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Byzantine Cavalryman c.9001204 (Warrior) Paperback – 10 Aug 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey (10 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846034043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846034046
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.6 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

""Byzantine Cavalryman c.900-1204 "takes a completely different look at the subject from light horse arches to the super-heavy, armored cataphracts... Author Timothy Dawson goes into great detail about Byzantine cavalrymen fro their recruitment to their training, equipment and campaigning... Illustrator Giuseppe Rava's excellent color plates are very clear and show a great amount of detail." -John Burt, "Toy Soldier & Model Figure"

About the Author

Dr Timothy Dawson gained his PhD in Classics (Byzantine Studies) from the University of New England, New South Wales, Australia in 2003. He has lectured for many years on Byzantine, Greek and Roman armies. He is currently editor of "Medieval History Magazine" and is a keen reenactor, particularly of the medival European period. He operated Australia's first historical European combat school, Amyna, near Sydney from 1984 to 1987, and in 1985 published a training manual embodying techniques practiced at that time. Timothy was also known as one of Australia's finest makers of swords and other military equipment. This activity embodied and informed his research and teaching in both arms and armor and combat. Since then he has gone on to be internationally recognized academically as an expert on certain forms of arms and armor. The author lives in Leeds, UK.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chitanous Exoskeleton on 30 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
After Tim Dawson's Byzantine Infantryman, an informative, attractive book, with many new and interesting ideas, I was expecting better. Mr Dawson is a knowledgeable, talented historian and re-enactor and has produced better work in the past, but here it seems he wasn't even trying.

The volume falls short on many counts.

My foremost complaint is the excessive amount of 'padding' - background info on the Byzantine empire. Osprey books are not long, the Warrior series has just 64 pages. Take away 4 pages for imprint, contents, index, another 8 for the colour plates and 4 more for captions to the same, and we are left with just 48 pages. Now, why are 12 pages (25% of the text!) wasted on a general introduction and chronology, material that we can look up on Wikipedia?

Whole sections of the book repeat, almost verbatim, text from the Byzantine Infantryman book. Several photos are repeated too. This is quite unforgivable, and a sign of slackness, not only by the author, but also the editors.

The glossary is useful, but is so loosely typeset that it extends over four pages. With a little attention from the editors it could have been set down to two. Similarly the chronology sprawls over more than four pages, when it could easily, and far more attractively, have fit on two.

There is no bibliography or further reading list. OK, so it would be futile to list all the works consulted, but even a single page would have been useful, and would have added some academic credibility.

The artwork does not match the inimitable style of Angus McBride in the Infantry volume, nor would anyone expect it too. Good illustrators in this field are a rare breed and they are to be encouraged rather than negatively criticized.
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By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed by this title which turns out to be even worse than the previous title on the Byzantine infantryman 900-1204. It duplicates (almost verbatim) significant sections of this title, published a couple of years before. Unfortunately, this duplication means that the errors are ALSO duplicated, in particular the dozen or so contained in the chronology and all those in the background section at the beginning of the book. This shows that the author did not even bother to check this section and just cut and pasted it from his previous title. Accordingly, all of the comments made for this previous are also valid for this one.

Also, rather than using up valuable and limiting space with a glossary of terms (3 full pages!) and photos of the author dressed up in what he believes to be the equipment of a byzantine heavy cavalryman, listing the various works that he has consulted would have been more valuable for the reader. There is simply NO bibliography at all.

There are two redeeming features in this title (hence the two star rating), although both suffer top some extent from the absence of a bibliography. One is the author's detailed descriptions of equipment, which is obviously his strongpoint, or at least the part that he really is interested in.

The other is the illustrations by Giuseppe Rava. I particularly liked the one on, page 55 showing the fully-armoured Alexios Komnene escaping from the battlefield of Dyrrakhion in 1081, with the amount of protection largely explaining how he managed to get away from the pursuing Norman knights that intended to kill or capture him. Even this, however, is somewhat problematic.
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Format: Paperback
Production quality of product is poor. The cover was the wrong way up and the pages inside were bound down the wrong side and back to front. Amazon do not replace defective products with good ones they only offer refunds so was rather disapointed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Richardson on 21 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
Another quality publication from Osprey. Timothy Dawson clearly displays his extensive academic and practical knowledge of this subject. I thought the text contained a little too much back history and was expecting more of a technical analysis, especially from someone who actually fabricates the arms and armour discussed in the book. Not quite sure of Dawsons statement that lamellar armour was never used after 1204 when there is so much artistic material from the period that says otherwise. Giuseppe Rava has produced some nice colour plates though not up to the standard of the late Angus McBride who usually handled the Byzantine books. Overall a good book and an essential buy for anyone interested in this subject.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Roman/Byzantine fighting arm... 4 Nov 2009
By Anibal Madeira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Not to say that the infantryman of the period hadn't real importance; of course they had a vital role. But the author (and the manuals like strategikon or the Tactika) clearly shows us that Byzantine infantry of the time in study was a mobile fortress where the cavalry rallied and paused for the next attack. The author is a renowned academic and editor of a military medieval magazine that has a significant advantage of being an experienced reenactor and weaponsmith. The art by Giuseppe Rava is strong and full of passion like always (welcome to Osprey): detailed and accurate paintings.

From the sources of the recruits (Strateia and some garrisons, also from allied nations but integrated in the regular units), their maintenance, organization (Themes and Tagmas, and the subdivisions), training and experience of battle, the author gives a very good introduction. Not forgetting some issues that clearly are worth detailing a little bit more, like the several types of cavalryman: the archers, the Khoursores and the Katafraktoi and their evolution, weapons (subjects that the author has a great knowledge), and the very important questions of belief and moral (we must not forget that the eastern christhians had no concept of holy war...killing was a deadly sin in the eastern Roman empire).

Great book, with good art, photos, glossary and timeline. And the important reminder that the Byzantines and their neighbours considered themselves Romans (something that many forget that Byzantine empire is a quite "modern" idea from the XVI th century).
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Caveat Lector 31 May 2010
By Kirialax - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Here Timothy Dawson has produced a follow-up volume to his 'Byzantine Infantryman'. As the title indicates, this concentrates on the cavalry arm of the Byzantine army. The main shortcoming of the previous volume was that it was highly theoretical and based largely on the 10th century military manuals with very little information on what actually happened as opposed to the theoretical version of events proposed in the military manuals. To be fair, most Byzantine chroniclers were more interested in campaigns than battles and thus the literature on military life is poor, but there are snippets available. This volume corrects that, and Dawson looks at a much wider range of literature, in part because more information is available on the cavalry, and in part because it seems that Dr. Dawson has become better acquainted with the material.

However, this volume has some serious flaws. It contains so many basic factual errors that I am forced to give it three stars. If it weren't for the fact that a number of renowned Byzantinists use Dawson's academic works on military equipment, I'd be inclined to never read anything of his again and drop it down to two stars. In this case, I suspect that Dawson does know what he is doing, but that does not excuse a sloppy book. For example, he claims that Constantine made a new imperial capital at Constantinople, but this is not the case. It was nothing more than a dynastic capital (see David Potter's `Roman Empire at Bay'). He also claims that Syria and Egypt fell due to religious dissatisfaction, but the situation is far more complicated than that, as Walter Kaegi has demonstrated. Dawson says in the text, despite contradicting his own chronological table, that Basil II took power in 975. He took power in 976. He also claims that civil war caused the loss of territory to the Turks after the battle of Manzikert in 1071, but Mark Whittow has demonstrated (in 'Alexios I Komnenos: Papers') that factionalism and the collapse of the thematic structures had a far greater impact. He also puts forward the idea that the archer/lancer unit as described in the 'Strategikon' of Maurikios were still active in the 10th century, but there is no evidence for this. I could go on, and if anyone wants further comments on the multitude of historical errors in this work, or wants to hear about some of the other ones that I have not mentioned here, please leave a comment on this review and I'll get back to you.

In sum, this book is rife with historical error, but represents a slight step forward for Dr. Dawson from his last book. Most of the mistakes could be cleared up by some better research, a proofread by a proper textual historian, and perhaps a better editor. This is not a bad book, but if you want to read, read it carefully, and use the good parts, like Dawson's research on the equipment, but ignore the rest.
A Good Solid and Worthwhile Book! 20 Jan 2010
By David D. Lawson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As been noted in the other reviews of this book. This is a good investment for those who wish to extend their knowledge about the Elite of the Eastern Roman Empire Army. In clear , concise language the author lays out before the reader the Story about Byzantium's Horse Soldiers. I must also commend Osprey for it's improvements in illustrations since the its great loss of Mr. Mcbride. Well Done!
Awfull... 21 April 2013
By JPS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed by this title which turns out to be even worse than the previous title on the Byzantine infantryman 900-1204. It duplicates (almost verbatim) significant sections of this title, published a couple of years before. Unfortunately, this duplication means that the errors are ALSO duplicated, in particular the dozen or so contained in the chronology and all those in the background section at the beginning of the book. This shows that the author did not even bother to check this section and just cut and pasted it from his previous title. Accordingly, all of the comments made for the previous title are also valid for this one.

Also, rather than using up valuable and limited space with a glossary of terms (3 full pages!) and photos of the author dressed up in what he believes to be the equipment of a byzantine heavy cavalryman, listing the various works that he has consulted would have been more valuable for the reader. There is simply NO bibliography at all.

There are two redeeming features in this title (hence the two star rating), although both suffer top some extent from the absence of a bibliography. One is the author's detailed descriptions of equipment, which is obviously his strongpoint, or at least the part that he really is interested in.

The other redeeming is the illustrations by Giuseppe Rava. I particularly liked the one on page 55 showing the fully-armoured Alexios Komnene escaping from the battlefield of Dyrrakhion in 1081, with the amount of protection largely explaining how he managed to get away from the pursuing Norman knights that intended to kill or capture him. Even this, however, is somewhat problematic. While the Emperor's and his horse's armour would have protected both of them from most weapons, it would probably not have allowed him to outrun his Norman pursuers, which he did. So the scene drawn from Anna Komnena's Alexiad seems to have been somewhat "interpreted" by the authors here to show the Emperor as a fully armoured "Kataphractos". Since we know from Anna Komnene that he was pursued off the battlefield by Norman knights but managed to escape them, it is rather doubtful (to put it mildly) as to whether he was really so heavily equiped on this occasion.
Good overview 30 Dec 2011
By katsujinken - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As someone with a general interest in medieval military history, but without a deep knowledge of Byzantine military practice, I found this a useful overview. Dawson does a good job of discussing the available evidence, and provides a clear summary of how Byzantine cavalry units were (probably) recruited, trained, organized and deployed for battle. Dawson is particularly good in his detailed analysis of the cavalryman's armor and weaponry. The illustrations, both artist's re-creations and photos of period atifacts, are for the most part clear and complement the text. I would have liked to see a couple of 'case studies' of specific battles, to show in more detail how Byzantine cavalry tactics worked (or, on occasion, failed to work), but I realize that may not have been feasible due to the space limitations of the Warrior series format. My only real caveat is that Dawson has a tendency to say that something "must have been" thus-and-so, for example, "Ultimately...the sense of belonging must have fallen upon the institution of the army itself." Usually when he makes this sort of statement, he makes it clear that he's extraploting from limited historical evidence, and his conclusions seem generally reasonable, but statements like this, not always backed up by detailed discussion of the evidence (or lack thereof) still make me a little twitchy. Overall I think this is a worthwhile purchase for anyone interested in the subject.
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