Special Operations in the Age of Chivalry, 1100-1550

April 2007
8 colour, 6 line illustrations
248 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Warfare in History
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Special Operations in the Age of Chivalry, 1100-1550

Yuval Noah Harari


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eBook for Handhelds
"A portrait of espionage, covert operations, assassination squads, and the deep penetration of seemingly invulnerable fortresses or security systems matching anything to be found in the war stories of the modern era." MATTHEW BENNETT, SANDHURST.
Alongside the familiar pitched battles, regular sieges, and large-scale manoeuvres, medieval and early modern wars also involved assassination, abduction, treason and sabotage. These undercover operations were aimed chiefly against key individuals, mostly royalty or the leaders of the opposing army, and against key fortified places, including bridges, mills and dams. However, because of their clandestine nature, these deeds of "derring-do" have not been studied in any detail, a major gap which this book fills. It surveys a wide variety of special operations, from the eleventh to the sixteenth century. It then analyzes in greater depth six select and exciting operations: the betrayal of Antioch in 1098; the attempt to rescue King Baldwin II from the dungeon of Khartpert in 1123; the assassination of Conrad of Montferrat in 1192; the attempt to storm Calais in 1350; the "dirty war" waged by the rulers of France and Burgundy in the 1460s and 1470s; and the demolition of the flour mill of Auriol in 1536.

Professor YUVAL NOAH HARARI teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is the author of the international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

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Table of Contents

Special Operations, Strategy and Politics in the Age of Chivalry: An Analytical Overview
The Gateway to the Middle East: Antioch, 1098
Saving King Baldwin: Khartpert, 1123
The Assassination of King Conrad: Tyre, 1192
For a Sack-full of Gold Écus: Calais, 1350
Princes in the Cross-Hairs: The Rise and Fall of Valois Burgundy, 1407-1483
The Mill of Auriol: Auriol, 1536
Works cited


The author makes an argument that medieval military historians should look into, and as a bonus they will also read some riveting examples of interesting medieval operations. SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL

An entertaining but also learned book, from which it is possible to glean much about medieval military history. BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE

This is a wide-ranging study, which sets medieval warfare in a novel perspective. EHR

Highly readable.[...]This is a popular book, but a scholarly one and a worthy addition to the well-known series Warfare in History.CRUSADES

Recommended. CHOICE A splendid book. [...] Provided me with more food for thought than I have come upon in any book on medieval warfare in the past decade. HOBILAR, Journal of the Lance & Longbow Society, March 2008

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