Sunday, December 14, 2014

A despatch from the Italo-Byzantine front

A battle was fought somewhere in the Italian south. As usual the Byzantine nobility just could not keep the peace, even among themselves. After all the winner would be a possible favorite of the Emperor or even becoming an Emperor himself. 

The stage was set when Basil Faultopolous attacked the shrine of St Enigmatus( the patron saint of all unfathomable causes). As true Byzatine he of courage knep that a set of holy bones comming from a saint or a holy man of some kind would give him great powers, great powers he needed to conquer the title of Katepan( head of the Byzatine controllers areas in southern Italy).

St Enigmatus shrine, a late Roman contruction now in ruin, was in the hands of his worst enemy - The Despot of Epiros, The Fist of Anatolia and all decent mothers threat given towards wicked children, Bardas Castroulous.  Though sent by the Emperor many years ago to give Law and order to the province Bardas had followed his black heart and spread terror and grief in southern Italy ever since his arrival. Bardas'ambition was identical to that of Basil. The main difference was that he(Bardas)long ago stopped giving the Emperor his due.

Basil, the braggard did not move his troops fast enough to seize the shrine without letting the whole of Apulia know about it. Thus the black guardian of the shrine was warned about the things that was about to happen and managed to send units to defend the shrine.  A group of Varingians( including a guard unit) waited for Basil's troops to arrive. Instead of a neat bloodless capture of the shrine it all turned into a battle. 

 The defenders of the shrine

The basic situation on the battlefield was that Basil's forces intially outnumbred the defenders of the shrine. If captured fast enough the defenders would not be reinforced. Intially it all went according to the plan. The defenders of the shrine were hard pressed and their numbers shrank as the arrows rained down on them. Especially the horseriders of Basil's army was quite effective.
Bardas Castroullous was trying to stem the tide. However he soon felt himself in the middle of a an untangable situation, his own cavalry fell in droves. Soon he had no retinue.

The intial attack on the shrine stalled however and the reinforcements that Bardas Castroullous was hoping for eventually found it's way to the battlefield. This new troop included new guardsmen and Norman knights.

The balande tilted. Basil had to face the Norman knights and the onslaught of Varingian guardsmen. Basils second in Command fell as an arrow struck the fearless norseman Skoglartoste. Basil himself attacked with his Cataphracts, but could not stop the combination of Normans and Varingians. The battle was in the end lost. Bardas Castroullos, the wicked man from Antolia keep his price. The bones of a saint most holy were in the hands of a man destined to become the next Katepan.....or so at least the wicked man thought ......


  1. This is one of my projects on stand-by - a Byzantine Army, with Crusader minis! Your figs are beautifully painted - I particularly like the Varangian Guards.

  2. I am glad you liked it! This project is a game that we intend to run for while. The minatures are painter by me and Ulf(Tabletopgamer).  Ulf has even created custom Byzantine army lists for Lion Rampant. I hope that he will post them on this blog eventually. It's a great period and I do rekommend the crusader miniatures for your Byzantine army.