Late Roman Equites Cataphractarii

The most impressive looking cavalry in Late Imperial forces were doubtless the Equites Catafractarii and Clibanarii, fully armoured men wielding 12 ft (3.6 m) lances and mounted on metal barded horses. They had evolved following Rome’s conflicts with Armenia, Parthia, and Persia, and became an important force, especially in the East. These cavalry did not charge into battle but trotted forwards pushing enemies aside as much by fear as martial prowess. The kontos or lance was a heavy bladed cutting weapon that was wielded with both hands, slicing and stabbing opponents in an almost fencing style of combat.

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