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 .
The above photos are from various icons of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Archangel Michael cuts hte hands of Iefonias.
Manusscripts from the ‘Menologion of emperor Basil II ’