THE BYZANTINE (EAST ROMAN) RHOMPHAIA
By Periklis Deligiannis
Modern researchers of medieval military history often wonder what was the nature of the Byzantine weapon called ‘rhomphaia’.
The rhomphaia (or rhomphaea) of Antiquity was a weapon of the Thracians, which consisted of a long straight or slightly curved (sickle-shaped) blade mounted on a long wooden shaft. If the rhomphaia was sickle-shaped, the cutting edge was located on the inner (concave) side of the blade. Especially the curved rhomphaia belonged to the group of spears and swords with scythe blade (kopis, machaira, falcata, falx etc) which were used by various peoples of the ancient Mediterranean (Iberians, Celtiberians, Greeks, Thracians, Etruscans, Lycians, Carians, Lydians, Phrygians, Dacians and others). Their original source is unknown and sometimes the researchers try to locate it. My opinion is that they are products of polygenesis.
The ancient Greeks and then the Romans used units of Thracian rhomphaioforoi (rhomphaia-bearers), allies and…
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