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.
Sassanian silver plate showing lance combat
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

The kontos (κοντός) was 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)

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.

- Cataphract
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.

2 related topics

Alpha

Historical re-enactment of an asbaran cataphract

Aswaran

Cavalry force that formed the backbone of the army of the Sasanian Empire.

Cavalry force that formed the backbone of the army of the Sasanian Empire.

Historical re-enactment of an asbaran cataphract
Sasanian silverware, showing a combat between two noble horsemen wearing scale armor, cuirass, chaps, and equipped with kontos, swords, quivers and arrows.
Illustration of an asbaran cavalryman holding a banner showing a Homa, a mythical bird of Iranian legends and fables.
Equestrian statue of Khosrow II (r. 590–628) wearing the same armor used by the asbaran.

They were provided by the aristocracy, were heavily armored, and ranged from archers to cataphracts.

The Sasanian lance was based on the 12-foot long Parthian kontos that featured a sword-like iron blade.

The region of Parthia within the empire of Medes, c. 600 BC; from a historical atlas illustrated by William Robert Shepherd

Grivpanvar

The region of Parthia within the empire of Medes, c. 600 BC; from a historical atlas illustrated by William Robert Shepherd

The Grivpanvar (literally: neck-guard wearer) were an elite late Parthian and Sasanian division who fought as heavy cataphract cavalry.

Clad in chain mail with a breastplate and strong scale armour, they were armed with the famed Kontos lance used by many Iranian peoples during antiquity.