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An extract from The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome
by Phil Barker & Ian Heath


4th century Sassanid armies supported their clibanarii with more heavily armoured men on fully metal armoured horses. These did not have bows or shields, but relied entirely on the Kontos. They were normally stationed in the centre with the clibanarii on their wings. This man is clad entirely in mail. He wears a surcoat, short cloak and a helmet incorporating a face mask. It is quite likely that several other variations existed and that some individuals may have been more like 83 and 121.

This type of soldier does not seem to have been a complete success for the Sasssanids. The Emperor Julian taught his men to attack the Sassanids at a run instead of awaiting their charge, then to dive under the lances and try to hamstring the horses. Faced with this threat, the clibanarii would try to withdraw to use their bows, leaving the cataphracts isolated and handicapped by their poor vision. Certainly we do not hear of Cataphracts such as these in the Byzantine wars.

Next:128. SASSANID STANDARD BEARER in Armies and Enemies of Ancient Rome by Phil Barker

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