Creation of tagma of Athanatoi by Michael VII & Nikephoritzes

Summary:
Following the Turkish attacks on the eastern provinces of the empire Michael VII and Nikephoritzes resolved to create a new army. They summoned troops from Asia, armed them and placed them under the command of Konstantinos Kappadox who was charged with their training. This was made very rigorous, with real though blunted weapons, combined with psychological pressure. The bravest among them were then selected to form the new tagma of the Athanatoi (Immortals) 
Dates:
1072 (Uncertain) 
Emperor Michael VII Doukas (Michael 7)
  • Seeing that the entire army of the East had fallen under the Turks, he, or more probably Nikephoros 63, considered creating a new army and gathered some of those from Asia who had dispersed and gave them breastplates, shields, helmets and lances (:) θώρακάς τε ἐνέδυε καὶ θυρεοὺς ἐδίδου καὶ κράνη φέρειν καὶ δόρατα Bryennios 265.16-21
  • Placed at the head of his new army an able general, Konstantinos 5010 Kappadox, and through him he trained the soldiers in military matters, and when they had been adequately trained physically, he wished to exercise their spirit too (:) Ὁπηνίκα δὲ καὶ διιππεύειν ἀσφαλῶς ἤδη δύναιντο καὶ τὰ ὅπλα φέρειν ἱκανῶς καὶ εὐφυῶς ἐδόκει γεγυμνάσθαι κατὰ τὸ ἔξωθεν, ἐδόκει γυμνάζειν τούτων καὶ τὰς ψυχάς Bryennios 265.21-267.3
  • Wishing to exercise his army's spirit, he removed the heads of their lances, divided them in groups, ordered them to attack each other on horseback in full force with their lances and chose the bravest among them, calling them Athanatoi (Immortals) (:) ἐκέλευε σφόδρα τῇ ῥύμῃ τοὺς ἵππους ἐλαύνοντας χωρεῖν κατ ᾿ ἀλλήλων καὶ παίειν, ὡς οἷόν τε, τοῖς δόρασιν καὶ οὕτω τοὺς τολμηρότερον πρὸς τὸ ἔργον χωροῦντας τοῖς πρώτοις κατέλεγε Bryennios 267.3-11
Nikephoritzes (Nikephoros 63)
  • Wishing to exercise his army's spirit, he removed the heads of their lances, divided them in groups, ordered them to attack each other on horseback in full force with their lances and chose the bravest among them, calling them Athanatoi (Immortals) (:) περιῄρει μὲν τῶν δοράτων τὰ ξίφη, κατὰ ἴλας δὲ αὐτοὺς διαιρῶν κατὰ πρόσωπον ἵστα ἀλλήλους Bryennios 267.3-11
  • Seeing that the entire army of the East had fallen under the Turks, he considered creating a new army and gathered some of those from Asia who had disperesed, clad them in breastplates and distributed to them shields, helmets and lances (:) καὶ δή τινας τῶν ἐκ τῆς Ἀσίας διασπαρέντων καὶ ἐπὶ μισθῷ δουλευόντων συλλέγων Bryennios 265.16-21
  • Placed at the head of his new army an able general, Konstantinos 5010 Kappadox, and through him he trained the soldiers in military matters, and when they had been adequately trained physically, he wished to exercise their spirit too (:) Ὁπηνίκα δὲ καὶ διιππεύειν ἀσφαλῶς ἤδη δύναιντο καὶ τὰ ὅπλα φέρειν ἱκανῶς καὶ εὐφυῶς ἐδόκει γεγυμνάσθαι κατὰ τὸ ἔξωθεν, ἐδόκει γυμνάζειν τούτων καὶ τὰς ψυχάς Bryennios 265.21-267.3