How did people fight in the Middle Ages? In this book a top warfare expert describes the various stages of the preparation and conduct of battles. Firstly, preparation comprised: mobilization of forces; logistics planning; astrological speculations; marching towards the enemy; sacred and secular liturgies; organization of fighting ranks; the commander’s speech; even the use of stimulants. Then, once the enemy was at hand, soldiers’ behaviour came into play: fear and courage; the shame of desertion; environmental constraints involving rivers, forests and swamps. Finally, the example provided by Montaperti (1260) sheds light on the heat of the battle: knights’ and infantrymen’s combat techniques; physical fatigue and armour weight; the carnage of horses; the influence of nature and soundscapes; the role of insignia; carts across the fields. After the battle: distribution of plunder; prisoner and casualty management; people’s memories and commemorative monuments.
Aldo A. Settia formerly taught Medieval History at the University of Pavia.