Non-Book Review: The Medieval Way of War

The Medieval Way Of War: Studies in Medieval Military History in Honor of Bernard S. Bachrach, edited by Gregory I. Halfond

It is perhaps a bit ironic that the last book I reviewed for the De Re Militari was written by the immensely prolific historian Bernard Bachrach [1]. While I only rarely get to review books from the De Re Militari, far less often than I would prefer, given my interest in medieval military history, I do find it a pleasant coincidence that this book is written to honor someone whose work I am familiar with, given that I had no idea when I selected the book that it was an anthology to honor a historian I happened to be familiar with and respect. It is worthwhile to at least briefly mention that at 75 years of age, Dr. Bachrach has written about a large scope of Medieval history in both English and French, about the Carologinian, Merovingian, and Angvin dynasties of England and France, about textual criticism, about child abuse and PTSD and the Middle Ages, and books about an obscure bureaucrat and medieval mystics. The range of his work has been impressive, and he continues to write excellent work from the point of view that the rulers of the Middle Ages were sophisticated leaders who worked as best as they could within their resources in a conscious imitation of the Roman Empire, a thesis I wholeheartedly agree with.

So, in that light, as someone opposed to a primitivist viewpoint of the Middle Ages, this looks like an excellent collection of essays published by an excellent scholarly press. The essays themselves are about delightfully obscure topics that appear likely to warm my heart and give me plenty of great material to think about and blog about in the near future. Included in the essays are a look at the late Roman Danube frontier, an examination of the role of Merovingian church councils in war and peace, biographical essays on Alfred the Great and Conrad II, a look at early medieval French historical maps, the siege of Acre, the tactics of Richard Lionheart at Arsur, the enslavement of women and children in Crusader warfare, a unit history of the Catalan Company, a grand strategic perspective of the Reconquista between 1031 and 1157, historical criticism about William’s Hastings campaign, women in Romanesque military art in Spain and France, a battle study of the battle of Bouvines, a biographical essay about a Plantagenet bureaucrat in England, an examination of the trebuchets of the Tower of London, the military obligations of the Danish medieval church [2], and some textual criticism about an account of the Battle of Crecy from a historian I am familiar with thanks to my time at Norwich. In short, this looks like an awesome book that only a history nerd with a strong interest in the Middle Ages could love. Fortunately, I am such a history nerd.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/non-book-review-charlemagnes-early-campaigns-768-777/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/imitatio-imperii/

[2] See also:

http://deremilitari.org/2013/07/bysted-et-al-eds-jerusalem-in-the-north-albright/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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