Like the legendary Roman Centurion before them, the Byzantine Infantry continued the Roman Empire’s tradition of a professional and disciplined army. From Roman legions to a feudal army as the Middle Ages approached, the Byzantine Infantry saw an evolution among their rank, catering to the times and the challenges that were posed by them. Among a sea of mercenaries in the Byzantine army, the Byzantine Infantry represented the Byzantium citizens who were willing to fight for their empire.
The Byzantine Infantry was a well-disciplined group of soldiers whose membership consisted of the citizen of Byzantium. For most of its years of reign, Byzantium had an army that consisted largely of mercenaries and foreign auxiliaries. This army was highly trained as that of the Roman Infantry of old, but they were plagued with disobedience. The Byzantine Infantry however was a professional army that owes its loyalty not to the large purses of Byzantium, but to Byzantium itself. And continuing the strategy of the old Roman army, the Byzantine Infantry adapted itself and its weapons according to the situation at hand.
The Old Roman army was well know for their penchant to utilize the weapons of their recently conquered enemies if it suited their goals for conquest. The weapons of ancient Greek and the English provinces are just but a few the Old Roman army adopted for the use of their soldiers. The Byzantine Infantry follows a similar path in they’re decision for armaments. A typical Byzantine Infantry soldier was armed with a sword, similar to that of the Old Roman army, shields, helmet, bows and arrows, and lancets whether they are long or short. And during the latter medieval periods, crossbows found they’re way into the arms of the infantry. Other weapons procured during the Byzantines infantry conflict with the Muslims also were implemented for their use. This shows just how flexible the Byzantine infantry was in their approach to warfare.
The armour of a Byzantine infantry soldier also saw quite a few evolutions. But the mainstay of the infantry soldier armour was body armour and a mantle. The body armour was light, all the more reason to give the infantry an effective melee capability. And helmets would also accompany the ensemble. Basically, the Byzantine infantry light protective armour was meant for the unit to be mobile yet still protected.
At the height of their power, the Byzantium army was the most well-paid, best trained, and best structured army in the known world. They’re equipments were also the best. But the mercenaries and foreign auxiliaries that made a significant part of this army owed most of their loyalties to the seemingly bottomless coffers of the Byzantium. The Byzantine Infantry however was the professional military that originated from the population of the Byzantines themselves. Carrying on the Old Roman Empire tradition of having the most disciplined and effective infantry in the known world, the Byzantine Infantry was part of Byzantium’s aspiration for not only defence of its borders, but also its ambition to retake the Empire that was lost.