New PDF release: Medieval warfare : a history

By Maurice Keen

ISBN-10: 0191542520

ISBN-13: 9780191542527

ISBN-10: 1280445262

ISBN-13: 9781280445262

Written by way of 12 students, this richly illustrated quantity illuminates the medieval interval, studying over seven-hundred years of ecu clash from the time of Charlemagne to the top of the center a long time (1500). a hundred illustrations. The medieval interval was once a unique epoch in army history-an age profoundly prompted by way of martial beliefs, whose very constitution of society was once geared up for warfare, and whose leaders have been by way of necessity  Read more...

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Extra resources for Medieval warfare : a history

Example text

It is easy enough to give a summary account of the importance of war in this period, but as soon as we start to go beyond this we find that there are great gaps in our knowledge and understanding. Perhaps the most striking are those in our knowledge of the practical conduct of war itself. There is no shortage of warfare in the narrative sources for the period. The major works of semiofficial Carolingian historical writing—the continuators of Fredegar in the eighth century, the authors of the Royal Frankish Annals and their continuators in ninth-century east and west Francia—as well as many more ‘private’ accounts, like the so-called Annals of Xanten and Annals of Saint-Vaast, give much attention to campaigning.

Literature thus became a powerful influence in reinforcing and fostering for the secular aristocracy a martial value system whose bellicosity should not be underestimated. Along with courage, loyalty, and liberality, it set a very high price on physical strength, good horsemanship, and dexterity with weapons, and on impetuous ferocity in combat. This value system was what we call the code of chivalry, and these military virtues and skills were the defining features of its cult of honour. Alongside this literary triad of the author of the Chanson des Saisnes may be set another triad, the traditional medieval division of Christian society into three orders or estates.

Alongside this literary triad of the author of the Chanson des Saisnes may be set another triad, the traditional medieval division of Christian society into three orders or estates. These were, first, the clergy, whose business was with prayer and with pastoral ministration to society’s spiritual needs; secondly, the warriors, whose business it was with their swords to uphold justice, protect the weak, and to defend church and homeland; and, third, the labourers, by whose toil the land was tilled and whose work provided for the material needs both of themselves and of the two other, more socially elevated estates.

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Medieval warfare : a history by Maurice Keen


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