Spation and sheath, a weapon style of the Byzantines

By George E. Georgas

The use of spathion (or sword) and its sheath was a common style of combat in the empire. This combat style was used in duels or in ambushes against surprised enemies. This style was used also from Georgian warriors, Pontiac warriors, and Cappadocians.

The Byzantines ‘spatharioi’ who were the personal guards of the emperor were used this combat style to protect the emperor or other persons that the emperor command to do. The use of sheath is for deflections of the enemies attacks, or even to for grabbling maneuvers.

This combat style was not alien to the Greeks. It was used also from the ancient Greeks if they did not use their shield.

The same style of combat is also used from Arab warriors with the use of scimitars but also from the Ottomans after the fall of Eastern Roman Empire.

We have many frescos and manuscripts from the Byzantine arts who give as the stances and in some frescos we have how the attack ends, but also from Greek war dances, where is given more or less the maneuvers and the attacks .

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Ιεφωνιας 1

Ιεφωνιας 5

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KOIMISI TIS THEOTOKOU (2)

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The above photos are from various  icons of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Archangel Michael cuts hte hands of Iefonias.

The victory of St.Nestor on the chambion of heathens Liaios. (At the right St. Dimitrios prays for St. Nestor victory).
The victory of St.Nestor on the chambion of heathens Liaios. (At the right St. Dimitrios prays for St. Nestor victory).

 

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Manusscripts from  the ‘Menologion of emperor Basil II ’

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St. Theodore slay the dragon
St. Theodore slay the dragon

 

Here we have a ward similar to Ox guard from an ancient Greek warrior. Amphora of the Tyrannicides by Berlin Painter. Attica, 480 BC.
Here we have a ward similar to Ox guard from an ancient Greek warrior. Amphora of the Tyrannicides by Berlin Painter. Attica, 480 BC.

 

Here we have Harmodius and Aristogeiton. The sword is in low guard and the arm holding the scabbard and the cloak is on shoulder level. The other has his sword in up ward and he is ready to strike , the armed hand and the leg are in the same line.
Here we have Harmodius and Aristogeiton. The sword is in low guard and the arm holding the scabbard and the cloak is on shoulder level. The other has his sword in up ward and he is ready to strike , the armed hand and the leg are in the same line.
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