from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A name given by the Romans to men wearing the cataphract; specifically, a body of troops introduced into the Roman army itself in the fourth century a. d., and forming at a later time perhaps the most formidable part of the Byzantine armies.
  • [capitalized] [NL.] In Müller's and Günther's systems of classification: A family of acanthopterygian fishes, having a bony stay for the angle of the preoperculum, which is armed, and the body completely cuirassed by bony-keeled plates or scales. The fourth group of Triglidæ, with the body completely cuirassed by bony-keeled plates or scales, and having pyloric appendages in small or moderate number.
  • [capitalized] [NL.] A family of plectognathous fishes: same as Ostraciontidæ.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • According to him, an innumerable mass of cavalry was crossing the Hellespont into Europe; some were clad in coats of mail, they were called "cataphracti"; others were bowmen, and against them nothing was safe, their aim was surest when they were galloping away from the enemy.

    The History of Rome, Vol. V

  • The cataphracti were largely abandoned during the Arab invasions, for they were easily outmanoeuvred and defeated by the light Arab cavalry on their swift and nimble horses.

    superversive: Gondor, Byzantium, and Feudalism

  • When Justinian sent an army under Belisarius to reconquer the West, his shock troops were cataphracti, heavy cavalry on the Persian model, men and horses both armoured from head to foot.

    superversive: Gondor, Byzantium, and Feudalism

  • Its "knights" are Sarmatian cataphracti, an interesting (if ridiculously presented) take on a theory proposed first (AFAIK) in the 1920s, and elaborated well beyond all sanity in the terrifically interesting From Scythia to Camelot by Littleton and Malcor.

    Kenneth Hite's Journal

  • The Byzantine cuirassiers, or cataphracti probably originated at this time.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson-Clairvaux

  • Then came 3000 cataphracti and the king's personal cavalry, 1000 strong, with somewhat slighter protection for themselves and their horses, but otherwise closely resembling the cataphracti, made up mostly of Syrians with an admixture of Phrygians and Lydians.

    The History of Rome, Vol. V

  • The auxiliary troops who were posted in reserve next to them were so demoralised by the panic and confusion of the chariots that they took to flight and exposed the whole line as far as the cataphracti.

    The History of Rome, Vol. V

  • He attacked this part of the line with his auxiliaries and cataphracti, and not only forced back their front, but wheeling round along the river, pressed on their flank until the cavalry were put to flight and the infantry, who were next to them, were driven with them in headlong flight to their camp.

    The History of Rome, Vol. V

  • On the right of the phalanx Antiochus stationed 1500 Gallograeci infantry, and with them were linked up 3000 cavalry, clad in mail armour and known as "cataphracti."

    The History of Rome, Vol. V

  • A great murmur of admiration sounded as the _cataphracti_ appeared, gleaming in the coats of mail which covered them from head to foot.

    Saint Augustin


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.