere) and Palmyra. Some topics would however have benefited from more discussion.

One point, for instance, would have been the distinction and evolution from heavily armoured lancer cavalry to heavily armoured horse archers. Another point is the absence of certain steppe people – the Avars and the Khazars for instance, despite the fact that they also fielded extra heavy cavalry that could qualify as cataphracts and that they heavily influenced the evolution of Byzantine cavalry. Another point would have been to discuss more in depth how efficient such heavy cavalry was and in particular what kind of adversary was it expected to overcome: other heavy cavalry? Enemy infantry? Both? Underpinning this is the evolution of what was termed a cataphract, with the meaning of the expression somewhat changing over time. A further point could have been to distinguish – or at least compare - this cavalry from medieval knights, since the book’s title chose to use such a term.

To do all or at least some of this, however, the author would have needed much more than 160 pages. Three stars nevertheless for a valiant first effort, even if incomplete and imperfect.


Watch the video: ELITE CATAPHRACT vs EVERY UNIQUE UNIT. AoE II: Definitive Edition