Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Reference about Macedonians in the Byzantine Empire by a XIX century British scholar

The Art of War in the Middle Ages was first published in 1885 in Oxford and London. A revised edition was re-published in 1953, with indicators of revisions included in the text. This particular portion is true to the original, and I included it because of the use of terminology. It is part of the section that deals with the "arms, organization and tactics of the Byzantine armies".

The whole book is enjoyable and provides intelligeble analysis of military matters. I liked the "100 year war" part best.

Medieaval warrior saint, fresco from a Macedonian church (1389).AUTHOR: C.W.C. Oman
MAIN TITLE: The Art of War in the Middle Ages
Copyright: 1953
PUBLISHER: Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press

p. 46-47
It would appear that Maurice had intended to break down the barrier which has been imposed in the fourth century between the class which paid the taxes and that which recruited the national army. "We wish," he writes, "that every young Roman of free condition should learn to use the bow, and should be constantly provided with that weapon and with two javelins." If, however, this was intended to be the first step toward the introduction of universal military service, the design was never carried any further. Three hudnred years later Leo is found echoing the same words, as a pious wish rather than as a practical expedient. The rank and file, however, of the imperial forces were now raised almost entirely within the realm, and well-nigh every nation contained in its limits, except the Greeks, furnished a considerable number of soldiers. The Armenians and Isaurians in Asia and the Thracians and Macedonians--or more properly the semi-Romanized Slavs--in Europe were considered the best material by the recruiting officer.

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