Proprietorial warfareThis book examines the history of war in what are usually called the “High Middle Ages”. At the beginning of the second millennium, Europe was no longer threatened by external attack and it was clearly set on a course of remarkable economic, social and political development. In 1095 the First Crusade was launched, establishing a great military endeavour that was a central preoccupation of Europeans until the end of the thirteenth century. The fourteenth century ushered in great changes in war and society under the influence of economic change, the Black Death and the invention of gunpowder. This is not to say that in the period 1000-1300 warfare was unchanging. But change was subtle, and across this period armies and warfare bore a common stamp which was different from what had gone before and certainly different from what came after. It is a truth barely worth labouring that an army will reflect closely the nature of the society that produces it. The writer of military history, therefore, is not concerned with some discrete and separate corner of history which can be written about on its own, but must consider the whole political, social and economic development of the age in order to understand the nature of war and the changes that occurred in it. In this period, warfare was shaped by four main factors:
|(a) the dominance of land as a form of wealth; |
|(b) the limited competence of government; |
|(c) the state of technology which, broadly, favoured defence over attack; |
|(d) the geography and climate of the West. |
Landownership was the distinguishing characteristic of the ruling elites of western Europe. In itself it conferred power, as it always had. Kings claimed an overarching sovereignty and proclaimed that others exercised
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Book title: Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, 1000-1300.
Contributors: John France - Author.
Publisher: UCL Press.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 1999.
Page number: 1.
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