Article on Basil II

My latest article on Basil II's rapid campaign in the East, against Fatimid forces in 995 AD.

Read it in Medieval Warfare II.6.

This is just the introduction:

"The Fatimid light scouting cavalry detachment that had camped two miles west of the besieged city of Aleppo woke up in a perplexed state. The arid plain stretching in front of them had flooded with a myriad of mounted soldiers and an astonishing number of mules. To their unsettled dismay, the most keen-sighted of the scouts could vaguely distinguish the feared banners of the Roman army fluttering throughout this massed array of men and beasts. To his horror, one of the scouts even noticed the imperial banner signifying the presence of the Roman Basileus himself. How could this be? Their superiors had warned them to probably expect an insignificant relief force, if any, but surely not the whole of the Roman army led by the Emperor. To the frustration of the Fatimids, Basil II had achieved a magnificent if not unique feat in Byzantine military history, by appearing unexpectedly with an army of 40,000 men at the walls of besieged Aleppo."


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