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.

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.

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).

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.