Byzantine swordsmanship


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Fresco of Mr. Dimitrios Skourtelis

Academy of Historical European Martial Arts: Training in Byzantine weapon use.

The Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) it survived the 5th century fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both “Byzantine Empire” and “Eastern Roman Empire” are historiographical terms applied in later centuries; its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire (Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, tr. Basileia Rhōmaiōn; Latin: Imperium Romanum),and Romania (Ῥωμανία).

On all of this ages the Byzantines were had a sophisticated and cunning training of the art of war. This achievement comes because they absorbed the martial arts techniques from the nations that the Byzantines fought or from their allies (Koumans, Serbians, Russ etc) or from the nations that serve te empire as mercenaries (Goths, Vikings, Germans etc). From the other hand, the Byzantine warfare and swordsmanship did have as roots the Greco-Roman tactics of weapon training. Having as fundamental use those superior martial art of the ancients the Byzantines add the new types of warfare and martial arts that they meet from the other armies (allies or not) and the empire survived all those ages.

Πινακας του αγιογραφου Δημήτριου Σκουρτέλη και μέλους της ΑΚΑΔΗΜΙΑΣ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΚΩΝ ΕΥΡΩΠΑΪΚΩΝ ΠΟΛΕΜΙΚΩΝ ΤΕΧΝΩΝ

Fresco of Mr. Dimitrios Skourtelis

The melee weapons of Byzantines were the sword (ξίφος), the axe (πέλεκυς) in this broad group were also the use of wooden club and the mace, and finally the lance. As ranged weapons they had the bow, the crossbow and the sling.

The most familiar Byzantine weapons were the sword and the mace.

p.179r Aristos and Erotokritos start to wrestle in an allegoric stance of Greco-Roman wrestling technique. Look at the equipment. Both of them has saber (παραμήριον) and small shields, also Erotokritos has a shield that it is such as the buckler. The Byzantine cavalry had shields with 30cm diameter such as buckler.

Εικόνα 5. Τέταρτη θέση φύλαξης. Βασισμένο από την State Art Gallery, Dresden, έκθεμα Νο 448.Από το αρχείο φωτογραφείων του κ. Timothy Dowson.

State Art Gallery, Dresden, Νο 448. From the files of Mr. Timothy Dowson

From the chronicle of John Skylitzes

In the land that those techniques were borne, they are study, tested and taught.

Those who want to learn the Byzantine method of combat can contact with:

Mail: g_e_georgas@yahoo.gr

Tel: 6945876172.

Icon of military Saint Theodore

 

The scholars is training in Byzantine swordsmanship using training wooden sword of type ‘paramirion’ .

 

Ασκήσεις αφοπλισμού του αντιπάλου της Βυζαντινής οπλομαχίας.

Free sparing in Byzantine swordmanship.

 

 

Μάθημα στη Βυζαντινή οπλομαχία.

Ασκήσεις αφοπλισμού του αντιπάλου της Βυζαντινής οπλομαχίας.

Ασκήσεις αφοπλισμού του αντιπάλου της Βυζαντινής οπλομαχίας.

 

 

 

The scholars is training in Byzantine swordsmanship using training wooden sword of type ‘spathion’.

στις φωτ.Μάθημα οπλομαχίας ανάμεσα σε μαχητή που φέρει μικρή ασπίδα και Βυζαντινού σπαθιού τύπου ‘σπαθίον’ ενάντια σε λογχοφόρο. Ο εξοπλισμός είναι μια ευγενική χορηγία του Συλλόγου Ιστορικών Μελετών ‘ΚΟΡΥΒΑΝΤΕΣ’.

Training lesson between sword of type ‘spathion’ and small round shield against lancer.

Duel between warrior who use small shield and a Byzantine sword of type 'spathion' against a spearmen. Equipment courtesy of living history association Koryvantes.
Duel between warrior who use small shield and a Byzantine sword of type ‘spathion’ against a spearmen. Equipment courtesy of living history association Koryvantes.

‘The purpose of tactic is to conquer the enemy with proper war movements and actions.

-Tactics of Emperor Leon 6th the Wise

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George E. Georgas is the founder of the Hellenic Academy of Historical European Martial Arts ‘Leontes’. He is certificated fencing instructor of the Hellenic Fencing Federation and also national referee of the Hellenic Fencing Federation at the epee. He is instructor of Meyer Freifechter Guild with the rank of Fecther and he is the Guild Unterhauptman for Greece. He is also member of Learn Sword Fight (Gladiatores). He is in the Administration Council of the ‘Pammachon’. He is also instructor of weapon fighting of the Association of Historical studies ‘KORYVANTES’. He is studying the ancient Greek and Byzantine warfare, such as the use of rompaia, spathion and paramirion types of swords and other weapons such as the spear. He is also give stage fighting lessons to the theatrical team ‘The Blue Rose.’

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