Soldiers' Lives Through History - The Middle Ages

Overview

The most dangerous arms in the world are those of horse and lance, because there is no means of stopping them, wrote a 15th-century commander, Jean de Bueil. From the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the 15th century, the men (and a few women in disguise) who reported for military service or who led other men, scouted and skirmished, plundered and burned. If they did not slaughter the peasants they met, they took them prisoner to be sold as slaves or ransomed at heavy cost. It was a brutal time. Rogers ...

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Overview

The most dangerous arms in the world are those of horse and lance, because there is no means of stopping them, wrote a 15th-century commander, Jean de Bueil. From the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the 15th century, the men (and a few women in disguise) who reported for military service or who led other men, scouted and skirmished, plundered and burned. If they did not slaughter the peasants they met, they took them prisoner to be sold as slaves or ransomed at heavy cost. It was a brutal time. Rogers illuminates the history of medieval soldiers in wartime and in peacetime, describing the lives of those who attacked, and those who defended, the fortified castles, towns, and lands of Europe and beyond in the Middle Age.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Rogers does not flinch as he describes the lives of soldiers serving from Scotland to Portugal and from the Frankish Levant to the Baltics from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the fifteenth century. Wisely taking an impressionistic rather than analytical approach to this enormous subject, he strives for a balanced portrait of what soldiers did to kill each other and protect themselves, how they were organized and led, how the warfare in which they were engaged was conducted, and how they were supported and supplied. He covers soldiering in peacetime, the business of recruitment, life in camp and on the march, sieges, battle strategies and consequences (including the truly horrific medical care) and the art of the little war, in which participants provided escorts, committed extortion or ambushed each other."

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Reference & Research Book News

". . .this work provides a valuable survey of many of the central questions in the investigation of the life of the soldier during the Middle Ages. It will be a useful and highly readable textbook for undergraduate courses in military history and a companion volume for medieval and Western civilization courses."

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Speculum, A Journal of Medieval Studies

"Scholars will appreciate the synthesis of medieval soldiering on a grand scale, and will come away with a renewed respect, both for the ingenuity of the medieval soldier as well as the meticulous scholarship of the author. Soldiers' Lives Through History: The Middle Ages should be on the shelf of every serious student of medieval warfare."

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deremilitari.org

"For both military and social historians, Rogers's work is a very valuable contribution that stands as a worthy companion to the studies of Philippe Contamine, Helen Nicholson, and Michael Prestwich. His range of scholarly vision beyond the medieval heartlands of England and France will make this work doubly valuable to historians of southern and eastern Europe. From its fine organization, content, and style, Rogers's book will continue military history's contemporary trend of pushing its way from the fringes to the very forefront of Clio's realm."

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The Medieval Review

". . . Rogers should be complimented for the depth and concision with which he has explored this subject. This book is an excellent complement to major general works on medieval military history, such as those by Philippe Contamine or Michael Prestwich, and should be a required addition to any collection of texts on medieval military history."

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H-Net Book Review

"The diversity of the experiences of European soldiers in the period from the end of the Roman empire in the west to the late fi fteenth century makes any attempt to provide an overall picture extremely diffi cult. This is, however, a challenge that Clifford Rogers relishes, and which he meets with great success. . . . The book is solidly based on wide reading of an extensive range of sources, as the use of frequent and well-chosen quotations makes clear. . . . This is a fine book, solidly rooted in the sources, which displays an impressively wide range of learning."

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English Historical Review

The Medieval Review
For both military and social historians, Rogers's work is a very valuable contribution that stands as a worthy companion to the studies of Philippe Contamine, Helen Nicholson, and Michael Prestwich. His range of scholarly vision beyond the medieval heartlands of England and France will make this work doubly valuable to historians of southern and eastern Europe. From its fine organization, content, and style, Rogers's book will continue military history's contemporary trend of pushing its way from the fringes to the very forefront of Clio's realm.
English Historical Review
The diversity of the experiences of European soldiers in the period from the end of the Roman empire in the west to the late fi fteenth century makes any attempt to provide an overall picture extremely diffi cult. This is, however, a challenge that Clifford Rogers relishes, and which he meets with great success. . . . The book is solidly based on wide reading of an extensive range of sources, as the use of frequent and well-chosen quotations makes clear. . . . This is a fine book, solidly rooted in the sources, which displays an impressively wide range of learning.
H-Net Book Review
. . . Rogers should be complimented for the depth and concision with which he has explored this subject. This book is an excellent complement to major general works on medieval military history, such as those by Philippe Contamine or Michael Prestwich, and should be a required addition to any collection of texts on medieval military history.
deremilitari.org
Scholars will appreciate the synthesis of medieval soldiering on a grand scale, and will come away with a renewed respect, both for the ingenuity of the medieval soldier as well as the meticulous scholarship of the author. Soldiers' Lives Through History: The Middle Ages should be on the shelf of every serious student of medieval warfare.
A Journal of Medieval Studies Speculum
. . .this work provides a valuable survey of many of the central questions in the investigation of the life of the soldier during the Middle Ages. It will be a useful and highly readable textbook for undergraduate courses in military history and a companion volume for medieval and Western civilization courses.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313333507
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/30/2007
  • Series: Soldiers' Lives through History
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

CLIFFORD J. ROGERS is Professor of History at the United States Military Academy. He is the author of many publications, including The Wars of Edward III: Sources and Interpretations (1999) and The Military Revolution Debate (1995).

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Table of Contents


Series Foreword     xi
Preface     xiii
Acknowledgments     xix
Introduction     xxi
The Soldier in the Middle Ages     xxi
Warfare and the Middle Ages     xxii
Timeline     xxix
Soldiering in Peacetime     1
Those Who Fight     3
Those Who Work     11
Those Who Pray     14
Women     16
Conclusion     18
Joining the Host     25
Summons     25
Vertical Recruitment: Magnates and Their Men     27
Material Preparations: The Cavalryman's Gear     30
Selecting and Collecting the Retinue     39
Horizontal Recruitment     42
Other Types of Troops     46
Moving to Muster     46
Arrival at the Army     47
Conclusion     49
Camp Life and Mobile Operations     65
Life in Camp: Friends, Fights, and Discipline     66
March Formations     72
Baggage Trains     74
Harbingers and Foragers     76
March Rates and Night Marches     78
Movement by Sea and Combat Landings     79
Scouting     83
Devastation     85
Shadowing and Harassing     90
Covering and Skirmishing     91
Dearth     93
Construction     95
Assaults on Strongholds     96
River Crossings     96
Conclusion     97
Sieges     111
Defensive Preparations     113
Devastation of the Surrounding Area and Assault on the Outer Defenses     114
Hasty Assaults     117
Siege Camps     119
Preparing for a Deliberate Assault     121
Threats     195
Defensive Counterpreparations and Sallies     126
Daily Routines, Supplies, and Skirmishes     128
Deliberate Assaults     133
Long Sieges     138
Ending the Siege     140
Sieges of Castles     143
Gunpowder's Impact     144
Conclusion     146
Battle     157
The Battle of Hastings, 1066     157
Deployment: The Infantry Wall     162
Deployment: Mixed Armies     165
Waiting: Orations     166
Thoughts of God and Soldiers' Inner Lives     267
Waiting: Anticipation, Fear, and Courage     169
Individual Combats     174
Shooters to the Fore     176
Infantry Wall versus Infantry Wall     177
Shot versus Cavalry     181
Cavalry versus Infantry Wall     183
Leadership by Example     186
Cavalry against Disordered Infantry     188
Cavalry versus Cavalry     191
Fighting by Troops or by Squadrons     196
Victory     197
Conclusion     199
The Aftermath of a Victory     213
Casualty Rates     214
The Pursuit     216
Plunder     218
Imprisonment     222
Medical Care     224
Holding the Field     227
Conclusion     227
Little War     237
Raids     238
Ambushes     240
Enforcements and Extortions     242
Larger Forays     243
Reaction     244
Escort Duty     247
Coups de Main     248
Private Wars     250
Conclusion     252
Conclusion: The Life of One Active Warrior     257
Sir Thomas Gray of Heton      258
Conclusion: A Medieval Soldier's Life     267
Bibliography     271
Index     295
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