Episode 90 – The Roman Army in 800AD

9th century Byzantine troops from Byzantium at War by John Haldon

9th century Byzantine troops from Byzantium at War by John Haldon

I flesh out some details and answer your questions about the Roman army in 800AD.

Period: 695-802

Download: The Roman Army in 800AD

RSS Feed: The History of Byzantium

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Categories: Podcast | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Episode 90 – The Roman Army in 800AD

  1. Erik

    What happened to the episode count? The House of War was episode #87 last I checked. 🙂

  2. I think they got retro-renumbered to get rid of A and B. However, now “old” the audio says one number and the “new” filename says another. There’s no 88 or 89, is what it boils down to, afaict. I am calling it a blip and moving on. I am willing to forgive much of this guy.

  3. Klas

    Just wanted to pop by and thank you yet again for this fantastic podcast. It is my favourite on all the web together with history of english podcast.
    I have not listened to this episode yet but im looking forward 🙂

  4. Listener Priyankar Kandarpa-from Singapore

    Amazing Episode 🙂
    Congratulations on your 90th episode!

  5. Andy

    I’ve always loved the podcast, I just wish the end of century look around wouldn’t take so long. I really miss the chronological narrative.

  6. Nick

    Great episode Robin, though I’m a little surprised that ‘Episode 90 – the 100th episode’ of THoR didn’t tip you off as to the perils of multi-part episodes 🙂

    But what I really came here to post was to ask whether we can consider the tagmata to be a new and improved version of the old Praetorian Guard. It seems to have the same basic advantage (having an elite unit stationed in/near the capital), but by separating the guard, this eliminated the possibility of having the guard make and unmake emperors and/or auction off the imperial throne, which plagued the earlier Roman version. Do we know if the Byzantines consciously made these improvements after having learned the lessons of history?

    • You’re so right about THOR.
      I don’t know whether Constantine V read his history or if an advisor did. I think though that the Tagmata are more like a return to the Praesental Armies rather than the Praetorian Guard. The PG were rarely expected to go on campaign my memory tells me. Whereas the Tagmata were designed to join and lead expeditions. Plus the Palace in Constantinople always had guards units to defend the Imperial person. This didn’t change that.

  7. Francesco

    Would you be so kind to publish in your reply to my comment the two sources you quoted on the size of the Roman army in the period covered by your excellent podcast #90? Thanks

    • You can find these books on the Bibliography page (see top of the site menu). Warren Treadgold – Byzantium and its Army argues for the larger numbers, taking as literal the army lists reported by Arab geographers. Mark Whittow (Making of Orthodox Byzantium) and John Haldon (Warfare, State and Society) argue for much small numbers.

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