We’re immensely proud of the Journal of Medieval Military History which has now reached its 19th volume. Thanks to the great work of volume editors and contributors the Journal quickly became – and continues to be – an essential collection of the latest and best research in the field.
The Journal of Medieval Military History is the organ of a community of scholars who are particularly interested in the role of war in medieval politics and society. We call ourselves De Re Militari, taking the title of a military manual which, although written in Roman times, was actually the most popular such book throughout the middle ages. This is by no means a group of narrow enthusiasts, for war was a dominant factor in medieval life, not least because it lay at the very root of state formation. In the late twelfth-century English ‘Dialogue of the Exchequer’ (Dialogus de Scaccario), at the very start of his work, the author instructs the reader that ‘Money is no less indispensable in peace than in war’ – war, as everybody knew, was the major drain on resources! War, indeed, dominated medieval culture, producing the idea of ‘Chivalry’ embodied in a vast literature which today absorbs much scholarly activity. Churchmen had to come to terms with violence, endorsing righteous wars and even portraying themselves as warriors against evil, with monasteries regarded as spiritual castles, strongpoints in the spiritual war with the devil.
Our aim as a journal is to cover the whole of the medieval period and its entire geographic spread. In this, our nineteenth edition, articles range in time from Konstantinos Takirtakoglou’s analysis of the Battle of Firāḍ in AD634 to Michael J. Harbinson’s consideration of the equipment and tactics of light cavalry in the late medieval west. Battle has always been a preoccupation of those who write about war and here we consider another in England, with Michael C. Blundell taking up the rather fashionable theme of finding new locations for ancient battles, in this case Stamford Bridge. Evgeniy A. Gurinov discusses a hitherto neglected confrontation of the crusading era, Qinnasrīn in 1134. But battle is not and never has been the whole of war and Matthew Strickland, in his De Re Militari lecture, given at the Kalamazoo Conference in 2019, illustrates this in connection with the reign of Stephen in England. Historians constantly revise and reconsider events, and David Pilling opens up new perspectives on Edward I of England’s war of 1297-98. The medieval world is often seen as technologically backward, but the discovery of gunpowder ushered in very important changes in the art of war, and Clifford Rogers and Fabrizio Ansani have produced a discussion of early sources for gunpowder recipes. Donald J. Kagay examines some military rhetoric, highlighting the cultural impact of warfare. Medieval war has become a major field of study to which the membership of De Re Militari has made important contributions, though, of course, the Journal actively seeks and publishes work from outside its membership. All articles submitted are peer reviewed and we try to make this process as rapid as possible. Our publishers are Boydell to whose skill and flexibility we owe a great deal. We hope that all historians will find the contents of the present volume engaging.
This guest post was written by John France.
Edited by John France, Kelly DeVries and Clifford J. Rogers
Volume contributors: Fabrizio Ansani, Michael C. Blundell, Evgeniy A. Gurinov, Michael John Harbinson, Donald J. Kagay, David Pilling, Clifford J. Rogers, Matthew Strickland, Konstantinos Takirtakoglou