The early medieval east was dominated by the Byzantine and Sassanid Empires, two great powers that effectively tore each other apart in a series of wars that culminated in the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602-628. Both Empires were exhausted by these wars, and were unable to resist the Arab conquests, which began a few years after the end of the war.
We start with a look at how the rivalry between the two powers developed, and an outline of the events of the final, and most devastating, of the wars between them. Next comes a look at what the Strategikon of the Emperor Maurice had to say about fighting the Sassanids, an interesting examination of what the Byzantines actually thought of their own enemies. Next comes a look at how the Sassanid troops armoured - the answer is effectively and colourfully, as demonstrated by the superb photos of modern reconstructions of the armour. The nature of Byzantine warfare of this period is examined by looking at the main battles of Narses and Belisarius, the two best known generals of Justinian I. The last two articles on the theme look at why Khosrow II was willing to change the nature of the conflict, and refused to make peace even when it cost him his throne, and the costly Byzantine fight-back.
Away from the main theme there is a comparison of the British and Japanese longbows, comparing them as artefacts, looking at the social standing of their users and the ways they were used in combat. Next is a look at the Livonian crusades, and the roles the local bishops had on the course of these brutal wars in the Baltic. Finally there is a look at the battle of Lock Lochy of 1544, one of the more famous battles in the endless clashes between the Scottish clans, and a rather one-sided ambush that clearly demonstrated the lawlessness of the area.
Historical Introduction - The Byzantine-Sassanid Wars
Learning from the enemy - The Strategikon and the Sassanids
Arming the knights of the Shahs - Arms and armour of Sasanian Iran
Fields of Byzantium - Justinian's Army at War
What inspired Khosrow? - Historical Background of the 602-628 war
Byzantium's Pyrrhic victory - Battle of Nineveh, 12 December AD 627
Draw of the bow - comparing archers of Japan & Britain
More like Lions than men - The Battle of Loch Lochy, AD 1544
Bishops in Lavonia - Crusades in the medieval Baltic region