Byzantine Infantry, 11th C.
Stratēlatai Tagma & Varangian Gaurd Tagma, re-created military units
The Stratēlatai were a Tagma (Brigade) formed by Emperor John Tzimisces in the late 10th C, after the military saint Theodore Stratelata ... feast day June 8... divinely intervened to win a battle for him.
are members of a living history society set in a resplendent era of the longest
enduring empire the human race has ever known – the (Eastern)
Right: Saint Theodore Stratelata
The new Stratēlatai
Tagma recreates this historic military unit.
It was a professional regular formation created in the 10th C.
of a mix of subjects of the Empire (the less-civilized rougher subjects,
mostly), and individuals from neighboring warlike groups such as the Rus and
Bulgars, who serve for pay and citizenship.
Most of us portray Rus or other Slav individuals, or
members of another Tagma, the Varangian Guard.
Some of us work toward presenting an early Rus/Polish impression, and this is a better-documented route toward a poorly documented historical area.
unit trains with the techniques and drill that created and sustained the empire
across two thousand years, and which form the basis for all modern military
training. In addition to
demonstrating drill, Tagma soldiers cross swords with other societies in battle
enactments. We are based in VA/DC/MD USA.
activities is (potentially) a wide variety of arts, crafts and activities – cookery,
metalwork, woodwork, textile and leather crafts, music, dance, and more. For
more on the everyday life of
A file of
A file ofa foulhon (or phalanx), consists of an 8 man Dekarkhlon commanded by the corporal or Dekarklos. Our company is a Kentarkhion commanded by the Kenterion. We hope to have a group with all the key elements of a 11th C eastern Roman military formation. At least 2 heavy infantry hoplites, a light infantry pikeman, a archer, a peltstat (slinger and javelineer), menavlatoi , and cavalryman. These are described here.
For an exploratory event, Rick put together this Byzantine impression of an unarmored skutatos of about 1050-1110, at Roman Days, Fairfax VA Sept 2008
I had a buddy with me at RD....
Although our gear was a work in progress, A few of us attended a mostly Viking event Apr 2009, two heavy infantry skutatoi backed by an archer.
An archer, and/or a Varangian axe-man
In 2010 We appeared at MTT and Roman Days
2011 Roman Days
The skoutarion is a kite shield similar to those use by the Normans at the Battle of Hastings (1066) - (they possibly copied the style from the Byzantines, whom they encountered directly in Sicily and indirectly though the "vikings" and Rus). It is used with the kontarion with tension from the shoulder strap, the elbow in the crook of the curved shield, and forearm in a strap. Other straps allow the shield to be used as a targe with sword-work.
(11/08) We supporting our Byzantine Regiment friends in NYC, who were doing a "1453 eve of the fall" (of Constantinople) music video for Phoenix Reign, a metal band. We were actually the Janissaries, seen in the background.
Byzantine Military Saints, 11-12thC
We are flexible, and may
expand our presentation in the future to the Justinian (6th C.)
period, and 1456. We are also game for presenting 11th C. Rus and
Poles, which have similar kit, and many soldiers of the historic Tagma would certainly be Rus or other Slav anyway.
For information or to inquire about joining our project, please contact
-Rick, Arlington VA USA 703 528 5618 (email SOM at KISMETA dot COM )
Byzantine and Rus Images
Byzantine Infantry Types