Techniques of seigneurial war in the fourteenth century

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Despite the many studies devoted to medieval military history, most work has concentrated on royal wars, neglecting the petty seigneurial wars that made up most of the large-scale, organised violence of the middle ages. This article, based on judicial records for dozens of seigneurial wars waged in fourteenth-century southern France, shows that lords' tactics were not keeping up with those of royal commanders. Although royal wars increasingly involved large numbers of foot soldiers, large siege engines, and artillery, local lords' bureaucratic and financial limitations restricted their adoption of new techniques. As had been the case for centuries, most lords' wars were focused on causing economic damage and affective trauma through raiding. After the first phase of the Hundred Years War, local lords began to employ significant numbers of mercenaries, allowing them to wage war more frequently and perhaps making their wars more violent, a development which partly reflects the economic pressures of the period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-103
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Medieval History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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