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Journal of Medieval Military History

Journal of Medieval Military History: Volume V

Volume: 5
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 200
  • Book Info
    Journal of Medieval Military History
    Book Description:

    The broad topic of medieval warfare is here explored across the full chronological range of the Middle Ages, using a wide variety of approaches, including literary, prosopographical, technological, and narrative-based analysis. A key feature of the journal is its commitment to fostering debate on the most significant issues in medieval military history; that tradition is continued here with Bernard Bachrach's argument against the idea that early medieval military structures and practices were sharply different from Late Antique ones. Individual battles, the Hattin campaign of 1187 and Byzantine war against Bulgaria in 1254-1256, are the focus of two other chapters; an article by Richard Kaeuper (based on his De Re Militari special lecture at the International Congress of Medieval Studies) emphasizes the value of chansons de geste and other "romance" material for understanding the mentalité of the martial lay aristocracy of medieval Christendom; and there are further articles on the factors that motivated gentlemen to fight, in both open warfare, and individual combat. Weapons of warfare are not neglected, with chapters casting light on the development of the crossbow and the trebuchet. CONTRIBUTORS: BERNARD S. BACHRACH, MICHAEL EHRLICH, MICHAEL BASISTA, NICHOLAS S. KANELLOPOULOS, JOANNE K. LEKEA, RICHARD W. KAEUPER, MARK DUPUY, MALCOLM MERCER, STEVEN C. HUGHES

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-560-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. 1 Literature as Essential Evidence for Understanding Chivalry
    (pp. 1-15)
    Richard W. Kaeuper

    A former colleague used to insist that there are really only two questions we need to ask: “says who?” and “so what?” Were we to refine these admittedly rough questions into “what are our legitimate sources?” and “how do they help us understand the past?” we might secure more general agreement. But rough or smooth, we are stuck with them and they continue to generate useful debate. These are the questions I want to address in relationship to chivalry, a topic of great interest to all medievalists and certainly to the members of De Re Militari. I expect to generate...

  4. 2 The Battle of Hattin: A Chronicle of a Defeat Foretold?
    (pp. 16-32)
    Michael Ehrlich

    “In the end Hattin was won because Saladin got his enemies to fight where he wanted, when he wanted and how he wanted.” This is how David Nicolle summarizes the battle of Hattin fought on 3–4 July 1187.¹ This view is opposed to previous studies in which the dramatic results of the encounter are explained by three principal reasons:

    1. The climatic conditions that prevailed during the battle.

    2. Difficulties within the Frankish leadership which might have influenced the king’s decision-making process.

    3. The numerical superiority of the Muslim army.²

    Apparently, these three factors played an important role in the events during...

  5. 3 Hybrid or Counterpoise? A Study of Transitional Trebuchets
    (pp. 33-55)
    Michael Basista

    The traction trebuchet by itself was not overwhelmingly powerful; its use was limited largely to a supporting role in most sieges. What was needed to make the trebuchet a truly important piece of siegecraft was a way to make it more powerful. The traction trebuchet was restricted to smaller projectiles, generally under fifty pounds. During the twelfth century the counterweight trebuchet with its massive weights had become the new weapon of choice in most sieges led by western Europeans. The transitional step up, however, from the smaller human-powered engines to the enormous counterweight devices was not the application of ancient...

  6. 4 The Struggle between the Nicaean Empire and the Bulgarian State (1254–1256): Towards a Revival of Byzantine Military Tactics under Theodore II Laskaris
    (pp. 56-69)
    Nicholas S. Kanellopoulos and Joanne K. Lekea

    In 1254, following the death of the emperor John III Vatatzes (1222–54), his successor, his son Theodore II Laskaris (1254–58), had to confront a Bulgarian penetration into Thrace and Macedonia. These areas had been recently restored to Byzantine rule and King Michael Asen (1246–56) of Bulgaria anticipated that Vatatzes’ death was an opportunity to regain control over them. The Bulgarians were able to seize many towns and strongholds because they had inadequate garrisons. To maintain the prestige of his empire, Laskaris needed to expel the Bulgarians. The main Byzantine historian of this confrontation is George Akropolites whose...

  7. 5 A “Clock-and-Bow” Story: Late Medieval Technology from Monastic Evidence
    (pp. 70-83)
    Mark Dupuy

    That our descriptions of some forms of medieval military technology suffer from a frustrating lack of specificity is well-known to historians of the period. This modern thirst for precision is frustrated in most other areas of medieval research as well, and distinctions most of us believe to be clear and natural are not always so; even basic terms like monachus and canonicus, Templarius and Hospitalarius, oblatus and donatus,¹ were sometimes used in pairs or in ways that seem to presume a degree of interchangeability. Military history is not immune from such difficulties, and perhaps the most well-known example is the...

  8. 6 The Strength of Lancastrian Loyalism during the Readeption: Gentry Participation at the Battle of Tewkesbury
    (pp. 84-98)
    Malcolm Mercer

    The reasons why men choose to support one side or the other in any civil war are usually complex and difficult to determine. In seventeenth-century England and nineteenth-century America choice between king and parliament or Union and Confederacy was often personal rather than ideological and based on longstanding loyalties as much as on current politics. This was equally true of the gentry who fought for the house of Lancaster in the successive crises between 1469 and 1471. There were those who were Lancastrian because their fathers had been and they had been brought up to support the good old cause,...

  9. 7 Soldiers and Gentlemen: The Rise of the Duel in Renaissance Italy
    (pp. 99-152)
    Steven C. Hughes

    It is generally agreed that the modern code of honor, which adopted the rituals of the duel for its enforcement, evolved in Italy during the Renaissance and from there gradually spread to the rest of Europe.¹ With the rise of the duel itself, Italy also saw a veritable explosion of books and pamphlets which purported to justify, explicate, and teach the proper defense of one’s honor. Thus lawyers and literati created and articulated an ethical code that refined and sharpened sensibilities to insult while dictating proper behavior among “gentlemen,” a handily ambiguous category that suited the social flux of the...

  10. “A Lying Legacy” Revisited: The Abels-Morillo Defense of Discontinuity
    (pp. 153-202)
    Bernard S. Bachrach

    In their recent “Preliminary Discussion of Images of Antiquity and Altered Reality in Medieval Military History,” Richard Abels and Stephen Morillo suggest that some modern scholars have been seriously misled by the authors of various early medieval narrative texts. These authors, writing in Latin, often use traditional Roman military terminology and even incorporate imperial ideas about warfare into their narratives when describing operations undertaken by medieval commanders. The fundamental thesis presented by Abels and Morillo is that there was little continuity with regard to materia militaria in the West from the later Roman empire into what earlier generations of historians...

  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 203-203)