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Monday, 25 January 2016

Medieval Warfare VI-1, Jan-Feb 2016

Medieval Warfare VI-1, Jan-Feb 2016

The Kingdom of Jerusalem

Theme: Max Cronkite, "Historical introduction - Amalric's legacy"

King Amalric of Jerusalem (r. 1163-1174) was the father and predecessor of King Baldwin IV . During his reign, the Middle-East was fractured between multiple kingdoms, states, caliphates, principalities, and counties. The outcome of Amalric’s attempts to expand his kingdom and retinue of supporters against the increasing power of Nur ad-Din, would adversely affect the rule of Baldwin IV .

The Siege of TyreTheme: Murray Dahm, "The Historia of William of Tyre - Deeds done beyond the sea"

The archbishop William of Tyre wrote the Historia rerum partibus transmarinis gestarum (A History of Deeds done beyond the Sea) to record the history of the First Crusade and the history of the Kingdom of Jerusalem to 1184. The work is also referred to just as the Historia Ierosolymitana. It is a vital source for the history of the Kingdom, the only one written in Latin by a contemporary resident and Christian witness.

Theme: Robert Holmes, "The Latin field army, ca. 1099-1187 - The most cautious men in the world"

The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem based its defense around an intricate chain of fortifications, and its field army. Yet while these fortifications have become some of the most iconic medieval castles in the world, the Latin field army has fallen into obscurity. Though it lacked both the manpower and resources to ever be entirely self-sufficient militarily, the Latin field army developed a tactical system that was by the standards of contemporary Western Europe, highly innovative.

The reenactor: Clive Kelly, "The reenactor - Clive Kelly"

In this short article, we interview Clive Kelly, a reenactor of the Crusader period and early Middle Ages.

A twelfth century Syrian warrior.Theme: Gregory J. Liebau, "The Kingdom of Jerusalem and its neighbors - Hostility in the Holy Land"

It would take nearly a century after crusader forces took Jerusalem in 1099 for the city to be recaptured by Saladin. In the meantime, political intrigues, personal enmities, and infighting among the Muslims, would allow the crusaders to gain a foothold in Syria as well. The Franks found themselves thrust into the midst of local disputes and warfare – which they participated in against or alongside their Muslim neighbors.

Theme: William E. Welsh, "The battle of Montgisard, 1177 - A day of terrible slaughter"

Saladin’s 26,000-strong army crossed the southern border of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in mid-November 1177 on a large-scale raid meant to expose the weakness of King Baldwin IV’s monarchy. The Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt and Syria had received intelligence indicating that a significant portion of Baldwin’s knights and sergeants had marched north with Count Philip I of Flanders to assist Prince Raymond of Antioch in fighting the Muslims in Syria, and this information served as a catalyst for the raid.

Theme: Kim Stubbs, "The life of the Leper King - Baldwin IV"

The future king Baldwin IV grew up in his father’s court and according to his tutor, the historian William of Tyre, showed great promise as a ruler from an early age. He was an excellent horseman, possessed a retentive memory, a keen intellect and was “disposed to follow good advice”. Tragically, at the age of nine, he was diagnosed with leprosy, a disease that in the Middle Ages was interpreted as a mark of God’s displeasure.

Special: Brian Burfield, "The influence of the Viking god of warfare - Odin, warrior god"

A Viking warrior dying on the battlefield would have hoped to be amongst those chosen by the descending Valkyries to join Odin’s great army in Valhalla. Soon countless ravens would begin to feast on the dead and the disconnected limbs littering the battleground. There would have been those, still alive, who would have believed that they could see a cloaked figure in the distance carrying a spear and roaming the battlefield, a wanderer. This form was known by many names including: All-Father, Father of the Slain, God of Captives and most notably Odin. Both the god of poetry and occult wisdom, Odin was also the god of war and warriors, areas in which he was well-experienced.

The weapon: Sidney E. Dean, "Mobile fortress of the Hussite Wars - Ziska’s Wagenburg"

A prominent – perhaps even decisive – element of the Hussite Wars (1419-1436) was the Wagenburg or Tabor. When encountering superior enemy forces, the Hussites quickly arranged their wagons to form an enclosed camp from which they unleashed heavy fire on any attacker. While circling or squaring transport wagons to create a defensive position or camp was nothing new, the Hussites made this a core element of their military organization and tactics. Special ‘war wagons’ were designed and built to execute this tactic, and much of the infantry was reorganized to take advantage of this adaptive technology.

Special: Frank Jastrzembski, "The military career of St. Francis of Assisi - Soldier before Saint?"

Patron saint of wildlife. Guardian of the lepers. Champion of the impoverished. Bearer of the Stigmata. Battle-hardened soldier? All of these traits have been used to describe one of the most prolific characters in Christianity, Saint Francis of Assisi.

A 13th century bassinetSpecial: Sean McGlynn, "The Grand Chevauchée, 1355 - The Black Prince unleashed"

“Frightening your enemy is the fundamental and presumably the oldest weapon of war.” The historians who penned this quote (Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint and John Pritchard) were writing about the mass bombing campaigns of World War Two, the aerial raids of destruction that shared common features with the medieval chevauchée: destruction of the enemy’s economic base; attempts to undermine morale; exposing the weakness of the enemy. In the Middle Ages, arguably the most famous practitioner of the chevauchée was Edward the Black Prince, during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453).

Medieval Warfare