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The Medieval Soldier

By Vasey Norman : Published by Pen and Sword Books

The Medieval Soldier

The ideals, beliefs and organisation of the common solider in the medieval period were a world apart from the technology-driven, high powered counterparts of today.

In a world of knights, crusaders and Templars, chivalry was the order of the day, a code of courtesy, generosity and valor which governed the life of the medieval aristocracy from the king himself down to the humblest knight.

In this compelling, detailed and highly readable book, expert medieval historian Vesey Norman outlines the development of the Medieval Soldier from the undisciplined barbarian war bands of the Dark Ages from the Lombards, Franks, Vikings and Saxons to the feudal armies of the early Middle Ages.

The author investigates the arms and armour of the crusaders with a selection of over thirty black and white photographs and diagrams which outline the development of helmets, grieves, swords and axes, amongst many others. Also explored is the slow development of tactics and the transition of the warrior from a personal follower of a war leader to the knight who served his feudal overlord as a heavily armoured cavalryman in return for land.

Throughout the book, the attitude of the Church to warfare, the rise of chivalry and the development of the knights of the military orders, the Templars, the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights are explained in prolific detail. Along the way, the author answers such questions as what classes of men made up the army, who commanded them, and how they were organised, equipped and paid. Since armies were frequently transported by water, the book concludes with a brief description of contemporary ships from the period, making this a compulsive purchase for anyone wishing to learn more about this fascinating period of history.

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