A History of the Early Medieval Siege, c.450-1200

A History of the Early Medieval Siege, c.450-1200

Peter Purton


Hardback out of stock

Boydell Press



Detailed, comprehensive survey of the siege, looking at its development across three continents.
Medieval warfare was dominated by the attack and defence of fortified places, and siege methods and technology developed alongside improvements in defences. This book uses both original historical sources and evidence from archaeology to analyse this relationship as part of a comprehensive view of the whole subject, tracing links across three continents. It considers the most important questions raised by siege warfare: who designed, built and operated siege equipment? How did medieval commanders gain their knowledge? What were the roles of theoretical texts and the developing science of siege warfare? How did nomadic peoples learn to conduct sieges? How far did castles and town walls serve a military purpose, and how far did they act as symbols of lordship?
The volume begins with the replacement of the western Roman empire by barbarian successor states, but also examines the development of the Byzantine Empire, the Muslim Caliphate and its successors, and the links with China, through to the early thirteenth century. The companion volume, A History of the Late Medieval Siege, continues the story to 1500.

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March 2010
32 black and white, 14 line illustrations
566 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843834489
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

After "Rome"
The Arab Conquests
The age of the Carolingian Empire
The Tenth Century
Shifting Balances: the eleventh century
Franks and Saracens: the Early Crusades
The Twelfth Century in Northern and Central Europe and Byzantium
Consolidation and Centralisation
The developing technology of attack and the response of the defence


A highly impressive historical survey of this significant aspect in the military history of the first part of the Middle Ages. The author successfully combines social with economic history for the background and then turns to the specific aspects in siege history of each period. . An admirable monograph. MEDIAEVISTIK

The scope of this production is majestic and as a reference work it will prove invaluable. MEDIEVAL WARFARE

Whether you're a writer of medieval historical fiction, a medieval history teacher, or an amateur medieval historian looking to give talks and guided tours at museums and locations throughout Europe; every once in a while a book comes along that you just have to add to your library. [...] The information, detail, facts and statistics presented in A History of the Early Medieval Siege is invaluable to any person matching the above categories. BOOKBANTER BLOG

[An] outstanding book. CASEMATE, no. 89, September 2010

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