Armies and Politics in the Early Medieval West: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Armies and Politics in the Early Medieval West

1st Edition

By Bernard S. Bachrach


320 pages

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Hardback: 9780860783749
pub: 1993-04-22
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In these articles Professor Bachrach starts by looking at aspects of the ’barbarian’ occupation of the land of the Roman Empire, from Britain to the Alan settlements in southern Gaul. His particular interest, however, is in the political and, above all, in the military structures that grew out of the Early Middle Ages. He has sought to demonstrate that there was a fundamental continuity in military organisation and tactics from the Merovingian through the Carolingian period. As he shows, there is no reason to connect the origins of ’feudalism’ with Charles Martel’s wish to create a force of cavalry, and it is a fallacy that he grasped the potential of the stirrup for enabling mounted shock combat. On the contrary, its use in the West progressed only slowly, and it had nothing to do with the origins or growth of feudalism. Le professeur Bachrach débute par l’analyse de certains aspects de l’occupation barbare des terres de l’empire romain, de la Grande-Bretagne aux campements alans en Gaule méridionale. Il s’attache en suite aux structures politiques et, surtout, militaires qui furent issues du Haut Moyen Age. Selon lui, et il tente d’en faire ici la démonstration, l’organisation et les tactiques militaires ont fait preuve d’une continuité fondamentale de l’époque mérovingienne à celle des Carolingiens. Comme il le demontre, il n’y a pas lieu d’établir de liens entre l’origine du féodalisme et le désir qu’avait Charles Martel de créer une cavalerie; il est également tout à fait erroné de dire que ce dernier s’était rendu compte du potentiel de l’étrier en tant que facteur de mener des combats à cheval de choc. Bien contraire, l’utilisation de l’étrier à l’Ouest ne fit que progresser lentement et aucun rapport n’existe entre cet instrument et l’origine ou la croissance de la féodalité.


'From start to finish…this useful collection of Bernard Bachrach's shorter studies certainly makes you think.' Guy Halsall, Early Medieval Europe

Table of Contents

Contents: Gildas, Vortigern and constitutionality in sub-Roman Britain; The questions of King Arthur’s existence and of Romano-British naval operations; The Alans in Gaul; Another look at the barbarian settlement in southern Gaul; The origin of Amorican chivalry; Two Alan motifs in Ã…berg’s Aquitanian style; Procopius and the chronology of Clovis’s reign; Procopius, Agathias and the Frankish military; Was the Marchfield part of the Frankish constitution?; Who were the Ripariolibriones?; A reassessment of Visigothic Jewish policy; Charles Martel, mounted shock combat, the stirrup and feudalism; Military organisation in Aquitaine under the early Carolingians; Charlemagne’s cavalry: myth and reality; On the role of the Jews in the establishment of the Spanish March (768-814); A picture of Avar-Frankish warfare from a Carolingian psalter of the early 9th century in light of the Strategicon; Animals and warfare in early medieval Europe; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General