Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-mm7gn Total loading time: 0.399 Render date: 2022-08-16T02:22:16.273Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

4 - Bella Plus Quam Civilia? The Place of Battle in the Context of Civil War under the Anglo-Norman and Angevin Kings, c. 1100–c. 1217

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2021

Get access

Summary

This paper examines how the context of civil war in the Anglo-Norman and Angevin realms c. 1100–c. 1216 might further accentuate the challenges faced by leaders in making the critical decision as to whether to avoid or to commit to battle. Whereas a commander confronting an external opponent might withdraw or refusal battle until a more advantageous moment presented itself, a ruler whose legitimacy was contested could ill-afford to harm his authority by being seen to refuse trial by battle. If defeated, however, such authority could be gravely undermined and, as shown by the case of King Stephen's capture in 1141, the sacrality of kingship itself damaged. Conversely, while victory would bolster prestige and legitimacy, as well as striking a potentially decisive blow to rival forces, a leader's own desire to give battle might be compromised by fear of disloyalty and defection before or during battle, or thwarted by the nobility's deep-rooted reluctance to engage in a potentially self-destructive combat. While many nobles shrank from fighting against the person of the king during rebellion, battles fought in the context of civil wars reveal the significance of disinherited magnates in aggressive attacks upon their erstwhile lords.

“A greater event cannot take place among men than one wherein lies the fortunes of all the land, the state of the prince and the life of an infinite number of persons, the honour or dishonour of the overlord, the knights and all the nobility.” So wrote Christine de Pizan in her Livre des faites d’armes et de chevalerie, composed around 1410, concerning the enormous stakes that a pitched battle could involve. Much of her text comprises a vernacular reworking of Vegetius’ De re militari, and it has been the debate concerning the nature of “Vegetian strategy” and the place of battle within strategic thinking that has run, from the very first issue of the Journal of Medieval Military History, as a rich thematic seam through research on medieval warfare across a wide chronological and geographical span.

Type
Chapter
Information
Journal of Medieval Military History
Volume XIX
, pp. 57 - 76
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×