The Development of Warfare
The Roman Empire that was created through the exploits of Alexander the Great was too big to manage as one and was split into two east and west empires that mirrored each other politically, but not religiously. The Byzantine Empire, eastern Rome, established its capital at Constantinople in 330 A.D. founded by Constantine and the Orthodox Christianity severed its ties from the Church of Rome.
The Byzantium Empire surrounded its capital with huge walls capable of resisting any attack and sought to hire native-born barbarian mercenaries to protect the borders of the Eastern Empire. The basic combat soldier was a horse rider and expert bowmen. Under Justinian’s cavalry general, Belisarius, the Byzantium Empire took back control of the Vandal kingdom and southern to central Italy. This would be the end of the Byzantium’s offensive campaign.
The defensive campaign of the Byzantine Empire held strong, and naval superiority was strengthened; weaponry on vessels were invented like the “sea fire”, thought to be a petroleum based flame-thrower. The defensive military structure preserved the Byzantine Empire until the seventh century. After the northeast properties of Syria and Egypt fell under the control of the Persians, Heraclius fought back to gain control of the land from the barbarians, which held no stock in the maintenance or lines of communication. In 626 the territory was regained to pre-war status under the Byzantium Empire.
The Arabs charged with religious zeal from Mohammed conquered quickly over the Persians and were welcomed at Egypt and Syria. Egypt and Syria greeted the Arabs as liberators that promised toleration of religion rather than doctrinal disputes from the church at Constantinople. With these two key ports the Arabs had opened the East Mediterranean by 1641. The Muslims were unable to defeat the Byzantine Empire on land and move to the sea for victory, which allowed the Arabs control of Egypt across North Africa and into Spain by 1717.
The Franks, a composition of Germanic tribes, established themselves in Western Rome, but economic decay forced them to allow eastern outposts of the Arabs and Byzantines in Western Europe. The financial situation of the empire forced the Frankish king to provide for himself and very little money was left over to contribute to the funding of the empire as well as the military soldier.
Charles Martel solved this problem by giving a portion of land to a “vassal”, a soldier, in exchange for an oath of lifelong duty. When the soldier could no longer serve, his land was given to someone else that swore an oath of service. Charles’ son, Charlemagne, further implemented that if the portion of land was to small, a few landowners could gather as a team and supply the empire with one soldier. Charlemagne was able to expand his empire and convert new citizens to Christianity at the same time.
With the decline in naval power, the...