Creation of the Medieval Roman Army

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The Kings and Generals animated historical documentary series on the evolution of the Roman Army continues with the first episode of the series on the Army of the Eastern Roman Empire – the Byzantine Empire. In this episode, we’ll mainly focus on how the Roman army was transformed into the medieval Byzantine army and talk about the armies of Justinian and Belisarius described by Procopius.

Armies and Tactics:
Late Roman Army:
Roman Imperial Cavalry:
Roman Army during the Crisis of the Third Century:
Justinian’s Restoration:

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The video was made by Arb Paninken while the script was developed by Matt Hollis. This video was narrated by Officially Devin (

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Production Music courtesy of Epidemic Sound:

#Documentary #Byzantines #Romans

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Comment (27)

  1. At that point they were Romans in name only and substantially weaker than the "real" Romans ever were…

  2. Every Romans were gangsta until The Turks ( most known Huns, Seljuks and Ottomans) showed themselves 🇹🇷💪

  3. Maybe an interesting vid might be to cover the decision making that caused Ancient Rome to lose battles. Could be that you have already in a variety of vids. But I'm saying to piece them together in it's own vid.

  4. is it quite increadible that the ancient Hellenes managed to get armies up to even 40.000 against the persians in such a small area compair to even the roman empire at its largest

  5. As a Turk, I can say that when Byzantium is mentioned, I think of an army focused on fighting behind the walls. It consists mainly of infantry. The cavalry aspect is an underdeveloped army. They suffered a heavy blow in 1071, being trapped in great battles.

  6. I'm guessing purple became a lot cheaper to produce by late antiquity cuz damn the Greeks loved themselves some purple

  7. 4:29 "to change from iconic military styles was more Roman than maintaining outward military trappings."
    Damn right. Rome had already massively reformed its military twice under Marius & Diocletian. Reforming it a third didn't make it any less Roman.

  8. For me the Roman Empire died in the first half of the 7th century. They may still call themselves “Romans” but this was not the same Empire anymore. Even the Western Europeans after the 10th century call them Greeks

  9. I mean the romans did change their traditions (both in military and political matters). For example the reform from the phalanx of old to the hastati principes and triarii units of the early republic and then to the marian reforms of the late republic and finally to the change from the traditional roman legion of augustus caesar to the legio comitatenses of the late empire. Furthermore, as far as politics are concerned, the nature of roman politics, even though it was always full of scheming, assassinations and executions, changed from a republican system to the imperial system of augustus(that kept the power of the senate) and later to the all mighty imperator(or dominus if we want to be historically accurate) of Diocletian all the way to end of the Roman empire in the west. After that the dominus became (during the reign of Heraclius) a ruler Πιστός εν Χριστώ τω Θεώ Βασιλεύς και Αυτοκράτωρ Ρωμαίων( that means "Faithful to Christ Emperor of the Romans) and remained like this until the unfortunate end of the empire in 1453. Therefore, it can be safely said that the empire was like a chameleon, always changing colours to adapt and survive but always remaining the same entity from 753 BC to 1453 AD.

  10. The Romans in the past also relies on the use of mercenary (Auxilia) and they actually form the biggest force
    Old habits die hard…

  11. Love hearing the stories of the Byzantine Empire. If only a moment in our lifetime to go back during that time.

  12. Does anyone know where I can get a copy of Maurice's Strategikon in the original Greek? I can't find a copy that has it. Also for those still searching in vain for the music in this video, search Crusader Kings II Soundtrack – Byzantine Empire to find it on youtube.

  13. The greek state from 1821 to this time "forgets" that we are more "romans" than "ancient greeks". Feels like the creation of this new state couldn't survive with a different form, because european powers didn't want the greeks to make attachments with the glory of Byzantium. While digging into the ancient past of Hellenism and trying to make comparisons with the Greece of the Turkish rule period, we find important cultural impasses. Last but not least, even the orthodox religion does not negate the Greek philosophy and the ancient mysteries, many times it embraces the glorious past, and it would certainly be an obstacle in the cultural connection of the Greek of that time with the ancient ancestor

  14. Caracalla giving everyone Roman citizenship took away a big carrott for internal reccruitment from the Empire. Further loss of population due to plagues, military disasters, raids and loss of lands further compounded the problem.

    The empire moves away from citizens in a dynamic Republic and constitional monarchy of the Principate to a enserfed Autocracy of the Dominate where things become stagnate and regressive. Byzentine Rome may have adapted equipment and tactics for battle. It does however lose out somewhat with gradualy declining logistical and engineering ability.

    However above all this the greatest weakness of the empire are military coups and self interested commanders consistently behind much of the Roman major declines or failures to maintain a comeback. This is regardless of how the military is recruited, equiped, or organized. Or even what religion the state is.


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