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Encyclopedia > Cataphract
Parthian cataphract fighting a lion. British Museum.
Parthian cataphract fighting a lion. British Museum.

A cataphract (from the Greek κατάφρακτος kataphraktos, plural kataphraktoi, literally meaning (very) "behind barriers", "behind a fence", "protected") was a form of heavy cavalry used by nomadic eastern Iranian tribes and dynasties and later Greeks and Latin-speaking peoples. Historically the cataphract was a heavily armed and armoured cavalryman who saw action from the earliest days of Antiquity up through the High Middle Ages. Originally, the term cataphract referred to a type of armour worn to cover the whole body and that of the horse. Eventually the term described the trooper himself. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 741 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (1162 × 940 pixel, file size: 334 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Parthian cataphract fighting a lion. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 741 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (1162 × 940 pixel, file size: 334 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Parthian cataphract fighting a lion. ... The British Museum in London, England is one of the worlds greatest museums of human history and culture. ... An army unit consisting of mounted soldiers are commonly known as cavalry. ... Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Not to be confused with Golgotha, which was called Calvary. ... Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, which begins roughly with the earliest-recorded Greek poetry of Homer (7th century BC), and continues through the rise of Christianity and the fall of the Western Roman Empire (5th century AD... The cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, a significant architectural contribution of the High Middle Ages. ...


The term, being a purely military one, should be seen from a literal point rather than a practical one. While cataphracts and knights are given differing names, in battle the cataphract's role differed little from that of the knight in medieval Europe, though arms and tactics still separated the two. Unlike a knight, a cataphract was merely a soldier off the battlefield and had no fixed political position: his role in society rarely extended beyond military functions. The silver Anglia knight, commissioned as a trophy in 1850, intended to represent the Black Prince. ...


Peoples and states deploying cataphracts at some time in their history included, more or less in order of use, tribal groups, the Parthian dynasty, Iranian Sarmatians, Armenians, Seleucids, Pergamenes, Sassanid Persian Empire, the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. Parthia[1] (Middle Persian: اشکانیان Ashkâniân) was a civilization situated in the northeast of modern Iran, but at its height covering all of Iran proper, as well as regions of the modern countries of Armenia, Iraq, Georgia, eastern Turkey, eastern Syria, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, the Persian Gulf... Sarmatian Cataphract Sarmatians, Sarmatae or Sauromatae (the second form is mostly used by the earlier Greek writers, the other by the later Greeks and the Romans) were a people whom Herodotus (4. ... The Seleucid Empire was one of several political states founded after the death of Alexander the Great, whose generals squabbled over the division of Alexanders empire. ... View of the reconstructed Temple of Trajan at Pergamon Sketched reconstruction of ancient Pergamon Pergamon or Pergamum (Greek: Πέργαμος, modern day Bergama in Turkey, ) was an ancient Greek city, in Mysia, north-western Anatolia, 16 miles from the Aegean Sea, located on a promontory on the north side of the river... The Sassanid Empire in the time of Shapur I; the conquest of Cappadocia was temporary Official language Pahlavi (Middle Persian) Dominant Religion Zoroastrianism Capital Ctesiphon Sovereigns Shahanshah of the Iran (Eranshahr) First Ruler Ardashir I Last Ruler Yazdegerd III Establishment 224 AD Dissolution 651 AD Part of the History of... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ... “Byzantine” redirects here. ...


The Romans first encountered cataphracts during their wars with the Hellenistic warlord Pyrrhus in the 3rd century BC and first deployed cataphracts in the 2nd Century AD during the reign of emperor Hadrian (117-138). As early as the 1st Century BC but largely during the expansionist campaigns of the Parthian and Sassanid dynasties, Sarmatian and Parthian cataphracts gave the Roman Empire a nasty shock, the Parthians especially at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC. The adoption of cataphract-like cavalry formations really only took hold during the 3rd and 4th Centuries AD in response to fast moving barbarian incursions over the northern frontier of the Empire. The Emperor Gallienus (AD 253-268) and his general Aureolus bear much responsibility for this. Pyrrhus of Epirus Pyrrhus (318-272 BC) (Greek: Πύρρος) was one of the most successful ancient Greek generals of the Hellenistic era. ... Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus (January 24, 76 –– July 10, 138), known as Hadrian in English, was emperor of Rome from 117 A.D. to 138 A.D., as well as a Stoic and Epicurean philosopher. ... Combatants Roman Republic Parthia Commanders Marcus Licinius Crassus †, Publius Crassus † Surena Strength 35,000 Roman legionaries, 4,000 cavalry, 4,000 light infantry 10,000 cavalry Casualties 20,000 dead, 10,000 captured, 4,000 wounded Reportedly very light The Battle of Carrhae was a decisive battle fought in 53... Gallienus depicted on a lead seal Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus (218-268) ruled the Roman Empire as co-emperor with his father Valerian from 253 to 260, and then as the sole Roman Emperor from 260 to 268. ... Manius Acilius Aureolus (d. ...


The cataphracts deployed by the Byzantine Empire (most noticeably after the 6th century when Latin ceased to be the official language of the empire) were referred to as kataphraktoi.

Contents

Etymology

The adjective is Greek, with a basic meaning of "mail-clad." The Greek word for mail armour was cataphractes, which literally means "closed from all sides". The term first appears substantively in Latin, in the writings of Sisennus: … loricatos, quos cataphractos vocant …, "… the armored, whom they call cataphracts …" This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ...


There appears to be a confusion of the term in the late Roman period; ever since the beginnings of the Roman Empire, armoured cavalrymen of any sort were referred to as "cataphracts". Vegetius writing in the 4th century described armour of any sort as "cataphracts" - in his day this typically would have been lorica hamata or lorica squamata. Ammianus Marcellinus in the 4th century mentions cataphracti equites (quos clibanarios dictitant) – "cataphract cavalry (which they call clibanarii)". Late Antiquity is a rough periodization (c. ... Vegetius (Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus) was a celebrated military writer of the 4th century. ... Detail of metal links. ... Roman scale armour fragment. ... Ammianus Marcellinus (325/330-after 391) was a Roman historian who wrote during Late Antiquity. ...


Modern scholars have therefore had trouble determining what exactly cataphracts were in late antiquity, as well as determining whether or not they were different from clibanarii. Some theorise that cataphracts and clibanarii are one and the same type of unit; since most cataphract units bore Western-sounding names and clibanarii bore Eastern-sounding names, those units of heavy cavalry stationed in the west were logically referred to as cataphracts, and those in the east, clibanarii. Contemporary sources however sometimes imply that clibanarii were in fact a heavier type of cavalryman, or sometimes formed specialist units (units such as the Equites Sagittarii Clibanarii). Therefore the argument continues. The Clibanarii (from the Latin, clibani, meaning campoven) were a late Roman and Byzantine military unit of heavy armored horsemen. ...


Equipment, tactics and history

The Persian Knight, Sassanid dynasty (226-637), Kermanshah, Iran.
The Persian Knight, Sassanid dynasty (226-637), Kermanshah, Iran.

The roots of the cataphract (but not those of the heavy cavalry in general, as these are two different concepts) probably lay with the nomad peoples of the steppes; their cataphract traditions (reserved for their nobility) were probably passed on to the sedentary peoples of the ancient Near East. The western Greeks then first encountered the cataphracts during their wars with the Persian Empire. The cataphract was widely adopted by the Hellenistic Greek kingdoms, particularly the Seleucid Empire. The Parthians, who replaced Greek power in the East, were also noted for their use of cataphracts. The Romans fought numerous wars with armies fielding cataphracts, and by the forth century had a number of vexillations of cataphract cavalry (see the Notitia Dignitatum). The Romans kept units of cataphracts throughout the Empire, from the Eastern front all the way to Britain. The tradition was mirrored in spirit by the knights of Christian Europe, while Byzantine Empire maintained a very active corp of catapracts. Equipment and tactics varied, but cataphracts generally wore heavy armor of scale armour, chain mail, lamellar armour, horn[citation needed], or thick quilted cloth, carried a shield, sat on an armoured horse, and charged with lances (kontos) in a tight knee-to-knee formation. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (522x768, 309 KB) Summary Subject: One of the oldest depictions of a Knight from the Sassanide relief. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (522x768, 309 KB) Summary Subject: One of the oldest depictions of a Knight from the Sassanide relief. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The steppe of Western Kazakhstan in early spring In physical geography, steppe (from Slavic step) is a plain without trees (apart from those near rivers and lakes); it is similar to a prairie, although a prairie is generally reckoned as being dominated by tall grasses, while short grasses are said... The Near East is a term commonly used by archaeologists, geographers and historians, less commonly by journalists and commentators, to refer to the region encompassing Anatolia (the Asian portion of modern Turkey), the Levant (modern Israel/Palestine, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon), Georgia, Armenia, and... Ancient Greece is a period in Greek history that lasted for around nine hundred years. ... The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the old Persian homeland, and beyond in Western Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. ... “Byzantine” redirects here. ... Armor or armour (see spelling differences) is protective clothing intended to defend its wearer from intentional harm in combat and military engagements, typically associated with soldiers. ... Dacian scale armour on Trajans column. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Japanese Samurai Odoshi Armor. ... Highland cow, a very old long-horned breed from Scotland. ... A shield is a protective device, meant to intercept attacks. ... The term lance has become a catchall for a variety of different pole weapons based on the spear. ... The kontos was the Greek name for a type of lance used by Sarmatian cavalry. ...


Their flexible but strong scale armor (φαλιδωτός) was made from overlapping plates of bronze or iron sewn onto an undergarment of leather, worn both by rider and horse. A close-fitting helmet that covered the head and neck was worn, with only narrow slits for the eyes. Ammianus Marcellinus, writing in the 4th century, describes the sight of massed Persian cataphracts: … all the companies were clad in iron, and all parts of their bodies were covered with thick plates, so fitted that the stiff-joints conformed with those of their limbs; and the forms of human faces were so skilfully fitted to their heads, that since their entire body was covered with metal, arrows that fell upon them could lodge only where they could see a little through tiny openings opposite the pupil of the eye, or where through the tip of their nose they were able to get a little breath. Sarmatian or Alan mounted warrior wearing scale armour. ... Ammianus Marcellinus (325/330-after 391) was a Roman historian who wrote during Late Antiquity. ...


Most armies' cataphracts would be equipped with an additional side-arm such as a sword or mace, for use in the melee that often followed a charge. Some wore armour that was primarily frontal: providing protection for a charge yet offering relief from the weight and encumbrance of a full suit. In yet another variation, cataphracts in some field armies were not equipped with shields, particularly if they had heavy body armour. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Swiss longsword, 15th or 16th century Look up Sword in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A development of the club, a mace consists of a strong, heavy wooden, metal-reinforced, or metal shaft, with a head made of stone, copper, bronze, iron or steel. ...


Cataphract lances were usually supported by a chain attached to the horse's neck, and at the end by a fastening attached to the horse's hind leg, so the full momentum of horse could be applied to the thrust. One reason for this was the lack of stirrups; although the traditional Roman saddle had four horns with which to secure the rider (Driel-Murray & Connolly), these were largely inadequate in keeping a soldier seated upon the full impact of a charge action. Haniwa horse statuette, complete with saddle and stirrups, 6th century, Kofun period, Japan. ...


Many cataphract types were equipped with bows in addition to their lances and heavy armour, to allow them to engage the enemy from afar before charging. Cataphract archery was sometimes used tactically in disciplined formations where half the cataphracts stood facing the enemy as an armoured fence while the other half looped through the line to shoot and then back behind it to reload, increasing their safety against return fire from the enemy. This image depicts a typical bow, as made by the Huns, lying against a tree. ...


Cataphracts were the heavy assault force of most nations that used them, acting as shock troops supported by light or heavy infantry and foot or mounted archers. In many armies this reflected social divides as well as only the wealthiest noblemen could afford the panoply of the cataphract, not to mention the costs of supporting several war horses. Supporting archery was deemed particularly important for the proper deployment of cataphracts. The Parthian army that defeated the Romans at Carrhae in 53 BC operated primarily as a combined arms team of cataphracts and horse archers against the Roman heavy infantry. Archery was focused on the dense Roman ranks which prompted the legionaries to loosen formation. This then made them fatally susceptible to a massed cataphract charge. A horse archer (or horsed archer, mounted archer) is a cavalryman armed with a bow. ... Combatants Roman Republic Parthia Commanders Marcus Licinius Crassus †, Publius Crassus † Surena Strength 35,000 Roman legionaries, 4,000 cavalry, 4,000 light infantry 10,000 cavalry Casualties 20,000 dead, 10,000 captured, 4,000 wounded Reportedly very light The Battle of Carrhae was a decisive battle fought in 53... Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects. ... A horse archer (or horsed archer, mounted archer) is a cavalryman armed with a bow. ... The Roman Legion (from Latin , from lego, legere, legi, lectus — to collect) is a term that can apply both as a transliteration of legio (conscription or army) to the entire Roman army and also, more narrowly (and more commonly), to the heavy infantry that was the basic military unit of...


The cataphract charge was generally more disciplined and less impetuous than the charges of the knights of Western Europe. It was very effective due to the discipline and the large numbers of troops deployed. Roman writers throughout imperial history made much of the terror of facing cataphracts, let alone receiving their charge. Parthian armies were thus able again and again to repel Roman incursions across the Euphrates. The silver Anglia knight, commissioned as a trophy in 1850, intended to represent the Black Prince. ... Surfer Rosa The Euphrates (IPA: /juːˈfreɪtiːz/; Greek: Euphrátēs; Akkadian: Pu-rat-tu; Hebrew: פְּרָת Pĕrāth; Syriac: Prâth; Arabic: الفرات Al-Furāt; Turkish: Fırat; Kurdish: فرهات, Firhat, Ferhat, Azeri: Fərat) is the western of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia (the other...


Persian cataphracts remained a formidable force from the 3rd to 7th centuries. Initially the Sassanid dynasty continued the cavalry traditions of the Parthians, fielding units of super-heavy cavalry. This gradually fell out of favour and a "universal" cavalryman was developed during the later 3rd century, able to fight as an archer as well as a cataphract. This was perhaps in response to the nomadic combat style used by nomadic Turks and Huns, as well as the growing power of the Kushans. However as Romano-Persian hostilities grew changes were again made. During the 4th century Shapur II of Persia attempted to re-develop super-heavy cataphracts to counter heavy Roman infantry. The very best Persian cataphracts (possibly of the Pushtigban Body Guards) were said by Ammianus Marcellinus in his memoirs to be able to impale two Roman soldiers on his spear at once with his furious charge. Persian cataphract archery seems to have been again revived toward the end of antiquity, perhaps as a response to (or even a stimulus, it is uncertain) a trend of the later Roman army toward mobility and versatility. For other uses of this term see: Persia (disambiguation) The Persian Empire is the name used to refer to a number of historic dynasties that have ruled the country of Persia (Iran). ... The Sassanid Empire in the time of Shapur I; the conquest of Cappadocia was temporary Official language Pahlavi (Middle Persian) Dominant Religion Zoroastrianism Capital Ctesiphon Sovereigns Shahanshah of the Iran (Eranshahr) First Ruler Ardashir I Last Ruler Yazdegerd III Establishment 224 AD Dissolution 651 AD Part of the History of... Many historians consider the Huns (meaning person in Mongolian language) the first Mongolian and Turkic people mentioned in European history. ... Boundary of the Kushan empire, c. ... Head of King Shapur II (Sasanian dynasty 4th century). ... An elite Persian unit of soldiers during the time of the Sassanid Persian dynasty. ... Ammianus Marcellinus (325/330-after 391) was a Roman historian who wrote during Late Antiquity. ...


In a bizarre and ironic twist the elite of the Roman army in the 6th century was the cataphract, modelled after the very force that had crushed his forebears more than 500 years earlier. During the Justinianic Wars of the 6th century it was noted by Procopius that Persian cataphracts were able to fire their arrows very quickly but with little hitting power. The Roman cataphracts on the other hand were extremely skilled, able to shoot to the left and right whether in pursuit or flight, and their shots were extremely powerful if somewhat slow. Cataphracts without bows are sometimes referred to simply as lancers. The Roman army was a set of land-based military forces employed by the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and later Roman Empire as part of the Roman military. ... This article is about the Roman emperor. ...


Some cataphracts fielded by the later Roman Empire were also equipped with heavy darts (marzobarbouloi) to be hurled at the enemy lines during a charge, to disorder the defensive formation immediately before the impact of the lances. With or without darts, a cataphract charge would usually be "shot in" by foot or horse archers to either side, or by additional cataphracts who would charge in turn after having shot in the first assault. Some armies formalized this tactic by deploying separate types of cataphract, a very heavily armored bowless lancer for the primary charge and more conventional lance-and-bow cataphracts for supporting units. Darts are missile weapons, designed to fly such that a sharp, often weighted point will strike first. ... A horse archer (or horsed archer, mounted archer) is a cavalryman armed with a bow. ...



Byzantine cataphracts were a much feared force in their heyday. The army of Emperor Nicephorus II, the 'Pale Death' himself, relied on its cataphracts as its nucleus, coupling cataphract archers with cataphract lancers to create a self-perpetuating 'hammer blow' tactic where the cataphract lancers would charge again and again until the enemy broke, all the while supported by cataphract archers. Emperor Nicephoros Phocas Nicephorus II Phocas was one of the most brilliant generals in the history of Byzantium who rose to become a mediocre emperor from 963 until his assassination in 969. ...


Contemporary depictions however imply that they were not as completely armoured as earlier Roman and Sassanid types — horse armour is noticeably absent. Byzantine cataphracts of the 10th century were drawn from the ranks of the middle class landowners through the theme system, providing the Byzantine Empire with a motivated and professional force. An experimental type of cataphract was brought to the fore in the 10th and 11th centuries known as the klibanophoros — literally "bearer of klibanion" (lamellar armour, compare clibanarius), and a throwback to the super-heavy cavalry of earlier days. However, the traditional view is that after the loss of prestige, men and material and the horse-rearing plains of Anatolia after the Battle of Manzikert, they slowly dropped out of use. The klibanophoroi were to form a wedge formation and penetrate the enemy battle line, enabling lighter troops to make breakthrough. Alternatively, they were to attack the enemy commander-in-chief. Japanese Samurai Odoshi Armor. ... Anatolia and Europe Anatolia (Turkish: from Greek: Ανατολία - Anatolia) is a peninsula of Western Asia which forms the greater part of the Asian portion of Turkey, as opposed to the European portion (Thrace, or traditionally Rumelia). ... Combatants Byzantine Empire Seljuk Turks Commanders Romanus IV #, Nikephoros Bryennios, Theodore Alyates, Andronikos Doukas Alp Arslan Strength ~ 20,000 [1] (40,000 initial) ~ 20,000 [2] - 70,000[1] Casualties ~ 8,000 [3] Unknown The Battle of Manzikert, or Malazgirt was fought between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuk Turkic forces... Look up wedge in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


But according to J. Birkenmeier in "The development of the Komnenian army: 1081-1180", units of cataphracts were still being used during the twelfth century. The Komnenian restoration of the Byzantine Empire during that century created a new kind of Byzantine army, which is known as the Komnenian army. Yet it seems that the cataphract was eventually superseded by other types of heavy cavalry. The emperor Manuel I Komnenos, for example, re-equipped his elite cavalry in the style of western knights. The Komnenian restoration is the term used by Byzantinists to describe the military, financial and territorial recovery of the Byzantine Empire under the Komnenian dynasty, from the accession of Alexios I Komnenos in 1081, to the death of Manuel I Komnenos in 1180. ... The Komnenian army was the force established by Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos during the late eleventh/early twelfth century, and perfected by his successors John II Komnenos and Manuel I Komnenos during the twelfth century. ... For the eldest son of Andronikos I Komnenos and father of Alexios I of Trebizond, see Manuel Komnenos (born 1145). ...


It is difficult to determine when exactly the cataphract saw his final day. After all, cataphracts and knights both fulfilled a similar role on the medieval battlefield, and the armoured knight survived well into the modern age. The Byzantine army maintained units of heavily armoured cavalrymen up to its last years, while neighbouring Bulgars, Macedonian Slavs, Lithuanians, Albanians, Russian states and other eastern European peoples emulated Byzantine military equipment. The Bulgarians (Bulgarian: or bǎlgari) are a South Slavic people generally associated with the Republic of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian language. ... This article is about the Slavic ethnic group. ... Muscovy (Moscow principality (княжество Московское) to Grand Duchy of Moscow (Великое Княжество Московское) to Russian Tsardom (Царство Русское)) is a traditional Western name for the Russian state that existed from the 14th century to the late 17th century. ...


As western European metalwork became increasingly sophisticated, the traditional image of the cataphract evaporated. From the 15th century onward, mail, lamellar, and scale armour seemed to fall out of favour with eastern noble cavalrymen as elaborate and robust plate cuirasses arrived from the west. Despite these advances, the Byzantine army, often unable to afford the newer equipment en masse, was left ill-equipped and forced to rely on its existent and increasingly archaic military technology. The cataphract finally passed into history on May 29, 1453, when the last nation to refer to its cavalrymen as cataphracts fell.[citation needed] Combatants  Byzantine Empire Ottoman Sultanate Commanders Constantine XI †, Loukas Notaras, Giovanni Giustiniani †[1] Mehmed II, ZaÄŸanos Pasha Strength 7,000[2] 80,000[1]-200,000[1][3] Casualties 4,000 dead[4] 10,000 civilian dead[5][6] unknown The Fall of Constantinople refers to the capture of...


Related cavalry

A cataphract-style parade armour of a Saka royal from the Issyk kurgan.
A cataphract-style parade armour of a Saka royal from the Issyk kurgan.

In addition to ordinary cataphract types the Roman army sometimes fielded a very heavy type known as a clibanarius, meaning literally "boiler boy" (pl. clibanarii), also named after an iron oven due to their enclosed metal armor. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 226 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (283 × 751 pixel, file size: 50 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Kazakhstan Saka Cataphract Issyk Metadata This... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 226 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (283 × 751 pixel, file size: 50 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Kazakhstan Saka Cataphract Issyk Metadata This... A cataphract-style parade armour of a Saka royal from the Issyk kurgan. ... drawing of the Issyk inscription The Issyk kurgan, in south-eastern Kazakhstan, less than 20 km east from the Talgar alluvial fan, near Issyk, was discovered in 1969. ... The Clibanarii (from the Latin, clibani, meaning campoven) were a late Roman and Byzantine military unit of heavy armored horsemen. ...


The 5th century Notitia Dignitatum mentions a specialist unit of clibanarii known as the Equites Sagittarii Clibanarii - evidently a unit of heavily armoured horse archers based on the heavy cavalry of contemporary Persian armies. The Notitia Dignitatum is a unique document of the Roman imperial chanceries. ...


An anonymous 6th century Roman military treatise also proposed one exotic experimental unit of scythed chariots with cataphract lancers mounted on the chariot's horses, though there is no evidence that this unit was ever taken seriously. The charge of the Persian scythed chariots at the battle of Gaugamela, by Andre Castaigne (1898-1899). ...


Nations in the East occasionally fielded cataphracts mounted on camels rather than on horses (the Romans also adopted this practice, calling camel mounted cavalrymen dromedarii), with obvious benefits for use in arid regions, as well as the fact that the smell of the camels, if up wind, was a guaranteed way of panicking enemy cavalry units that they came into contact with.[citation needed] Balanced against this is the relatively greater vulnerability of camel mounted units to caltrops, due to their having soft padded soles to their feet rather than hooves. For other uses, see Camel (disambiguation). ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Caltrop with hollow spikes to puncture self-sealing rubber tires Contemporary caltrop improvised from large nails welded together. ...


The Seleucid Empire was famous for its armored large war elephants. They were equipped with scale armour and a crested chamfron, carrying between two and four men who were armed with sarissae or bows in a tower on its back. Their ears were dyed red to make them more frightening.[citation needed] The tough skin of elephants afforded them considerable protection and the armour worn made them almost invulnerable to projectiles. Cavalry were also frightened by the smell of the elephants[citation needed] which allowed them to be used as massive organic fortifications against cavalry maneuvers on the battlefield. The Seleucid Empire was a Hellenistic successor state of Alexander the Greats dominion. ... The elephants thick hide protects it from injury. ... For the Bronze Age Hittite city, go to Kusakli. ...


See also

Relief of Ardashir I, in Naqsh-e Rustam The birth of the Sassanid army (Persian: ‎ Læškar-e SāsānÄ«yān) dates back to Ardashir I rise to the throne, when he planned a clear military aimed at the revival of the Persian Empire by forming a standing... The Byzantine Army was the primary military body of the Byzantine armed forces, serving alongside the Byzantine Navy. ... The Clibanarii (from the Latin, clibani, meaning campoven) were a late Roman and Byzantine military unit of heavy armored horsemen. ... Parthian Empire at its greatest extent, c60 BCE. The Parthian Empire was the dominating force on the Iranian plateau beginning in the late 3rd century BCE, and intermittently controlled Mesopotamia between ca 190 BCE and 224 CE. Parthia was the arch-enemy of the Roman Empire in the east and... After Islamic Conquest  Modern SSR = Soviet Socialist Republic Afghanistan  Azerbaijan  Bahrain  Iran  Iraq  Tajikistan  Uzbekistan  This box:      The Sassanid Empire or Sassanian Dynasty (Persian: []) is the name used for the fourth Iranian dynasty, and the second Persian Empire (226–651). ... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ... The Seleucid Empire was one of several political states founded after the death of Alexander the Great, whose generals squabbled over the division of Alexanders empire. ...

References

  • Driel-Murray, C. van; Connolly, P. (1991) The Roman cavalry saddle. Britannia 22, pp. 33-50
  • Nikonorov, Valerii P. (1985a) The Parthian Cataphracts In Chetvertaia vsesoiuznaia shkola molodykh vostokovedov. T. I. Moscow. pp. 65-67.
  • Smith, William et al. (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. 3rd edition. Article Cataphracti. The text of this book is now in the public domain.

Bibliography

  • Nikonorov, Valerii P. (1985b) The Development of Horse Defensive Equipment in the Antique Epoch.In Kruglikova, I. T. (ed.), Zheleznyi vek Kavkaza, Srednei Azii i Sibiri. Kratkie soobshcheniia Instituta arkheologii Akademii nauk SSSR. 184. Moscow: Nauka, 1985, pp. 30-35.
  • Nikonorov, Valerii P. (1998) Cataphracti, Catafractarii and Clibanarii: Another Look at the old problem of their Identifications. In Voennaia arkheologiia: Oruzhie i voennoe delo v istoricheskoi i sotsial.noi perspektive (Military Archaeology: Weaponry and Warfare in the Historical and Social Perspective). St. Petersburg:. pp. 131-138.
  • Warry, John Gibson (1980) Warfare in the classical world: an illustrated encyclopedia of weapons, warriors, and warfare in the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome. New York, St. Martin's Press.
  • Macdowall, Simon (1995) Late Roman Cavalryman, 236-565AD. Osprey Publishing
  • Farrokh, Kaveh (2005) Sassanian Elite Cavalry, AD224-642. Osprey Publishing

One of the Men-at-Arms Series. ... One of the Men-at-Arms Series. ...

External links


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Cataphract - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2406 words)
While cataphracts and knights are given differing names, in battle the cataphract's role differed little from that of the knight in medieval Europe, though arms and tactics still separated the two.
The roots of the cataphract (but not that of the heavy cavalry in general, as these are two different concepts) probably lay with the nomad peoples of the steppes; their cataphract traditions (reserved for their nobility) were probably passed onto the sedentary peoples of the ancient Near East.
Cataphracts were the heavy assault force of most nations that used them, acting as shock troops supported by light or heavy infantry and foot or mounted archers.
Wikinfo | Cataphract (660 words)
A cataphract charge was generally more disciplined and less impetuous than the charges of the knights of Western Europe, but very effective due to the discipline and the large numbers of troops deployed.
Cataphract archery was sometimes used tactically in disciplined formations where half the cataphracts stood facing the enemy as an armored fence while the other half looped through the line to shoot and then back behind it to reload, increasing their safety against return fire from the enemy.
Some later cataphract types were also equipped with heavy darts to be hurled at the enemy lines during a charge, to disorder the defensive formation immediately before the impact of the lances.
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