Osprey Men-at-Arms 231 : French Medieval Armies 1000-1300
The late 10th century saw the end of the great invasions of Western Europe by Vikings, Magyars and North African Muslims. Now Christendom started to expand. The Vikings and Hungarians were converted, while the Muslims were forced back in many parts of the Mediterranean. But this did not bring peace to France. By the 11th century the king had lost control of border regions, while local warfare had grown alarmingly frequent. In fact the energies of the French military élite were now focused on petty internal squabbles and external adventures like the Norman conquest of England. Nevertheless, the population and economy both expanded, although it was not until the 12th century that the crown rebuilt its power-base. It was against this background that the Peace of God movement arose, traditionally beginning in 989 AD at Charroux and Narbonne in southern France. Led by the Church and largely manned by common folk, these peace movements took over the crown's peace-keeping role, gradually curbing the worst excesses of knights and nobles. Despite its slow start when compared with neighbours like England, the Kingdom of France had, by the 13th century, risen to become the most powerful state in Western Europe. David Nicolle describes the organisation, history and tactics of French medieval armies, backed by plentiful illustrations and photographs, including eight full page colour plates by Angus McBride.
- The Armies of Northern France
- The Armies of Southern France
- Strategy and Tactics
- The Plates