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The Last Wars of the Western Empire Part 5: Arles, 411

Introduction Our first scenario concerns a battle between two ‘Roman’ armies. It is one of very few battles of this period for which we have been left any reliable information about the tactics used, and that only by chance. Examining this battle allows us to pick up some points made earlier in this series about … Continue reading

The Last Wars of the Western Empire Part 4: Fifth-Century Armies: Basic Aspects

Introduction In Part 1 of this series I suggested that the fourth-century Roman army might have been rather over-rated in terms of its fighting efficiency – its real strength lying in its sheer size and logistical organisation – but that the military balance of power between Rome and its northern neighbours was nevertheless hopelessly, unequally … Continue reading

A Fifth-Century Cataphract

Here is a photo I took in the Archaeological Museum in Lyon last Spring.  It is of the tombstone of a cataphract from the fifth century.  The cavalryman is followed by an unarmoured infantryman with a large oval shield.  Noteworthy is the evident lack of armour of our cataphract, apart from a lavishly-plumed helmet and … Continue reading