Early Avar

This is an attempt to simulate the Avar army from 558 to 630 A.D. or immediately after the first appearance of the Avars in Byzantine sources. Although it is recognized that archeology divides the Avar era into early, middle, and late periods, only early and late armies are planned by Warflute to reflect the later increase in proportionate numbers of lighter steppe cavalry.

Written sources include the Strategicon, Priscus, Theophylact Simmocatta, Evagrius, Menander Protector, George of Pisidia's Bellum Avaricum, the Miraculi St. Demetrii, the Sermon on the Siege of Constantinople, Theophanes, the Grand Chronographer, John of Nikkiu, De Administradio Imperii, the Slavic Primary Chronicle, The Song of Igor, Isidore of Seville, Paul the Deacon, Einhard, the Chronicle of the Frankish Kings, Nitthard, Sebeos' Armenian History, the Chronicon Paschal, and Agathias.

Era: Triumph of Cavalry   Early Avar CR: H: 4 L: 4   BP: 2 Init: 6
Number Type   Description Key FV PROT Weapon Cost
1 HC Illustrious Men K 5(1)0 +2 Lance/bow 15
2 HC Armored Cavalry K 4(0)0 +1 Lance/bow 12
2 LC Avar Tribesmen K 2(0)0 +1 Various/bow 8
    Ethnic Avars*          
1 HC Converged Avar tribal retinues K 5(1)0 +2 Lance/bow 15
2 HC Avar Armored cavalry K 4(0)0 +1 Lance/bow 12
6 LC Avar Tribesmen K 2(0)0 +1 Various/bow 8
    Slavs **(Slavs,Sklavenoi,Antae, Croats, etc.)          
1 HC(d) Druzhina*** K 4(0)0 +1 Various 10
1 LHI Druzhina*** K 4(1)2 +1 Javelins 7
1 LC Antae K 2(0)0 +1 Various/bows 8
1 LC Slavs K 2(0)0 +1 Javelins 7
2 LHI Carinthian Slavs***   4(1)2 +1 Axes, etc. 6
4 LI Slavs   4(1)2 +1 Javelins 7
4 SI Slavs****   2(1)1 +2 Bows 2
4 SI Slavs   3(1)2 +2 Javelins 2
1 HC(d) Nobles K 4(0)0 +1 Lance 10
4 WB Tribesmen***** K 5(1)2 +1 Various 8
5 FT Tribesmen***** K 5(1)1 +1 Various 6
2 SI Tribesmen   2(1)1 +2 Bows 2
1 HC Proto-Bulgar Nobles K 4(0)0 +1 Various/bows 12
2 LC Proto-Bulgar Tribesmen K 2(0)0 +1 Various/bows 8
2 LC Proto-Bulgar Tribesmen K 1(0)0 +1 Bows 6
1 HC Kutrigur Nobles K 4(0)0 +1 Various/bows 12
4 LC Kutrigur Tribesmen K 1(0)0 +1 Bows 6


Core: 1 GR

Bonus: (Max: 3 ) 2 GR, 2 SH, 2 RG, 2 W


Core: 95 Bonus: 327

*The initial Avar migration was reported by the Turks to consist of 20,000 people with a follow on migration of 10,000 people. It is not clear whether or not the numbers reflect fighting strength or total population. Ethnic Avars do not appear in great numbers. However, the sources are replete with support for the widespread use of subject troops to bulk out the numbers of Avar armies - particularly Slavs. It appears that Avar armies quickly assimilated conquered peoples of differing ethnic origin into the Avar army and that these subject peoples furnished significant portions of the Avar army.

** Slav cavalry may not outnumber the combined total of Slav LI and LHI.

*** If any Slavs are bought, at least 25 points of Slavs must be purchased. If any Carinthian Slavs are purchased, then the Druzhina must be purchased. HC Druzhina and LHI Druzhina are mutually exclusive choices. Although some of the Slavs at the siege of Constantinople are described as armored, heavy infantry, most sources attribute the characteristics of lighter infantry to the Slavs. However, John of Ephesus states that the Slav infantry had acquired large amounts of Byzantine equipment and could fight the Byzantines in the open. The Chronicron Paschal differentiates between Slavs with corselets and unarmored Slavs. Miracula St. Demetrii describes better equipped Slavs in contrast to light armed Slavs. Hence, the LI as well as the LHI classification.

****Slavic SI with bows may not outnumber Slavic infantry with javelins.

Procopius describes Antae horse archers. As the Antae were destroyed by the Avars circa 601 A.D., Antae LC may not be used after 601 A.D.

***** Gepid Warbands are BP4, move 6 inches. One may purchase either Gepid WB or Gepid FT but not both. The choices are mutually exclusive.

Gepids, Proto-Bulgars, and Kutrigurs are mutually exclusive choices. If one purchases any unit or units from one of these options, one may not purchase units from the other two options.

List Author: Group Effort