ARMENIAN CAVALRYMAN

An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath


91.      ARMENIAN CAVALRYMAN

The Armenians were a warlike race who were pushed around throughout this period by Sassanids, Byzantines, Arabs and Khazars and ultimately overrun by the Seljuks.

This figure dates to c. 920. He wears helmet with neck-guard, mail cape and lamellar corselet, and is armed with sword and spear. Some may have also carried a bow and arrows since at Yarmuk in 636 the accuracy of the Armenian archers is specifically attested; however, these were probably infantry. Clothing was of wool, silk and brocade, red and crimson being the most popular colours.

The military strength of Armenia always lay in her cavalry, supplied chiefly by the azats (the lesser nobility). Some of the lower-classes also sometimes fought as cavalry, but always in units distinct from the azats. Until about the 5th century, and possibly even into the Dark Age period, the senior nobility (the nakharars) could each muster as many as 100 to 10,000 cavalry.
[Based on David and Goliath on Surb Khach Church of the Holy Cross, Akdamar Island, Van Province, Turkish Armenia]



92. ARMENIAN INFANTRYMAN by Ian Heath




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