Sassanian silver plate showing lance combat
Imperial flag (basilikon phlamoulon) of the Palaiologan era (14th century)
Emperor Constantine I.
A 10th-12th century ivory relief of a Byzantine swordsman wearing scale armor and round shield- Berlin Bode museum.
Emperor John II Komnenos became renowned for his superb generalship and conducted many successful sieges. Under his leadership, the Byzantine army reconquered substantial territories from the Turks.
A map of the Byzantine Empire under Manuel Komnenos, c. 1180.
Map of the Byzantine Empire in c. 1270. After the damage caused by the collapse of the theme system, the mismanagement of the Angeloi and the catastrophe of the Fourth Crusade, for which the Angeloi were largely to blame, it proved impossible to restore the empire to the position it had held under Manuel Komnenos.
The deployment of the armies in the Battle of Dara (530), in which Byzantium employed various foreign mercenary soldiers, including the Huns.
A siege by Byzantine forces, Skylitzes chronicle 11th century
Coin of emperor Basil II, founder of the Varangian Guard.
Byzantine fresco of Joshua from the Hosios Loukas monastery, 12th to 13th century. A good view of the construction of the lamellar klivanion cuirass. Unusually, the Biblical figure is shown wearing headgear; the helmet and its attached neck and throat defences appear to be cloth-covered. Joshua is shown wearing a straight spathion sword.
A Byzantine fresco of Saint Mercurius with a sword and helmet, dated 1295, from Ohrid, North Macedonia
This image by Gustave Doré shows the Turkish ambush at the battle of Myriokephalon (1176)

The Greek name for a type of long wooden cavalry lance used by the Iranians, especially Achaemenid successors' cavalry, most notably cataphracts (Grivpanvar).

- Kontos (weapon)

Young foreigners unskilled with the bow should have lances and shields and bucellary troops ought to have iron gauntlets and small tassles hanging from the back straps and neck straps of their horses, as well as small pennons hanging from their own shoulders over their coats of mail, "for the more handsome the soldier is, in his armament, the more confidence he gains in himself and the more fear he inspires in the enemy."

- Byzantine army
Sassanian silver plate showing lance combat

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Historical reenactment of a Sassanid-era cataphract, complete with a full set of scale armor for the horse. The rider is covered by extensive mail armor.

Cataphract

Form of armored heavy cavalryman that originated in Persia and was fielded in ancient warfare throughout Eurasia and Northern Africa.

Form of armored heavy cavalryman that originated in Persia and was fielded in ancient warfare throughout Eurasia and Northern Africa.

Historical reenactment of a Sassanid-era cataphract, complete with a full set of scale armor for the horse. The rider is covered by extensive mail armor.
Sculpture of a Sasanian cataphract in Taq-e Bostan, Iran. It is One of the oldest depictions of a cataphract.
The extent circa 170 BC of the Iranian Scythians and Parthians, to whom the first recorded use of true cataphract-like cavalry can be attributed in antiquity.
Chanfron, Northern Yan
A stone-etched relief depicting a Parthian cataphract fighting against a lion. Housed in the British Museum.
Three examples of the various styles of interweaving and wire threading that were commonly employed in the creation of cataphract scale armor to form a stiffened, "armored shell" with which to protect the horse.
Breakdown of a fully armoured Chinese cataphract
Equestrian relief at Firuzabad, Iran showing Cataphracts dueling with lances
The cataphract-style parade armor of a Saka (Scythian) royal from the Issyk kurgan, dubbed "Golden Man". The overlapping golden scales are typical of cataphract armor.
Two heavily armored noblemen dueling on horseback with kontos; Sasanian era silver plate with gold coating, Azerbaijan Museum, Tabriz, Iran
A depiction of Sarmatian cataphracts fleeing from Roman cavalry during the Dacian wars circa 101 AD, at Trajan's Column in Rome

Historically, the cataphract was a very heavily armored horseman, with both the rider and mount almost completely covered in scale armor, and typically wielding a kontos or lance as his primary weapon.

If they had indeed disappeared, then it is possible that they were revived once again during the Komnenian restoration, a period of thorough financial, territorial and military reform that changed the Byzantine army of previous ages, which is referred to separately as the Komnenian army after the 12th century.