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The False Dawn: Later Komnenan Byzantine

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 7 months ago

Later Komnenan Byzantine, AD 1143 - AD 1204


Draft list by Ulf Olsson


This list covers the Byzantine armies from the accession of Manuel Komnenos until the loss of Constantinople to the 4th Crusade.

The period from AD 1143 saw the apogee of the Komnenan revival with a gradual reconquest of lost territories in Asia Minor and improved economic conditions. There were some military reversals, but the army proved quite effective. The serious defeat at Myriokephalon in AD 1176 was due to very bad generalship. The Emperor commanding the army ignored advice from his generals and led the army into a Turkish ambush in a narrow defile efter neglecting both scouting and securing the high ground.

At the very end of the period, there was a sharp decline in the political and economic situation with a number of coups and infighting between factions that made the Empire vulnerable to the surprise assault by the 4th Crusade.

The loss of Constantinople was a blow that the Empire never recovered from, not even when the City was regained in AD 1261.


For a list of sources used to compile this list, please see Byzantine Sources.


Army List


Terrain: Normal - Hilly


0-1 Imperial Tagmatic Division

1c Tagmatic Kavallarioi

0-1 Tagmatic Kavallarioi



If the Imperial Tagmatic Division is used, it must be commanded by the C-in-C.


1-2 Provincial Division

1c Provincial Kavallarioi

1-2 Provincial Kavallarioi


0-2 Byzantine Infantry Division

1c Kontaratoi or Toxotai

0-1 Kontaratoi

1-2 Toxotai


0-1 Latinkon Division

1c Latinkon

1-2 Latinkon


0-1 Varangian Division

1c Varangian Guard

0-1 Varangian Guard


1-2 Skythikon Division

1c Skythikon

0-2 Skythikon


0-1 Seljuq Turk Ally Division

1c Seljuq Ally Turks

0-2 Seljuq Ally Turkomen


Additional Units

0-2 Latinkon (Note 1)

0-4 Turkopouloi (Note 2)

0-4 Skythikon (Note 3)

0-20 Ditch and bank camp defences (Note 4)

0-2 Bolt-Shooters and Stone-throwers (Note 5)


Additional Unit Notes

No Additional Units may be added to an Allied Division


  1. Latinkon may only be added to the Imperial Tagmatic Division or a Provincial Division.
  2. Turkopouloi may not be added to a Byzantine Infantry Division or a Skythikon Division.
  3. Skythikon may be added to any Division except a Byzantine Infantry Division.
  4. Slav heretics may only be added to a Byzantine Infantry Division.
  5. Ditch and bank camp defences may only be used if defending in a positional battle. At least 10 widths of camp fortifications must be used if any are. A fortified camp must completely enclose the area of the camp or abut the Byzantine rear table edge and/or a river or sea. The camp enclosure must be continous except for one or two gaps representing the camp gates. The gate gap(s) must be exactly one base width wide.
  6. Artillery may only be deployed inside a Byzantine camp and cannot be moved during the game.



Mounted Units


Tagmatic Kavallarioi

Heavy Cavalry - Initiative 6 (Audacious, Elite)

3 Bases - 57 Pts

4 Bases - 72 Pts



This is the elite of the ethnically Byzantine parts of the army and consists of full-time regular cavalry soldiers. The Byzantine cavalry of this period adopted some of the tactics of western knights, but were not as heavily equipped.


Kavallarioi of Provincial Kavallarioi

Heavy Cavalry - Initiative 6 (Audacious, Brittle)

3 Bases - 42 Pts

4 Bases - 52 Pts



Represents the full-time professional cavalry of the provinces. They tend to lack cohesion and morale and are not always well equipped.



Medium Chevaliers – Initiative 6 (Audacious)

2 Bases - 60 Pts, 56 Pts if Ally

3 Bases - 78 Pts, 72 Pts if Ally



Latinkon are Norman and other Western mercenaries in Byzantine service. They are true medieval knights and very effective.



Light Horse Archers - Initiative 6 (Wave)

2 Bases - 36 Pts, 32 Pts if Allied

4 Bases - 60 Pts, 52 Pts if Allied


May be classed as Ally AD 1071 – AD 1080.



These units depict Pecheneg and Cuman mercenaries in Byzantine service.



Light Horse Archers - Initiative 6 (Wave, Expert)

2 Bases - 38 Pts

4 Bases - 64 Pts



These units depict Christianised Turk mercenaries and their descendants. They were very effective troops.


Seljuq Ally Turks

Medium Horse Archers - Initiative 7 (Ally, Wave)

2 Bases - 38 Pts

4 Bases - 64 Pts



Surprisingly enough, the Byzantines often allied with Seljuq Turk factions. The Seljuq 'Turks' are the professional troops of Turk potentates and very effective and reliable soldiers. Their loyalty is to their chief and not the Empire, however.


Seljuq Ally Turkomen

Light Horse Archers - Initiative 7 (Ally, Wave, Audacious)

2 Bases - 34 Pts

4 Bases - 56 Pts



The Turkomen are the tribal warriors of the Seljuq armies and make up the bulk of their forces. They tend to be rather unreliable, but they are also very skilled horse archers. See above.


Foot Units


Varangian Guard

Heavy Shock - Initiative 7 (Deep Line)

4 Bases - 42 Pts

6 Bases - 57 Pts

8 Bases - 72 Pts



The Varangians in Byzantine were the elite of the infantry and had a great reputation for combat effectiveness, as well as a remarkable reputation for political reliability. Whether they always lived up to their reputation is less than certain, though. During this period the original Russians and Scandinavians were outnumbered by increasing numbers of English exiles.

See: Varangians- Depiction from the Skylitzes Madrid MS




Medium Shieldsmen - Initiative 6 (Brittle)

6 Bases 26 Pts

8 Bases 32 Pts



These units represent the heavy infantry component of the main Byzantine infantry force of the period. The heavy infantry were supposed to be well drilled and disciplined, but their performance indicates that this was not the case.



Medium or Light Archers – Initiative 6 (Brittle) or Initiative 5

6 Bases 32 Pts if I6, 31 Pts if I5

8 Bases 40 Pts if I6, 38 Pts if I5


Toxotai units may be Initiative 6 or Initiative 5. All the Toxotai units in a Division must have the same Initiative. If two Byzantine Infantry Divisions are used, all the Toxotai units in at least one of these Divisions must be Initiative 5.



Lightly equipped infantry archers of the Themes. The Empire found it difficult to field large numbers of effective archers.



Bolt Shooters and Stone Throwers


1 Base 20 Pts


Artillery can only be used if defending in a positional battle. It must be deployed inside a Fortified Camp.



The Byzantine army had a range of sophisticated artillery pieces of various sizes and types. Most were used in sieges, but the lighter types were also used for defending the army’s marching camps.


Fortified Camp

Medium Fortification

1 Width 8 Pt


The Fortified Camp may only be used if defending in a positional battle.



According to regulations, the Byzantine army was always supposed to erect Roman-style marching camps in enemy territory. This was not always done, however. In addition, some battles took place a considerable distance away from fortified camps, so the fortified camp is not compulsory.

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