The Byzantine ‘Hollow Square’ formation

Scholae Palatinae


By George E. Georgas

When the emperor of Eastern Roman Empire was the emperor Alexios Komnenos the first, at his battles against the Seljuk Turks to reclaim the lands that the empire lost from the invasion of the Seljuk, he orders his armies to use a type of the ‘square’ formation!

Emperor Alexios wants to secure the civilians from the Turks horsemen. So he ordered his commanders to form ‘squares’ and secure the civilians inside them. With this formation the Roman soldiers bring the civilians of Minor Asia to a secure place at the West coast.

This formation called ‘Hollow Square’. At the centre were the civilians and at the sides there were phalanxes of foot soldiers.
A similar type of ‘square’ formation can be found in the ‘Tactica’ of the emperor Leon the wise. Emperor Leon calls it ‘Various Formation’ but it was not exactly the same as the…

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