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Passwords, war-cries, and prebattle tactics all used by Byzantines.

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When attacking enemy territory, the Byzantines constructed a string of fortified camps along their route so in the army would always have a safe haven to retreat to. Entry to these would only be allowed if certain passwords were answered. These passwords were usually the names of Orthodox saints. Before even considering an open battle, certain conditions had to be met, (A high probability of victory. An easy route of escape in case of routing. A mass has been said for the victory of the Byzantines. And so on.)
When a Byzantine Army met their opponents on the battlefield, the Byzantines would form their battle lines, and stand in complete silence. The Byzantines believed that this would intimidate the badly organized armies that they faced. Then the entire Byzantine army would shout out their war-cries, and commence the battle.
War cries varied depending on the individual soldier. It was not uncommon to hear pagan taunts considering a great deal of the Byzantines forces were mercenaries.
The most common war-cry in the tenth century was "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us."
I find this significantly interesting, they are not calling for victory, instead they are calling for mercy for themselves knowing that some of them will undoubtedly die in the battle. But on further thought, I considered they may have been calling for forgiveness for the lives they would take in the battle.

What do you think?


Well, I'd say it's both. We should understand the mindset of a regular man back then. No doubt that a common Eastern Roman was way ahead of his neighbours (literacy, life expectancy, overall quality of life, humanism and piety), but we should take into account that it was still the Middle Ages (and we shouldn't idolize neither Antiquity or Middle Ages, nor we should consider any of them, especially Middle Ages as something bad). People were very much, lets say, limited by the Church (even more in the West than in the East), but still, it was far, far better than anything in the Old Rome, with it's complete decadence. That's why the Empire survived all those centuries. It broke off the blasphemous ways of old Romans and created somethin' new, much more stable. The only thing I never liked were the civil wars, which were another plague of both the old and the new Rome, which eventually led to the demise of Konstantinoupolis (despite what people think, Mantzikert wouldn't be such a disaster if the Romanos IV Diogenes wasn't overthrown in the middle of a damn Turkish invasion, which cost all nations of the "Byzantine Commonwealth" dearly, unfortunately, including my own).

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