"...the Sclaveni [...] are all exceptionally tall and stalwart men[, living] a hard life, giving no heed to bodily comforts, just as the Massagetae do, and [...] they preserve the Hunnic character in all its simplicity."
— Procopius of Caesarea
The Slavs and Vikings, however, were not the only factions skilled with axes in the mediaeval era. Caucasus mountain men, being trained much faster than traditional Slavic axemen but costing more in wealth, are available to several factions in the Castle Age as mercenaries once contacts with the Middle East are re-established.
In early Mediaeval Slavic communities, military recruitment was based loosely around a caste of militant nobility which in turn led locally raised militia, unlike the more professional armies of the Saracens and the Byzantines. The most important unit was the voy (or, in Polish, woj) which could be translated loosely as "warband". There was no centralised form of organisation, and so each voy was headed by the leader or chief of the locality, who was called the voivod, or "war-leader", who also served as the local governor. Over time in more sustained periods of peace, the military significance of the title was eclipsed by its civil implications - today, in 21st century Eastern Europe, the term voivod is largely understood by Slavophones as referring to a mayor or village chief.