Kontos (weapon)

Sassanian silver plate showing lance combat

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)
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.

Norman cavalry attacks the Anglo-Saxon shield wall at the Battle of Hastings as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry. The lances are held with a one-handed over-the-head grip.

Lance

Spear designed to be used by a mounted warrior or cavalry soldier .

Spear designed to be used by a mounted warrior or cavalry soldier .

Norman cavalry attacks the Anglo-Saxon shield wall at the Battle of Hastings as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry. The lances are held with a one-handed over-the-head grip.
Lance head, Warring States period
Warring States lance head (pi)
A lance head from the reenactment of the Eglinton Tournament (1839)
Drawing from The War Illustrated representing a Russian Don Cossack lancing a German infantryman.
Russian lance "cavalry pike", type of 1910.

The Byzantine cavalry used lances (Kontos (weapon) or kontarion) almost exclusively, often in assorted mounted archer and lancer formations (cursores et defensores).

French 4th Hussars at the Battle of Friedland, 1807

Cavalry

Historically, cavalry (from the French word cavalerie, itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback.

Historically, cavalry (from the French word cavalerie, itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback.

French 4th Hussars at the Battle of Friedland, 1807
A trumpeter of the Representative Cavalry Squadron in the Polish Army
A Polish winged hussar
Assyrian cavalry
Parthian horseman, now on display at the Palazzo Madama, Turin
Warrior's departure; an Athenian amphora dated 550–540 BC
Tombstone of a Roman auxiliary trooper from Cologne, Germany. Second half of the first century AD
Reenactor as a Roman auxiliary cavalryman
Chinese caltrop jar
Mongols at war 14th century
A bas-relief of a soldier and horse with saddle and stirrups, from the tomb of Chinese Emperor Taizong of Tang (r 626–649), c 650
The Qianlong Emperor in ceremonial armor on horseback, painted by Giuseppe Castiglione, dated 1739 or 1758
A mounted samurai with bow and arrows, wearing a horned helmet. Circa 1878
In the Battle of Ichi-no-Tani, Japanese cavalry moving down a mountain-side
Manuscript illustration of the Battle of Kurukshetra
Coin of Chandragupta II or Vikramaditya, one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire during times referred to as the Golden Age of India
Rajput warrior on horseback
Akbar leads the Mughal Army during a campaign
Horse-mounted Normans charging in the Bayeux Tapestry, 11th century
A 13th-century depiction of a riding horse. Note resemblance to the modern Paso Fino
A Hussite war wagon: it enabled peasants to defeat knights
Arab camelry
A Moroccan with his Arabian horse along the Barbary coast
Kanem-Bu warriors armed with spears in the retinue of a mounted war chief. The Earth and Its Inhabitants, 1892
Knighted cavalry and noblemen, painting by Jan van Eyck (c. 1390–1441)
Husarz (Polish Hussar) by Józef Brandt
Cavalry charge at Eylau, painted by Jean-Antoine-Siméon Fort
British infantry formed into anti-cavalry squares at the Battle of Quatre Bras
The charge of the Venezuelan First Division's cavalry at the Battle of Carabobo
"The Thin Red Line" at the Battle of Balaclava, where the 93rd Regiment held off Russian Cavalry
Monument to the Spanish Regiment of light cavalry of Alcántara
The charge of the 21st Lancers at Omdurman
19th Lancers near Mametz during the Battle of the Somme, 15 July 1916
Algerian spahis of the French Army 1886
Union Cavalry capture Confederate guns at Culpepper
Italian cavalry officers practice their horsemanship in 1904 outside Rome
Austro-Hungarian cavalry, 1898
German cavalryman in September 1914, German South-West Africa
Dead German cavalry horses after the Battle of Halen - where the Belgian cavalry, fighting dismounted, decimated their still mounted German counterparts
A British cavalry trooper in marching order (1914–1918)
German dragoons, armed with lances, after the capture of Warsaw, August 1915
Lithuanian lancers training in the 1930s
Turkish cavalry during mopping‐up operation 1922
Polish uhlan with wz. 35 anti-tank rifle. Military instruction published in Warsaw in 1938
A German cavalry patrol in May 1940, during the Battle of France
Mongolian cavalry in the Khalkhin Gol (1939)
U.S. Special Forces and Combat Controllers on horseback with the Northern Alliance of Afghanistan, which frequently used horses as military transport
Italian Army regiment “Lancieri di Montebello” (8th) on public duties in Rome 2019
Horse-mounted color guard from Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow
A cavalryman of Hakkapeliitta, the Finnish cavalry of Thirty Years' War, featured on a 1940 Finnish stamp
Mongol mounted archer of Genghis Khan late 12th century.
Tatar vanguard in Eastern Europe 13th–14th centuries.
Manikin of a Safavid Qizilbash, showing characteristic red cap (Sa'dabad Palace, Tehran).
Persian Zamburak.
Ottoman Sipahi.
An Ottoman Mamluk cavalryman from 1810, armed with a pistol.
Akinci of the Balkans.
Ottoman Ghazi cavalrymen during the Battle of Nicopolis.<ref>{{cite web|last=Lokman |url=http://warfare.atwebpages.com/Ottoman/Ottoman.htm |title=Battle of Nicopolis (1396) |year=1588 |work=Hünernâme |url-status=dead |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20130529094441/http://warfare.atwebpages.com/Ottoman/Ottoman.htm |archive-date=2013-05-29 }}</ref>
Washington National Guard cavalry pictured in Tacoma, Washington in 1907.
French cuirassiers, wearing breastplates and helmets, parade through Paris on the way to battle, August 1914.
Spanish light cavalry (cazadores) during the Rif War 1921.
Polish PZL W-3 Sokół of the 66 Air Cavalry Squadron, 25th Aeromobile Cavalry Brigade.
The mounted President's Bodyguard of the Indian Army
French Republican Guard – 2008 Bastille Day military parade
The President's Body Guard of the Pakistan Army, 2006.
Troopers of the Blues and Royals on mounted duty in Whitehall, London
Turkmenistan ceremonial cavalry in the Independence Day parade 2011
A Mongolian military horseman, 2013
Representative Cavalry Squadron of the Polish Army on military parade in Warsaw, 2006

There were also the Ippiko (or "Horserider"), Greek "heavy" cavalry, armed with kontos (or cavalry lance), and sword.

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.

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

Elite late Parthian and Sasanian division who fought as heavy cataphract cavalry.

Elite late Parthian and Sasanian division who fought as heavy cataphract cavalry.

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

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.

Imperial flag (basilikon phlamoulon) of the Palaiologan era (14th century)

Byzantine army

The primary military body of the Byzantine armed forces, serving alongside the Byzantine navy.

The primary military body of the Byzantine armed forces, serving alongside the Byzantine navy.

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)

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."

Roman auxiliary infantry crossing a river, probably the Danube, on a pontoon bridge during the emperor Trajan's Dacian Wars (AD 101–106). They can be distinguished by the oval shield (clipeus) they were equipped with, in contrast to the rectangular scutum carried by legionaries. Panel from Trajan's Column, Rome

Auxilia

The Auxilia (, lit. "auxiliaries") were introduced as non-citizen troops attached to the citizen legions by Augustus after his reorganisation of the Imperial Roman army from 30 BC. By the 2nd century, the Auxilia contained the same number of infantry as the legions and, in addition, provided almost all of the Roman army's cavalry (especially light cavalry and archers) and more specialised troops.

The Auxilia (, lit. "auxiliaries") were introduced as non-citizen troops attached to the citizen legions by Augustus after his reorganisation of the Imperial Roman army from 30 BC. By the 2nd century, the Auxilia contained the same number of infantry as the legions and, in addition, provided almost all of the Roman army's cavalry (especially light cavalry and archers) and more specialised troops.

Roman auxiliary infantry crossing a river, probably the Danube, on a pontoon bridge during the emperor Trajan's Dacian Wars (AD 101–106). They can be distinguished by the oval shield (clipeus) they were equipped with, in contrast to the rectangular scutum carried by legionaries. Panel from Trajan's Column, Rome
Etruscan funerary urn crowned with the sculpture of a woman and a front-panel relief showing two warriors fighting, polychrome terracotta, c. 150 BC
Slingers from the cast of Trajan's Column in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2nd century AD
The cavalry Witcham Gravel helmet from Cambridgeshire (England), 1st century AD
Rhine frontier of the Roman empire, 70 AD, showing the location of the Batavi in the Rhine delta region. Roman territory is shaded dark. Their homeland was called the Insula Batavorum by the Romans and corresponded roughly with modern Gelderland province, Neth. Their chief town was Noviomagus (Nijmegen, Neth.), a strategic prominence in an otherwise flat and waterlogged land that became the site of a Roman legionary fortress (housing the legion X Gemina) after the Batavi revolt ended in 70 AD. The name is of Celtic origin, meaning "new market", suggesting that the Germanic Batavi either displaced or subjugated an indigenous Gallic tribe
Tombstone of the Flavian-era eques alaris (ala cavalryman) Titus Flavius Bassus, son of Mucala. A Dansala, (i.e. member of the Thracian Dentheletae tribe), he belonged to the Ala Noricorum (originally raised from the Taurisci tribe of Noricum). He died at age 46 after 26 years' service, not having advanced beyond the lowest rank. Bassus' adopted Roman names, Titus Flavius, indicate that he had gained Roman citizenship, doubtless by serving the required 25 years in the auxilia. The names adopted would normally be those of the emperor ruling at the time of the citizenship award. In this case, they could refer to any of the 3 emperors of the Flavian dynasty (ruled 69–96), Vespasian and his two sons, Titus and Domitian, all of whom carried the same names. The arrangement of the scene, a rider spearing a man (the motif of the Thracian Hero), indicates that Bassus was a Thracian, as does his father's name. Date: late 1st century. Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne, Germany
Roman cavalry spatha, a longer sword (median blade length: 780 mm [30.7 in]), designed to give the rider a longer reach than the gladius
Roman cavalry from a mosaic of the Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily, 4th century AD
Routed Sarmatian cataphracts (right) flee for their lives from Roman alares (auxiliary cavalrymen), during the Dacian Wars (AD 101–106). Note full-body scalar armour, also armoured caparison for horses (including eye-guards). The Sarmatians' lances (as well as the Romans') have disappeared due to stone erosion, but a sword is still visible, as is a bow carried by one man. It was apparently in the period following this conflict (perhaps as a result of the lessons learnt from it) that the Romans first established their own regular units of cataphracts, and deployed them in the Danubian region. They were most likely equipped as the Sarmatians. Panel from Trajan's Column, Rome
Roman archers (top left) in action. Note conical helmets, indicating Syrian unit, and recurved bows. Trajan's Column, Rome
Roman slingers (funditores) in action in the Dacian Wars. Detail from Trajan's Column, Rome
Balearic slinger
Tombstone of Marius son of Ructicnus. The inscription states that he was a miles (ranker) of the Alpine infantry regiment Cohors I Montanorum, who died in his 25th year of service (i.e. in the final year of the minimum term for an auxiliary and just before qualifying for Roman citizenship). His heir, who erected the stone, is named Montanus, the same ethnic name as the regiment's, meaning a native of the eastern Alps, most likely the origin of the deceased. Note (top corners) the Alpine edelweiss flowers, called stella Alpina ("Alpine star") in Latin. These were either a regimental symbol, or a national symbol of the Montani. The crescent moon-and-star motif between the flowers may be either a regimental emblem or a religious symbol. Date: 1st century, probably ante 68. From Carinthia, Austria
Tombstone of Titus Calidius Severus, a Roman cavalryman. The career summary in the inscription shows that Severus joined the auxiliary regiment cohors I Alpinorum, rising from eques (common cavalryman) through optio to decurion. He then switched to a legion (presumably after gaining Roman citizenship after 25 of his 34 years of service) and became a centurion in Legio XV Apollinaris (it appears that legion cavalrymen used infantry ranks). He died at age 58, probably a few years after his discharge. Note the portrayal of his chain-mail armour, centurion's transverse-crested helmet and his horse, led by his equerry, probably a slave. This soldier's long career shows that many auxiliaries served longer than the minimum 25 years, and sometimes joined legions. Erected by his brother, Quintus. Dates from ante 117, when XV Apollinaris was transferred from Carnuntum (Austria) to the East
Roman Empire during Hadrian's reign (AD 125)

Based on Sarmatian and Parthian models, they were also known as contarii and clibanarii, although it is unclear whether these terms were interchangeable or whether they denoted variations in equipment or role.

The Tetrarchs, a porphyry statue on Venice's Basilica di San Marco, shows the emperor Diocletian and his three imperial colleagues. To the left, Diocletian and Maximianus, the two Augusti (co-emperors); to the right, Galerius and Constantius Chlorus, the two Caesars (deputy emperors). Note the woollen "Pannonian" caps commonly worn (out of combat) by officers in the late army as a result of the pervasive influence of the Danubian officer class; and the sword grips with eagle-head pommels.

Late Roman army

In modern scholarship, the "late" period of the Roman army begins with the accession of the Emperor Diocletian in AD 284, and ends in 480 with the death of Julius Nepos, being roughly coterminous with the Dominate.

In modern scholarship, the "late" period of the Roman army begins with the accession of the Emperor Diocletian in AD 284, and ends in 480 with the death of Julius Nepos, being roughly coterminous with the Dominate.

The Tetrarchs, a porphyry statue on Venice's Basilica di San Marco, shows the emperor Diocletian and his three imperial colleagues. To the left, Diocletian and Maximianus, the two Augusti (co-emperors); to the right, Galerius and Constantius Chlorus, the two Caesars (deputy emperors). Note the woollen "Pannonian" caps commonly worn (out of combat) by officers in the late army as a result of the pervasive influence of the Danubian officer class; and the sword grips with eagle-head pommels.
Reenactor wearing the typical equipment of a late 3rd-century foot soldier. The helmet is a Niederbieber type, with cross-pattern reinforcing ridges on the top of the bowl, and cheek-guards which can be fastened together. The sword is a spatha (median blade length 900 mm/36 inches), used by the cavalry only in the 1st and 2nd centuries. This soldier carries a spiculum, a heavy pilum-type javelin. Note the chain mail (lorica hamata) shirt and oval shield. Clothing consisted of a long-sleeved tunic, trousers and boots. The equipment of a 4th-century infantryman was very similar to the 3rd century, save that the spiculum was usually replaced by a heavy thrusting-spear (hasta) and the helmet was predominantly of the "Intercisa type".
Fresco from the synagogue in the Roman fortified frontier city of Dura Europos dating to c. 250 AD. The centre shows unarmoured light cavalry charging with lances, the foreground and background show infantry fighting with spathae (long-bladed swords); they are equipped with knee-length scale armours, some with full-length sleeves.
Roman emperor Valerian (left, kneeling) begs for his life after being captured by Persian Shah Shapur I (mounted) at the Battle of Edessa (259), the most humiliating of the military disasters suffered by the empire in the late 3rd century. Rock relief at Naqsh-e Rostam near Shiraz, Iran
The Aurelian Walls of Rome, built by Aurelian in 270–5. Rome's first new wall since the construction of the Servian Wall after the Gauls sacked Rome 650 years earlier, they symbolised the pervasive insecurity of the 3rd-century empire. Original height: 8m (25 ft). Doubled in 410 to 16m (52 ft) after second sack of Rome in 410. Both walls and towers were originally crenellated, but this has survived only in small sections. Most of the 19km circuit still stands today
The emperor Diocletian (ruled 284–305), who launched wide-ranging reforms of the Roman army and government. Bronze follis coin
The emperor Constantine I (ruled 312–37), who established the first large-scale comitatus (imperial escort army) and divided the army into escort army (comitatenses) and border (limitanei) troops, giving the late Roman army the structure described in the Notitia Dignitatum. Bust in Musei Capitolini, Rome
High command structure of the East Roman army c. AD 395. Commands and army sizes based on data in the Notitia Dignitatum Orientis. Eastern magistri militum, in command of comitatus armies, reported direct to the emperor. Duces are shown reporting to their diocesan magister militum, as suggested by Jones and Elton. Locations given indicate usual winter quarters in this period.
High command structure of the West Roman army c. 410–425. Commands and army sizes based on data in the Notitia Dignitatum. Reporting relationship between duces and comites as in the East, with duces reporting to senior officer in their diocese (whereas the Notitia places them directly under the magister utriusque militiae). Locations given indicate usual winter quarters in this period.
Shield insignia of regiments under the command of the Magister Militum Praesentalis II of the East Roman army c. 395. Page from the Notitia Dignitatum, a medieval copy of a Late Roman register of military commands
Bas-relief of a Sassanian heavily armoured mounted warrior. He is wearing what is probably a chain-mail face-guard. This is possibly the kind of armour denoted by the Roman term clibanarius, probably meaning "furnace man" in reference to the heat that would build up inside such all-encompassing armour. Note the armoured caparison for the horse. From Taq-e Bostan, Iran
Late Roman soldiers, probably barbarians, as depicted (back row) by bas-relief on the base of Theodosius I's obelisk in Constantinople (c. 390). The troops belong to a regiment of palatini as they are here detailed to guard the emperor (left). More than third of soldiers in the palatini were barbarian-born by this time. Note the necklaces with regimental pendants and the long hair, a style imported by barbarian recruits, in contrast to the short hair that was the norm in the Principate
Detail of a 4th-century mosaic showing a hunting scene. The figures are probably Roman military officers, wearing the typical non-combat uniform (i.e. without armour and helmets, but with shield and spear) of late soldiers. (Throughout the imperial era, soldiers were usually portrayed in non-combat mode). Note the off-white, long-sleeved tunics. The swastika embroidered on the left tunic was a mystical symbol, possibly of Indo-European origin, representing the universe and was commonly used by the Romans as a decorative motif. Note also the military cloak (chlamys) and trousers. The pattern on the shield indicated the bearer's regiment. Note the bands embroidered on the sleeves and shoulders. From Piazza Armerina, Sicily
Frieze (bottom) showing Constantine I's cavalry driving Maxentius' troops into the River Tiber at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312). The image proves that 4th-century soldiers wore metal body armour (the Maxentian soldiers are wearing either mail or scale, it is unclear which). The Constantinian cavalry is apparently unarmoured, probably because these were units of Illyrian light cavalry (equites Dalmatae) and mounted archers. Detail from the Arch of Constantine, Rome
Detail of bas-relief on base of former Column of Theodosius in Constantinople (Istanbul). Date c. 390. Roman soldiers in action. Note soldier at centre had an Intercisa-style helmet with iron crest (prob. indicating officer rank) and is wearing chain-mail or scale armour, evidence that Vegetius's claim that infantry dropped helmets and armour in the later 4th century is mistaken. Istanbul Archaeological Museum
Late Roman helmet, called the Deurne helmet. It is covered in expensive silver-gilt sheathing and is inscribed to a cavalryman of the equites stablesiani.
The products of the fabricae, from the Notitia dignitatum. The illustration includes: helmets, shields, mail coats, cuirasses and laminated limb defences, plus various weapons.
Full-scale reconstruction of a 4th-century Roman river patrol-boat (lusoria), probably under the command of the dux of Germania I province. It is based on the remains of one of five late Roman river boats discovered at Moguntiacum in the early 1980s. The boat above, denoted Mainz Type A, had a long (22 m) and narrow (2.8 m) shape for speed and rounded keel to allow access to shallows. It could carry 32 marines, who rowed the boat fully armed (32 oars, 16 on each side). Whilst on board, the soldiers would hang their shields on stands fixed to the gunwales so as to provide cover from missiles launched from the riverbanks. Museum für Antike Schifffahrt, Mainz, Germany
The Walls of Theodosius II at Constantinople, built 408–413, to increase the area of land protected by the original Constantinian walls. Note the massive crenellated towers and surviving sections of wall. The walls actually consisted of a triple curtain, each one overlooking the other. They proved impregnable to even the largest armies until the introduction of explosive artillery in the later Middle Ages
An example of late Roman fortification. Note the protruding towers to allow enfilading fire. The original height of both walls and towers was clearly greater than today, and the crenellations are not the original ones, but crudely cut from the curtain wall itself in the medieval period. The church visible inside the walls was built in the 12th century by the Normans. Portchester Castle, England. 3rd century
Relief with the liberation of a besieged city; Western Roman Empire, early 5th century, Museum of Byzantine Art (inv. 4782), Bode Museum, Berlin. Both cavalry and infantry are shown wearing body armour.
Late Roman cavalry officers (bottom right) in a hunting scene. In combat, most cavalrymen would, like infantry, wear a mail shirt and helmet. Mosaic from Piazza Armerina, Sicily. 4th century
Drawing of Flavius Stilicho, the half-Vandal general who was magister utriusque militiae (commander-in-chief) of West Roman forces 395–408. The general is depicted without armour, wearing a chlamys (military cloak) over his tunic and carrying a heavy thrusting-spear and oval shield. He was made a scapegoat for the barbarian invasions of 405–6, although in reality his military skill may have saved the West from early collapse. Derived (1848) from an ivory diptych at Monza, Italy

Cataphracts carried a long, heavy lance called a contus, c. 3.65 m long, that was held in both hands.

Ottoman camel corps at Beersheba during the First Suez Offensive of World War I, 1915.

Camel cavalry

Generic designation for armed forces using camels as a means of transportation.

Generic designation for armed forces using camels as a means of transportation.

Ottoman camel corps at Beersheba during the First Suez Offensive of World War I, 1915.
A Purbiya camel rider in Bihar, India in 1825
Shaffron (head defense) for a camel (Turkey, possibly 17th century)
Italian Dubats in Somalia in the 1930s
India's Border Security Force Camel Contingent during the annual Republic Day Parade.
In reconnaissance duties, camels may still be used. Here, United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea peacekeepers on patrol in Eritrea.

According to Herodian, the Parthian king Artabanus IV employed a unit consisted of heavily-armored soldiers equipped with spears (kontos) and riding on camels.

The length of Alexander the Great's xyston

Xyston

Type of a long thrusting spear in ancient Greece. It measured about 3.5 to 4.25 m long and was probably held by the cavalryman with both hands, although the depiction of Alexander the Great's xyston on the Alexander Mosaic in Pompeii (see figure), suggests that it could also be used single handed. It had a wooden shaft and a spear-point at both ends. Possible reasons for the secondary spear-tip were that it acted partly as a counterweight and also served as a backup in case the xyston was broken in action. The xyston is usually mentioned in context with the hetairoi (ἑταῖροι), the cavalry forces of ancient Macedon. After Alexander the Great's death, the hetairoi were named xystophoroi (ξυστοφόροι, "spear-bearers") because of their use of the xyston lance.

Type of a long thrusting spear in ancient Greece. It measured about 3.5 to 4.25 m long and was probably held by the cavalryman with both hands, although the depiction of Alexander the Great's xyston on the Alexander Mosaic in Pompeii (see figure), suggests that it could also be used single handed. It had a wooden shaft and a spear-point at both ends. Possible reasons for the secondary spear-tip were that it acted partly as a counterweight and also served as a backup in case the xyston was broken in action. The xyston is usually mentioned in context with the hetairoi (ἑταῖροι), the cavalry forces of ancient Macedon. After Alexander the Great's death, the hetairoi were named xystophoroi (ξυστοφόροι, "spear-bearers") because of their use of the xyston lance.

The length of Alexander the Great's xyston
Cornus mas wood
A sketch of a Macedonian phalanx exampling their armour and weaponry.

It was also known, especially later, as the kontos; meaning literally "barge-pole"; the name possibly originated as a slang term for the weapon.