With brief notes on the arms, armour, dress and equipment of the Byzantine army in the 11th century by

Michael O’Rourke
mjor (at) velocitynet (dot) com (dot) au Canberra Australia December 2009
INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................................................. 2 THE GEOGRAPHY AND ADMINISTRATION OF BYZANTINE ITALY............................................................................... 5 THE BYZANTINE ARMY IN 1030......................................................................................................................10 LIST OF 10TH CENTURY EMPERORS.................................................................................................................. 15 THE EARLY CAREER OF GEORGE MANIAKES..................................................................................................... 16 ITALY, 1032-37............................................................................................................................................18 EVENTS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN......................................................................................................................20 LAND, LOCAL RECRUITS AND IMPORTED SOLDIERS IN BYZANTINE ITALY...............................................................21 EVENTS IN THE EAST, 1036-38.......................................................................................................................24 THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION, 1038 .................................................................................................................... 24 LANGOBARDIA, 1039..................................................................................................................................... 31 ARDUIN, THE ‘SECOND LOMBARD REVOLT’ AND THE NORMANS...........................................................................35 EMPEROR MICHAEL V ‘THE CAULKER’, 1041-42..............................................................................................43 SYNODIANOS AND MANIAKES VERSUS ARGYRUS AND THE NORMANS .................................................................... 45 THE REVOLT AND DEATH OF MANIAKES, 1042-43............................................................................................48 ROBERT ‘GUISCARD’ DE HAUTEVILLE............................................................................................................... 54 ARGYROS FAILS AGAINST THE NORMANS, 1051-53............................................................................................56 THE NORMAN CONQUEST................................................................................................................................62 THE CONTEST FOR APULIA, 1062-71...............................................................................................................67 FINAL END OF BYZANTINE RULE IN SOUTHERN ITALY.........................................................................................72 APPENDIX: EQUIPMENT AND DRESS IN MANIAKES’S ARMY....................................................74 SOURCES AND REFERENCES..............................................................................................................................77



Introduction In the early 11th century, the greatest of the great powers west of India was the Christian Roman Empire of the Greeks, known to us as ‘Byzantium’. The rulers of a lesser power, Germany, held the suzerainty over Old Rome, and usually travelled there to be anointed with the title imperator Romanorum (“emperor of the Romans”). So the real Empire of New Rome (Ν ε α ‘Ρ ω µ η —Nëa Rhômê— Constantinople) is ocassionally called the ‘Eastern Empire’ to contrast with a more titular German Empire in the West. In this paper I have used mainly the modern adjective ‘Byzantine’ but sometimes ‘Romaic’ to remind us of the Byzantines’ self-image as the true Romans, and sometimes ‘Greek’ to underline their differences from the Latins (Lombards and Normans). The Empire of New Rome was to reach its greatest territorial expanse in the middle of the century under the Empress Zoë, d. 1050, and her several husbands, Romanos III (1028-34), Michael IV (1034-41) and Constantine IX (1042-55). A further emperor in this period was Zoë’s adopted son, the nephew of Michael IV, Michael V (1041-42). Not idly did Psellos call Zoë “… she who alone is noble of heart and alone is beautiful, she who alone of all women is free, the mistress of all the imperial family, the rightful heir to the Empire …” (Chronographia, 5.26). As we will see, Zoë’s generals briefly captured eastern Sicily – the eastern littoral including Taormina, Catania and Syracuse - in 1038-43. Armenia, part of which emperor Basil II, d. 1025, had annexed, was fully incorporated into the empire in 1045. Last of all, the Muslim principality of Edessa [modern Urfa, Sanliurfa] in Mesopotamia was fully annexed in 1052. In the West, the Greek Empire had lost most its North Italian territories to the Lombards and Franks during the 8th century, and Sicily had been lost to the Saracens (Muslims) during the 9th century. In southern Italy, however, Byzantium continued to rule today’s Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia (ancient Apulia) which collectively was called ‘Langouvardia’ or ‘Longobardia’ [Λ α γ γ ο β α ρ δ ι α : Latin Longobardia Minor]. ‘Langouvardia’ in the broad sense meant the whole catepanate (super-province) of southern Italy or in a narrow sense just the province (theme) whose capital was Bari, i.e. our Puglia nd eastern Basilicata. The narrow Strait of Messina between Calabria and Sicily—just three km at its narrowest—formed the political frontier between Christendom and Islam. Looking east the Sarakenoi could on a clear day literally see the Rum (Greeks). And looking west, the Rhomaioi (Byzantines) could see the ‘Arabi and al-Barbar (Sicilian Berbers), or at least they could see their chimney-smokes. Or probably we should say that Greeks on both sides of the Strait saw Greek chimney smoke, because the great majority of the population of east Sicily under Muslim rule were Greek-speaking Christians. A map of the Empire in AD 1045 can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/image:map_byzantine_empire_1045.svg



Above: 11th Century costume. The right hand figure is based on a famous miniature of emperor Basil II, d. 1025, in parade armour. His boots should be imagined as red with lines of pearls; blue hose; his tunic purple woven with gold; dark blue cloak; and his armour corselet made of brightly gilded iron lamellae. From his crown dangle pendilia of pearls. Muslim North Africa and Sicily The viceroys of Ifriqiya (our Algeria and Tunisia) under the Fatimids were the Zirid dynasty, a line of Berber emirs. They ruled from Kairouan in inland northcentral Tunisia. The removal of the Fatimid fleet to Egypt (969) made the retention of Sicily impossible for the Zirids. With the sea-link loosened, the Kalbid sub-governors in Sicily soon began to rule the island without regard to their nominal overlords in Tunisia. Then Algeria broke away (1014) under the governorship of Hammad ibn Buluggin, who allied himself with the Abbasids in Baghdad. In Sicily the intra-dynastic conflict intensified under Ahmad al-Akhal b. Yusuf, who seized power in Palermo in 1019. Some factions allied themselves with Byzantium, others with the Zirids. With some support from the Fatimids, alAkhal defeated two Byzantine expeditions in 1026 and 1031. But his attempt to raise a heavy tax to pay his mercenaries—many were Sudanese and Slavs—caused a civil war. Al-Akhal now turned (1035) for support to the Byzantines, while his brother Abu Hafs, leader of the rebels, received (1036) troops from the Zirid emir of Ifriqiya, al-Muizz b. Badis. The emir’s 13 years old son Abdallah led, or



nominally led, an expeditionary force of 6,000 men to Sicily. Abu Hafs’ and Abdallah’s men stormed Palermo and beheaded al-Akhal (1038) [chronology from Singh 2002 and Bosworth 2004]. This was the scene into which the imperial general George Maniakes brought his invasion army. The Normans in Italy 1016-47 Unlike the Norman conquest of England (1066), which took place over the course of a few brief years after one decisive battle, the conquest of Southern Italy was the product of decades and many battles, few decisive. Many territories were conquered independently. Only later were they all unified into one state. Normans first appeared in southern Italy in 1016 in the form of a band of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Michael the Archangel at Monte Gargano. There they met the Lombard rebel Melus of Bari. Along with the rebel Lombards, this band of Norman adventurers joined in an attack on Byzantine Apulia in 1017. In three battles fought that year in north Apulia, the rebels had the better of it, largely it would seem because of the incompetence of the Byzantine commanders. But the following year, the rebels, including 250 Norman cavalrymen, were totally crushed at Cannae by the troops of the new Byzantine catepan or governor-general, Basil Boioannes. This victory brought the Byzantines recognition by all the lords of the Mezzogiorno, who had previously given their allegiance to the German Emperor. Some of the surviving Normans took service with the Byzantines, while others joined the armies of the various Lombard princelings and the ruler of Naples. Early in 1030, Sergius of Naples gave his Norman commander Ranulf Drengot the county of Aversa—just north of Naples—as a fief, the first Norman principality in the region. Sergius also gave his sister in marriage to the new count. In 1037-38, the Normans were further entrenched when the German Emperor Conrad II deposed the leading Lombard ruler, Pandulf of Capua, and recognised Drengot as holding his fief directly from the emperor. Meanwhile, in about 1035, the de Hauteville brothers, William and Drogo, came from Normandy to join Ranulf. By 1038 they were in the service of Guaimar IV of Salerno, and he sent them to join the Byzantine expedition to Sicily under Maniakes. After their return to the mainland, the Hautevilles laid claim to Byzantine territory in northern Apulia, initially in the Ascoli and Venosa regions. Sent back to Italy in 1042, Maniakes put the Norman up[starts back in their box, but once he departed, the anti-Greek forces began gradually to get the upper hand. In 1047 once again, Emperor Henry III, Conrad's son, came down and, ignoring the Eastern Emperor in Constantinople and his Italian-based governor at Bari, made the Drengot and Hauteville possessions around Aversa and Melfi his direct vassals. They began to expand their rule by seizing Byzantine-ruled towns and valleys.



The Geography and Administration of Byzantine Italy Before we go further, it may be useful for the reader to have a short introduction to the towns and regions of the Mezzogiorno. We assume that they are not as well known as those of northern Italy, even to many Europeans, let alone to Jamaicans, Trinidadians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Australians and other English-speakers. We also explain some of the military and civil institutions of the Eastern Empire. APULIA /English: “uh-pyool-ya”/: Modern Puglia /Italian and English: “poolya”/ comprises the heel and lower calf of Italy. The towns of the Byzantine period included, from north to south, the following. The largest present-day cities are underlined. 1: Lucera: inland from coastal Manfredonia (ancient Sipontum). 2: Bovino: south of Foggia. 3: Canosa: inland from Barletta and Trani. 4: Bari: about one-third down the coast of Puglia. 5: Matera, which is inland: equidistant from Bari and 6: Taranto. Technically Matera lies within the modern province of Basilicata. 7: coastal Monopoli: nearer to Bari than Brindisi. 8: Brindisi itself: about half way up the actual back-ankle. 9: inland Lecce: halfway between Brindisi and Otranto. And 10: Otranto itself, near the easternmost point of the heel. Inside the heel we have Gallipoli, Taranto and Mottola. Taranto gives its name to the great Gulf of Taranto. Tracing ‘backwards’, NW towards Rome, the ancient military highway called the Via Traiana ran from Brindisi up the Adriatic coast through Monopoli to Bari. There it veered inland to Bitonto, Canosa, Ordona and medieval Troia (ancient Aecae: near Foggia) and thence through the Apennines to Benevento in Campania, where it joined the Appian Way proper. Also tracing towards Rome from Brindisi, the Appian Way proper cut across the upper heel to Taranto and thence inland - north-west for some 200 km - via Gravina (med. Silvium), Venosa: 10 km S of the Ofanto River, Aquilonia and Mirabella Eclano (ancient Aeclanum), to Benevento. BARI: The coastal town on the calf of ‘the boot’ of Italy. In the middle period, after AD 900, Bari was the capital of Byzantine Italy. From NE to SE down the Adriatic coast, the key towns of the Italian calf and heel are: Manfredonia, Barletta, Trani, Molfetta, Bari, Monopoli, Brindisi and Otranto. As we have said, Brindisi was the terminus of the ancient highway called the Appian Way, Latin: Via Appia. But a further road ran to Otranto from Brindisi. BENEVENTO:



An inland town in central-southern Italy, strategically located on the ancient highway that ran from Capua across the spine of the peninsula to Brindisi on the heel of Italy. The Appian Way divided at Benevento. As already noted, the upper leg or Appia Traiana went east into north Apulia (Puglia): to Canosa and then SE to the coast at Bari. Then it followed the coast down the ‘calf’ to Brindisi. The other leg, the older Via Appia proper, ran from Benevento SE through the middle of S Italy to Venosa, across the inland border of Puglia to Gravina, and on to the south coast (the Gulf of Taranto) at Taranto and thence across the heel to Brindisi and the Adriatic. CALABRIA: The three major cities today are Reggio di Calabria*, near the southern tip, across from Sicily; Catanzaro in the centre; and Cosenza in the north, at the top of the valley of the Crati River. Another important city, Crotone, lies on the east coast near Capo Colonna, Calabria’s easternmost point. (*) Founded by Greek colonists in around BC 720. Thus it celebrated its 1,750th anniversary in about AD 1030. CATEPAN: Commander in chief, regional commander, governor-general. The first text that mentions a katepâno* of Italy is a diploma dated to the the spring of 970 in favour of the church and monastery of St Peter of Taranto by the anthypatos or ‘proconsul’ and patrikios, the Catepan Michael Abidelas. Thus the office was almost certainly created in 969 or 970. Holmes 2005: 432 says the first katepano of Byzantine Italy was probably the patrikios Eugenios in 968 or 969. Others think Abidelas was the first, being raised from a mere strategos (general) to katepano in 970. (*) Greek: ho Kat’epano, “the one above (the others)”; “the over-all, foremost”, i.e. supreme regional commander. GARGANO PENINSULA: The big bump on the upper calf of Italy. ‘LANGOBARDIA’, GK: LA(N)GHOUVARDHÌA: This was the name of the Byzantine super-province or ‘catepanate’ that covered the bottom fifth of Italy, i.e. modern Calabria, Basilicata and Apulia. It was governed from Bari. This must be a guess, but if each of Calabria, Loukania (see next) and Apulia was garrisoned with 2,000 soldiers, then the ordinary military strength of



Byzantine Italy may have been 6,000 men. There were a number of small “Lombard”*, i.e. non-Greek, principalities wedged between the German Empire - which ruled Rome - and Byzantine ‘Catepanate of Italy’. From west to east they were: Capua, Salerno and Benevento. There were also three even smaller coastal Greco-Italian city-states which in earlier centuries had recognised the suzerainty of Constantinople, but had longsince become self-determining, namely Gaeta, Naples and Amalfi. (But why be ungracious to the leading naval power if you are a maritime trader? - Although fully independent, the trader-lords of Gaeta and Amalfi were content to accept court titles from the Eastern Empire into the 1030s. —Patricia Skinner 2003, note at page 100.) (*) The name derives from the Longobards or Lombards, a Germanic people who first settled in Italy in the sixth century. They quickly became Latinised. The Lombard language died out as they adopted the local ‘proto-Italian’ dialects. The corner-point between Beneventan, Salernitan and Imperial territory lay on the upper Ofanto River west of Melfi. Modern-day Basilicata was divided between Salerno and Byzantine “Langobardia” (greater Apulia). The corner-point between the lands of Salerno, Byzantine Calabria and Byzantine Longobardia lay NW of Cassano. At the time of the Norman conquest of south Italy and Sicily there were essentially three distinct trading areas: Apulia, Campania, and Calabria. In Apulia, Byzantine coins were used more consistently than anywhere else, though their use was challenged by Lombard coins of Salerno and by silver denari of the north. By the mid-eleventh century, Lombard coinage was used in northern Apulia; a hoard from Ordona [near Foggia] contained only one histamenon of Basil II and Constantine VIII [d. 1028] as against 147 taris of either Amalfi or Salerno, the early types of which cannot be easily distinguished from each other. —Travaini, 2001. LUCANIA: The thema or theme (province) of Loukania or Lucania, between Calabria and Apulia, is first mentioned in 1042, and probably does not date to much earlier (Stephenson in Magdalino 2003: 139). Rodriquez notes that the theme of Lucania is known only from a document dated November 1042 by its strategos Eustathius Skepides, who dictated a sentence in favour of the abbot of the monastery of San Nicola in the valley of the Lao, west of Cassano allo Ionio.* The theme had probably been established in 1035 after the alliance with the Sicilian Emirate. It possibly had short life, as it is not mentioned in the decree of Duke Argyros on his arrival in Italy in 1051. (*) Cassano allo Ionio lies south of the Pollino national park; inland from the west coast of the Gulf of Taranto



Lucania was constituted around Cassano in N Calabria in the opinion of Van Falkenhausen (2003), or headquartered at Tursi** in present-day S Basilicata if we rely on Guillou [Guillou, 'La Lucanie Byzantine: Etude de geographic historique', Byzantion, 35 (1965), 119-49]. It covered, in the opinion of the latter, the territories of Latinianon, which is the Agri valley: inland from the top of the Gulf of Taranto; Mercurion which is the Lao or Laino valley, part of today’s Pollino national park, which is transected by the modern Basilicata-Calabrian border; and Lagonegro,*** west of the Pollino park, near the N border of modern Calabria. In other words, Byzantine Lucania comprised the southern sector of modern Basilicata. (**) Tursi lies a little inland from the top (apex) of the Gulf of Taranto and to the NE of Pollino national park. (***) Lagonegro lies in the segment of Basilicata—the tongue of land between Campania and Calabria—that reaches west to the Tyrrhenian Sea.

NAPLES AND CAMPANIA: Campania is the region centred on Naples. From north to south, the key cities are: coastal Gaeta, inland Capua on the river Garigliano, Naples, Sorrento on the Bay of Naples, Amalfi and Salerno. As the crow flies, it is about 70 miles or 110



km from Gaeta to Salerno. PATRIKIOS and PROTOSPATHARIOS: The court titles awarded by the emperor were, in descending rank: proedros (‘president’), magistros, anthypatos (‘proconsul’), patrikios, praipositos [a rank limited to eunuchs] and protospatharios (‘first sword bearer’). They were honorific titles, not functional offices; thus a magistros was not ipso facto a judge. Theme commanders (military governors of provinces) were commonly awarded the title of protospatharios, but a protospatharios need not be a military man (see details in ODB: Kazhdan 1991). As will be seen in this paper, a generalissimo (“catepan”) of Italy was commonly awarded the higher title of patrikios. Patrikios was rendered in Latin as patricius; one sees ‘the patrician’ in some English texts. SICILY, GK: SIKELÍA: The key regions and towns in this era included: (a) Maza del Vallo: on the coast near the W point, and Marsala: closer to the W point. (b) Northern coast: Palermo, the capital of Muslim Sicily: about a quarter of the way east from the island’s NW point. Cefalù: halfway on the north coast. Milazzo: on the coast just west of the NE point. (c) Enna: effectively dead-middle of the island. (d) South: Agrigento inland from the central S coast. (e) East coast: Messina is near the NE point. Taormina: a quarter-way down. Catania: halfway down. Syracuse: three-quarters of the way to the SE point. Also Noto: inland SW of Syracuse. TARANTO [ancient Tarentum] and OTRANTO [Hydrontos]: ... are different towns in SE Italy. Taranto is located on the inner or western side of the heel, at the top of the Gulf of Taranto. Otranto, medieval Hydrus or Hydrontus, is very close to the outer, easternmost point of the heel, i.e. opposite Greece. THEMES, GREEK: THEMATA The military provinces of the empire: administrative regions each with its own locally raised troops. There was a combined civil-military administration under a strategos or ‘commander-general’. Several of the Themes were naval or marine districts, supplying the imperial fleets with oarsmen and marines. Thematic troops were trained, semi-professional cavalrymen and infantry, half-farmers-half-soldiers. They engaged in farming when not called out for battle or training. As part-recompense for their military service, or that of their



son, they owned land. They also received a salary from the state. VARANGIANS: The Varangians or Rus’ [Old Norse Vaeringjar, Greek Varangoi] were Norsemen, mainly but not only from Sweden, who travelled and settled in the eastern Baltic, present-day-day Russia and lands to the south. Engaging in trade, piracy and mercenary activities, they roamed the river systems and portages of what is now Ukraine, reaching the Caspian Sea and Constantinople. In 988 under a treaty with Vladimir I of Kiev, emperor Basil II recruited a division of 6,000 Varangian infantrymen and formed them into an elite regiment. The Varangians relied on a long axe as their main weapon, although they were often skilled swordsmen or archers as well. On their axes, see O’Rourke 2009. They fought either in the front line or were held back and sent it as a circuitbreaker if the tide of battle looked like turning in favour of the enemy. A Byzantine general who knew his Herodotus might give the order ‘Send in the Varangians!’ The term Varangian Guard, "Palatio Varangoi", is first recorded in 1034, although the unit itself dated from 988 (Treadgold 1997: 537, 680). In about 1034 the 19-years-old Norwegian prince Harald Sigurdarson or Sigurdsson - later called Harold ‘Hardrada’ or Haardraade—‘hard ruler’ or ‘the ruthless’—arrived at Constantinople with a detachment of 500 Varangian “noblemen” (Davidson 1976: 209). The Greek form of his name name was Araltes. He was the step-son of King Sigurd and half-brother of King Olaf ‘the Saint’, and had served for some years with the ‘Russian’ (Kievan) king Yaroslav before arriving in Byzantium. The extravagant word “noblemen” is Kekaumenos’s, but no doubt they were all elite warriors. The saga-writer Snorri Sturlusson said Harald ‘served on the galleys with the force that went into the Grecian Sea’, meaning the Aegean. He was employed for about nine years by three emperors, ca. 1034-ca.1043, including in Sicily (Obolensky 1971: 306). He was afterwards king of Norway, and was famously killed invading England in 1066. The geographical meaning of ‘Varangia’ as Scandinavia has been brought out most clearly in a passage in the Book of Advice which is annexed to the Strategikon of Cecaumenus. In § 246, Harold Hardrada is called the “son [stepson] of the king of Varangia”, which is to say: Norway. The Byzantine Army in 1030 To illustrate a typical battlefield deployment used by the Byzantines, we can cite the formation adopted by Emperor John I for a battle fought near the lower Danube River in 971. He drew up his army in two lines. The front line comprised most of the infantry



(perhaps 2,500 men) in the centre with cavalry on either flank (say 1,625 left and 1,625 right). The Varangians commonly formed the centre of the front line. Then there was a second line made up of a smaller body of infantry archers and slingers (say 1,250), with two further cavalry regiments (500 left and 500 right), hidden from view, placed behind the ordinary cavalry in front. The second infantry line could fire over the heads of the first line, while the hidden reserve cavalry units could be sent against the enemy’s flanks in a surprise move. (The numbers in brackets are not from 971; rather they are the sorts of numbers to be expected in an expeditionary force serving in Italy.) At the Battle of Troina in Sicily in 1040, Maniakes formed up his army in three lines. Unfortunately we do not know where the various unit-types were placed. If we follow the 10th C Byzantine military manuals (see McGeer 1995), we might expect an expeditionary army of 10,000 to be made up as follows, at least for fighting in the East. It is not known if all of these troop-types were also used in the same proportions in Italy. 1,800 ordinary cavalry These were lancers wearing plain, one-piece low-conical iron helmets. Their body armour was a waist-length lorikion or mail corselet and/or a klivanion or klibanion, the iron lamellar corselet or ‘torso cuirass’ with platelets rivetted to a shaped shirt of hardened leather. Over this they wore an epilorikon or thick padded surcoat of cotton or coarse silk. The lances or light pikes, Greek: kontos, were used for poking, stabbing and thrusting, not for the couched charge as in later Western—and Byzantine—armies of the 12th century. The couched charge did not come into use until the period 1100-1150 (see France 1994: 71). Their secondary weapon was a slashing sword. D’Amato and also Dawson, 2007b: 19, give the length of the spathion or Romano-Greek long sword as about 85 cm [2 ft 10 in]; McGeer offers 90 cm [three feet]. They carried ‘kite-shaped’ shields: almond-shaped or like an inverted teardrop, about two feet or 60 cm wide at their widest, or 70 cm. Such shields were about 105 cm or 3 feet 5 inches high according to D’Amato. 1,200 mounted archers: 40% of the cavalry (McGeer 1995: 68, 213) The smaller cavalry bow (a ‘Hunnic’ recurve composite bow) could shoot arrows as far as 130 metres, with a killing range of perhaps 80 metres or 260 feet. The archers carried on their belt a single large rounded-box quiver with 40-50 arrows. The arrows were inserted point upwards (in contrast to the infantry quiver). As Dawson notes, Phokas’s (AD 975) Praecepta Militaria [PM] or ‘Composition on Warfare’ at III.8 says that the horse-archers should wear helms, body-armour in the form of lamellar klibania and quilted coats called kavadia which protect their legs and part of their horses. See the photograph of Dawson’s reconstruction at his Levantia website (“Archer”). There the soldier wears high



boots folded down, a split kavadion or thick padded coat to just below the knees worn under a lamellar cuirass (torso only), and a rounded skull-tight dish helmet with a non-metallic aventail. Phokas says that horse-archers carried, or should carry, the same large onemetre shields as lancers. Up to 250 "true" cataphracts In the 960s AD Emperor Nicephorus Phokas introduced a new-style super-heavy cavalry regiment with fully armoured horses (McGeer p.217). It is not known if any were ever stationed in Italy. One would guess not. The horse-armour was a full klibadion made of hardened ox-hide platelets covering the whole horse to its knees. Their main weapon was the large mace, Greek bardoukion, ‘sledge-hammer’, used for smashing through the centre of the enemy line; but they also carried lance and sword. 150-250 light horse skirmishers (Mc Geer p.211). Dawson, citing PM II.3, explains that the prokoursatores were a medium-cavalry type whose job was to harass small groups of the enemy and pursue fugitives. They could be equipped in a simple klibanion like the horse-archer, or they could wear mail. Their standard armament was a sword, mace and round shield. We might call them ‘sword-chasers’, as they lacked the lance. Sub-total: say 3,000 cavalrymen (six parataxes of 500). In emperor Leo’s Taktika, ca. 907 AD, the thematic cavalry are formed up five deep: the first two ranks were lancers, then two ranks of archers (40%) and finally another rank of lancers (one bandon = six allaghiai = six x 10 files of five men = 300). In the later 10th Century the basic cavalry unit was the new-style bandon of just 50 men, who formed up five ranks deep. In battle formation 10 banda formed one formation or regiment (parataxis): this created a 100-horse front (500 = 100 x 5). As before, lancers were placed in the first two and also the back rows; horsearchers made up the 3rd and 4th rows, i.e. 40% were bowmen (McGeer p.284; also Toynbee 1973: 313). 3,000-5,000 basic pike infantry (“kontaratoi”) According to the Byzantine military manuals, the common infantryman wore quilt body-armour and a turban-like ‘pseudo-helmet’ of felt (McGeer pp.203-4; illustrations by McBride in Dawson 2007b). Heath (1979) notes that, although the manuals do not state that ordinary infantry wear iron helmets, the contemporary illustrations do show infantry typically with iron helmets and also lamellar iron or mail body armour - often to the waist but sometimes to the knees. Conceivably such illustrations represent elite infantry guardsmen in the capital rather then the ordinary foot-soldiers of the Themes.



Their round shields were sometimes quite large: up 140 cm (4 ft 7 in) high, according to McGeer p.205, i.e. covering from above the shoulder to below the knee. Dawson 2007b: 23 offers the smaller figure of 95 cm (3 ft) as normal. Parani, Images p. 125 list the “great round” infantry shield as having a diameter of 82 cm [2 ft 8 in]. Their primary weapon was a very long spear or thin pike of about four metres or 13 feet, Greek kontarion, also called doru or ‘spear’ in Leo the Deacon. McGeer translates kontarion as “spear”. They also carried a “belt-hung” sword (spathion), i.e. not hung on a baldric from the shoulder as was common for cavalry (McGeer 1995: 206). Also Dawson’s Levantia website under ‘Infantry’. 2,400 foot archers About a quarter of the infantry force. No armour. They used heavier bows capable of sending an arrow over 300 metres, with a killing distance of perhaps 150-200 metres (McGeer pp.68, 207, 272). Nikephoros Phokas specifies that his archers are to have a small shield, two bows and two quivers: one of 60 arrows, the other of 40 arrows. As we noted earlier, foot archers stored their arrows point-down in their quivers. 1,200 light infantry Armed with javelins or slings. The sling is more accurate and has a greater range than a bow-fired arrow: lead pellets and stones weighing 50 grams will travel up to 400 metres. Javeliners carried two or three casting spears (akontia, ‘javelins’ or doration, ‘throwing spear’) up to “2.75” m or nine ft long. The Syllogê Taktikôn of the 10th century says that infantry javelins must be no longer than 2.35 m or 7ft 9in, which is surprisingly long; they must have been quite light in their shaft and heads (Dawson 2007b: 24). We have no information on the range of javelins but 40 metres (half the capability of today’s top 10 Olympic javeliners) can be noted for discussion. Light infantry shields were smaller than those of the pike infantry (McGeer 1995: 208). According to Parani, p.126, they were “oblong” (possibly oval) and 94 cm high [3 ft 1 in]. 600 heavy infantry pikemen called menavlatoi or menavliatoi In the East this type defended the infantry square against cavalry charges (McGeer pp.209, 268). They were armed with very thick pikes or heavy poles, used to stab the enemy horses. The pikes were possibly three to four metres or 10-12 ft in length with a long 20-inch or 50 cm blade (McGeer’s figures; Dawson 2007b: 61 says just 2.5 metres long, so ‘heavy spear’ might be the best rendering). The infantry square was symmetrical and seven deep, with spearmen in the front ranks, foot-archers behind them and the menavliatoi at the rear (Dawson 2007b: 52, 62).



Subtotal 6-8,000 infantry in six to eight taxiarchies or battalions of 1,000 (McGeer p.51; also p.207). The standard or default deployment of a taxiarchy was in a rectangular formation seven men deep: two ranks of kontaratoi at the front, then three rows of footarchers and two further rows of kontaratoi at the back. The archers shot over the heads of the front rows (see details in McGeer pp.265-67 etc). The manuals prescribed that when entering or crossing enemy territory, the infantry, marching in three lines or columns, should be surrounded on all sides by cavalry. Further out were small numbers of cavalry outriders or flank scouts. In open country this meant that the main body comprised three lines of infantry flanked on either side by one line of cavalry. The emperor or commander rode with a second line of cavalry, behind the cavalry vanguard and immediately ahead of the infantry. The baggage train (supplies and equipment typically carried by pack-mules and/or in mule-drawn carts) was in the very middle with the infantry (Haldon, Byzantium at War p.53).



Above: Fresco of Joshua dated to after AD 1150 at the walled monastery Hosios Loukas near the town of Distomo, in Boeotia [Voiotia], Greece. Curiously he wears no beard. Note the finely drawn corselet of lamellar armour, the baldric and the boots. The helmet looks to be shaped from a single piece of metal. * * * * * List of 10th Century Emperors In Greek the title of the emperor was Basileus, pronounced ‘vasilefs’, literally 15


‘sovereign’. ‘Macedonian’ dynasty, so-called: 1028-34: 1034-41: Romanos III Argyros: married to empress Zoe of the longestablished ‘Macedonian’ line. Michael IV ‘the Paphlagonian’: married to empress Zoe. Older brother of the chief minister John ‘the Orphanotrophus’. The family was originally from the Asia Minor province of Paphlagonia. Michael V ‘the Caulker’: nephew of Michael IV and John the Orphanotrophus; adopted son of Zoe. Constantine IX Monomachus: married to empress Zoe. empress Theodora Porphyrogenita: older sister to Zoe. Michael VI Bringas. An official in his 60s who in formal terms Theodora adopted as her son when she was dying. Bringas was the candidate of the anti-military party in Constantinople. Defeated in battle by the army general Isaac Comnenus, he abdicated.

1041-42: 1042-55: 1055-56: 1056-57:

Comnenus and Ducas dynasties: 1057-59: 1059-67: 1067-78: 1067-68: 1068-71: 1071-78: Isaac (Isaakios) I Komnenos. Lacking a son, as he lay dying, he abdicated in favour of an associate, Constantine Ducas. Constantine X Doukas: Wife: Eudocia. Michael VII Doukas: son of Constantine X and Eudocia, aged about 17 in 1067. empress Eudocia, regent for Michael VII. Romanos IV Diogenes, co-emperor and senior ruler: married empress Eudocia, the widow of Constantine X. Michael VII Doukas, aged about 21 in 1071.

The Early Career of George Maniakes Georgios (George) Maniakes first appears, aged 33, in the historical record in 1030 in the post of strategos or military governor of Telouch (Skylitzes 381.38-



39). Telouch or Teluch was the ancient Doliche, modern Duluk, a little to the west of the river. The town of that name lies near today’s Gaziantep, north of Aleppo, on the road from Germanicia (Marash) to Zeugma in ancient N Syria; now just inside Turkey. Maniakes’ Theme was the lowest down Theme (small province) of the several on the upper Euphrates River (Treadgold 1997: 585). Maniakes was proverbial for his size and ferocity. The scholar Michael Psellos, fl. 1047, describes him thus: nature had bestowed on him all the attributes of a man destined to command. He stood ten feet [sic! 200 cm?] high and men who saw him had to look up as if at a hill or the summit of a mountain. There was nothing soft or agreeable about the appearance of Maniaces. As a matter of fact, he was more like a fiery whirlwind, with a voice of thunder and hands strong enough to make walls totter and shake gates of brass. He had the quick movement of a lion, and the scowl on his face was terrible to behold. Everything else about the man was in harmony with these traits and just what you would expect (Psellos, Chronographia VI. 77). In 1043 at the Battle of Ostrobos he fought at the head of his troops and whoever was injured by his sword escaped “with half or more of their body maimed, for he was known to be invincible and firm, a big and broad-backed man terrible in appearance but an excellent leader” (Attaleiates: History 19.5-10 / 15.19-16.1, quoted in PBW 1043). The local Muslim powers in 1030 were the Mirdasids of western Syria, a Shi’a Arab line ruling from Aleppo, and the Marwanids of northern Mesopotamia, a Kurdish dynasty whose lands were centred on Diyarbakir, with its seat at Miyafarqin (Silvan: NE of Diyarbakir). The Mirdasids shifted allegiance back and forth between Byzantium and the other great power in the nearer East, the Fatimids of Egypt, who were another Shi’a dynasty. Likewise the Marwanids, who captured the important town of Edessa in 1026, juggled their relations with Constantinople and Cairo, and also with Ahvaz, the town in SW Persia that was the seat of the Buyid emirs, yet another Shi’a line, who ruled the further East (lower Mesopotamia and Iran). Maniakes was promoted to governor of Lower Media in 1030, with his HQ at Samosata, higher up on the Euphrates (Skylitzes 382.58; Yahya of Antioch 514). He led attacks on the Muslim emirs of Aleppo and Diyarbakir. Maniakes was wrongly told by a band of Arabs in 1030 that emperor Romanos III, then personally leading a campaign in Syria, had been captured. They ordered the strategos to surrender Telouch and he pretended to acquiesce, sending them supplies, including wine. The next day, when they had drunk and fallen asleep, his troops killed them all. They captured 280 of the Arabs' supplyladen camels and cut off the ears and noses of the dead. These he took and presented to Romanos, who had retired to Cappadocia. Romanos then appointed Maniakes strategos of the “theme of the Euphrates cities” and catepan of Lower Media with his HQ at Samosata (Zonaras 17.12.13, cited in PBW).



The following year the new strategos of ‘the Euphratean cities’ attacked the major Muslim-ruled town of Edessa—modern Urfa in Turkish Syria—and bribed its governor Salamanes (Sulayman), who surrendered the town to him. Although under Muslim rule, the great majority of the inhabitants were Christians. Apomerbanes was the Greek rendering of Ibn Marwan [Nasr ad-Dawla ibn Marwan], the Kurdish emir of Miepherkeim [Mayyafariqin], Greek Martyropolis. Today’s Silvan. He had entrusted Edessa to the Turk Sulayman ibn al-Kurgi (Gk Salamanes). Maniakes captured much of the town, then bribed Sulayman, who surrendered all of it to Byzantium. The bribe to Sulayman was obtained by a request to Romanos III. The emperor sent via Maniakes a letter to Sulayman appointing the Turk anthypatos and patrikios, and also giving an exalted dignity to his wife. Salman received an annual pension and a patent of nobility from the Emperor. Salamanes was appointed anthypatos and patrikios and given estates in Byzantium. Maniakes found in the city the famous relics believed to be a letter of king Abgar to Christ and the autograph letter of Jesus in response. The correspondence between Christ and the king of Edessa was the palladium or holy safeguarder of the city. The strategos sent the relics to Romanos III (PBW under 1031, 1032). Ibn Marwan, Gk Apomerbanes, emir of Martyropolis, which is modern Silvan near Diyarbakir, came to rescue the situation but he failed, despite the strength of his army, to oust Maniakes from the three towers the latter held in Edessa. So Apomerbanes destroyed the Great Church and much of the town, killed its citizens and returned to Martyropolis with his camels laden with booty. In one incident at this time a soldier ‘of the Russian people’—presumably an officer of the Varangian Guard—sent by Maniakes on an errand to the Emir of Harran [SE of Edessa, today located just inside Turkey] lost his temper with the Emir and struck at him with his axe (PBW, 1031). In 1032, as we have said, Maniakes sent the famous relics, the letter of Abgar and Christ’s reponse, from Edessa to the capital, together with Sulayman ibn al-Kurgi, the Turkish governor from whom he had taken the city. Romanos III came out with the Patriarch Alexios to receive the precious letters, had them translated from Syriac to Greek and Arabic, and added them to the palace collection. In 1033 Maniakes sent to Romanos III Edessa's annual tax of 50 ‘pounds’ [litrai] of gold (3,600 standard gold coins called nomismata) (PBW citing Skylitzes 388.25-29). Italy, 1032-37 The Sicilian Arabs, who regularly raided across the Strait of Messina and further abroad, invaded Calabria in 1032. They captured Cassano and killed Pothos Argyros, the catepan of Italy, who came out against them. They then made a naval raid across the Adriatic to Corcyra, where they met defeat at the hands of imperial forces under the strategos of Nicopolis [our west-central Greece]. The



Arab “pirates” burned Kerkyra but lost heavily in a battle and a storm (Treadgold 1997: 587; also PBW under 1031 and 1032). The new catepan in succesion to Pothos was Michael, hitherto a high offcial (protospatharios) holding the offices of household treasurer to the emperor or epi ton oikiakon and ‘krites of the velon or curtain and of the hippodrome’, which is to say: manager of imperial audiences. He arrived (1032) in Italy with troops from the Anatolikon Theme (PBE under 1032). In this period catepans commonly served brief terms of office. A new catepan Constantine (Leo) Opus was in place by the summer of 1033 (or 1034). He proceeded to Calabria with John (Ioannes) the Cubicularius [chamberlain], commander of the fleet, in order to remove the Saracens (Muslims): the conflict dragged on for years, punctuated by negotiation and truces. In the central Mediterranean the ships of the strategos of Nauplia [Nafplion in the Peloponnesus], Nicephoros Karantenos, and the fleet of the chamberlain John now began to sweep the seas and effectively eliminated the ‘pirate’ threat from Sicily and Ifriqiya. According to A L Lewis, by 1100 the fleets of Muslim Spain, Sicily and North Africa “simply disappeared, leaving only a scattering of ships that could be mustered for warlike purposes” (1988: 103). The years 1035-38 saw revolt and civil war in Muslim Sicily. The two main contending parties were led respectively by the Kalbid emir Apolaphar Mouchoumet [Abul-‘afar, i.e. al-Akhal] and his brother ‘Apochaps’ [i.e. Abu k Hafs]. The contest was coloured by ethnic tension between the Sicilian Arab elite and the Sicilian Berber peasants. In the words of the Catholic Encyclopaedia (online), discord broke out among the Kalbite or Kalbid princes of Muslim Sicily, and anarchy resulted: "every alcalde and petty captain aspired to independence". Or as Gibbon puts it, “the emir disclaimed the authority of the king of Tunis; the people rose against the emir; the cities [read: towns] were usurped by the chiefs; each meaner rebel was independent in his village or castle; and the weaker of two rival brothers implored the friendship of the Christians [i.e., Byzantium]”. Ahmed Al-Akhal, Emir of Sicily, was leader of the "African" (Arab) party. This time it is Ahmed (al-Akhal) who appeals to the Byzantines for help. Having failed to suppress a revolution of the "Sicilians" (Berbers) under his brother Abu-Hafs, he turned (1035) to Constantinople and recognised the old supremacy of the Greeks. Once the emperor saw he was dominant on the seas, he felt comfortable in negotiating with the Arabs of Sicily and their Emir al-Akhal. In August 1035 he dispatched the diplomat (and eunuch) George Probatas who signed a peace treaty in name of the Basileus that conceded the titles of Emir and magistros to alAkhal. Abu Hafs or Apochaps has the support of Oumer [Zonaras’ rendering: correctly: al-Muizz ibn Badis], the Zirid ruler in Africa, who is promised territory on the



island. The Sicilian rebels called on the Zirid overlord Emir al-Muizz ibn Badis of Ifriqiya [present-day Tunisia]. The Zirids leap at the chance and dispatch a strong expeditionary force of 6,000 men under al-Muizz's son, Abdallah ibn al-Muizz (Norwich 1967: 46). As we have said, the eunuch George Probatas was sent by Michael IV to conclude a treaty with the emir of Sicily, Ahmad ibn Yusuf al-Akhal (Cedr. II 513). Thus alAkhal has the support of Leon or Constantine Opos, the Romaic catepan of Italy, who commands a force of Lombard mercenaries (or should we call them ‘paid volunteers’?). This Lombard force is able to best (1035 or 1036) the African mercenaries and hold them in check. The emir’s ally, the catepan Leo Opos, withdraws from Sicily with his mainly Lombard forces. Upon this departure, Apochaps’ African ally—‘Oumer’, as Zonaras calls him—is now free (1037) to despoil Sicily without opposition. The African ruler—correctly al-Muizz ibn Badis—was in fact represented by his teenage son Abdallah. With the aid of his mianly Berber troops, the Sicilian rebels captured Khalisa, the inner precinct of Palermo in 1038. (The Al-Khalisa or Kalsa contained the Emir's palace, baths, a mosque, government offices and a private prison.) There Ahmed al-Akhal (who had asked Constantinople for aid) makes his last stand. Ahmed's head is sent to the young Zirid prince Abdallah ibn Muizz. The final result was that the teenaged Abdallah dispossessed both Ahmed and AbuHafs and reigned in person in Palermo. Events in the Mediterranean One of the last west-Muslim (Sicilio-Tunisian) fleets to appear in the Aegean was defeated in 1035 (Hocker in Gardiner 2004: 93). The patrikios Constantine Chage, admiral of the Cibyrrhaeots [the fleet and marines of southern Asia Minor], and other commanders attacked and defeated Muslim Africans and Sicilians (Zirids/Kalbids) who were raiding the Cyclades and the coasts of the Thrakesion. Five hundred prisoners were sent alive to Michael IV, while many others were thrown into the sea or ‘crucified’* along the Asia Minor shore from Adramyttion to Strobilos (PBW, citing Skylitzes). Byzantine and especially Italian fleets—Venice, Genoa, Pisa—dominated the West Mediterranean after this time. Pisa would later aid the Normans in southern Italy and Sicily. As already noted, A L Lewis says by 1100 the fleets of Muslim Spain, Sicily and North Africa “simply disappeared, leaving only a scattering of ships that could be mustered for warlike purposes” (1988: 103). (*) Possibly a reference to the Byzantine style of “impaling” (Gk anskolopismos) whee the victim was tied up and exposed on a forked stake. That is, he did not have the stake inserted into or through his body (Notes to Leo the Deacon, trans. Talbot & Sullivan p. 216). Catepans of Italy, following Hofmann: (a) Leo [Constantine] Opus, AD



1037. (b) Nicephorus, qui et Dokino [Nikiforos, also called Dokeianos], AD 1039. Land, Local Recruits and Imported Soldiers in Byzantine Italy In Calabria the population was almost all Greek-speaking. In Apulia, however, the majority were Lombards, although a large minority in the heel itself spoke Greek as their native tongue. The Lombard language was already many centuries extinct. Despite their Germanic names, the so-called Lombards spoke a variety or varieties of Romance, i.e. ‘proto-Italian’ dialects. As Rodriquez explains, the defensive system of the Empire’s Italian themes or provinces was based on the military autonomy of each region. Only at moments of crisis or in the case of major expeditions were troops called in from other regions. The pressing necessities of defence of the Italian provinces exceeded the capacity of the local military services. This meant the almost constant presence of troops brought in from other parts of the Empire. Or we might say that the progressive professionalisation of the Byzantine army from the mid 10th century (after 950) gradually reduced the importance of enlisting Italian, mainly Lombard, recruits. In the course of the 11th century we still find the locals being enrolled as light infantry militiamen. They are called kontaratoi or conterati, literally ‘spear carriers, pikemen’ in the sources (from Gk kontarion, ‘long spear, pike’). But now they are of little military value. (While Rodriquez does not say this, it seems to me that we are seeing middle-class and upper working-class men having to be replaced by the urban labouring class. Or since towns were small, we may imagine conscripts drawn from the lesser peasantry of the countryside but brigaded in the towns. In their place the battles were now fought mainly by soldiers of exotic origins: Varangian-Russians, Armenians and Vlachs as well as an ample representation from the Greeks of the Eastern (Asia Minor) themes. And it seems that more of the senior officer caste was drawn from the regiments of Constantinople. Among the officials documented in the sources for Italy we find abundant references to members of the Tagmata [metropolitan regiments] of the Scholae and Excubitores and men called Manglabites [a title held by imperial bodyguards, often Varangians*] and also, as of 1040, there are references to Pantheotai, outposted members of a unit of the palace guard of Constantinople, performing functions of a judicial character (—thus writes Rodriquez; my translation and summary, MO’R). (*) Harold Sigurdsson, for example, held the office of Manglabite. It was derived anciently from the Latin manuclavius, ‘wooden club or bludgeon’. So perhaps best rendered ‘Mace-bearer’. The economic base of the territorial army was the strateia, a military duty or service placed on certain land-owners that from end of the 10th century was progressively turned into a payment of money. In return for supplying a soldier,



the land was held tax-free. In practice only rarely did the possessor of a military holding represent a serving soldier, although the land-owner was responsible for the cost of the acquisition and maintenance of armaments by the state treasury. This explains why so frequently we find clergymen in a ktemata (theme) in possession of stratiotika (military lands) and therefore subject to the payment of strateia. In the 11th century, the strateia became a mere tax. This allowed, or compelled, more and more use to be made of so-called ‘mercenary’ troops, i.e. paid professionals, including Normans. Any deficiency would be supplied by the creation of a territorial military service conscripted from the local population, the so-called kontaratoi or conterati, from kontarion, ‘lance or long spear’: literally ‘spear-carriers’. In the 1040s especially, the light-armed urban militia of the conterati are widely recorded in urban politics, especially their behaviour at times of crisis and revolt. They were conscript militiamen; their spear was provided by the state. There were large, medium and small landowners. In the Latin sources, the terminology used for the big landholders was maiores or nobiles: ‘the major ones’ or ‘nobles’; the mediani were middle rankers; and the minores or cunctus populus were the ‘the lesser ones’, ‘the body of the people’. These labels derived from the Lombard laws according to which the population was divided in three classes based on its economic capacity for war. According to this scheme, [1:] the maiores or ‘powerful’ were those who had, or could afford, horses plural, armour, helmets and lances and enjoyed the benefit of at least seven properties. [2:] The mediani or middle class could afford a horse, a helmet and lance, and held at least 40 jugera or ‘yokings’ of land (Rodriquez’s figure). One ‘yoking’ or jugerum = two Roman acres, and 80 Roman acres (see Note 1 below) was 10 hectares. This was about the same area as the average holding farmed by the better-off half of the peasantry in the Romaic East. Finally there were [3:] the minores, the small-holders, who were expected to arm themselves with, or pay for, just a bow and a quiver of arrows. Not that we are allowed to imagine that a composite recurve bow was cheap; only that it cost much less than a horse. Note 1: Measuring Medieval Land The Roman acre was the squared Roman ‘arpent’, 120 pedes by 120 pedes. This equals 14,400 square feet or about 0.126 hectares. One ‘yoke’ or jugerum = 0.2518 hectares, so 40 iugera = marginally more than 10 hectares. In the Byzantine East, peasant holdings may have clustered around four to five ha in the case of boidatoi, those who owned just one ox, and 8–10 ha in the case of zeugaratoi, those owning a plough-team of two oxen (Lefort in Laiou ed. 2002). For comparison, in pre-modern Western Europe, the average area worked by one horse-team was around 15-30 ha, but smaller with oxen. A holding over 100 ha was large, and one of 375 ha (925 acres) was a very large farm indeed. — Data in Grantham 2007.



A thought-experiment is possible using the figure of 40 jugera or 10 hectares. Present-day Puglia covers 19,366 sq km or 1,936,600 hectares. Let us guess that just 25% of the whole province was being cultivated in the 11th C, i.e. 484,150 ha. That represents 48,415 mediani holdings of average size (10 ha). And if each holding supported an average of five people then we have a provincial population of 242,075 people. This is plausible, albeit on the low side, noting that in their Population Atlas, McEvedy & Jones put the whole population of Italy at about five million in AD 1,000. But of course we are just guessing. Rodriquez reports that there were 28 bishoprics in the eastern half of Byzantine ‘Longobardia’, i.e. Puglia plus eastern Basilicata. (See map above.) If each ministered to at least 10,000 souls then we have 280,000+ people in the province. Or if 15,000 per diocese: 420,000 people. We do not know how many of the holdings were stratiotika. But let us guess that one in five* was, i.e. the equivalent of 9,683 holdings. Let us suppose that as many as 50% of the stratioka are delinquent and do not supply a soldier. Then we have 4,841. On this logic, Byzantine Puglia should have been able (before the strateia became a mere tax) to afford the modest number of 5,000 farmersoldiers or 2,500 full-time professionals (“mercenaries” so-called). (*) Treadgold 1997: 178 proposes that military lands accounted for perhaps a quarter of the empire's cultivated and grazing land after 840. As a refinement, let us guess that the cultivated portion of the province was divided 1/6, 2/6 and 3/6 between large (30 ha), medium (10 ha) and small holdings (5 ha). We apply this, as before, to 484,150 ha. This yields 2,690 large holdings; 16,138 medium holdings; and 48,415 small holdings in Puglia, for a total of 67,243 farms. If just one in five was a military holding, this was enough in principle to support 13,449 soldiers. (If this result seems too large, remember that we guessed, perhaps generously, that fully 25% of the province was cultivated.) As a further guess we might imagine that large, medium and small farms supported respectively 16, 8 and four people. Implicit here is the assumption that a modest number of landless labourers and an even smaller number of slaves are all dependent on the larger estates. (There were not many slaves in this period: only the rich could afford them, and so nearly all worked in domestic service.) The results in raw figures are 43,040 + 129,104 + 193,660 people, for a provincial total population of 365,804. This is more consistent with McEvedy & Jones’ Italian estimate.(*) And even if we try to be extra-conservative and halve 67,243 farms to 33,622 farms, one in five being a military holding (stratiotika), still we get an “in principle capability figure” of 6,724 men under arms … But the strateia, if money, must be collected, or if due in the shape of a human being, the soldier must turn up when he is called out … (*) In the first pan-Italian census of 1861, Puglia had a population of 1,335,000; and Basilicata 509,000 [data at http://dawinci.istat.it/dawinci]. The region was not yet mechanised in 1861. Wheat was harvested with a sickel or scythe and hand-threshed. On the other hand, trade had increased vastly by 1861. To this



can be added the clearing of forests, modern sanitation and medicine. So we might expect medieval Puglia to have had no more than half its 19th C figure, or up to 667,500 people. If so, then the average flock ministered to by a bishop in the 1030s could have been over 25,000. Events in the East, 1036-38 In the East, where Maniakes was still commander at Samosata, the Empire in 1036 fought off a joint attempt to retake Edessa by the Kurds (Marwanids) and the Arabs (the Numayrids of Harran). This demonstraion of Byzantine power prompted the Fatimids to strike another 10 year peace with Byzantium the same year. Then in about 1037 the Empire’s pre-eminence in Syria was recognised when the Mirdasids of Aleppo agreed to become once again an imperial protectorate, and the Numayrids formally ceded Edessa to Byzantium. Peace in northern Syria meant that the leading general there, George Maniakes, could be selected to lead an expedition to Sicily, whose grand aim was the total reconquest of the island (Treadgold 1997: 587). The Sicilian Expedition, 1038 We saw earlier that the Sicilian rebels captured Khalisa, the inner fortress of Palermo in 1038. There Ahmed al-Akhal (who had asked Constantinople for aid) makes his last stand. Ahmed's head is sent to the Zirid prince Abdallah ibn Muizz. This prompts emperor Michael to send (mid 1038) George Maniakes [aged about 40] with an army which contained a few Normans, mercenaries serving the Lombard princes in Calabria. As we have said, its grand aim to no less than to reconquer the entire island of Sicily. A new catepan Michael Spondyles [Italian: Michele Sfrondilo], lately doux of Antioch, arrived in Bari in 1038 to help lead the Sicilian expedition of George Maniakes. It is said that Spondyles set up (1038) press-gangs to conscript Latins (Lombards) as auxiliaries for the upcoming expedition to Sicily. In the Latin sources these conscript militiamen are called ‘conterati’, from the Gk kontaratoi, ‘pikemen, spear-carriers’. “Anno 1038. Descendit Michael Patricius, et Dux qui et Sfrondili vocabatur et transfretavit cum Maniachi Patricio in Siciliam”. —Lupus. – ‘Michael the patrician [patrikios] and doux [senior general, dux, duke] , who is also called Sphondyles, arrives, and he has crossed, with the patrician Maniakes, to Sicily’. In the spring of 1038, George Maniakes led a powerful East-Romanic invasion of eastern Sicily. One of the elite divisions in his army was the axe-armed infantry Varangians, 500 or more men under ‘Araltes’ or Harold. This was the Norwegian prince Harald Hardrada, whose nickname as king is perhaps best translated as 'ruthless'. Harold or Araltes had fled from Norway after being wounded at the



battle of Stikestad, and had taken refuge in Novgorod and then finally ended up in Constantinople. Within a short time of his arrival in Constantinople, he was appointed commander of the Varangian Guard. The forces of the Norman leader Rainulf Drengot, including the Hauteville family - the brothers of Robert Guiscard - also went to Sicily in 1038. (Robert was still in Normandy.) The army of Maniakes, with Scandinavians (Varangians) under Haardraade and Italian (Norman and Lombard) mercenaries under Arduin, and the support of the Byzantine fleet, stormed Messina and defeated the Sicilian Saracens, first at Rametta or Rometta, inland from Messina, near the island’s NE corner 1038, then at inland Dragina, modern Troina (1040 or 1041). According to Ahmad 1975: 33, “15,000” Sicilian Christians took up arms to aid Maniakes’ army. Many episodes from Maniakes’ expedition are illustrated in the Skylitzes manuscript: see in V. Tsamadakas (ed. 2002), The illustrated chronicle of Ioannes Skylitzes in Madrid, Leiden. Skylitzes is the only surviving illustrated manuscript of a Greek chronicle. Its 574 images depict every aspect of Byzantine life, including warfare, boats, sieges, literary practices, dreams, ceremonies and even Siamese (“conjoint”) twins. The illustration in the Skylitzes MS of the landing in Sicily can be found here: http://www.imperiobizantino.com/italia/minia11b.jpg And the battle of Troina is here: http://www.imperiobizantino.com/italia/minia12b.jpg. The illustration highlights the maces of the Byzantines and the small round shields carried by the Muslim lancer-cavalrymen. Here for the illustration of Maniakes’ return to Constantinople: http://www.imperiobizantino.com/italia/minia14b.jpg The Troops of the Sicilian Expedition 1038 Maniakes led a composite army whose exact size is unknown, although it was evidently reasonably large. The sources are carefully cited in D’Amato’s monograph on Maniakes. Because they do not give good numbers for more than a few contingents, there is some doubt how large his expedition was. One might guess: up to 15,000 men. There were [1:] perhaps 5,000 Easterners from Anatolia in the form of detachments from the Opsikìon, Thrakesion and Anatolikòn themes; [2:] perhaps 2,000 or more italioi stratiotai, or the local Byzantine troops of Italy, made up of Lombard conscripts and ‘Italo-Greek’ regulars in the form of thematic [local] troops from Byzantine Calabria and the Catepanate (Apulia); [3:] a large detachment (say 1,000) of the best foot regiment, the Varangian Guard, composed of Russians and Scandinavians, led by the legendary Norwegian prince



Harald “Hardrada” Sigurdsson, aged 23 in 1038; and [4:] 500 Armenian infantrymen under Cecaumenus (D’Amato’s figure, 2005: 3, citing Skylitzes). In addition there were [5:] ‘Greek’ cavalrymen to the number of 300 also under the command of Katakalon Kekaumenos, including Paulician (Thracian thematic) troops* (D’Amato’s figure again, 2005: 3, citing Skylitzes); [6:] an unknown number of Macedonians; and [7:] some semi-professional Italian (Lombard) cavalrymen. Finally [8:] the Norman mercenary horse-soldiers numbered 300-500 - 300 probably being the correct figure - led by the Lombard Ardouin and by the Norman brothers Drogo and William “Strong-arm” [bras-de-fer: ‘iron-arm’] de Hauteville - although William had not yet acquired this nickname. These men were assigned to Maniakes by the Lombard prince Guaimar V of Salerno, an ally of the Empire. (*) The Paulicians were a cultural or ethnic group distinguished by their ‘heretical’ dualist beliefs. Originating in the East, they had been settled in Thrace for centuries and no doubt made converts there. The pro-Norman Italian sources attribute the expedition’s victories largely to the Norman contingent, but we must reject this, not least because they were so few. It might be allowed that the average Norman horsemen was a little superior to the average Romaic cavalryman (none of the elite imperial Tagmata seem to have been dispatched**), while plainly the Varangians were the best of the infantry. Norwich, 1967: 54, rightly observes that the decisive factor was Maniakes’ skill as a general. (**) Besides the italioi stratiotai, Maniakes’ troops in 1038 probably included soldiers from Macedonia and the Eastern Themes. Certainly we have mention soon thereafter – in Cedrenus and the Annales Barenses under 1041 - of troops in Southern Italy from the Themes of the Opsikion, Thrakesion (“the meros*** of the Thracesians”) and Anatolikon. Skylitzes under 1041 also mentions troops of the >>tagmata of the Phoideratoi [Federates] [and] of Lycaonia and Pisidia<< . This almost certainly meant ordinary thematic troops from the Anatolikon theme of central Asia Minor, and not (as D’Amato proposes) troops from one of the elite imperial Tagmata of Constantinople. (***) A meros was another term for a turma, or the troops of a sub-division of a Theme. A meros could be as large as 3,000 men or as small as 800. In the 10th century the Thracesian theme had had four meroi, each with an average of 2,500 men (Treadgold 1995: 97, 101). The Annales Barenses say that, after the defeat of Montemaggiore (see later), among the troops called from Sicily against the rebel Normans were “miseri Macedones” [‘poor’ or second-class or pitiable Macedonians]. They would have been Thematic troops, to be distinguished, Raffaele D’Amato proposes, from the élite regiment of the Phoidheratoi (“Federates”) headquartered in Constantinople. In truth, the troops called the ‘tagmata of the Phoideratoi of [?



and of?] Lycaonia and Pisidia’ were a thematic corps. The reference is actually to the turma (district and regiment) of the Federates or Phoideratoi, which (to repeat) was the senior turma of the three turmai within the theme of the Anatolics (1: the turma of the Federates, 2: turma of Lycaonia and 3: turma of Sozopolis or Pisidia) (Treadgold 1995: 99). In this context, then, “tagmata” means simply ‘battalions’ or ‘regiments’; it is not a reference to the elite guards regiments of Constantinople. On Treadgold’s figures, the Federates numbered 5,000 and the troops of Italy amounted to 2,000 in the 9th century: whether they had the same numbers in 1038-41 we do not know. We might guess that the enrolled troops of Italy (locals and imports) were more like 6,000 by 1038. Skylitzes and the Annales Barenses both mention Paulikani et Calabrenses, i.e. Paulicians from Thrace and Calabrians. The Paulicians are called the “manichean Tagma” in several sources, an allusion to their dualist creed. The conterati - lit. ‘spear-carriers’: light infantry conscripts - participated in the first phase of the Sicilian expedition of 1038. After their return home at the end of 1039, they will rebel against the catepan Nicephoros Dokeianos and at Mottola they kill an imperial official. The following year the Byzantines retaliated heavily against the demobilized militia: the imperial general Argyrus captured (1040) two of their leaders, Musandus and John of Ostuni - Ostuni being a village near Brindisi, - and imprisoned them in Bari; four other rebels were hanged in the same city; and another in Ascoli. Quite possibly there were also a few untrained volunteers serving in the campaign in 1038. William of Apulia attests that in the battle of Montepeloso (fought on the mainland in 1041: see later) the Greek regular troops were bolstered by many local auxiliaries: “indigenae Danais descendunt auxiliarii” or ‘indigenous auxiliaries who descend from the [ancient] Greeks’. The rest of the local population, whether Longobard or Latin, was split in two: some will go over to the side of the Normans while others remained faithful to the Byzantines. This is clear from the testimony of the Vatican Anonymous text: "qui adjunctis sibi Longobardis illis, qui nondum Normannorum consenserant" – ‘who themselves were attached to/supported those Lombards, [and those] who had not yet favoured the Normans’ (quoted in the Italian edition of the Wikipedia, 2009, under ‘Conterati’). Catepans of Italy, 1039-41: (a) ‘Nicephorus, qui et Dokino’ [Nikeforos Dokeianos], A.C. 1039. (b) ‘Michael, qui et Dokiano seu Duchiano’ [Michael Dokeianos], ‘A.C. 1041’ (sic: correctly from autumn 1040). —J J Hofmann p.771; copy online. Chronology 1038-41 1038: Maniakes’ army crosses from Calabria to Messina; battle of Rametta west of Messina: summer 1038. - The landing at Messina is the subject of an illustration in Skylitzes.



1039-40: Down the coast to Syracuse by spring 1040. A surprisingly slow campaign, given that the great majority of eastern Sicilians under Muslim rule were Greek Christians. mid 1040: Offensive into the interior: battle near Troina/Traina (NE of Enna). late 1040: Maniakes is recalled. The admiral Stephen takes command in Sicily. 1041: The Muslims recover E Sicily. 10 May: Kekaumenos successfully defends Messina.

Above: The Battle of Troina (1040) illustrated in Skylitzes. Left: Byzantines. Right: Muslims. Notice the large maces. The nearest Byzantine soldier (centre) appears to be wielding his lance couched under his arm. The object held aloft (top centre) is presumably a kite-shaped shield. Note the round shields of the Muslims. Sicily 1039-41 Maniakes continued to campaign in Sicily. Syracuse was taken, and the Arabs were badly defeated near Troina. Skylitzes says that following his defeat of the Sicilian brothers' African (Saracen) troops, Maniakes captured “13 cities”, meaning the towns in the region south of Rametta, and that his troops occupied “the entire island” (Skylitzes 403.28-30), but this was an exaggeration. At best the whole eastern littoral was captured. The new campaign, in which (as we have said) a number of Norman soldiers also took part, opened with a series of comfortable victories, and it was not long before Messina and Syracuse, with all the eastern part of Sicily between them, fell into the hands of the Greeks.



When Maniakes reached Syracuse, the Saracen garrison saw their position as hopeless and capitulated (Norwich 1967: 54). This was 162 years since Byzantium had lost the town to the Muslims (in 878). But, as we will see, Maniakes in this hour of triumph was rewarded only by the jealousy and suspicion of his imperial master and was recalled to the Romaic court, there to languish in disgrace (Kendrick 1930/2004: 173). The Norman William de Hauteville, aged about 35, won his nickname Iron Arm— the Norman chronicler Malaterra says at Syracuse—while fighting for the Greeks, by single-handedly killing the emir or governor of Syracuse in battle. Meanwhile a Saracen relief force under Abdullah had come eastwards from Palermo to try to relieve Syracuse. Malaterra says it numbered 60,000 which is not credible. Leaving some troops to continue the siege, Maniakes struck inland to confront Abdullah before Abdullah reached the coast. The river Simeto runs down to the east coast below Catania from near Troina; no doubt Maniakes’ army would have proceeded up the valley. The Arabs were defeated at, or rather near, Troina (medieval Dragina), which is located west of Mt Etna, NE of Enna. It is known as the highest town in Sicily. According to the Italian Wikipedia (‘Troina’, 2009), the battle was fought to the NE of Troina near the village of Cerami. The major road in the region today runs broadly SE past Cerami through rugged country to Troina. The Arab battle line was demoralised by the first charge of the Byzantine (and Norman) cavalrymen, suggesting that they were heavily armoured (Haldon 1999: 223). But the miniatures of Skylitzes do not show any horses with horse-armour. Thus we may guess that none of Maniakes’ cavalry were ‘true cataphracts’. At Troina, when in sight of the enemy Maniakes arranged his troops according to the customary formation in three lines that would be able to enter combat successively. This was best practice as specified by the military manuals. In the hand-to-hand combat the Byzantines were helped by the arrival of a strong storm that raised great dust-clouds which blinded the Arabs. Disorganised, the rows of the army of Abdallah were incapable of resisting the first charge by heavy cavalry. Soon the battle became a massacre, with the Muslim soldiers dying in their thousands, and here again the Normans found occasion to excel in the fighting (or so the Latin sources say) (thus Rodriquez). According to Skylitzes 405.80-406.90, in this battle the Greeks slew or captured “more than 50,000” Muslims (cited in PBW 1040). We moderns will prefer to belive the true figure was more like 5,000. The sources describe both Norman and Romaic heavy cavalry charging in order and riding down the enemy lines at Troina (Haldon 2001: 112); but it is by no means certain that this was an early instance of charging with couched lances, a technique that was not routinised until the period 1075-1100. Indeed, the Skylitzes illustrations, showing the use of long heavy maces, would suggest that



the older style of poking with the lance was still preferred. The Byzantine would have used, successively, the bow, the lance, the mace and the sword. Maces wee not just for hand-to-hand combat but could be thrown as necessary. There is a tradition that possibly originates in 1040 after the Battle of Troina/Cerami according to which some of the Saracens were pursued to the NE after the battle near Cerami. At any rate, so much blood flowed that a nearby river - from then on called precisely Saracena: an upper tributary of the Simeto River NE of Troina - was coloured red. The tradition says that to thank the Madonna for the victory [almost blasphemy for us, but medieval times were different!], Maniakes ordered the building of a little monastery to which he donated an icon – so the bloody legend goes - that had been painted by Saint Lucy (Lucia) herself, famously martyred at Syracuse in Antiquity, and the patron saint of that city. The little monastery became Santa Maria di Maniace, and gave its name to the village of Maniace, just NW of the River Saracena: immediately south of the vast Nebrodi national park. The story is first recorded in Edrisi’s geography of AD 1150; he writes of Manyag [i.e. Maniace] or Giran to-Daqiq or Ghiran and Dequq, that is "Flour Grotto" or “Cave of Flour” [Arabic ghiran ‘small caves’ and daqiq, ‘flour’]. According to other sources, however, Maniakes would have founded a village directly, to garrison the routes in that direction, i.e those that ran from the coast inland via the northern side of Mt Etna (Italian Wikipedia, 2009, under ‘Castello di Nelson’). The Byzantine co-commander, admiral Stephanos, Michael VI’s uncle and Michael V's father, failed to prevent Oumer's escape from Sicily. [‘Oumer’ is Zonaras’s name for the emir of Africa, Sharaf ad-Dawla al-Muizz ibn Badis, or his son Abdallah. The latter fled back to Africa when he was defeated in 1040 by alHasan as-Simsam, brother the late al-Akhal: cf Takayama 1992.] Maniakes proceeded recklessly to berate the admiral for his cowardice and incompetence. Stephen had been asked by Maniakes to guard the coast, lest the African invader (“Oumer”) escape. When the latter managed to do so, Stephen was insulted by Maniakes, who hit him repeatedly on the head and called him a careless coward and a traitor (Skylitzes 405.85-406.1, in PBW 1040: illustrated in the Skylitzes manuscript.) Stephanos immediately wrote to his nephew, the chamberlain (parakoimomenos) Ioannes (John) the Orphanotrophos, the emperor’s elder brother and de facto ruler, accusing Maniakes of planning treachery against the state. The latter was arrested and taken (late 1040) in chains to Constantinople along with the Armenian general Basil Theodorokanos. When Maniakes was recalled to Constantinople, the Arabs under the Kalbite ruler Samsam [al-Hasan as-Samsam b. Yusuf] re-took Syracuse. Michael IV, having recalled George Maniakes [1040], entrusted the leadership of military operations in Sicily to his uncle Stephen. He gave him as his assistant the head eunuch Basil Pediaditus, who held the court title of praepositus. Now, 30


however, imperial rule in Sicily having devolved upon Stephanos, all the towns that Maniakes had won back for the empire, save Messina, were again lost (by early 1041) to the Saracens. The incompetence of the two leaders led to the loss of the reconquered parts of Sicily. Stephen and Basil had to take refuge in Italy proper (Guilland, citing Cedr. II 523, 525). On a positive note for the empire, Katakalon Kekaumenos succeeded in defending Messina, winning a crushing victory on 10 May 1041 (PBW, narrative for 1040).

Above: George Maniakes accuses admiral Stephen. See our Appendix for D’Amato analysis of Maniakes’ dress and equipment. Further llustration The Skylitzes MS illustration of Maniakes’ return to Constantinople can be found here: http://www.imperiobizantino.com/italia/minia14b.jpg Langobardia, 1039 Spondyles probably replaced Constantinos Opos as catepan for a brief period; then Nikephoros Doukeianos took over the post the next year (February 1039). Nikephoros Dokeianos, killed in Jan 1040, was in turn succeeded, early 1040, by Michael Dokeianos, presumably a brother, son or nephew. The Annales Barensis record that "Michael protospatarius et catepanus, qui et Dulkiano iunior" (the protospatharius and catepan Michael the Younger, called Dokeianos) came "a Sicilia in Lombardia" (form Sicily into Longobardia). ‘The Younger’ suggests that Michael was the son of Nikephoros, whose death is recorded in the previous paragraph in the same source. The Dokeianoi were related to the Comnenus family, Nikephorus’s wife being a



sister of the future emperor Isaac I Comnenus (Anna’s Alexiad I:37, cited by Cawley 2009). Chronology of the troubles in peninsular Italy, 1040-42 After Rodriguez’s ‘Italia Bizantina’. Note: The border between the Lombard principality of Benevento and the Byzantine catepanate of Langobardia lay on the upper Ofanto River just west of Melfi. 1039: Argyrus, son of Melus of Bari, taken captive back in 1018, was now, aged about 38, released and dispatched from Constantinople to help raise the Apulian levies, or rather: to put down the revolt of the conterati previously enlisted. Revolt in Byzantine Ascoli, north of Melfi. The catepan Nicephoros Dokeianos is killed. Revolts in Matera, inland NW of Taranto, and Mottola, between Matera and Taranto. A new catepan, Michael Dokeianos, arrives with Varangians among his army. Retaliatory expedition by Michael Dokeianos. He punishes the rebels first at Bitonto, west of Bari; then at Ascoli. At about this time, Arduin and William de Hauteville lead their battle-hardened Lombard and Norman troops back from Sicily. Arduin joins (early 1041) the rebellion, and from Melfi proceeds to capture Venosa and Ascoli. Rebel successes, with Normans playing a leading role: 16/17 Mar 1041: 4 May 1041: Battle of Venosa or the Olivento, SE of Melfi: Arduin’s Normans and Lombards defeat Dokeianos. The Olivento River is a southern tributary of the Ofanto. Battle near Montemaggiore, NE of Melfi, on the lower Ofanto River. Dokeianos is again defeated. It is not clear who led the Lombard-Norman force. Battle of Montepeloso, SSE of Melfi. The new catepan

Jan 1040: May 1040: Nov 1040: Late 1040:

3 Oct [or



Sept] 1041:

Boioannes the Younger is also defeated by the Lombards and Normans under Atenulf, junior prince of Benevento. +Towards the end of 1041 Michael IV dies and is succeeded by Michael V. Argyros, son of Melus, having switched (late 1041) from Byzantine service to the rebels, seizes control of Bari. He soon comes to an understanding with the Norman chiefs, and in February or May 1042 is elected, jointly by the Normans and the Lombard militia of Bari, as “Prince and Duke of [south] Italy” (Angold 1984: 27). Sent back to Italy by Michael V, Maniakes lands in Apulia (Taranto). May 1042: siege of Taranto. He defeats the rebel Lombards and Normans. Proceeding from Taranto, Maniakes attacks Matera. June: From Matera to Monopoli. Retaliation against the rebels at Monopoli. Then July: Siege of Giovinazzo near Bari. Siege of Trani on the coast above Bari. Constantine IX now (in July) decides to recall Maniakes. (a) A new catepan, Pardos, arrives at Otranto expecting to replace Maniakes. Pardos and his deputy Tubachi are arrested at Otranto, however, and executed by Maniakes, who is acclaimed emperor by his troops. At Bari, Argyros and his Normans cleverly announced their loyalty to Constantine IX. (b) Encouraged by gold and high titles, Argyrus redefects back to the imperial side.

From February 1042:

April 1042:

June 1042: June + 3 July 1042:

July-Aug 1042: September 1042:

October 1042: Feb 1043:

Negotiations before Bari. Maniakes leaves Italy for the East, intending to unseat Constantine IX. In Italy the local forces surrendered to Argyrus, fled, or joined the rebellion.



The Italian city of Bari had rebelled against Imperial rule in 1038, to be followed in 1040 by Mottola. Bari was recaptured the same year. Meanwhile, before May 1040, Nikephoros Dokeianos, catepan or katepano of Italy, was killed at Ascoli. Dokeianos had driven the rebellious conterati, the discharged local light troops, out of Apulia. However he died in the town of Ascoli. The conterati, after being driven from Apulia, on 5 May also killed Michael Choirosphaktes krites (the judge) and Romanos (of Matera?) near Mottola (PBW, citing Lupus protospatharius 58.10-11). Argyros thereafter captured the chief conterati or rebel militia leaders Musandus and Ioannes of Ostouni [Ostuni: a small town near Brindisi]. Argyros fought the conterati outside Bari and his troops wounded Musandus their leader. Later he besieged and entered the town, imprisoning Musandus and Ioannes (John) of Ostouni. The conterati were “scattered” (PBW May 1040). Michael Dokeianos was sent (late 1040) from Sicily to succeed his relation (? father) Nikephoros Dokeianos as catepan in Italy with further Varangians amongst his army. He reached Bari in November, and had four rebels hanged: one at Ascoli and three at Bitonto, where he also blinded four others. Saga references can perhaps be read as saying that Harald Sigurdsson was included in the Varangians who came with the new catepan. There are references to his fighting against Longobardi (Lombards) and ‘Franks’ (Normans). But it is much more likely that Harold was still with Maniakes in Sicily. In 1041 the katepano Michael will offer the rule of the Melfi region to the Greek-speaking Lombard Arduin with the title topoterites or second in charge, i.e. deputy catepan. However, Arduin soon betrays him and leads his Norman mercenaries in support of the Apulian rebels. Michael Dokeianos refused to pay the ‘Franks’ (Norman mercenaries) their monthly salaries, and when their leader Arduin went to see him, asking for his soldiers to be treated fairly and the situation to be remedied, he insulted him and had him flogged. Or the dispute concerned the division of booty from the Arab war in Sicily. This provoked Arduin’s men to revolt. The historians Skylitzes and Attaleiates, who follow a pro-Maniakes line, ascribe this behaviour to Michael Dokeianos. The Italian sources are divided, some claiming that Maniakes himself was largely responsible and that this falling out had occurred in Sicily a little earlier (PBW). “Anno 1041. descendit Dulchianus a Sicilia ivitque Asculum et mense Martij Arduinus Lombardus convocavit Normannos, in Apulia in Civitate Melfiae et praedictus Dulchianus fecit proelium cum Normannis et ceciderunt Graeci et mense Maii iterum proeliati sunt Normanni fer. IIII. cum Graecis et fugit Dulchianus in Barum”. —Lupus Prot. — ‘Dokeianos arrives from Sicily and proceeds to Ascoli [late 1040], and in March [1041] Arduin the Lombard gathers the Normans in Apulia at the town of Melfi, and the previously mentioned Dokeianos makes battle [at the Olivento] with the Normans, and the Greeks fall (i.e. are defeated), and on 4 May again the Normans clash with the Greeks [at the Ofanto], and Dokeianos flees to Bari.’



Arduin, the ‘Second Lombard Revolt’ and the Normans The first Lombard revolt, led by Argyros’s father, Melus or Meles of Bari, had been crushed back in 1018 by Basil Boïoannes. Melus’s young son Marianos Argyros was sent to Constantinople as a hostage. In 1040, a new insurrection broke out in Apulia against Byzantium. From 1041 it was led by Arduin, a leader of the Sicilian expedition. On his return from Sicily, Arduin had become for a moment the official administrator (topoterites: lieutenant-governor, deputy commander) of the Melfi area on behalf of the Empire. The stated reason for the revolt, or at least for the Normans joining it, was the slight offered to them during the campaign in Sicily. Arduin now attempted to make a place for himself in the region with the help of his former Norman comrades-in-arms, the Hauteville brothers. George Maniakes, or more probably Michael Dokeianos, the catepan of Italy, refused to pay the ‘Franks’ (Norman mercenaries) their monthly salaries. Alternatively the Normans felt they had received too little of the booty brought from Sicily. Their leader, the Greek-speaking Lombard Ardouin, went to see the catepan, asking for his soldiers to be treated fairly and the situation to be remedied. The Byzantine leader, either Maniakes or Dokeianos, insulted him and had him flogged (perhaps whipped with a war-flail; or, as Malaterra says, beaten with staves). This provoked Arduin’s men to join (1041) the revolt. The historians Skylitzes and Attaleiates, who follow a pro-Maniakes line, ascribe this behaviour to Michael Dokeianos, but (to repeat) the Italian sources are divided, some claiming that Maniakes himself was largely responsible (notes to Amato, ed. Dunbar et al., 2004: 66-68). The beating, says Malatesta, took place in Sicily. William of Apulia (see below) puts it at Reggio in Calabria. Arduin had led the Lombard troops committed by Guaimar IV of Salerno to Maniakes’ Sicilian expedition in 1038. According to Amatus of Montecassino, in 1040 Arduin refused to surrender a captured horse to the Byzantine general, and Maniakes consequently had him stripped and beaten. Whatever happened, Arduin and his Salernitan contingent along with the Normans (also sent by Guaimar) and the Varangians (sent by Emperor Constantine IX) left Sicily and returned (1040) to the mainland. William of Apulia writes thus in his Deeds of Robert Guiscard: “Among the men enrolled [in Sicily] was Arduin, whose followers were partly Lombards, as well as Gauls [Normans] who had survived the defeat by the Greeks and who had fled from the battle against Basil [a backreference to 1018]. Returning [from N Apulia, or Sicily?] after his triumph over the enemy, [Michael] Dokeianos had distributed the booty to his Greek troops at the town of Reggio, but Arduin had received nothing and the poor man had remained unrewarded. He angrily summoned his men and denounced the



Greeks for their sordid avarice, who gave to cowards the booty due to men since the Greeks were like women. Michael [or perhaps Maniakes] was angry at these insults and ordered him [Arduin] to be stripped and flogged, as is the custom of the Greeks, to shame by this punishment the man who has been flogged for committing such a crime. Furious at the indignity of this treatment, and determined not to leave the wrong which had been done him unrevenged, Arduin and his men left the camp of the Greeks in secret. A band of Greeks sent in pursuit caught up with him in open country, but when they engaged in battle the Greeks were defeated and 50 of them killed.” William of Apulia has Arduin, an ethnic Lombard, elaborating to the Normans at Aversa the story of his own wrongs and the ‘effeminacy of the contemptible Greeks’. Arduin had been whipped: ‘Why should so desirable land as Apulia be left to a race so feeble [lit. feminine]?’ - such was his argument, appealing at once to the Norman self-conceit and the Norman cupidity. —Curtis 1912, quoting William of Apulia: 'Appulæ multimodæ cum terra sit utilitatis Foemeneis [sic: Femineis] græcis cur permittatur haberi?’ Lit: ‘As for Apulia, so variously useful a land, by the effeminate* Greeks, wherefore is it allowed to be possessed?’ (*) This was an old-standing Western prejudice. Already in 883-84, in his Life of Charlemagne, the Monk of St. Gall had written of “the sluggish and unwarlike Greek king”. Or this from the ethnic Lombard Liutprand, sent to Constantinople in 968 as ambassador for the German emperor: "How unworthy, how shameful it is, that these soft, effeminate, long-sleeved, hooded, veiled, lying, neutralgendered, idle creatures [the eunuchs and other Byzantines] should go clad in purple, while you heroes [i.e., the German kings, Otto senior and junior] - strong men, namely, skilled in war, full of faith and love, reverencing God, full of virtues - may not!" (The East-Romans forbade Liutprand to take with him the supplies of purple silk that he had purchased.) The cynic will observe that those who can outdo us must be disparaged, while those who fall below our standard may be ignored. The troubles of 1040-41 are summarised thus by the Wikipedia authors: “Michael Doukeianos (Dulchiano in Italian), called ‘the Young’, was the catepan of Italy from 1040 to 1041. … His first major act (1040) was to offer the rule of Melfi to the Greek-speaking Lombard Arduin with the title topoterites [deputy commander]. However, Arduin soon betrayed him and led his Norman mercenaries in support of the Apulian rebellion. On 16 March 1041, near Venosa,* on the Olivento [a tributary of the Ofanto], he [Dokeianos junior] met the Norman army and tried to negotiate. He failed, and battle was joined at Montemaggiore** [halfway between Melfi and Canosa], a field that had served as the site for the famous battle of 216 BC [Hannibal’s great victory] and the first Norman engagement in the Mezzogiorno in 1018. Though the catepan had called up a large Varangian force from Bari, the battle was a rout and many of Michael's soldiers



drowned in the Ofanto on the retreat” (Wikipedia, ‘Doceianus’, 2009). (*) On the ancient Appian Way east of Melfi. A notional triangle, with Foggia and Bari as two of its points, has Venosa as a third point. The Ofanto River lies north of Venosa. (**) Barletta, halfway between Foggia and Bari, is on the coast. Proceeding up the Ofanto valley from Barletta, the key sites are, in turn: Cannae, Canosa, Montemaggiore and Melfi. Dokeianos is twice defeated in battle with the Normans. In both clashes – at Venosa on the Olivento River near Melfi on 17 March, and on the Ofanto River near Montemaggiore on 4 May - the Normans won against superior Romaic numbers. Despite a considerable supremacy in numbers, the Greeks were beaten near Venosa in the Olivento valley (17 March 1041), then at Monte Maggiore at the Ofanto River (4 May or April), where supposedly ‘18,000’ Byzantines (an exaggerated figure: even 8,000 is unacceptable) faced supposedly ‘3,000’ Normans and their allies. The defeat was received unsympathetically in Constantinople, and Doceanus was replaced. On 3 September 1041, they also defeated the new Byzantine catepan, Exaugustus Boioannes (son of Basil), and took him captive. Soon they were joined by the Lombards and Normans from Melfi under Arduin. These battles are analyzed later in this paper. Styles of Fighting “The way of fighting of the Normans in the 11th century”, writes Giovanni Amatuccio, “appears now very far from that described for the ‘blond peoples’ (Franks and Lombards) by the great Byzantine strategists of earlier centuries. They were [earlier] depicted as tribal hordes that went to the attack without order, discipline or tactical purpose, grouped in clans around their own leaders. They were easy prey for the shrewd tactical manoeuvres of the Byzantines. Now, however, the Normans were very differently organised: formed up in several lines, use of a rearguard, combined operations between cavalry and infantry, feigned retreats etc. All the evidence shows a good level of tactical organization. Certainly they were still far from the imperial standard, with its rigid division in units, formed in several lines, and its logistical sophistication etc; but this, perhaps, constituted more of a handicap than an advantage. The Norman tactical organisation was ‘lighter’, faster, agile, and it succeeded against the elephant-like [sic!] military bureaucracy of the Byzantines. But, above all, the fundamental difference was that the Byzantine army was based on a cohesion and a discipline due to an intense training that was codified in the rules of the numerous military treatises. In the Roman tradition, the Byzantine army imposed a sense of duty



and discipline on the enlisted men through long training and rigorous rules. On the other side, the Norman cavalrymen had other motivating forces that created order and cohesion and rendered them trained: the desire to win, the Germanic sense of honour and fidelity to the leader. The first point was of fundamental importance. In fact, the strategic superiority of the Normans was due above all to the fact that they fought for conquest: for everyone, if they won a battle, meant to earn lands and booty. Their Byzantine and local Italian adversaries were, instead, simple soldiers, in the literal sense of the term: they fought for their wages, rather than the mirage of career and honours.” —Giovanni Amatuccio 1998: my trans.: MO’R, from the Italian. (a) Battle of the Olivento or Venosa, 17 or 21 March 1041: Venosa lies east of Melfi. The Annales Barenses give the date as 17 March, while Leo Marsicanus (Leo of Ostia), fl. 1096, says 21 March. The Byzantine forces, under the Catepan or provincial governor Michael Dokeianos, subdivided in many contingents, had a numerical superiority over the Norman invaders. The latter comprised some 700 horse-soldiers and 500 others under the command of the count of Aversa, Rainulfo, and Arduino of Milan. According to William of Apulia, Book 1: 257, the Normans at the Olivento “had an army of but 500 infantry and seven hundred knights” (1,200 men). Malaterra says that “500” Norman and Lombard horse-soldiers faced the absurd figure of “60,000” Greeks. William says “only a few” of the rebels were protected by hauberks [mail tunics] and shields: say 200 of the 700 cavalry. The foot soldiers were advised to station themselves on the left and right flanks; a few horsemen were posted with them to provide a reinforcement to stiffen the flanks. In other words, the Norman cavalry formed the centre of the first line. The numbers for the rebels are entirely credible; but we must not imagine that Dokeianos had more than (say) three times those of his opponents, or around 3,500 men, including a contingent of Varangians. Skylitzes says that “when the Franks (Normans) took up arms against him, he [Dokeianos] refused to gather his army to fight them but took only one tagma (i.e regiment or battalion), that of the Opsikion, and part of the Thrakesion [theme], [and] engaged in battle by the river Auphidos [Ofanto], was defeated, and escaped shamefully to Cannae” (Skylitzes, emphasis added). In earlier centuries the tagma of the Opsikion had 6,000 men and the Thracesian theme 10,000 troops. More specifically, in the 10th century the Thracesian theme had four meroi [also called turmai: district-level regiments], with an average of 2,500 men each (Treadgold 1995: 97, 101). But only detachments could have been serving in Italy; and we have no information about how large they were. We noted earlier that in this period 10 banda (squadrons), each of 50 men, formed one formation or regiment (parataxis) of 500 men. It is hard to believe that Dokeianos led as few as one and a half parataxes (750 men). It is plausible, however, that he commanded one and a half meroi or about 3,720 men.



In line with their ‘scientific’ tactics, the Byzantines attacked in successive waves, seeking to weaken the Norman cavalry. The catepan, believing he has overcome the Normans, launches a final onslaught with picked troops, but the Normans manage to force back the cavalry and counter-attack, decimating the Byzantine forces: “After these troops had been thus instructed and placed on each flank, a column of [Norman] cavalry advanced a little way forward. A column of Greeks was sent out against them, for it is not their custom to engage all their forces at the first shock, they rather [as prescribed in their Taktikai or military manuals: MO’R] send another troop after the first, so that while the enemy weakens, their own strength increases and their troops are emboldened. So, when their cavalry commander sees the enemy resisting, he makes a sudden attack with the bulk of the remaining crack troops, thus restoring the morale of his own men and usually driving the enemy back in flight” (William of Apulia, emphasis added). “ . . . This victory [says William] greatly strengthened the morale of the Gauls, and from now on they no longer feared to fight the Greeks.” (b) Battle of Monte Maggiore, 4 May 1041: Montemaggiore is on the middle section of the Ofanto or Aufidius River, downstream from Melfi and N of Venosa. It has been identified with the presentday commune of Orsara di Puglia on the left bank of the Cervaro, halfway between Benevento and Foggia (Italian Wikipedia, 2009, sul ‘Battaglia di Montemaggiore’). Instead of learning a lesson after his defeat at Cannae, “being arrogant, Doceianos still did not engage his entire army against the enemy but took again his vanquished troops with some Pisidians and Lykaonians** only [also some Varangians]”. He “fought against the enemy (Normans) who had been joined by a large number of Italians from the Po and the foothills of the Alps, and was routed at Horai” (PBW under ‘Michael Dok.’: emphasis added). (**) We explained earlier that Pisidia and Lykaonia were regimental districts (turmai) within the Asian theme of the Anatolics. Each had had 5,000 men in the 9th century (Treadgold 1995: 129). But again we cannot believe that the detachments in Italy were very large. In the discussion that follows, we guess that Dokeianos fielded only about 5,000 men altogether. On the other side, the Norman-led Italian force was perhaps 2,000 including 700 horse-soldiers and former imperial mercenaries turned rebels, William ‘IronArm’ de Hauteville among them. They proceeded to defeat a polyglot Byzantine 39


force of perhaps 5,000 under the Catepan of Langobardia, Michael Dokeianos. The figure of “18,000” imperials offered by the Italian Wikipedia authors (‘Battaglia di Montemaggiore’, 2009) is not credible. The Imperial army included some Varangian and Rhos [Viking Russian] units; detachments from the Asian themes of the Opsikion and Thrakesion; and local militia probably from Calabria and Capitanata (i.e. far northern Apulia). The Annales Barenses 54.33-55.2 mention men from the Anatolikon, the Opsikion, Russia, Thrace [perhaps a mistake for the Thracesian theme], Calabria, Langobardia and the Capitanate (upper northern Apulia): “Michael Dokeianos refused to come out in full force against the rebellious Normans, mobilising only troops from two themes. [William of Apulia mentions three: Anatolikon, Opsikion and Thrakesion.] He was badly defeated, with heavy losses in Russian troops [Varangians] and those from [the] Opsikion. Michael and the survivors fled [inland, south] to Montepeloso” (PBW). William of Apulia: “Here came from Sicily into Lombardy [S Italy] Michael the protospatharios and Catepan. . . then in the month of May [1041], having collected all the Greeks together in one place at Mons Maior [Italian: Monte Maggiore], near the river Aufidius, battle was joined as the fourth day began, where perished many Natulichi [i.e. Greeks of the Anatolikon theme] and Obsequiani [men of the Opsikion], Russi [Varangians], Trachici [Thrakesians], Calabrians and Lombards, and people from the catepanate [presumably Lombardo-Italian peasants].* Retreating from there in confusion with a few men, the rest only half-alive, for fear of the savage Normans, Michael wrote to Sicily and [before September: see below] there came the wretched [miseri, ‘poor’] Macedonians themselves and the Paulicians and Calabrians.” (*) Norwich 1967: 61 says that Dokeianos’ troops included local Lombard Italian peasants and villagers press-ganged into service. The Annales Barenses also say (the sources are not independent) that, after the defeat of Montemaggiore, among the troops called from Sicily against the Normans were “miseri Macedones”: ‘wretched’ or second-class Macedonians. They were Thematic troops, to be distinguished, D’Amato imagines, from an élite regiment, the Phoidheratoi (‘Federates’). In truth, as we suggested earlier in our discussion of the 1038 campaign, the ‘tagmata of the Phoideratoi [and] of Lycaonia and Pisida’ is almost certainly a reference to the turmai (district regiments) of the Anatolikon. As we know from Treadgold, 1995: 99, the Phoideratoi was the senior turma of three within the theme of the Anatolikon. That is to say: not an elite unit but rather an adequate, but run-of-the-mill thematic regiment. Evidently the only elite troops present were the Varangians. In the 9th century, as we have said, the Federates had numbered 5,000 and the



troops of Italy amounted to 2,000: whether they had the same numbers in 1041 we do not know. We would expect the army of Italy to be larger by the 1040s because the armed forces overall had increased in size and the empire’s reach in Italy was broader and deeper. We have already seen that a third Italian theme, Lucania, was created before 1042, perhaps in 1035. We may therefore guess that at least 6,000 troops were now enrolled in, or on secondment to, Italy. Italian Wikipedia: ‘Amatus writes* that the Normans captured all the wagons [carriaggi: carts pulled by mules] used by the Greeks to carry the supplies [masserizie, ‘furnishings’] needed by their army, a practice unknown to [sconosciuta], and which provoked wonder in, a Latin observer. The Byzantines fought in friendly territory, and were self-sufficient as an army and, as an indispensable element of their deployment, they used the tuldon [Gk: touldon, baggage train**], the wagons that transported the extra equipment and supplies. The wagons were managed by a dedicated unit and escorted by the troops of the rearguard’ (Amatuccio, quoted in Italian Wikipedia, 2009, sul ‘Battaglia di Montemaggiore’: my translation, MO’R). (*) In the original Old French: "Quar l'usance de li grex est, quant il vont en bataille, de porter toute masserie necessaire avec eux" (Amatus II, 23). —‘For the practice of the Greeks is, when they go into battle, to carry all the necessary supplies with them’. (**) The nature and deployment of the Byzantine baggage train is discussed by Haldon 1999: 160 ff. Reference is made to high casualties among the Varangians or Rhos at Montemaggiore: “. . . much of Dokeianos’ army was drowned in the river Ofanto, which was in full flood” (Blondal & Benedikz p.10). The army of Exaugustus Boioannes that was disastrously defeated at Monte Siricolo [Montepeloso: see next] also contained Varangians. “All the fortified towns of Apulia, Bari (the most important), Monopoli [down the coast from Bari], Giovenazzo [up the coast from Bari] and several other cities [sic: towns and large villages] abandoned their alliance with the Greeks and came to an agreement with the Franks [Normans]”, writes William. “Mense martio Northmanni committunt proelium in Apulia cum Michaele Protospatario imperiali, qui vocabatur Dulchianus, et vincunt eum Mense madio iterum ab iis factum est proelium, et iterum victi sunt Graeci, et Protospatarius. - Et in Apulia captae sunt multae civitates, et loca quae, erant Graecorum, et imperatoris Michelis, cui hoc anno successit Costantinus” (BCN). — ‘In March the Normans make war in Apulia with Michael the imperial Protospatharius [a high court title] who is called Dokeianos, and defeat him. In May again war is made by them and again the Greeks and the Protospatharius are beaten. And in Apulia many towns [civitates] are



captured and places that used to belong to the Greeks and to the emperor Michael, who in this year Constantine succeeds.’ (c) Battle of Montepeloso, Sept or Oct 1041: Montepeloso is, or was, in upper Basilicata (as it now is); it lay SE of Melfi and S of Venosa. The Normans camped at nearby Monte Serico or Siricolo which is 20 km NE of Acerenza. The new catepan Exaugustus Boioannes ‘the Younger’ decided on trying to isolate the Lombard and Norman rebels in Melfi by camping near Montepeloso, between Potenza and Gravino. Led by Atenulf, brother of the Lombard prince of Benevento, the Normans (no doubt along with some Lombards) sortied from Melfi and camped in a fortress on the Monte Siricolo near Montepeloso. Boioannes junior had arrived from the East with only a Varangian contingent. Amatus, II: 26, mentions “Varangians, Apulians and Calabrians” among his army. As noted, a heterogeneous force of regulars or semi-regular troops had been called back to the mainland from Sicily, and he also had available some local “indigenous auxiliaries of Greek descent” including men from Calabria. William of Apulia says “the Greeks had left many allies in the mountains, to the safety of which they could return if it should be necessary. These [Greek-speaking] natives came down to help them”. He also mentions Paulicians, i.e. thematic troops from Thrace. As also noted above, the Annales Barenses speak of “poor Macedonians” among Boioannes’ troops, “poor” meaning perhaps second-class, or perhaps pitiable: “all the poor Macedonians were killed”. Thus - here we must guess - Boioannes’ field army may have numbered of the order of 5,000 men. The Barenses say that “10,000” imperials—not a credible figure—were defeated by “700” Normans. We may guess that the latter figure covered only the Norman cavalry, and that (say) 2,000+ Norman foot and allied Lombards should be added, for a total of perhaps 3,000 men. The Normans captured a convoy of livestock meant for the Greek camp, and forced a battle on 3 September 1041. Boioannes was defeated and captured and taken to Benevento (Norwich 1967: 61).



Map © Roberto Zapata Rodríguez. Notice how Melfi lies at the edge-point of the Lombard principality of Salerno, the Lombard principality of Benevento, and the Empire (Theme of Langobardia). Emperor Michael V ‘the Caulker’, 1041-42 Michael IV died in late 1041 and was succeeded by his nephew and adopted son, Michael V, aged 26. The latter’s sobriquet ‘the Caulker’ was taken from his father’s first employment, for Psellos says that the admiral Stephen had started out as a very humble sealer of ships-planks. The new emperor promised to rule in subordination to his adopted mother Zoe and under the guidance of his uncle, the eunuch chief minister John ‘the Orphanotrophus’. Psellos describes John as “a man of mean and contemptible fortune, but endowed with an extremely active and ingenious mind". Wanting to be his own master, however, in early 1042, Michael exiled his uncle and reinstated many of those John had exiled or imprisoned. This included George



Maniakes. Zoe was relegated to a convent (Treadgold 1997: 589). Michael promptly sent (April 1042) Maniakes back to Italy to confront the Normans in the Mezzogiorno and (he hoped) the Arabs in Sicily. Chronology 1042-43 From Rodriquez’s “Jorge Maniakes”, accessed 2009, at www.imperiobizantino.com/jorgemaniakes: Feb 1042: The Lombard rebels of Bari and the Normans choose Argyrus as their leader (princeps and dux). Maniakes lands at Taranto. His troops attack Matera. The new emperor Constantine IX sends Pardos to replace Maniakes. (Or in August:) Argyrus re-defects to the imperialist side. The Norman leader Guillaume (William) de Hauteville replaces him (September) as rebel “count” of Italy (or of Melfi: see the discussion below). Maniakes is proclaimed emperor at Otranto. Argyrus takes up the emperor’s offer to return to leadership of the loyalists. Maniakes departs Otranto for Dyrrhachium in the Balkans, aiming to unseat Constantine IX.

April 1042: June 1042: Sept 1042:

Oct 1042:

Feb 1043:

Catepans of Italy, 1042-43: (a) Exagusto, filius Bugiani praefati [Exaugustus, son of the prefect Boioannes], A. C. 1042. (b) Georgius Maniakes, a Michaele in Apuliam missus [“George Maniaces, by Michael sent (back) to Apulia”], A. C. 1043 [sic: actually 1042], ubi et purpuram induit [“where he assumes the purple”, 1043]. —Hofmann, p.771, online. Exaugustus Boioannes is freed from captivity (Feb 1042) but is not restored to his command as Catepan. The Byzantines pay a large ransom to the Lombard leader Atenulf to free him from captivity. Atenulf embezzles the treasure, abandons the Lombard rebels and flees into Byzantine territory. Argyros succeeds him. — Norwich 1967: 62.



Passing over Arduin, the Norman and Lombard rebels now (February 1042) choose Melus’s son Argyros as their new leader. According to the Annales Barenses, Argyros’s rebel forces amounted to some 7,000 men, including those of the Normans William ‘Iron-arm’ and Rainulf of Aversa and the Lombard Rudolf Trincanocte of Benevento. Soon, however, Argyros will re-defect (August-September 1042) and again become a loyal imperialist. The Annales Barenses 56.16-20 record that "Argiro" was granted "patriciatus an [sic] cathepanatus vel vestati honoribus" [invested with the office of patrikios and catepan] in 1042 (quoted by Cawley 2009). Synodianos and Maniakes versus Argyrus and the Normans In the wake of the Byzantine defeat by the Normans, Melus’s son Argyros seized control of Bari. He soon came to an understanding with the Norman chiefs, and, in February 1042, was elected jointly by the Normans and the militia of Bari as “Prince and Duke of [south] Italy” (Annales Barenses 55.23-29; Angold 1984: 27): “The people of Bari and Matera, defenceless against the Normans, made treaties with them. The combined forces of Bari and the Normans made Argyros son of Melus their commander, hailing him as princeps and duke of Italy” (PBW, narrative for February 1042). The Normans thus became the rulers of Melfi and the whole area to the west of Apulia, from the upper Ofanto valley - the Melfi region - to Matera, located NW of Taranto in modern Basilicata, near the latter’s border with Puglia/Apulia. All of Apulia save Trani and the heel itself below Taranto-Brindisi was in the hands of the rebels. (Feb-April 1042:) Synodianos is appointed by Emperor Michael V as catepan in Apulia. He begins to gather an army with which he plans to retake the ‘cities’ (towns) that had been lost to the empire in Apulia. William of Apulia says that he landed at Otranto, “from where he sent envoys to those cities which had allied with the Franks [Normans], asking them to receive him. They refused to agree to this. He sought to rebuild his army, but many of the soldiers had been killed or fled and he was able to raise only a few. Because of this, Sinodianus remained within the town walls”. In April, prior to beginning a campaign, he was recalled to Constantinople by Empress Zoe following death of Emperor Michael V. April: Maniakes replaces Synodianos. The Byzantine government sends Maniakes back to Italy (April 1042). After taking Taranto and Matera, Maniakes totally defeats (June 1042) Argyros and the Normans, who had sought to conquer southern Italy, in the Battle of Monopoli, SE of Bari.



Maniakes arrived back in Italy bearing the title and offices of “magistros, catepan and autokrator [sole ruler] of Italy and strategos of the tagmata of Italy”, i.e. ‘master, supreme governor, commander of Italy and general of the regiments of Italy’. He disembarked in the major port-town of Taranto at the end of April 1042 with a new army reinforced with Arvanitai or ‘Albanian’ contingents. They were troops from the theme of Dyrrhachium [modern western Albania], and (says Rodriquez) were one of the ‘permanent foreign regiments’ in the imperial army. This may imply that they were ethnically non-Greek. At this time Byzantium still controlled only Otranto, Oria, Taranto and Brindisi, along with Trani in the north. When Maniakes was sent by Zoe (or Michael V) to Italy, which had fallen out of Byzantine control, he had no battle-worthy army, yet nevertheless managed to drive back the insurgent ‘Franks’ (Normans) to Capua, Benevento and Naples. He attracted many other Franks to his service, appeased those who had been wronged by Michael Dokeianos, and, being feared for his cruelty and courage, he established peace in the Italian themes (PBW, 1042): “Mense Aprilis descendit Maniachus Magister Tarentum, et mense Iunii Monopolim abiit; ad Civitatem Materam, et fecit ibi grande homicidium,” —Lupus. — ‘In April magistros Maniakes arrives at Taranto, and in June departs for Monopoli; [and thence] to the town of Matera where he makes a great slaughter.’ Having landed at Taranto in April 1042, Maniakes campaigned up and down the heel of Italy from Matera* to Otranto and Bari - until February 1043, when he departed from Otranto for the Balkans (map in Rodriguez). (*) Matera, Bari and Taranto form the points of a nearly equilateral triangle. Taranto is the port and coastal town at the top of the inside heel, that is: at the top of the Gulf of Taranto. It is not to be confused with Otranto, on the outside or back of the heel opposite Greece. As soon as Maniakes arrived in S Italy, Argyros, son of Melus, wrote to the Normans at Aversa and Melfi, and they all came to Mottola, some 7,000 in number. The allegedly “terrified” Maniakes —or more likely simply prudent —“fled” back at night, or he withdrew his troops, to Taranto. The Normans made demonstrations outside the town's land gate to provoke him to come out and fight. After a time, the Normans ravaged the area of Oria and (late April) went home (PBW, citing the Annales Barenses 55.36-42). If a skilled and self-confident general like Maniakes could be daunted by an army of 7,000 then he himself probably commanded far fewer men, perhaps of the order of 3,500.



In April 1042, as we noted, Maniakes returned from Constantinople with a new army and assaulted Monopoli and (in June) Matera. According to William of Apulia, he made a terrible example by having the old and young alike struck down, buried alive, hanged and tortured in many terrible ways: “He left his fleet at Otranto, and encouraged his evil army to attack the towns which had made agreements with the Franks. His forces first invaded the Monopoli district. Maniakes had many people executed, having some hanged from trees, and others beheaded. The tyrant dared [even] to commit a hitherto unheard of crime; he buried captured infants alive, leaving only their heads above ground. Many perished like this, and he spared no one. After this Maniakes marched on Matera, . . . . Maniakes in his anger murdered 200 peasants who had been captured in the fields there. Neither boy nor old man, monk nor priest, was safe - this wicked man gave mercy to none” (William of Apulia). — This reads like a trope of Norman propaganda, but the medieval period saw many cruel acts, and we cannot say these atrocities did not take place. Within a year the Lombard-Norman cause was virtually lost, but at the last minute Maniakes again became a victim of Byzantine politics and was recalled to Constantinople (July 1042). The Norman threat, however, was curtailed for a decade – until 1053, the events of which we describe later. (July 1042:) At Constantinople Maniakes’ political and personal enemy Romanus Sclerus convinces the new emperor Constantine IX to recall him. Maniakes knows that the recall will lead to his arrest and probable execution. He decides (Sept:) to revolt against Constantine IX and proclaims himself emperor (Oct.). He easily wins the support of the Byzantine and Varangian troops under his command in Italy. (August:) Meanwhile the rebel Argyros, son of Melus, went (August) from Bari by sea to besiege nearby Trani, though the people there had not harmed Bari. He and his rebels had a variety of siege-machines, including an ‘enormously tall’ wooden tower. However, after 36 days of siege, he received (Sept:) a letter from Constantine IX via the messenger Theodoretos, who offered him an amnesty and high Byzantine honours, probably the dignity of patrikios. He accepted the bribe, burned his siege-engines and returned to Bari (PBW). That is, he defected from the side of the rebels back to Byzantium. (Sept:) (1) Pardos is sent to Italy as the new Catepan of Apulia/Italy, accompanied by the protospatharios Tubachi, to replace the rebel George Maniakes. Pardos and Tubachi are soon arrested at Otranto and executed by order of Maniakes. Pardos arrived with an army at Otranto in September 1042, to take over command from Maniakes. Pardos was accompanied by Nicholas, Archbishop of Bari, who, though under the jurisdiction of the Roman see, was apparently a



Byzantine loyalist, and by Tubachi, a protospatharios. It is probable that the archbishop had joined the catepan in a prior landing, during which the Greeks had negotiated with the Lombard rebel leader Argyrus. Subsequently, Argyrus abandoned the Lombard cause for the Greek. Pardos and Tubachi were arrested at Otranto, however, and executed by order of Maniakes, who was acclaimed (Oct 1042) emperor by his troops (Wikipedia 2009). (Sept:) (2) Argyrus returns to Byzantine service. Empress Zoe takes a third husband, a senator in his seventies who becomes the new emperor of Byzantium with the name of Constantine IX Monomachus. They offer to Argyrus, among other things, the post of commander of the Imperial Armies in Italy. (Sept:) (3) At Matera William ‘Iron-Arm’ de Hauteville was elected by the Normans as their count (comes) after the defection of Argyrus (notes to Amato, ed. Prescot et al. p. 66, citing the Chronicle of Lupus). He and the other leaders, chief among them Drogo and Peter, petitioned Guaimar IV, Prince of Salerno, for recognition of their conquests. They received the following year the lands around Melfi as a fief and in return were content to proclaim Guaimar "Duke of Apulia and Calabria". Emperor Constantine IX Michael’s relegation of his adopted mother Empress Zoe to a convent led to his being deposed. She was the foremost member of the centuries-old Macedonian dynasty, while Michael’s family were common-born provincials. The populace of Constantinople exercised their popular veto. Michael was deposed and killed. The reinstated empress now chose as her husband and emperor a well-born widower named Constantine Monomachus. (The latter was his family name, not a nickname.) Constantine already had a mistress, Maria Skleraina. And her brother Romanos Skleros was an enemy of George Maniakes. To please her, Constantine IX appointed a new catepan of Italy, Pardos by name, to replace the great general (Treadgold 1997: 592). Catepans of Italy, 1043-45, according to Hofmann: (a) Georgius Maniakes, a Michaele in Apuliam missus, A.C. 1043. [correctly 1042] ubi et purpuram induit. ‘George Maniakes by Michael sent to Apulia, where he [Maniakes] assumes the purple’. (b) Pardus Patricius, cum Tubaki, Protospatha descendit, A.C. 1043. [sic: actually in 1042]. ‘The patrikios Pardos, with the protospathios Tubachi, arrives AD 1043’. . . . (c) Constantinus Theodorocanus Proedrus, contra Maniacem in Italiam missus A.C. 1043. ‘The Proedros [his court title] Konstantinos Theodorokanos is sent into Italy against Maniakes’; . . . [then] (d) Eustachius Palatinus A.C. 1045. The Revolt and Death of Maniakes, 1042-43 Psellos on the Battle of Ostrobos 1043: “Knowing that victories are won not by numbers but by skill and experience he [Maniakes] selected those



most experienced in war with whom he had besieged many cities and acquired great wealth and many prisoners”. —Psellos: Chronographia VI 83.4-8, in PBW 1043. As we have seen, George Maniakes had returned to campaign in southern Italy from 1042 onwards, and was largely successful in destroying the old ex-Lombard kingdom. However, the destruction of "Lombard" (Latin-Italian) power in this region would merely leave a vacuum into which the Normans were destined to step. Their leader, or the most prominent among their leaders, William (Guillaume) de Hauteville, will emerge from this campaign with official recognition, to be made Count of Apulia. Pardos the patrikios arrived in Italy, landing (September 1042) at Otranto with two colleagues and a large sum of gold and silver, to replace Maniakes, who had declared revolt when he learnt he was being replaced. Pardos brought a guaranteed pardon for Maniakes if he immediately gave up his rebellion. But Maniakes killed Pardos and later his deputy the protospatharios Tubachi. Romanos Skleros took vengeance on Maniakes in the Anatolikon theme, attacking the general’s estates and his wife. Maniakes went to Bari, but the town ignored him. He then crossed with his troops to Dyrrhachion (Albania: February 1043) and won a first battle. Later in Macedonia, at the Battle of Ostrobos, he is mortally wounded and dies at the moment of victory (PBW, Narrative for 1042-43). Meanwhile Basil Theodorokanos, Italian: Teodoro Cano, briefly served as Byzantine Catepan of Italy. He was a patrikios and former companion in arms of George Maniakes, appointed to go to Apulia and Calabria and put down the general’s revolt and bring Italy back to obedience. Basilieos (Basil) Theodorokanos arrived at Bari in February 1043 to capture Maniakes with the aid of Argyros, now (since August 1042) back in imperial service. They moved on Otranto, Theodorokanos by sea and Argyros by land. But Maniakes had already crossed the Adriatic and was in Byzantine Albania* (thus PBW). The Normans tried to surround Otranto, but the new catepan's fleet blocked them. (*) The reign of Basil II, 976-1025, had seen a titanic struggle between Byzantium and ‘West Bulgaria’ in which Bulgaria finally went under. The eastern part of Bulgaria had already been conquered and turned into imperial themes before 976. Thus the name of ‘Bulgaria’ was applied to the imperial theme that covered the western portions of the former Bulgarian empire, namely today’s inland Albania, southern Serbia and FYROM. The Albanian littoral constituted a separate theme named for the town of Dyrrhachium (modern Durres). In the Balkans Maniakes’ army proceeded eastwards along the ancient military highway, the Via Egnatia, towards Thessalonica. In Macedonia they clashed (1043) with an Imperial army under the sebastophorus Stephen at Ostrovo



[Ostrobos: Arnissa near Pella]. Some Varangians and some Norman troops were with our rebel, while at Constantinople Constantine IX possessed (according to Haldon 1995) only the prefect's Watch and some palatine ceremonial units. It might be better to say that those units were the core around which Constantine managed to assemble a respectable expeditionary army. It seems that there were Varangian units fighting on either side. Constantine IX, not daring to place a capable general at the head of his troops, fearing an uprising on his part, chose Stephen, one of his eunuch chamberlains in whom he had confidence. In the battle of Ostrovo the rebels initially defeat the imperial expedition, but Maniakes was himself killed at the moment of victory. He was wounded in the side and it was alleged that the wound was from a lance, “but the one who inflicted the wound is unknown to the time that this history was written”. —Psellos: Chronographia VI 85.14-16, PBW 1043. The sebastophoros Stephanos Pergamenos, was lucky enough to disperse the army of Maniakes, which was discouraged by the latter's death. Returning to Byzantium, Stephanos obtained the honours of a triumph (Guilland, citing Cedrenus II 548 f.; Attaleiates 20; also Anonymus Barensis 151). Maniakes' head was dispatched to the capital so that it could be paraded through the streets to prove the outcome of the battle. Victory services were held, and the head was attached to the top of the Hippodrome. When Constantine celebrated his triumph, the empresses Zoe and Theodora, his wife and sister in law, sat on either side of him, though it was not usual for empresses to be present at triumphal ceremonies: their presence highlighted the fact that (as purple-born princesses) they were the source of Constantine's imperial authority (thus Garland’s article on ‘Zoe’). The victory parade itself focused on the bazaar precinct at Constantinople, i.e. the area between the Forum and the Arch of the Milion. The loyalist forces opened the parade. In the triumphal procession through Constantinople, the Varangians, axes on shoulders, marched ahead of the victorious general, while another contingent marched behind Maniakes’ severed head. First came lightly armed troops, moving as an unorganised crowd. Next came the heavy cavalry fully armed but observing strict military order. Behind them came representatives of the rebel's army, with their heads shaved, seated backwards on asses (McCormick 1986: 181, citing Psellos: see next). To quote Psellus, Chronographia, VI 87: “The procession, worthy of its author [the emperor], was arranged as follows: the light-armed troops [presumably light infantry] were ordered to lead, armed with shields, bows, and spears, but with ranks broken, in one conglomerate multitude; behind them were to come the picked knights [heavy cavalry], in full defensive armour, men who inspired fear, not only because of their forbidding appearance, but by their fine military bearing. Next came the rebel army, not marching in ranks, nor in fine uniforms, but seated on asses, faces to the rear, their heads shaven and their necks covered with heaps of shameful refuse. Then followed the pretender's head,



borne in triumph a second time, and immediately after it some of his personal belongings; next came certain men armed with swords, men carrying rods, men brandishing in their right hands the rhomphaea* - a great host of men preceding the army commander - and, in the rear of them all, the commander [Stephen] himself on a magnificent charger, dressed in magnificent robes and accompanied by the whole of the Imperial Guard.” (*) The meaning of the word rhomphaia at this time is controversial, as a quick Internet search will reveal. Some say it was a spear, others an axe, others again say a scimitar-like sword. No fewer than three victory celebrations were held in 1042-44, partly aimed at cementing Constantine's rule. Peninsular Italy, 1043-53 Rodriquez notes that in 1043 Byzantium still controlled Calabria, Taranto and the ‘Land of Otranto’, but in Apulia proper only the coastal towns recognised Byzantium. In the interior only some isolated fortress-towns such as Troia (until 1048) and Lucera (until 1060) had evaded the Norman dominion. At Melfi in 1043, Guaimar of Salerno notionally divided the region of exByzantine upper Apulia - except for Melfi itself, which was to be ruled on a republican model - into 12 baronies for the benefit of the Norman leaders. William de Hauteville himself received presumptive title to Ascoli, Asclettin Drengot received Acerenza, Tristan (a Breton) received Montepeloso, Hugh Tuboeuf [It. Ugo Tutabovi] received Monopoli, Peter received Trani, Drogo de Hauteville received Venosa, and Ranulf Drengot, now independent, received Monte Gargano. These lands would have to be taken, or held, by force (Wikipedia, 2009, under ‘Norman conquest of S Italy’). Argyrus, now assisting Byzantium, is defeated (1043) in a battle at Venosa with the Normans who before were his allies, but now consider him a traitor. In this battle it is said that Hugh Tuboeuf caused panic among the Greek troops by killing the horse of a Greek herald—to us a feeble horse—with one punch of his mailed fist. Perhaps he had a large metal needle concealed therein? Skilful Rule “How little oppressive the Greek rule was”, writes Curtis, “and how skillfully the Catepans yielded to the difficult conditions of their Apulian command, is strikingly illustrated by a document of the date 1043 relating to Bari. The Catepan Eustathius, wishing to reward the fidelity of the Judex Bisantius of that city to the Emperor during the rebellion of Maniakes [see details below] and afterwards against the "Franks" (the Normans), concedes to him the administration of the village of Foliano (or Foliniano) and its surrounding district; he is permitted to plant strangers there as colonists, and may collect tribute from them, himself and



his heirs, without any interference from the imperial authority. Finally the Catepan concedes to him that his new subjects should be governed by him according to Lombard law,* except, however, in case of assassination of the Sacred Emperors or the Catepan himself; such a case could only be judged [only] by an imperial official and by imperial law.” —Curtis, ‘Robert Guiscard, 10151085’. (*) The communities of South Italy were governed under either Imperial law (Justinian’s Code: ‘Roman’ law) or Lombard law, The latter was a fusion of Germanic and Roman law first codified in the seventh century (see Drew 2004). Roman or Byzantine (Justinianic) law was in force in Calabria and part of Apulia and at Gaeta, Naples and Amalfi. Rome too followed the Justinianic code. Most of the South, however, including Benevento, lived under Lombard law. Wisely or otherwise, the Greek Emperors allowed the maintenance of Latin bishoprics in many towns, tolerated the practice of Lombard law, and admitted many native officials into the local administration. One may guess that this was part of the reason it took the Normans so long to defeat Byzantium. Conversely, it is possible that, if Constantinople had imposed the Greek rite and Greco-Roman (Justinianic) law already from before AD 900, the Normans may never have succeeded and the Mezzogiorno might eventually have become mostly Greekspeaking. William de Hauteville’s Normans and Guaimar’s Salernitans began the conquest of Byzantine Calabria in 1044. From 1045, they built the great castle* of Stridula, located probably near Squillace. In 1045, however, William was defeated near Taranto by Argyrus - now in Byzantine service: see later. William will die in early 1046 and is succeeded by his brother Drogo. (*) Or at least what would become a great castle. Early ‘motte and bailey’ castles were not as grand as later stone-built ones, which were uncommon before 1200. The motte (“mound”) and bailey (enclosed courtyard or stockaded village) castle consisted basically of a wooden tower or “keep” on a high mound or low hill, ringed by a wooden palisade and surrounded by two ditches or a double moat. Because so little archaeological work has been done, it is not known how soon stone castles appeared in Norman Italy. But Guiscard is known to have built the high, 18 metre, pentagonal stone tower at Gargano (Monte Sant’ Angelo) called the "Tower of Giants" or Torre dei Giganti. He died in 1085, and this tower was likely built towards the end of his reign (Kennedy 2001: 15; Gravette & Hook 2004: 58). It would appear that the castle at Stridula was located so as to block aid to Byzantine Calabria coming from Byzantine Apulia and vice-versa. Schlumberger writes thus in his ‘L'épopée Byzantine à la fin du dixième siècle’: “ . . . d’après la Chronique du protospathaire Lupus, Guillaume Bras de Fer et Guaimar de Salerne, réunissant leurs forces ainsi qu’ils l’avaient fait une première fois au début de l’an 1043, descendirent en Calabre et, après une



marche hardie en plein territoire grec, construisirent, pour avoir dans le pays une position inexpugnable, le château fort de Stridula, sur le sommet de la hauteur.” — ‘According to the Chronicle of Lupus protospatharius, William Iron Arm and Guaimar of Salerno, joining their forces for the first time at the start of 1043, came down into Calabria, and, after a bold, open march through Greek territory, in order to have an impregnable position in the land, they built [i.e. in 1045-46] the castle of Stridula on the high summits (there)’. My trans. MO’R. Meanwhile “Argyrus the Barian, the imperial catepan and duke of the Greeks, came against the Normans in Tarentum [Taranto] and defeated them [1045].* Next he came to Tranum [Trani] and was defeated by them under William Ferrebrachius [Iron-Arm], who [earlier] was made [intitulatus est] the first count of Apulia” (BCN). (*) This was one of the last imperial victories over the Normans until 1066. Hereafter, the Greeks are on the defensive and the Normans commonly beat them in battle. The very last Byzantine success will come in 1066 when the catepan Maurice will briefly recapture Taranto and Brindisi. Catepans or acting Catepans of Italy: (a) Eustachius Palatinus AD 1045. (b) ‘Iohannes, qui et Raphael’ [John called Rafael], AD 1046. They governed the catepanate while the erstwhile catepan, Argyrus, spent several years, 1045-47, in Constantinople. In 1045 Eustathios Palatinos [Latin: Eustachius Palatinus; Italian: Eustachio or Eustazio Palatino], was conducted to Italy as catepan or acting catepan by a flotilla commanded by admiral Konstantinos Chage. He was sent to replace Argyrus after the latter was recalled (1045) to Constantinople. Eustathios arrived in Otranto and travelled to Bari, his seat. Argyros departed; Palatinos remained. Argyros the patrikios and his people accompanied Konstantinos Chage from Bari to Constantinople. Argyros sojourns in Constantinople while Eustathios Palatinos and then John Raphael serve as catepan. —PBW, quoting Lupus and the Anon. Barensis. The new Byzantine catepan Eustathios Palatinos is defeated at Trani in 1046 by the Normans under their new count Drogo de Hauteville. Drogo would by 1047 bear the pretentious title Comes Normannorum totius Apuliae et Calabriae, or “Count of the Normans of the whole of Puglia and Calabria” or “in all of Puglia and Calabria”. The adjective totius meant ‘of every part (of it)’. During 1046 Eustathios clashed with with the Normans at Taranto and Trani: defeated, he takes shelter in the palace of the catepan in Bari while waiting for reinforcements (which arrived in September): “Factum est iterum proelium in Apulia inter Graecos et Northmannos. Et isti fugaverunt, et dissipaverunt exercitum Graecorum; et fuit Drogo dux



eorum, qui fuit secundus Comes Apuliae” (BCN). — ‘War/fighting breaks out again between the Greeks and Normans. And they (the latter) rout and scatter/destroy the army of the Greeks; and Drogo becomes their duke and [thus] the second Count of Apulia.’ “Anno 1046. perrexit Argyrus Patricius Constantinopolim et Palatinus Catepanus, qui et Eustasius revocavit omnes exiliatos [sic: exulati?] ad Barum perrexitque Tarentum, et 8. die in Trano mense Maij commisit proelium cum Normannis et ceciderunt Graeci” (Chronicle of Lupus). — ‘The patrikios Argyros proceeds to Constantinople, and the (new) catepan Palatinos who (is called) Eustathios, has recalled all the exiles [? exulati: outlaws] to Bari, and he goes on to Taranto and [then] at Trani on 8 May [1046] engages in battle with the Normans, and the Greeks are defeated [lit: they fall].’ Robert ‘Guiscard’ de Hauteville Aged in his early 30s, William's younger brother, Robert de Hauteville [Italian: Roberto D'Altavilla], arrived in Southern Italy in 1046 (Lupus Protospatarius 1056; Malaterra I.12, 16; and Amatus III.7). Anna Comnena describes him as a very big man with a ruddy complexion and fair hair (Anna trans. Sewter p.54). Unlike his shaven-faced son Bohemund, and also unlike William the Conquerer, Robert wore—unusually for a Latin—a full beard in the Byzantine style. Anna says that the son’s hair was yellowish and his eyes blue, which no doubt Robert also had. Robert came to Italy in 1046, at first fighting for Pandulf Prince of Capua until the latter's death in 1049. His half-brother Drogo, putative Count of Apulia, gave him the command of the garrison of Scribla* near Castrovillari in north-east Calabria in 1049, but he abandoned it in favour of San Marco Argentano, closer to Cosenza.* San Marco Argentano lies in a bleak mountainous region of inland N Calabria, NW of Cosenza, from where he terrorised the neighbourhood. This period of banditry (1046-53) earned him his nickname of Guiscardo ‘the Wily’ or ‘the [cunning] Weasel’ [Latin: Viscardus]. This is sometimes rendered as ‘the Patient’. He will become the greatest of the Norman warlords. (*) Just to the south of today’s Pollino National Park. Both Scribla and San Marco Argentano overlooked the main road from Campania, the ancient Via Popilia, that runs into and up the Crati valley to Cosenza. Calabria was to be the first province changed radically by the Normans’ intensified encastellation, in the sense of a countryside dominated by large standalone fortress-castles. The hilltop towns of course had already, since Late Antiquity, protected themselves with fortified walls. These fortifications were defensive. The Norman castles were also offensives strong-points from which 54


cavalry could ride out on raids or into battle. In 1046, William ‘Iron Arm’ began construction on "Stridula", a large castle near Squillace, and by 1055 Robert Guiscard had already built or strengthened three castles: at Rossano, site of a Byzantine fortress; "Scribla" [built 1044-48] at Castrovillari* to the NW of Cassano allo Ionio, the seat of his honour guarding the pass (from the Campanian side) into the Crati valley or Val di Crati; and San Marco Argentano higher up the Crati valley near Cosenza, whose donjon – the central tower or ‘keep’ - was built in 1051 (Gravette & Nicolle 2006). John Raphael or Rafayl was catepan from 1046 to 1049. He replaced Eustathios Palatinos and arrived with a detachment of Varangians at Bari in 1046. Rapahel’s Varangian force captured Stira and Lecce and took Bari (1047) after a further rebellion, but could not hold it; they were able to release the interned katepanos Eustathios Palatinus only by agreeing to let the town remain free. Because the Varangians were not well-received by the Bariots, John spent his governorship at Otranto (Wikipedia, 2009, ‘John Raphael’). In October skirmishes at Lecce and Ostuni favour the Byzantines. The catepan Raphael moved from town to town with the Varangians, then made peace with Bari. Raphael sent away Eustathios the (ex-)catepan and, leaving Bari to the Lombards, the army returned to Otranto (thus PBW). Byzantium did not regain control of Bari until 1051. Meanwhile, in February 1047, the German Emperor Henry III, Conrad's son, came south and made the (Norman) Drengot and the Hauteville possessions around Melfi and Aversa his direct vassals. At Capua, he also restored the hated Pandulf for the last time. Henry made Drogo de Hauteville, William's successor in Apulia, a direct vassal of the Western imperial crown. Drogo’s title was dux et magister Italiae comesque Normannorum totius Apuliae et Calabriae, that is, ‘Duke and lord of Italy and Count of the Normans of all of Puglia and Calabria’. He did likewise to Ranulf Drengot, the count of Aversa, who had been a vassal of Guaimar as Prince of Capua. Thus, Guaimar was deprived of his greatest vassals, his principality split in two, and his greatest enemy reinstated. But Henry lost popularity amongst the Lombards with these decisions, and Benevento, though a papal vassal, would not admit him. In 1048 the Normans under Drogo occupied Bovino and Troia, the Byzantine fortress-towns NE of Benevento in the direction of Foggia. They were the most important points on the connecting roads between Benevento and Apulia. They also attacked the Byzantines in Tricarico in modern Basilicata, between Potenza and Matera, and began the conquest of Calabria. This created the core of the future Norman kingdom. Drogo commanded an expedition in the valley of Crati, near Cosenza, and pushed further into Calabria: “Northmanni iverunt contra Graecos in Calabriam, et invaserunt eam, et victi sunt Graeci circa Tricaricum. Humphredus capit Trojam, et facit



castrum in Bachareza” (BCN). —‘The Normans march against the Greeks in Calabria and take possession of it, and the Greeks are defeated around Tricarico. [Meanwhile in N Apulia] Humphrey takes Troia and builds a fort at Vachareza [Vaccaricia or Vacarizza, near Troia and modern Foggia].’ Drogo de Hauteville distributed the conquered territories in Calabria and, as noted earlier, granted (1049) his brother Robert a castle at Scribla, on the lower Crati, SE of Castrovillari, to guard the entrances. The enterprise of expelling the Byzantines proceeded slowly at first. After 1053, however, success will come more quickly. In 1059 Pope Nicholas II, who needs an ally against the German emperor, will invest Guiscard with the presumptive title to Byzantine Apulia, Calabria, and Arab Sicily. Sicily will be wrested (1061-91) from the Arabs by Robert's brother Roger, and meanwhile the Normans gain Calabria (by 1060), Bari (the last Imperial stronghold, 1071), Salerno (1076) and eventually most of Benevento, inland from Naples. In 1081 Robert will assault the East Roman mainland, conquer Corfu, and defeat (1081-82) emperor Alexius I in present-day Albania. In 1084 he aids Pope Gregory VII against the German emperor Henry IV. Robert then resumed his Balkan wars but died, aged about 70, of fever at Cephalonia. He was succeeded in Apulia by his youngest son, Roger. But we are already far ahead of our story. Argyros Fails against the Normans, 1051-53 Happily—or so it must have seemed to emperor Constantine—the people of the Lombard duchies subsequently rose up (August 1051) against the “hated” Normans, and, now aged in his early 40s, the adaptable Marianos Argyros, son of the old anti-imperialist rebel Meles, returned once more to lead the imperialists (Angold 1984: 28). The switching back to Byzantium of many Lombards brought about in due course the assassination (November) of Drogo de Hauteville. The emperor Constantine Monomachos understood the seriousness of the Norman threat. Accordingly in 1051 he raised Argyros, a Lombard (or at least an Italian) loyal to Byzantium, to the higher rank of magistros and appointed him duke of Italy in the hope that he would be able to impose some solution on southern Italy. Argyros went back to Italy in March 1051 with the title of vestes magistros [‘Master of the Robes’] and ‘Duke of Italy, Calabria, Sicily and Paphlagonia’, with orders to govern all the imperial territories in the peninsula. Rodriguez notes that it was unusual to trust so high a Greek position to an Italian, in fact the son of a Lombard, a Latin who did not even profess orthodoxy. Argyros’s father Melus seems to have been a Greek-speaking or multilingual ethnic Italo-Armenian; but Argyros was born in Byzantine Bari and raised there and in Constantinople. Thus he might best be called a Greco-Italian. On the other 56


hand, his father seems to have identified as a Lombard and his mother was Lombard by birth. It is known that Argyros maintained differences with the patriarch of Constantinople Michael Kerularios who considered him a foreigner and heretical, being too Latin in his Catholicism, if such a term is not anachronistic. —Von Falkenhausen in Magdalino 2003: 155; also Rodriquez. “The governors of Bari refused entry to Argyros, but were undermined by the citizens; Adralestus escaped to the Normans. -When Argyros, son of Melus, arrived at Bari, the gates were closed against him by Adralestos and the brothers Romuald and Petros [leaders of the anti-Byzantine party]. But soon after the people of Bari welcomed Argyros, against the wishes of Adralestos and his colleagues, whose houses were burned, and who were forced to flee or be imprisoned” (PBW, narrative for 1051). “Anno 1051. Descendit Argyrus Magister Vesti, et Dux Italiae filius Meli mense Martij et abiit Barum et non receperunt illum Adralistus, ac Romoaldus cum Petro eius germano sed non post multum temporis Barenses receperunt eum fine voluntate Adralisti, et aliorum. Sed Adralistus fugit Romoaldus vero, et Petrus fratres ad Argyro sunt comprehensi et catenis vincti Constantinopolim deportati sunt” (Lupus). — ‘Argyros, Master of the (imperial) Robes and Duke of Italy, the son of Meles, arrives [at Otranto] in March, and departs for Bari, (but) they Romoaldus with his full brother Peter [the anti-Greek faction] - do not let him in; but after a little time the [pro-Greek] Bariots let him [Argyros] in without the consent of Adralestus and the others. But Adralestus flees [to the Normans]. The brothers Romoaldus and Peter are arrested and brought to Argyrus, and, bound in chains, are taken away to Constantinople.’ Drogo de Hauteville having been assassinated in November 1051, his brother Humphrey succeeded to his possessions and the title of Count of the Normans, and Robert Guiscard, now aged about 36, remained in his service. Catepans of Italy, according to Hofmann: (a) 1047: Argyrus Magister, Vestes et Dux Italiae AD 1051. (b) Alexius, cognomine Charon (1058). (c) Trombus, AD 1058. In 1052 the Normans routed a Byzantine force under Argyrus in Apulia and at Crotone in Calabria: “He [the Norman leader Humphrey] joined battle with Argyrus, the catepan of the Greeks, and his army [Argyrus’s] was again put to flight by the Normans around Tarant0. Battle was also joined about Crotone in Calabria, and Sico [the] Protspata [Gk: protospatharios] was defeated. The Normannic lordship [dominium Northmannum] is expanded in Calabria and Apulia and their power is recognised and fear of them grows up in all the land.” —BCN; also ODB under ‘Crotone’.



Disturbed by these events, Pope Leo IX, a German, with the help of his relative, the German Emperor Henry III, and an alliance of Lombard noblemen, undertook a political and military initiative. Their aim was to force out the Normans, going as far as to make a pact with the Byzantines. Gibbon describes Leo IX as “a simple saint, of a temper most apt to deceive himself and the world”. He and the emperor Constantine IX were allied through the mediation of the catepan of Italy, Argyrus, a Lombard who had spent years in Constantinople, originally as a political prisoner. Pope Leo had been to Saxony and asked Henry III to help him in the fight against the Normans. In 1053 the Pope returned to Italy with only a guard of 700 Swabians and some volunteers from Lorraine. On the way through northern Italy to Benevento, he had collected a large number of Italian volunteers without any particular military skill: Gibbon’s “vile and promiscuous multitude of Italians” (Decline, Vol 5, chap. LVI). With this polyglot army, Leo used his alliance with the Byzantines to arrange a joint attack on Siponto (modern Manfredonia), an exByzantine town that had been held by the Normans since 1039 (‘Fanaticus’ 2009). (Inland Benevento, coastal Manfredonia and coastal Bari form the points of a large triangle; Manfredonia is on the Adriatic coast at the southern base of the Gargano peninsula.) Leo and Argyros led their respective armies against the ravaging Normans, but the papal forces were defeated at the Battle of Civitate in 1053, which resulted in the pope being imprisoned at Benevento. Civitate is a town and crossing point on the lower Fortore River northwest of Foggia, which is to say: inland, west from the bump that is the Gargano peninsula. The precise site is not clear from the Internet sites I consulted in 2009. It may be San Paolo di Civitate, near San Severo. No Byzantine troops were present at Civitate: their army was still approaching. The Normans wished to force a battle before the Byzantines could join the allied Papal-Lombard-German expedition. So it was that the allies clashed with the Normans near the river Fortore, not far from Civitate, NW of Foggia in Capitanata. Before the Papal-German army could link up with the Byzantines, it was routed at Civitate by some 3,000 or more Norman horsemen and others, led by Count Humphrey de Hauteville, with brother Robert Guiscard commanding the left wing. The general of the Papal-German army was Geoffrey, Duke of Lorraine, or (more likely) Rudolph, Prince of Benevento. It was probably twice as large as Humphrey’s: say 8,000 troops, but it included many untried soldiers. The elite force was 700 German (Swabian) mounted infantrymen. They specialised in fighting on foot with large two-handed swords. “These swords were very long and keen, and they were often capable of cutting someone vertically in two” (William of Apulia). As for the rest: “The Italians [on the papal side] stood all crowded together on the other side because they neglected to draw up a battle line in the proper manner”, writes William.



On the Norman side there were probably fewer than 4,000 men in all, both Normans and Calabrians. Specifically, William of Apulia says the Normans had “almost 3,000 horsemen and a few infantry”. The latter were probably mostly archers. Robert 'Guiscard', "the wily", now aged 37 or 38, led the left wing and was initially held back as a reserve. The figure of “3,000” knights incidentally reveals the limit of the overall strength of the Normans, or rather their lack of strength, as presumably this was the strongest force that could be assembled while leaving behind some minimal garrisons to safeguard against Greek or Lombard risings. Despite an offer of negotiation from the Normans, the battle took place on 18 June 1053. Pope Leo observed the battle from the walls of Civitate. According to one story, the Normans took unfair advantage by attacking when a parley was in progress. “The Swabians drew up their line of battle against the arms of the valiant Humphrey. First Humphrey attacked them at long-range with arrows, he in turn was harried by the arrows of his enemies. Finally both sides charged sword in hand . . .” (William of Apulia, emphasis added). The papal army was annihilated, and the Pope was imprisoned and kept captive for nine or 10 months in Benevento. He occupied himself by trying to learn Greek. Gibbon loc cit.: “[The Normans] climbed the hill of Civitella, descended into the plain, and charged in three divisions the army of the pope. On the left, and in the centre, Richard count of Aversa, and Robert the famous Guiscard, attacked, broke, routed, and pursued the Italian multitudes, who fought without discipline, and fled without shame. A harder trial was reserved for the valour of Count Humphrey, who led the cavalry of the right wing. The Germans have been described as unskillful in the management of the horse and the lance, but on foot they formed a strong and impenetrable phalanx; and neither man, nor steed, nor armour, could resist the weight of their long and two-handed swords. After a severe conflict, they were encompassed by the squadrons returning from the pursuit; and died in the ranks with the esteem of their foes, and the satisfaction of revenge”. Seeing the Papal army destroyed, the inhabitants of Civitate handed the Pope over to the Norman army. The pope was taken prisoner and kept in polite captivity for nine months. In the following months, he was forced to ratify the past and future conquests of the Normans in Southern Italy. Humphrey then personally escorted him on the way to Rome as far as Capua, but the experience is thought to have contributed to Leo's death a month later (see Cavendish 2003). The battle was effectively the founding moment of the Norman empire in the south and the future kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Later in 1053 “Argyros, son of Melus, went by sea [from Bari] to Siponto. There he was attacked by count Humphrey, count Petrone [Peter] and their Normans; he was defeated, and escaped half-dead to Viesti [modern Vieste, at the tip of the Gargano peninsula].” —PBW.



Sico or Sicone, died 1054, was a Byzantine protospatharios (high official) leading troops in Italy from about 1052. He had a Lombard name, though he was a Greek official. He was an official under the catepan Argyrus. Sico was killed in battle (1054) outside the walls of Matera fighting the Normans of Onfroi (Humphrey) of Hauteville (Lupus protospatharius 59.22). “Scinuro” may have become catepan of Apulia, 1054-60. According to others, Argyrus remained catepan from 1051 until 1057 or 1058. ‘Miriarcha’ was the Byzantine leader in 1059-60 according to the chronicle of Lupus Protospatharius, but it is unclear whether he as yet held the position of catepan or was at that time simply a general. xxx OVERVIEW OF THE CONTEST FOR S ITALY, 1052-71 Years 1053 Place N Apulia: Civitate, N of Foggia: S Apulia: Matera: Outcome and notes The Byzantines did not participate in the battle in which the Normans defeated the Italo-German and Papal forces. The catepan is either Argyrus or Scinuro. The Byzantine second in command, Sico, is defeated and killed at Matera. Oria, Lecce and Nardo capitulate to Robert Guiscard. He captures Minervo, Otranto and Gallipoli. Byzantium holds Taranto, Brindisi and Bari. All these towns returned to Byzantine rule. Conquest of Calabria, 1056-60: 1056 S Apulia: Taranto. N Calabria: Cosenza etc (105657) (Humphrey killed; Robert replaces him as Norman overlord.) In Calabria Robert Guiscard takes Cosenza, Bisignano [N of Cosenza], Martirano [between Cosenza and Nicastro], and Nicastro [further S of Cosenza]. -



S Apulia/’Land of Otranto’:


Calabria as above.




Anti-Norman revolt by ItaloGreeks and Lombards. Calabria: Rossano and Gerace:



Guiscard mops up the remaining Byzantine outposts in Calabria. There only Reggio remains in imperial hands. The Pope formally recognises the Normans. Normans besiege and take Reggio (1060-61) and they retake Taranto; but the latter is recovered by the imperialists. All of Calabria is under Norman rule. Guiscard is recognised as duke of Calabria. Byzantine Italy was briefly reduced to little more than Bari and Brindisi and the coast around them. But the new Byzantine commander ‘Miriarcha’ recaptures Otranto, Oria and Brindisi and briefly besieges Melfi (1060-61). The Normans Renew the Offensive in Apulia:


Calabria: Reggio. S Apulia: Taranto; Oria. N Apulia: Melfi:

1061 1062

Acerenza in Lucania/Basilicata : S Apulia: Oria, Brindisi S Apulia: Taranto and Mottola:

(Marules is catepan.) Guiscard captures Acerenza in Lucania and relieves Melfi. Guiscard captures the general ‘Miriarcha’; Sirianos becomes catepan. The Normans retake Brindisi. Normans retake Taranto but are ejected; but they keep hold of Mottola. Much of the coast of N Apulia is still held by Byzantium; but lost before 1070. Normans again take Matera and (briefly) Otranto. The new catepan Apochara organises the defence of Byzantine Bari, Brindisi, Horai, Taranto, Apulian Gallipoli and Otranto. -



S Apulia: Meanwhile the Normans fight each other, until 1068. -





S Apulia: Revolt by Norman barons continues.

Maurice is the new catepan. Last imperial offensive. The Byzantines briefly re-capture Taranto and Brindisi (1066-67). They fight Robert Guiscard in a naval battle off Brindisi. Guiscard lays siege to the Byzantine capital Bari. Otranto briefly surrenders to him. Siege of Bari continues. Byzantine fleet sent to aid Bari (January). The Norman fleet sinks some ships, while others make it through with aid. Normans take Otranto for the last time. This leaves Bari as the sole imperial outpost. 15 April: Bari surrenders to the Normans.

1067 1068



Brindisi and Bari:


S Apulia:



The Norman Conquest “It [the Norman conquest] was not simply due to that peculiar combination of qualities displayed by the Normans, for it was only afterwards [i.e., after 1053] that their drive, military flair and lack of scruples became apparent. . . . The root causes of Byzantine failure are to be explained differently. At the local level, the mechanisms of Byzantine rule had been allowed to run down, as power passed into the hands of leading urban families. Their interests were not identical with those of the Empire as a whole. The circulation of the tari [the Muslim Sicilian coin] in S Italy, rather than the official Byzantine coinage, suggests that the region was developing economic interests which separated it from the rest of the Empire” (Angold 1984: 32). Nearly all of lower Apulia was lost (for a period) to the Normans in 1055-56. The key inland towns of the heel—Oria, Lecce and Nardo—capitulated in 1055, or by 1056; and Guiscard captured the fortress-village of Minerva and the towns of Otranto (briefly) and Gallipoli. The following year, now elevated to Count Robert, he leads his troops into Calabria (Norwich 1967: 107). Guiscard was seen as a usurper by some, as his nephew Abelard had a better claim to be Count.



In central Calabria the Normans took (1056 or 1057) the upper Crati valley: Cosenza; Bisignano to the N of Cosenza; Martirano between Cosenza and Nicastro; and Nicastro which is further S of Cosenza. In Apulia they captured most of the lower heel—‘the Land of Otranto’—including Gallipoli and Lecce by 1056. But Byzantine rule continued in the upper heel and ankle including Bari, Brindisi and Taranto: “Humphredus fecit proelium cum Graecis circa Oriam, et vicit eos. Gaufredus comes comprehendit Neritonum, et Litium. Robertus comes ivit super Callipolim, et fugatus est iterum exercitus Graecorum in terra Tarentina, et captum est Hydrontum, et castrum Minervae” (BCN). — ‘Humphrey fights a battle with the Greeks around Oria and defeats them. Count Godfrey takes Nardo and Lecce. Count Robert proceeds against Gallipoli and again the Greek army is repelled/put to flight in the land of Taranto, and Otranto [Hydrontum] is taken and the [nearby] fortress of Minerva’. Cf 1060: Taranto captured. Or as another translation renders it: “Humphrey joined battle with the Greeks around Oria and defeated them. The count Godfrey seized Neritonum [Nardo] and Litium [Lecce]. The count Robert went upon Callipoli [Apulian Gallipoli] and again an army of Greeks was put to flight in the lands near Tarentum, and then Hydrontum [Otranto] was captured along with the castle [castrum: fortfiied village] [on] Minerva.” Minerva is a hill near Otranto. “Mortuus est Humphredus, et intravit comes Apuliae Robertus, qui dictus est Guiscardus. Factum est proelium mense septembri circa Tarentum, et Graeci victi sunt, et facta est magna strages hominum a Tarento usque ad Hydrontum, et omnes urbes et terrae factae sunt de dominio (vel hominio) Northmannorum.” (BCN, 1056). — ‘Humphrey is killed and Robert, who is called Guiscard, becomes count of Apulia. War is fought in September around Taranto and the Greeks are defeated, and a great slaughtering of men is carried out from Taranto across to Otranto [Hydrontum] and all the towns and lands come under the dominion of the Normans”. The following year, 1057, now aged about 42, the new Count Robert begins the conquest of Byzantine lower Calabria. He moves (1057-58) against the few remaining Byzantine garrison-towns in Calabria. He proceeded first to Cariati on the western or Calabrian side of the Gulf of Taranto, which capitulated. By the end of the year he captured nearby Rossano and then - further south, inside the tip of the toe: Gerace. In the words of William of Apulia, Book II, “mighty Rossano [in N Calabria], warlike Cosenza, then wealthy Gerace [S Calabria] surrendered to him, and so nearly the whole of Calabria was made subject to him”. (Norwich prefers to date these events to 1059.) The only sizable town left in Byzantine hands was the old thematic capital of Reggio (Norwich 1967: 132). Malaterra describes the campaigning in Calabria thus:



“He [Guiscard] raised an army and after making all the necessary preparations for the expedition, he led his troops into Calabria. He crossed into the territory of Cosenza and Martirano, and then remained for two days near the hot springs close to the River Lamita, to allow his army to relax after a hard and tiring march and to reconnoitre the land ahead. Then he went on [i.e. south-east] to the castrum [fortress-village] called Squillace, and from there marched along the coast [the sole of the Italian front-foot and toe] until he reached Reggio. He spent three days in a reconnaissance of this city, but when he realised that neither by threats nor by promises could he make its citizens surrender, and with a number of matters requiring his attention in Apulia, he prepared to withdraw. On his return journey, Neocastro [Nicastro], Maida and Canalea made peace and surrendered to him.” A general revolt against the Normans in southern Italy in 1058 prompted Robert Guiscard to seek his younger brother Roger's help. Previously he had spurned his arrival. Roger agreed to join forces in return for territory. In Calabria, Leon Thrymbos, the Byzantine doux of Italy and strategos of Calabria, had the Scribones* executed (1058) at the diocesan town of Crotone [either officials or perhaps members of a prominent local family*] (PBW, narrative for 1058). Why he did so is not known, but this caused so much discontent in Calabria that Thrymbos was forced to flee, and made his escape to emperor Isaakios I. Robert Guiscard was able to exploit the situation by capturing Reggio. (*) In earlier centuries a scribon was a senior officer in the elite regiment of the Excubitors; presumably this was the origin of the family name. Rodriquez says that in the 11th C they were civil magistrates. Catepans of Italy, according to Hofmann p.771: (a) Alexius, cognomine Charon, 1058. He was the maternal grandfather of the emperor Alexios I; Charon is elsewhere described as ‘prefect’ or ‘lieutenant’ of Italy. (b) ‘Trombus” [i.e. Leon Thrymbos], AD 1058. (c) Marules, AD 1061. The military successes of the Normans aginst Byzantium did not go unnoticed. In 1059, the Italian prelate Hildebrand, the chief councillor of the French-born Pope Nicholas II [Gérard de Bourgogne] sought to shield the papacy from the attacks of the adversaries of ecclesiastical reform by entering into an alliance with the French-speaking Normans. This was also an alliance against Byzantium and Germany. The increasing desire of the reformist popes to free themselves from (as they saw it) the oppression of the two empires made an alliance with the Normans the only feasible solution, thanks above all to the diplomacy of the abbot of Montecassino, Desiderius (who became Pope Victor III). The Pope recognises Norman secular authority in southern Italy in return for their recognition of his spiritual authority (Fouracre et al. 2005: 107). Just six years after the debacle at Civitate, in a synod held at Melfi in 1059, Nicholas II



confirmed the investiture of Guiscard with the title of duke, as well with his possessions in Apulia and Calabria (and Sicily, when this had been conquered); Richard of Aversa was recognised as prince of Capua. Guiscard declared himself the vassal of the Holy See, pledged himself to bring about the observance of the decrees of the Council of Lateran with regard to the election of popes, and received in exchange the title of Duke with the investiture of his conquests in Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily. The Pope also decreed that future popes would be elected by the cardinal-bishops, the aim (as with the alliance with the Normans) being to free the papacy from the influence of the Roman nobles and the German emperor. This was a decisive institutional turning-point for Norman power in southern Italy. In 1060-61 the Normans under Robert Guiscard finalise their conquest of Byzantine lower Calabria and central Apulia (1060) and begin attacks on Zirid (Muslim) Sicily (1061). For the first time, at Reggio the Normans deploy siege engines (Norwich 1967: 132). With the fall of Reggio and Tarentum or Taranto in 1060 (or 1061), Byzantine Italy was reduced to little more than Bari and Brindisi and the coast around them. Crossing the strait from Reggio, the Normans take Muslim Messina and Troina in NE Sicily (1061). In May 1060 the Normans under Guiscard captured Taranto from the Byzantines. Towards the end of 1060, however, the new emperor Constantine Ducas sent new troops commanded by ‘Miriarca’, as he is called in the sources. They retook the town. ‘Miriarcha’ is probably to be interpreted as his military rank: Merarcha. The later Byzantine form was meriarch (sic) or senior turmarch, the commander of a force of 800-3,000 men. Evidently the title was equivalent to ‘deputy strategos’ or second in charge of a theme: in modern terms a brigadier (Rodriquez; also Treadgold 1995: 97, 99, citing Leo VI’s Taktika). It is not certain that he held the title of catepan: according to Hofmann, p.771, after Argyrus, the catepans were in turn: “Alexius, cognomine Charon (1058), Trombus [Thrymbos]” (1058), Marules (1061) and Sirianus (1062). Others propose that a “Scinuro” (“1054-60”) came before Marules (Petroni 1857: 74; Blasiis 1864). ). ‘Scinuro’, which can be sourced to the Anonymi barensis chronicon, quite possibly is a just a translation or transcription error. Others again say the post was vacant between the time of disappearance of Argyrus from the record (1057) to the appointment of Marules (1061). The clashes of 1060 are described thus in the BCN: “Mense madio comprehensa est civitas Tarenti per Ducem Robertum: et postea ivit super Brundusium, et cepit eam. Malgerus comes ivit super 65


Oriam, et fugavit Graecos ab ea. Mense octobri venit Miriarcha cum exercitu imperiali et fecit proelium magnum contra Robertum, et Malgerum, et fugavit Northmannos, et iterum recuperavit eas cum aliis terris et Hydrunte.” (BCN 1060). — ‘In May (1060) the town of Taranto is taken by Duke Robert and then he goes up against Brindisi and captures it. Count Malgerus [Guiscard’s brother Malger or Mauger, ‘Count of the Capitanata’] proceeds against Oria [the inland town between Taranto and Brindisi] and drives the Greeks from it. In October ‘Miriarcha’ comes with the imperial army and fights a great battle against Robert and Malgerus, and routs the Normans and takes them [i.e. Taranto, Brindisi and Oria] back, along with other territory and Otranto’. Such reverses were rare for Guiscard, after 1059 as before it. Thus the merarcha’s Byzantines reconquered in quick succession (1060) Taranto, Brindisi, Oria and Otranto, and proceeded through Apulia and arrived before the walls of Melfi. Guiscard had left for Sicily; this surprising news brought him quickly back from Sicily. After subduing (1061) Acerenza, SE of Melfi, he forced the imperials to lift the siege of Melfi: “Mense ianuario Rogerius comes intravit Mandurium, et Robertus Dux comprehendit Acherontiam, et ivit contra Graecos obsidentes Melphim, et fugavit eos” (BCN). — ‘In January [1061] count Roger reaches Manduria [east of Taranto, near Oria], and Duke Robert takes Acerenza and proceeds against the Greeks besieging Melfi and drives them away’. Meanwhile, in the autumn of 1060, having taken Byzantine Brindisi and Taranto, the Normans had laid siege finally to Reggio in Calabria. After a bloody resistance, the town capitulated (1061), and its two Byzantine officials—probably the strategos of Calabria and the krités or chief judge—locked themselves inside neighbouring Scilla, a coastal town further north, with part of the Byzantine garrison. Soon after, they were forced to embark for Constantinople when the population concluded a deal with the Normans. Robert Guiscard set up residence in Reggio, where he was recognised as Duke of Calabria.

The Byzantines had already become demoralized and adopted a much more passive attitude, possibly reflecting the limited military resources they had. For that reason, the successive catepans in Bari, Marules in 1061 and Sirianos in 1062, were forced to stay mostly on the defensive (thus Rodriguez). Cf 1063. Catepans of Italy: (a) Sirianus, 1062; then (b) Apochara, 1064. The latter’s 66


name is given as Apochara in the Anon. Bar; Crawford uses ‘Abul Kare’. At a guess, it may be a rendering of the Arabic name Abu-l-Khair or Abul-Khayr [abu, ‘father of’]. Cf Yousef abu Yasu: ‘Joseph, father of Jesus’. The Contest for Apulia, 1062-71 As recorded in Annales Lupi Protospatharii, the Annals of Lupus the Protospatharius, “Robertus intravit Dux in Civitatem Oriae, et iterum apprehendit Brundusium, et ipsum Miriarcham”. ‘Duke Robert enters (1062) the town of Oria [east of Taranto]. And again, he takes [recaptures] Brindisi and Miriarcha himself’, i.e. the Meriarch, probably the military rank borne by the catepan or acting catepan of Byzantine Italy. —PBW, citing Lupus protospatharius 59.32-33. “Robertus Dux cepit iterum Brundusium et fugavit Graecos, et comprehendit Miriarcham in proelio, et postea ivit super Oriam, et iterum cepit eam, et fecit castrum in Mejana” (BCN). – ‘Duke Robert again takes Brindisi and, having routed/put the Greeks to flight, he seizes ‘[the] Meriarch’ in battle, and then proceeds against Oria, and again takes it; and he builds a fortress/castle at Meiana’, which is to say: modern Mesagne between Oria and Brindisi. Gisulf II, the Lombard-Italian duke of Salerno, travels to Constantinople to appeal for help against the Normans; but he received no positive response from emperor Constantine Doukas (Angold 1984: 32). Guiscard in collaboration with Roger now prepared (1063) an offensive on the Muslims of Palermo, the capital of Islamic Sicily. While this was happening, the Norman barons in Apulia methodically dedicated themselves to reconquering the Apulian towns taken by the Byzantines during their counter-offensive. A certain Godofredo (Geoffrey) took Taranto and nearby Móttola in 1063, and soon Matera and Otranto fell also (1064): “Mense aprili mortuus est Gauffredus comes, et Goffridus filius eius cepit Tarentum, deinde ivit super castrum Motulae, et comprehendit eam, et castellum eius” (BCN under 1063). — ‘In April count Geoffrey dies and Geoffrey his son takes Taranto, then he proceeds against the fortress of Mottola, and seizes it and its citadel.’ After three years, in 1063, the Norman count, a different Geoffrey, son of Petron I, re-entered Taranto, but he will be obliged to flee from it on the arrival - in 1066: see later - of the Byzantine admiral Michael Maurikias (Wikipedia, 2009, under ‘Taranto’). Catepans of Italy, according to Hofmann’s list: (a) Apochara, AD 1064; (b) Curiacus [Kyriakos] AD 1066.



Meanwhile Matera was captured (1064) by a Robert, almost certainly Robert of the neighbouring fortress of Montescaglioso rather than Robert Guiscard: “Robertus comes cepit Materam in mense aprili; et mense iunio Goffridus comes comprehendit Castanetum. Et mense septembri mortuus est Malgerus comes, et deinde mortuus est in Tarento Guilielmus comes eius” (BCN). – ‘Count Robert captures Matera in April; and in June count Geoffrey takes Castenaetum [today’s Castellaneta, west of Mottola]. And in September count Malger is killed, and then in Taranto count William is killed.’ The new catepan or doux of Italy in 1064 was Apochara, Abulchare(s), Abulcaré or Abdul Kare, as his name is variously rendered. It is presumed he was of Arab descent. Sailing from Dyrrhachium in today’s Albania, the new catepan disembarked in Bari and was able to send some reinforcements to the towns that still resisted the Normans. Byzantium still controlled part of the coast, from the peninsula of Gargano to the neighbourhood of Brindisi, although the catepan could not prevent the people of Bari arriving at a truce with Guiscard due to the shortage of supplies. Skylitzes Continuatus has Apochara organising the defences of Horai [Monte Maggiore], Bari, Brindisi, Taranto, Apulian Gallipoli and Otranto. Guiscard’s nephew Geoffrey (Goffredo) of Conversano [the town south-east of Bari] was one of the main leaders of a revolt that broke out in the 1064 while Guiscard was in Sicily; William of Apulia (s.156) lists Geoffrey as one of those comites a plebe vocati (‘called counts by the common people’). In that year he joined with his brother Robert of Montescaglioso [near Matera], Amicus of Giovinazzo [up the coast from Bari] and Geoffrey’s cousin Abelard in a conspiracy against Abelard’s powerful uncle. Abelard joined Geoffrey I of Conversano; Joscelin, Lord of Molfetta; and Robert, Count of Montescaglioso (near Matera), in a revolt against Abelard’s usurper uncle Guiscard. The rebels received financial and military aid from Perenos, the Byzantine duke [doux] of Durres. Perenos, nominated as doux of Italy, stayed in Dyrrhachion [Durres in modern Albania] because of the difficulty of landing in Italy. A number of Norman dissidents crossed (1064) the Adriatic to do him homage, the most prominent being Joscelin of Molfetta, who burned a ship coming from Calabria (PBW). This seems to have led the rebel Normans to negotiate with the catepan Abulcare: Et Apochara venit Catap. Et capta est Idrontum a Gosfreida [of Conversano] suo comite (Anon. Bar. 1064): “And Abulchare arrived as catepan; and Otranto is captured by his partner (ally: suo comite) Geoffey of Conversano”. Or suo comite may be translated as ‘by its count’. Robert put the revolt down, but Herman, Abelard’s brother, was given as a hostage to the new catepan of Italy, Apochara, to ensure Abelard's continued loyalty. The revolt stalemated for a number of years with neither side gaining the advantage.



The Byzantine commander of Otranto in 1064 was Malapetzes. He commanded a garrison consisting of Russian and Varangian ‘mercenaries’ so-called (full-time professional troops) and successfully defended the town from Norman attack. He neglected to demolish an ancient, splendid house belonging to his niece which abutted the interior of the town wall. The commander of the the attacking Normans, probably Count Geoffrey of Taranto [the town he had captured in 1063], learned about the house and its unmarried occupant. Secretly sending rich gifts to the woman, he promised to marry her if she would help him gain access to the town. She agreed to help and lowered ropes from the roof of her house over the town wall. Thus, the Normans were able to enter Otranto and capture the town. Malapetzes was able to escape by fleeing in a ship, but left his wife and children behind. There is no record of their fate (PBW citing the chronicle of Anonymus Barensis, 152). Abulcares or Abdul Kare (also called “Miriarca”: meriarch) campaigned with a Byzantine army in Apulia in 1066. This is probably a reference to Apochara who was catepan of Italy 1064-66; evidently he also held the army rank of meriarch or ‘deputy strategos’. That is to say, he had earlier had charge of part of a Theme. One might guess he had been Perenos’ deputy in Dyrrhachium. There is also reference to a Cyriacus or Curiacus as catepan in 1066-67. Catepans of Italy: (a) Curiacus [Kyriakos] A. C. 1066. (b) Mabrix, qui et Mabriaca [sic: Mavrikias, Maurice] A. C. 1066. (c) Stephanus Patrianus A. C. 1071, the last to hold the position. Von Falkenhausen has suggested that nobody held the position of catepan in 1067-69 because during that time the adminstriation of Byzantine Italy was joined to the catepanate of Dyrrhachium (present-day Albania). A mostly Varangian force came (late 1066) to Bari from Dyrrhachium under a new catepan Michael Mauricas or ‘Mabrikias’: It. Mabrica, Lat. Mabrix, Gk Mavrikias, English: Maurice. (In medieval Greek the letter ‘b’ was pronounced as ‘v’.) They retook Brindisi and Taranto and established a garrison at the former under Nikephoros Karantenos, an experienced Byzantine soldier from the wars with the Bulgarians. Mavrikias also recovered Castellaneta in modern-day Basilicata, NW of Taranto: “Mabrica cum exercitu magno Graecorum fugavit Northmannos et iterum intravit Brundusium, et Tarentum” (BCN). – ‘Maurice [the new catepan] with a great army of Greeks drove back the Normans and came again into Brindisi and Taranto.’ The catepan Maurice (“Mabrica”) enjoyed a series of successes against the Normans in Italy, but this was the last significant threat the ‘Greeks’ imposed in that quarter. Thereafter the Byzantine forces in Italy adopted a wholly defensive posture (Wikipedia 2009 under ‘Norman Conquest of Southern Italy’).



Geoffrey of Taranto wanted to proceed to "Romania" with a large army in 1066. The PBW editors say that unless an Italian referent is found for "Romania", this would refer to an early, failed Norman attack across the Adriatic. Possibly it did mean our Greece or Albania but more probably it was simply a reference to ‘the empire’s Italian lands’. In any event Geoffrey was stopped by Michael Maurikas (“Mabrica"), a commander of the Greeks. Maurikas came with some Varangians (a detachment) to Bari: “Anno 1066. Goffredus Comes filius Petronii voluit ire in Romaniam cum multa gente sed obstitit illi quidam ductor Graecorum nomine Mabrica” (Lupus). — ‘Count Geoffrey son of Petronius decides to go into the empire/Byzantine territory (“into Romania”) leading many men, but he is withstood (opposed) by a certain leader of the Greeks named Mabrikias/Maurice’. At Brindisi a Norman counter-attack was defeated when the Byzantine deputy commander, Nikephoros Karantenos, pretended to surrender. He then attacked the Normans as they were climbing ladders to cross the town wall. Nikephoros decapitated 100 corpses and sent the heads to the Emperor. —Thus Lowe, in Varangian battle honours; others date this event to 1070. In 1068 Robert Guiscard crushes the last of the Norman rebels in Apulia. He then lays siege to Byzantine-held Bari. Otranto surrenders to him. Guiscard besieged Montepeloso, but was making little headway. Thus he took some of his forces and went off and took Uggiano [SE of Otranto]. Returning to Montepeloso, he and Godfrey won the rebel-held town with the help of treachery from a certain Geoffrey. At this point he began the siege of Byzantine Bari by land and sea: “Goffridus comes obsedit Montem Pillosum [inland Montepeloso], et comprehendit eum in mense iunio. Mense octobri captum est iterum Hydrontum [Otranto], et fugati sunt Graeci ab ea” (BCN). — ‘Count Geoffrey besieges Montepeloso and takes it in June. In October [1068] Otranto is again captured and the Greeks are routed (put to flight) by him’. The Normans begin (1068) a siege of Bari, the isolated capital of what remained of Byzantine South Italy. The Pisans, who had ealier heleped the Noramsn aginst the Muslism in Sicily, agsin assisted the Norman side with ships and crossbowmen (J France 1994: 62). The siege lasted from 5 August 1068, through three winters, to 16 April 1071. Guiscard reunited all to his vassals for a supreme effort. As narrated in the 70


Strategikon of Cecaumenos, a garrison of Russians and Varangians under the command of one of the Malapetzes or Malapezzi could not prevent the fall of Otranto (1068) [some date this to 1064]; and finally Guiscard established the siege of Bari in August 1068. According to the Norman chronicler William of Apulia, “there was no city in Apulia which exceeded the opulence of Bari. He [Guiscard] besieged it, wealthy and strongly-defended, that by overcoming the rulers of so great a city he might therefore terrify and subject the lesser towns [read: villages], for of all the cities along the Apulian coast, Bari was the greatest”. A Byzantine relief force will enter the town in 1069, and a Norman diversionary attack on Brindisi is defeated. Meanwhile we find Varangians among the Byzantine defenders at Otranto, which fell (1068) to the besieging Normans by a trick. As we related earlier, Malapetzes, the Byzantine defender of Otranto with Russian and Varangian troops, had a niece whose fine old house abutted on to the walls of the town. He did not realise it was a security hazard. The Norman count attacking Otranto (Geoffrey of Taranto?), following several failed attempts at capture, got in touch with Malapetzes' niece, sent her gifts, and promised to marry her if she allowed troops into the town through her house. She succumbed to flattery or desire, and let them into the town with ropes during the night. Malapetzes left Otranto, abandoning his wife and children to the Normans (PBW under ‘Malapetzes’). Conscious of the gravity of the situation, the besieged population of Bari again requested aid from Constantinople (1068). The emperor himself was occupied at this time in the preparations for a new campaign in the East against the Turks, but the government in the form of the Empress could not ignore the request for aid from the major surviving bastion in Italy. She hastily ordered prepared a fleet with arms and provisions under the control of the newly designated catepan Stephen Pateranos (Lat. Patrianus). The Normans managed to sink or capture 12 supply transports off Monopoli, the porttown SE of Bari, but the rest of the ships made it through. The fleet arrived at Bari in January 1069. But the Normans continued the siege into 1070 (Norwich 1967: 170). The years 1069-71 saw the final phase of Byzantine resistance. As noted, a relief fleet from the East arrived at Bari in the first months of 1069. Subsequently an imperial army was defeated in the hinterland by the Normans still commanded by Robert Guiscard, and this caused the fall also of Gravina and Obbiano: “Factum est proelium in campo Litii, et fugati sunt Graeci; et Robertus Dux cepit Gavinum, Obbianum, et Barim” (BCN). – ‘War is made (1069) on the plain of Lecce [Litius] and the Greeks are put to flight; and Duke Robert takes G[r]avino, Obbiano and Bari’ [sic: Bari actually held out from 1068 to 1071]. Robert did not return immediately to Bari, but in January 1070 he headed to Brindisi in order to help the Normans already there to besiege it. Brindisi was the only major town other than Bari still in Byzantine hands, and it capitulated in



1071, followed by Bari itself. “Robertus Dux descendit super Brundusium, et Goffridus Comes venit cum exercitu magno et forti in navibus, et facta est inter eos, et Mabrica crudelis dimicatio, et occisio hominum in obsitione eius” (BCN). - ‘Duke Robert descends (1070) on Brindisi and Count Geoffrey comes with a large army and strong in ships, and (an agreement) having been made between them, Mabrica [?the catepan Maurice*] is bloodthirstily engaged, with a slaughtering of men in his ?ambush?” [obsitione: ‘covered, planted, overgrown’]. (*) But Maurice had been replaced in 1069. When the Normans put Brindisi under siege in 1070, Nikephoros Karantenos feigned surrender and then attacked the Normans as they were scaling the walls on ladders. He beheaded “100” corpses and crossed the sea to Albania with the heads, thence shipping them off to Constantinople to impress the emperor. Alternatively Karantenos pretended to treat secretly with Guiscard for the betrayal of the town, and at the appointed hour and place the Normans were admitted, one by one, by a ladder. As each one then passed through a door, he was silently killed by the Greeks, and so 100 perished before those behind knew what was happening (Crawford, Rulers p.221). “This year in the month of January there was a great slaughter in the town of Brindisi; for while the Normans wanted to capture it, 40 of them were captured, along with 43 others, their sergeants (ministris, ‘attendants’); and the heads of all these men were carried off to the [Byzantine] Emperor.” —Lupus. In 1070 Pisa and the Normans defeated, or at least they mauled, a second major Imperial fleet sent to aid Bari: “On his [the emperor’s] order, pirate ships were suitably prepared to transport grain, and arms [also] by which the fleet could be protected during the voyage to the town. (Hence the sailors would be freed from fear and the town from want.) The emperor ordered that Joscelin [a Norman opposed to Guiscard] be put in command of this fleet. He had fled from Italy in fear of the duke, who hated him because he had conspired against him. Joscelin came in haste with his warships to encourage the tremulous citizens. He was already close to the town, hoping to enter it in safety during the night, when suddenly Robert's fleet encountered the Greek fleet which had come to strengthen his enemies. The duke's ships willingly entered on a night action, thinking that this was more favourable to them than to the enemy since they knew these waters while their opponents did not. After a great deal of effort Joscelin's ship was defeated and captured, and he himself brought prisoner before the duke. Another Greek ship was sunk, the rest just managed to escape” (William of Apulia). Final End of Byzantine Rule in Southern Italy



The Greek/East Romanic presence in Italy ended with the fall of Bari on 15 April 1071. Norman ships were lined up across the mouth of the harbour and linked togehther and with the mainland by a bridge or bridges so as to prevent aid reaching the town from the sea and also to enable land-troops to assert pressure from another quarter. A third naval relief expedition having failed, the antiNorman faction inside Bari lost power and the town surrendered to Guiscard. — Roberts 1997. The town had held out for two years and eight months and had received two relief fleets (the second in 1070), but in the end its people saw Robert Guiscard's army swell with the arrival of Roger and his army from Sicily. They had also witnessed the catastrophic routing (1071) of a third Byzantine relief fleet by Roger's navy. Of the 20 Byzantine ships involved, nine were sunk and not one was able to penetrate into the harbour of Bari. Thus the inhabitants, now with no hope of relief and with mass starvation in the town, opened the town gates on 15 April and let Guiscard into the town (Norwich 1967: 171-73). During the siege by the Normans there was civil strife in Bari. Bisantius Guirdeliku or Gunderlich (?) was murdered by the leading Greek-Bariot Argyritzos, son of Ioannakes, on July 18; then the houses of the Malapezza family were burned and destroyed (PBW, citing William of Apulia; Lupus dates this to 1071). “Anno 1071. Robertus Dux intravit Brundusiopolim dimissa ante Barum obsidione, nam ipse Dux fecit fieri pontem in mari [a bridge in the sea] quantus concluderet portum praedictum Urbis Bari. Hoc etiam anno dolo cuiusdam Argirichi filii Ioannazzi occisus est Bysantius cognomento Guinderlichus in Baro et 15. die Aprilis cepit Robertus Dux Civitatem Bari.” —Lupus. — ‘Duke Robert enters the polis of Brindisi, abandoning the blockade of Bari, for [now] the same duke causes a bridge in the sea to be built, whose size was such that it closed off the port of Bari. Byzantius surnamed Gunderlich is killed in Bari by the sons of ‘Little-John’ (Ioanazzus) Argyrus [Argyritzos], and on 15 April duke Robert takes the town of Bari.’ Robert Guiscard, the Norman ruler, conquered Lombardic Salerno, south of Naples, “Italy's last Lombard enclave” in 1077, making it the capital of his dominions; the foundation of the famous Scuola Medica Salernitana (school of medicine) enhanced its importance. All of south Italy was now in Norman hands except for Naples.



Part II APPENDIX: EQUIPMENT AND DRESS IN MANIAKES’S ARMY 1. A General Dressed for the Field Raffaele D’Amato (2005) has studied in detail the illustrations in the manuscript known as the Skylitzès Matritensis or ‘Madrid Skylitzes’ in order to analyse the clothing, equipment and weapons of the army of generalissimo George Maniakes in the period 1038-43. D’Amato interprets the miniatures in the light of narrative records from the era. To start at the top: Maniakes is shown wearing on his head a kamelaukion or military cap of red felt that is lightly puffed up on the back. It fits closely on the head like a helmet. This kind of headgear, known since Antiquity, was worn as a padded protection under one’s helmet, in conjunction with the turban. For a description of the Byzantine helmet, see below under “Infantry Officer”. Maniakes’ armour was the klibanion, a metal lamellar sleeveless waist-length corselet. In lamellar armour the platelets overlap upward, helpful for deflecting infantry sword-slashes. Armour made of downwards-overlapping platelets, often worn by infantry, is called scale. In this period the platelets were rivetted to a leather backing or shirt. D’Amato takes literally the look of the Skylitzes illustrations and proposes that the metal platelets or lamellae of the corselet were large, like broad bird feathers! This seems most unlikely, judging by how lamellar armour is depicted in other artworks from the period 950-1150, namely as small and rectangular platelets. The miniatures show, attached to the lower borders of the corselet, small strips or straps called kremasmata: “hanging pieces” or ‘armour-border tongues’, called kymation in Antiquity. D’Amato thinks they were made of coarse silk and cotton in the 11th century. At the waist, but under the klibanion, Maniakes wears a metal-strengthened leather belt from which hang long pteryges or straps of hardened leather, or perhaps they are a further set of kremasmata, padded strips made of felt. This is the material specified in Phokas’s 10th century manual Praecepta Militaria. The short kremasmata attached to the corselet look merely decorative, whereas the long leather straps or pteryges attached to the belt extend to the upper thighs and would have offered some protection against a sword-slash. On his upper arms our general wears metallic bracelets or upper-arm-guards, probably the manikia mentioned in the sources: similar to but bigger than those worn by emperor Basil II (d. 1025) in the famous miniature of Marcianus Gr.17. The arm-guards cover the whole of Maniakes’ upper arms, i.e. they reach up to the shoulder and the edge of the body armour; but the top half of the arm-guard is not seen because the short sleeve of his cloth tunic or under-shirt extends out from under the body armour. Close inspection of the miniatures shows that the bracelet in each case was constructed from lamellae, i.e. about 20 metal platelets placed in two rows and tied with leather thongs. His legs are unarmoured; there is no real protection at all from thigh to toe—



except for that provided by a shield. His soft leather boots reach almost to his knees, but unless padded they would not have afforded much protection. Cavalrymen of course used their shields to guard their bent legs. Unless one was very tall, a shield of 100-110 cm [up to 3 ft 7 in] would cover almost the whole height of a horseman riding crouched with short stirrups, certainly from ankle to shoulder. In his last battle in the Balkans (1043), where he took part in the hand-to-hand fighting, Maniakes is shown carrying a so-called “three cornered” or kite-shaped shield. More exactly, its shape is that of an inverted teardrop. Such shields were about 70 cm [2 ft 4 in] wide at the widest point and about “105.3 cm” [sic: 3.5 feet] high. In the Sylloge Tacticorum, s. 39.1, this type is called ‘the cavalry shield’, 93.6-117 cm [median 105 cm: 3 ft 5 in] high in that source; also in the Praecepta Militaria, IV, 36-37. There were two straps rivetted to the back of the shield, near its top, with which to hold it. One strap went inside the forearm elbow bend and the other was gripped with the hand (D’Amato p.67). The general is shown wearing his sword strapped on a second outer belt rather than a baldric. But most troops did use the baldric: Greek váltidion, Latin baltidium. Dawson 2007: 19 and D’Amato give the length of the spathion (Roman long sword) as about 85 cm; McGeer offers 90 cm. Finally D’Amato supplies Maniakes with a ‘battle-flail’, i.e. a short war-whip apparently about 60 cm [2 ft] long whose several leather thongs carry heavy metal weights at their tip. This may have been the weapon used to humiliate Arduin (in 1040). Triangular Shields and Long Maces The illustrations in Skylitzes depicting the Sicilian campaign of 1038-40 show the Byzantine troops carrying triangular, tear-drop or “kite”-shaped shields, while the Muslims have smaller round shields. In the illustration of the battle near Troina, the Byzantines’ long maces are much in evidence. In the 9th C, the bardoukion was a fighting mace, which could be also thrown. The same can be said for the matzoukion, another type of mace. Bardoukia and matzoukia were thrown against the enemy by both infantrymen and cavalrymen, at certain distances. Emperor Leo, ca AD 907, mentions the cavalry mace, saying that it should have a spiked head. The head featured spiked projections designed to inflict serious wounds. D’Amato, citing Kolias, says that the shaft, normally of wood, had a length between 60 and 80 cm [up to 30 inches] (D’Amato, ‘The Mace’).



Left: Byzantines. Right: Bulgarians (Skylitzes). An Infantry Officer The Varangians joined the Romanic (‘Greek’) army in the late 900s. We summarise here D’Amato’s analysis of the dress and equipment of a Varangian officer in 1038. D’Amato imagines that Varangian officers would have worn much the same equipment as non-Varangian infantry officers, e.g. the waist-length corselet of downward overlapping scales or or upward overlapping lamellar. He notes that in some sources it is said that Harald Sigurdsson, the Varangian commander under Maniakes, wore long East-Roman armour called emma. This armour, which protected him down to the calves, should be read as a mail coat, even though made in Byzantium. The officer’s helmet in D’Amato’s illustration is conical and made of segments rivetted together with reinforcing bossed plates: the so-called ‘segmented spangenhelm’ type. D’Amato calls it the ‘directly rivetted frameless sprangenhelm’. (The one-piece plain flat-conical cap-style helmet was more common in Byzantine armies.) Nape protection was given by a cuir-bouilli (boiled or hardened leather) aventail whose strips or strap-tops were sewn to the inner lining of the helmet. The cuirass, worn over the mail tunic in the case of officers, was a waist-length scale klibanion of Greek-Hellenistic style, i.e. with a slightly muscled-bodyshaped base. D’Amato thinks the shape was supplied by the shaped leather backing or interior side of the corselet; the platelets were rivetted on. He depicts scale armour with 10 rows of quadrangular iron lamellae. The officer wears leather pteruges as additional protection for his upper arms. His sword or spathion of about “86” cm, nearly three feet, is worn in what emperor Leo VI called ‘the Roman fashion’, i.e. hung by a baldric (Gk váltidion, Lat. baltidium) - transverse from the right shoulder -with the top of the sword 76


riding loose on the left hip. Varangians used the circular, slightly convex Scandinavian-style shield, measuring about 80-100 cm [around 3 ft] in diameter and supported with shoulder straps. Rather than boots, which Byzantines preferred, D’Amato gives our Varangian officer low shoes and puttees in the form of wickelbander or wool bands, wrapped in herringbone pattern around the lower legs. Lombard Infantryman A ‘Pelthastis of the Thema of Longobardia or Laghouvardhìa’ In this case D’Amato uses for his analysis a miniature called “The Temporal Authorities” of Exultet 2, today preserved in Pisa Cathedral, but produced in Southern Italy, probably at Capua, in 1059. On his head our infantryman wears a metal, single-piece kassidion or very high conical-pointed helm over a mail coif. The latter is in effect a hood. D’Amato gives him body armour in the form of a waist-length sleeveless scale corselet with 16 rows of non-overlapping square platelets, rivetted to a leather backing. Or perhaps it should be called ‘lamellar’. The corselet is worn over a knee-length, long-sleeved tunic that was probably padded for comfort and protection. That is, the corselet stops at the waist; the tunic continues nearly to the knees. He carries only a long spear of about 8 ft or 2.5 metres and no sword because that is what the source illustration shows; but almost universally (except for temporary conscripts) infantry also carried swords. The shield was medium-small, about 60 cm [about 2 ft] in diameter, with a circular, very convex shape and without a central boss. There is no additional leg protection; high soft leather boots reaching nearly to the knees provide the footwear.

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