...all the companies were clad in iron, and all parts of their bodies were covered with thick plates, so fitted that the stiff-joints conformed with those of their limbs.
— Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman Historian, on a contingent of Persian Cataphracts.
The origins for the Kataphraktoi can be traced back to Median and Persian times, where the native inhabitants of Central Asia were famous for their superior horsemanship. The Eastern Roman Empire later took the design for use. Later on, Byzantium took the concept of the Cataphract from rivalling Sassanids and upgraded them to make them proficient in every arena though still not as efficient as the Sassanid counterpart; Toxton bows and slings to compete with horse archers, lances to fulfill their role as shock calvary, swords and daggers to allow them to be capable at melee combat along with other more specialized weapons. Often these forces were led directly by the Emperor, and their devastating charges were skill feared in both Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East. They were the most feared heavy cavalry of their time, superbly armored from the top of their head with an iron or steel helmet to their feet with chainmail leggings. They were thrown right into the weakest sectors of enemy infantry, often resulting in early routs and complete, annihilating victories. Unfortunately as the Byzantine Empire declined so did the fortunes of the Cataphract, as these heavily armored units became too costly to afford.

Battle vs. Winged Hussar (by El Alamein)Edit

A Polish Winged Hussar rides his horse down the shore of a lake in a grassy meadow surrounded by a thick forest. It is mid-day but the light armor of the Hussar and a gentle breeze keeps him from overheating. His "wings" strapped on the back of his armor and the streamers hanging off of his lance give off an ominous humming noise. The Hussar's horse is used to this and trots along peacefully.

A Byzantine Cataphract approaches the Hussar, confused by the noise. The Cataphract's armored horse is hot and tired, and scared by the noise. It slows down and stops completely as the Cataphract urges his mount onward. The Hussar watches with mild amusement and brings his horse to a stop, ceasing the buzzing noise. The Cataphract raises the visor on his helmet and looks at the Hussar before he lowers his spear, closes the visor, and digs his heels into his horse, urging the beast forward. The Hussar is taken by surprise and takes the spear to his chest, but his steel cuirass deflects the blow and he is only pushed off of his horse. The Cataphract keeps riding off before he turns for a second pass. The Hussar quickly gets back on his horse and urges it forward, the lighter mount quickly taking off down the lake and away from the Cataphract. The buzzing noise again starts and the Cataphract’s horse slows to a nervous trot. The Hussar turns his horse back to face his opponent, lowers his lance, and leans forward, urging his horse forward. The Cataphract’s nervous horse backs up and the rider is unable to control the beast. The Hussar's lance shatters against the armor of the Cataphract but the Byzantine cavalryman is knocked off his horse. The Hussar is left without a rider's weapon and dismounts, aiming with his crossbow. The Cataphract struggles to his feet and takes a crossbow bolt in the breastplate. While it doesn't hit his organs, it knocks him back down on the ground.

The Hussar approaches the downed soldier with his war hammer, and he raises the weapon high for a powerful strike. The Cataphract raises an arm with his Spathi sword tightly gripped, and knocks the War Hammer aside. He rises to a knee and thrusts the short sword into a small unprotected section of the Hussar's thigh. While his Polish opponent doubles over in pain, the Cataphract slashes down at his exposed back but the cuirass stops the damage. The Hussar slams his war hammer into the Cataphract's knee, shattering the bone. The Cataphract yells in pain and makes another wild slash with his sword, deflecting an incoming attack from the hammer. Backing up, the Cataphract stumbles toward his horse for his other weapons while the Hussar loads another bolt into his crossbow. He fires right as the Cataphract takes his Toxoton bow off of a pouch on the saddle, and the bolt wedges into the horse's armor between the plates. The Cataphract's horse, already terrified by the Hussar's wing-noise and tired and hot, makes a feeble attempt to gallop away but stops after a few yards and collapses. The Cataphract is arrowless and throws the bow aside, limping in pain for one final attack.

The Hussar sidesteps the Cataphract's first stab and pulls his arm out of the way before he makes a crushing blow on the Byzantine's back. Falling onto his bad knee and racked in pain, the Cataphract looks up at the only slightly wounded Pole and makes one final effort, hacking at the Hussar's ankle. The lightly armored limb is severed from the leg and a blood fountain meets the flinching face of the Cataphract. The Hussar falls in agony, dropping his weapon and instinctively grabbing at the stump of a limb. The Cataphract takes an enormous breath and lunges himself on top of his disabled opponent, stabbing his Spathi sword straight into the Polish cavalryman's face, through the nose and into the base of his brain. The Hussar goes limp and the Cataphract can only roll over under the sun, breathing heavily, and shut his eyes as the pain rolls back into his body. Looking up at the Hussar's horse, he decides to search the saddle pouch for any medical supplies that could be there. As he tries to move his leg, the pain causes him to black out.


Expert's OpinionEdit

It was close, so very close. The Hussar was quick and the horrifying noise made by the streamers on his lance and the wings on his back really shook the Cataphract's mounted game, and while the Cataphract's armored horse did allow the Cataphract to stay mounted longer, it also meant fatigue and heat exhaustion would kick in much sooner. The Polish crossbow was a poor choice for mounted combat, and the war hammer was much slower than the Spathi in close-quarters combat. If this is an example of anything, it's that when it comes to two very closely matched warriors, armor matters, and when it comes to mounted warriors, mobility matters. The Cataphract had armor and mobility, and had them in a way that really allowed him to wear the Hussar down. Simply put, the Cataphract's armor protected him and the Hussar's armor didn't.

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Battle vs Easterling (by Kaiser of Metcalfer)Edit

Battle: Easterling's: ///// Byzantines://///

Out on a group of grassy hills a group of Byzantine catarphact's wonder aimlessly while trying to figure out how they got there. "Tbirues do know where we are going" "no captain, I haven't seen anything like this in all my travels" "this is worrisome" "sir, look up there" each of the catarphact's look up at the top of a hill where five golden looking warriors rode on top of armoured horse's "they look like eastern catarphact's, they could be Muslim heretics trying reach Byzantium" "I do not believe they are Muslims, look at there banner" on the banner there was a large red eye surrounded by words that where defently not Arabic "they must be some pagan tribe from the north, they seem not to have noticed us, let us notch our arrows" on top of the hill five confused Easterling catarphact's where also wandering around the strange land they have been transported to, they all became startled when they heard a large shout and the whistling of arrows, instinctually they raised the shield's towards the noise, three of the five arrows missed but two hit a young easterling in the throat and right leg before he could get a shield in place.

 Easterling's: //// Byzantines://///

The remaining Easterling's look first at there fallen comrade then at the strange armoured men charging them up the hill on there horse's, with a series of shouts praising Sauron they charged down the hill, one of the easterling's jumped onto his feet on top of the horse notching a arrow into his bow, praying dark prayers to Sauron for his arrow hitting his target he let lose his at a Byzantine in front of him, to stunned by seeing the gold armoured warrior standing on top the horse could not react quick anoth to dodge to arrow which had gone threw his right eye killing him instantly, thanking Sauron with his shot he could not react quick anoth to stop a Byzantine spear going threw his stomach jolting him off his horse and crashing onto the ground.

 Easterling's: /// Byzantines:////

Another easterling witnessing his fellow warrior been impaled charged his horse straight to the closest Byzantine, hang lineing him with his shield breaking the warriors neck.

Easterling's: /// Byzantines:///

Filled with blood lust he charged the next enemy warrior armed with a mace, drawing his falcion he urged his horse faster until the enemy warrior threw his mace breaking the knee of the easterling's horse throwing him off and breaking his back against a rock.

Easterling's: // Byzantines:///

The Easterling captain then charged the man known as Tbirues, Tbirues did not stand a chance as the easterling captain swung his halberd at Tbirues face breaking his lower jaw and knocking Tbirues off his horse, dismounting from his own horse and then began walking to Tbirues who was currently rolling ground screaming in pain, the easterling begun mocking the man before stabbing the spear end of the halberd into the man's chest ending his screams, the man's friend saw his friend die and wanted revenge, he then charged screaming in anger towards the easterling captain swinging his sword around his head, once he was at the enemy warrior he swung his sword at him who expertly dodged it and used the hook on his halberd to pull the man off his horse, getting back onto his feet agin he charged the skilled warrior screaming like a lunatic waving his sword around, the easterling used his halberd to block the sword, upon his halberd braking he threw the two parts of the halberd at the enraged Greek, the Greek warrior swung again and again at the easterling, each time he dodged the blade until he grabbed the mans sword arm breaking it with a well timed swing of his fist to the elbow, he then silenced the screaming man with a armoured elbow to his face breaking his nose then finishing off the man by redirecting his sword into his stomach killing him.

Easterling's: // Byzantines:/

The easterling captain turn's to see his last man fighting the enemy captain, both trading blows until the Byzantine captain get's a lucky shot lacerates the Easterling's throat.

Easterling's: / Byzantines:/

After watching the dead man slump off his horse, the Byzantine turns his head to see the last Easterling standing with Tbirues and Basil laying dead at his feet, with a kick to the side he sends his horse on towards the enemy captain, the easterling captain then picks up Tbirues spear and throws at his enemy, knocking him off his horse, picking him self up the captain hears the easterling draw his falcion which he replies by picking up his sparthar and round shield then issuing a challenge towards the easterling, the easterling understands the gesture and the charges the Byzantine with both his hands on his falcion. The two exchange blows for the next six minutes until the easterling captain manged to get behind the Byzantine and swung his sword at the back of the chain mail covered neck, breaking the man's neck.

Expert's OpinionEdit


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