Pammachon: Paramerion and Spathion workshop of Byzantine swordsmanship


At 8 March 2015 conducted with great success, open Historical European Martial Arts workshop, with subject: Paramerion and Spathion workshop of Byzantine swordsmanship.

The workshop was under the sponsorship of the Hellenic Federation of Pankration Athlima (Sport branch Pammachon). The instructor was Mr. George E. Georgas. Sponsored with equipment by the Association of Historical studies ‘KORYVANTES’, the Filokalia ‘made by hand and iron’, Hellenic Armors, and from Mr. Dimitrios Skourtelis historical researcher and weapon maker .

George E. Georgas is:

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 in the Administration Council of the ‘Pammachon’ and in charge of Oplomachia program. He is also instructor of weapon fighting of the Association of Historical studies ‘KORYVANTES’.

The workshop began with Byzantine oplomachias lecture highlighted how oplomachia of the East Romans passed through the Greeks mercenaries ‘stratioti’ to the armies of Western and Northern Europe in the 15th century.

Reported what equipment brought these warriors and what fighting techniques had, pointing out that they were influenced also by the Ottoman warriors. Proved by scientific research that ‘stratioti’ fought like their predecessors, where called Acrites or Limitanei. It was also reported that the cataphract cavalry of the Empire did not differ from the equipment of Italian and German knights and they had the same offensive and defensive equipment.

Also pointed out that the ‘stratioti’ influenced and changed the structure and practice of the Western armies upgrading the role of the light cavalry, but also explained why they adopted the way of battle of the Greeks. Reported famous Romioi captains who became knights of the Republic of Venice, knights and Counts of the Kingdom of France, knights and nobles of the Holy Roman German Empire, while some even fought on the northern border of England against the Scots under the crown of the English king. Also reported that terrible Aikitzoi, the light cavalry of the Ottomans was originally defected Greeks who changed sides and became followers of the Islam. Also reported the followers of the ‘stratioti’ named Zagradoroi were foot soldiers and fighting a similar manner to the ‘stratioti’ but they were equipped with pole arms, rapiers small shields, crossbows and later they have also breast plates.

Later reported other branches of ‘stratioti’ who were the Argoulets, the Carabins and Croats. All they were serving the Western armies from the 15th century until the 18th century. Also reported the Greeks who served Austria during and after the siege of Vienna by Ottoman to1529 and that through them later created the Grenzer originally were Greeks and gradually replaced by Slavs. There were multiple units Grenzers staffed by Greeks as the battalion of St. George, the battalion of the Cross, the 13th Vlach battalion, the German Vanato battalion, much later the regiment of Hussars border guards and others. So stated the Greek presence in the armies of the West. It obvious that those warriors influence also the fight master.
It was also reported that these warriors were able to defeat the famous warriors who claimed to be invincible until the presence of ‘stratioti’. Those invincible warriors were the French knights and the Swiss Spearmen for example, but the ‘stratioti’ defeat them. Indeed, it was reported that the ‘stratioti’ named Mercurio Buas (later he got titles from the German Emperor) not only won the men’s German mercenaries of the French king but he duel with the king and wounded him severely in the face. Also he disarmed the king and he got his long sword.

It was underlined that those warriors where returned to enslaved Greece from the Ottoman Empire , others were became ‘Klefts’ and took the mountains, while others were became ‘Armatoloi’ and they were having multiple roles.
Also noted that the ‘paramirion’ survived the Turkish occupation in the form of wooden sword the sword and the Greeks trining with it until the rebellion against the Ottomans. Similarities of paramiriou with the German dussack wooden sword and the school of Meyer. How techniques of ‘paramirion’ assimilated by the German school of oplomachia. Similarities sword spathion with rapier and the relationship with the Italian school of oplomachia.

Important information comes from a German fencing master of the 15th century who belonged to the ‘Society of Lichtenauer’, he is the Martin Siber who traveled throughout the Balkans but also in Greece and came into contact with teachers who unfortunately not survived their names, he was indicating them as a respected and well-trained. Martin did this trip in order to enrich in the fencing. Therefore there is no much differences between the German school of fighting with the Byzantine swordsmanship has not too many differences, at least for the long sword, because Martin wrote his book for the use of the long sword. His style analyzed at a later book written by German freifechter and fencing master Joachim Meyer.
Finally mentioned in lecture why ever the Romans of the East not authored fechtbooks .

The participators of the workshop trained following the Hank Reinhardt‘s central canon that the shape of a tool most often defines its use – the trick lies in having the skills to decipher that intent. Moreover, we believe that traditions remain in some shape and form within a region so we based our kinesiology on Greek dance, which many experts believe, has survived unaltered for millennia. We support Tim Dawson‘s position that the movements and strategy outlined in I/33 were present during Byzantine times back to the 11th century. We believe paintings and statues and the photographs of bygone times and that both the human body and the principles of combat have not changed.

Trainees learned:

Α) The guards of paramerion with small shield.
Β) Basic attacks of the upper lines and the deflections and parries of them.
C) The guards of paramerion with free hand or with the sword sheath.
D) Basic attacks of the upper lines and the deflections and parries of them
Ε) The guards of spathion with small shield.
F) Basic attacks of the upper lines and the deflections and parries of them
G) The guards of spathion with free hand or with the sword sheath.
H) Basic attacks of the upper lines and the deflections and parries of them.
I ) Addressing long sword using paramirion and vice versa.

The workshop was attended by athletes and trainers of other combat sports such as the Bujikan, Filipino Kali, Shooting, Fencing, Pangration and Kung fu.

Were given certificates to all practitioners.


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