The Romans’ first crossing with an army to Illyria

It was at this period that the Romans first crossed with an army to Illyria and that part of Europe. This is a matter not to be lightly passed over, but deserving the serious attention of those who wish to gain a true view of the purpose of this work and of the formation and growth of the Roman dominion. Continue reading “The Romans’ first crossing with an army to Illyria”

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“The army is the glory of the Emperor”; evolution of military power in the Roman East (Part 2)

The configuration of an elite force directly attached to the imperial office had many implications. Given that this was initially an arithmetically rather small corps and, therefore, could not campaign individually against the enemies of the empire, its primary purpose was to circumscribe the loyalty of the provincial armies. Continue reading ““The army is the glory of the Emperor”; evolution of military power in the Roman East (Part 2)”

“The army is the glory of the Emperor”; evolution of military power in the Roman East (Part 1)

Don’t allow your army to be broken up or to become poor, or you will become poor yourself, and consider yourself very wretched. The army is the glory of the Emperor, and the power of the palace. For, if there is no army, the state (Treasury) cannot stand firm, but anyone who wants to will by all means oppose you. Endeavour, at all times, (to see) that the fleet grows, and that you have it at full strength; for the fleet is the glory of the Roman realm”. (lines from the late 11th century so-called Strategikon of Kekaumenos) Continue reading ““The army is the glory of the Emperor”; evolution of military power in the Roman East (Part 1)”

Size and effectiveness of the Imperial Roman army on the eve of the Muslim conquests

The army of Heraclius’ empire after demobilization in 629 and 630 was almost certainly smaller than that of Justinian’s reign, which the contemporary historian Agathias had speculated in estimating its strength at 150,000. The question is how much smaller were the total disposable Byzantine forces at the beginning of the 630s than they had been late in the reign of Justinian. Perhaps they were smaller by as much as one-third, although it is difficult to conceive how they could have been much less than two-thirds of the late Justinianic armies’ size, because of the remaining vast dimensions of the empire. Continue reading “Size and effectiveness of the Imperial Roman army on the eve of the Muslim conquests”

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