Trapezuntine Byzantine - 1204AD to 1461AD

Inspired by the so-called Trebizond Cassone (painting) made in Florence in the mid-C15th and also the range of very nice 15mm figures depicting these troops by Essex Miniatures, this list attempts to depict the armies of the southern Black Sea coast Trapezuntine Byzantine kingdom from its creation after the fall of Constantinople to the Franks in 1204AD to its final (& inevitable) fall to the Ottoman Turks.

The army was small and the kingdom survived through estute diplomacy, the strategic use of dynastic marriages (a lot of very attractive princesses was a great help!) and the fact that when they were attacked the Trapezuntines fought 'like lions' according to Turkish sources.

The Trebizond Cassone shows a battle between Trapezuntine forces of bow and sabre armed unarmoured LC, supported by unarmoured foot archers and rectangular shielded unarmoured javelinmen - fighting a mainly LC force of Turks. The only real difference between the Trapezuntine LC and the Turkish LC is that the latter are depicted wearing tall conical fur lined hats with long flowing plumes (and are protected by square-topped brightly painted heater shields) whilst the Turks wear turbans and have small round bucklers.

The lower than usual Initiative (for a Byzantine list) reflects the fact that Trapezuntine armies were small and mainly fought defensive actions. Georgians featured strongly in early armies but their numbers declined later. Turkish allies and mercenaries were mainly drawn from local independant Anatolian Turkish Amirs, often related by marriage to the Trapezuntine Byzantine 'Emperor'.

Era: Age of Chivalry   Trapezuntine Byzantine - 1204AD to 1461AD CR: H: 3 L: 5   BP: 2 Init: 5
Number Type   Description Key FV PROT Weapon Cost
1 HC Pronoiai* k 4[1]0 +1 Lance/Bow 12
1 LC (Nobles)* k 3[0]0 +1 Lance/Bow 10
4 LC (Turkopoles) k 2[0]0 +1 Various/Bows 8
2 LHI (Peltastoi) k 4[1]2 +1 Javelins 7
2 LI (Peltastoi) k 3[1]2 +1 Bows 6
1 SI (Psiloi)   3[1]2 +2 Javelins 2
2 SI (Psiloi)   2[1]1 +2 Bows 2
1 HC (Guard)* k 4[1]0 +2 Lance/Bows 13
1 LC (Nobles)* k 3[0]0 +1 Lance/Bows 10
4 LC (Turkopoles) k 2[0]0 +1 Various/Bows 8
4 LHI (Peltastoi) k 4[1]2 +1 Javelins 7
4 LI (Peltastoi) k 3[1]2 +1 Bows 6
4 SI (Psiloi)   3[1]2 +2 Javelins 2
4 SI (Psiloi)   2[1]1 +2 Bows 2
2 FT (Garrison) k 4[1]1 +1 Spears 4
2 LHI Galley Crew k 2[1]1 +1 X-bows 4
1 HC Aznauri** k 5[1]0 +1 Lance/Bows 13
1 HC Aznauri** k 4[1]0 +1 Lance/Bows 11
2 LC (Retainers) k 2[0]0 +1 Various/Bows 8
4 LHI (Iberians) k 4[1]2 +1 Long Spear 6
3 LC   k 2[0]0 +1 Various/Bows 8
3 LC   k 1[0]0 +1 Bows etc 6


Core: 1-SH

Bonus: (Max: 3 ) 3-GR; 3-SH; 1-RG or 1-WD


Core: 116 Bonus: 245

*One may use either the Core Pronoiai HC or the Core Noble LC but not both. Similarly, one may use either the Bonus Guard HC or the Bonus Noble LC but not both. Noble LC may not be used with either the Core Pronoiai HC or the Bonus Guard HC.

If the Bonus Guard units is bought it must be upgraded to veteran and the General must be attached to it at all times. (NB: the +2 protection reflects steadfastness, training and also upgraded personal armour, but not horse armour).

No more than 4 Bonus Trapezuntine infantry with bows and 4 Bonus Trapezuntine infantry with javelins of any type may be bought.

Georgian and Turkish allies cannot be used in the same army.

Turkish LC and Italian LHI must be deployed in their own seperate division(s).

If Turkish allies are used a minimum of 3 LC must be bought.

If Georgian allies are used a minimum of 1 HC FV4 (Aznauri) and 1 LC (Retainers) must be bought.

If both units of Georgian Aznauri are bought they must be fielded in the same division. Georgian Retainers and Iberians can be brigaded in divisions with native Trapezuntine troops.

** Aznauri are subject to obligatory charge and cannot break-off.

Unpurchased Light troops from any of these allied contingents are excluded with regard to the purchase of all Light Bonus troops with regards to the extra Light Division rule.

As the time period covered by this list progressed Trapezuntine armies became increasingly 'lighter' with an even greater emphasis on light horse archer tactics. They also became more 'wary' of relying upon Turkish allies and had more restricted access to Georgian assistance.

Therefore a later C15th army (post 1450AD) where no Pronoiai or Guard HC are fielded, no Turkish allies are bought and which only fields the minimum or no Georgian allies, can convert one Heavy Division into a Light Division changing the CR to H:2; L:6; BP:2; Init:5.

Ordo Link: Trapezuntine Byzantine

Last Edited: 29 October 2006

List Author: Aetius