Armed with bow and kontos and protected by heavy, well-crafted armour, The Saka Armored Nobles are excellent, versatile heavy cavalry.
Can Form Cantabrian Circle
These riders are the inheritors of a style of cavalry warfare which is already centuries old in Central Asia. Among the many variations on the theme of an armoured horsemen with variable amounts of protection for his mount as well, they represent one that has preserved in their gear features already present in the first known examples. Thus, their armour is made of relatively large square plaques, rather than smaller scales or lamellae and the protection for the rider’s legs takes the shape of wide armoured chaps that, thanks to their size, also defend the horse’s flanks. Those designs may be ancient, but their very survival attests to their efficiency. In contrast, their offensive equipment is quite more recent. They already carry composite bows of the larger, more powerful type that has recently appeared in the eastern steppes and that will eventually replace the “Scythian” model. To that, they add long, stout kontos lances that allow them to mount a fearful charge after they have weakened their foes with archery; both its own and from the numerous horse archers that typically should operate alongside them.
Historically, Sakae cataphracts seem to have transmitted the concept of armoured cavalry to other groups of nomads that lived further east. For example, the Yuezhi apparently had no Cataphract-like cavalry until they contacted the Sakae in their westward migration. Then, they eagerly took up the idea from either the Sakae groups they displaced or those others they seem to have incorporated into their polity and their armies. That Sakae armoured riders were a prestigious arm, is clear as we see the rulers of the kingdoms the Sakae would found in Northern India and Pakistan routinely chose to be depicted in that guise in their coins.