Osprey’s book on Byzantine infantry covers from around the reign of Emperor Leo VI, which saw a revival of interest in military matters, to the fall of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, which interrupted tradition, and very effectively brought the era to a close.

As a Warrior series book, the emphasis is on the individual men, and how they were organized, equipped and trained. I found the text of the book to be excellent, and very informative on a number of subjects. I’m not fully sure of some of Dawson’s assertions, but don’t know enough to be able to argue the point, and the vast majority seem well founded.

On the other hand, the color art is lacking. Angus McBride was one of the most celebrated of military historical artists for good reason, but this book must have been one of the last he did (it came out the year he died), and I think that forced it to be rushed through. Osprey’s Warrior series tends to feature highly detailed illustrations of all the variations of equipment, showing what all the pieces are. Instead, while there’s some very nice illustrations of people here, the backgrounds that Angus popularized are barely there at all, and there’s only a few fairly plain bits of equipment illustration. There are a few black-and-white diagrams that are very helpful in the main text, but it is disappointing compared to the ‘can we fit one more piece of equipment into this’ studies that I’m used to in a Warrior book.

This does overall hold the book back a bit, but again the main text is very good, and I was overall impressed with it. It just isn’t everything you expect from a book in this series.