The Medieval Siege

The Medieval Siege

Jim Bradbury


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Boydell Press



Sieges were a vital strategic weapon in medieval warfare. This book explores developments in siege tactics and the personal experiences of those who were involved.
In medieval warfare, the siege predominated: for every battle, there were hundreds of sieges. Yet the rich and vivid history of siege warfare has been consistently neglected.
Jim Bradbury's panoramic survey takes the history of siege warfare in Europe from the late Roman Empire to the 16th century, and includes sieges in Byzantium, Eastern Europe and the areas affected by the Crusades. Within this broad sweep of time and place, he finds, not that enormous changes occurred, which might have been expected, but that the rules and methods of siege warfare remained remarkably constant.
His narrative of the main events of siege warfare includes adetailed study of some of the major sieges —Constantinople and Chateau-Gaillard, among others — and also presents evidence relating to the development of siege weapons and siege warfare.
A history of sieges necessarily brings the people caught up in them, besieger and besieged, clearly before the reader; stories from chronicles and letters of danger, famine, endurance and heroism reach out with an immediacy that provides a powerful human context for this study.
JIM BRADBURY is the author of The Medieval Archer; he writes and lectures on battles and warfare in England and France in the middle ages.


55 black and white, 24 line illustrations
378 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Paperback, 9780851153575, August 1992
Hardback, 9780851153124, May 1994
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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A guide to sieges that took place in Europe and the Near East between 450 and 1565 (with) concluding two chapters...the chapter on weaponry is descriptive and there are excellent drawings as well as contemporary illustrations. Equally, the final chapter on the conduct of sieges is admirably forthright... As a kind of gazetteer The Medieval Siege is useful; the index is particularly good. Moreover, as medieval warfare was more, far more, a question of sieges than of battles, the book is wider than its title suggests. It is, therefore, an antidote to the popular and prevalent idea of war as Great Battles. THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT (Colin Richmond)

A very enjoyable book... a full survey of an important part of medieval warfare. While describing the destructive power of balistae, trebuchets and bombards as well as the conventions regulating sieges, Bradbury does not ignore the stories told by medieval chroniclers: their anecdotes enliven almost every page. RICARDIAN HISTORY

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