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Review: Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081

Warren Treadgold

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081

No matter how you look at it, it must be admitted that the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) army was the direct successor of the Roman army. It is obvious that time and political and socio-economic changes that took place over time had an impact on the shape and organization of the army of the Eastern Empire. This empire, after being separated from its western, Latin part, quickly became Greek from the point of view of the language and culture that dominated it (especially the upper classes of its society). The evolution of the organization of the Byzantine army over eight centuries (from the 3rd to the 11th century) was presented in detail in his book entitled ‘Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081” American Byzantinist Mr. Warren Treadgold.

This is an incredibly interesting item and full of details, such as the estimated amount of pay depending on the military rank in a given historical period. Mr. Treadgold also does not miss the opportunity to argue with his colleagues, which further increases the substantive value of the text he wrote about the army of the Eastern Roman Empire. The organization of the Byzantine military districts, which until the Byzantine Empire lost its valuable human recruitment base, which was Anatolia, functioned without any major complaints, is described in a clear way. I perceive this as a strength of this study. The author also devotes a lot of space to military formations, which included a non-Greek element. The most famous formation of this type was, of course, the Wareska Guard. It was brought to life by Basil II the Bulgarslayer, who did not trust his Greek countrymen with unstable characters. At this point, I must mention that reading this, in fact, very specialized book was greatly facilitated by my knowledge of the political history of the Byzantine Empire in the period in question, whose author, due to the nature and volume of his work, had to be quite stingy with readers.

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Author: Antypater (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)

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