Raising an army in Post-Roman Europe – The later sixth century

It seems clear that things had changed somewhat by the time that authors like Gregory of Tours wrote their works, and this makes it difficult to project their testimony back into the fifth century. Continue reading “Raising an army in Post-Roman Europe – The later sixth century”

Raising an army in Post-Roman Europe – The later fifth and early sixth centuries

The crucial period during and immediately following the final demise of the western Roman Empire is unfortunately badly served by written sources, so much of our discussion must be hypothetical, using the patchy fifth-century evidence and attempting to draw inferences from what appear to be remnants or survivals from this period in the sources of the sixth century. This method is far from satisfactory but a fairly coherent picture seems to emerge. Continue reading “Raising an army in Post-Roman Europe – The later fifth and early sixth centuries”

English refugees were the most prominent element in the Eastern Roman (‘Byzantine’) Varangian Guard from the late 11th to the 13th century

One of the most interesting episodes in Byzantine military history and in medieval English history is the Anglo-Saxon participation and service in the Varangian Guards regiment from the late 11th to the early 13th century. Continue reading “English refugees were the most prominent element in the Eastern Roman (‘Byzantine’) Varangian Guard from the late 11th to the 13th century”

“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)”

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