1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Medieval Military Strategy

Edited By John D. Hosler, Daniel P. Franke Copyright 2025
    480 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This Handbook provides the first comprehensive and global analysis of medieval military strategy, covering the period from the sixth to the seventeenth century.

    Challenging the widely held notion in modern strategic studies that medieval strategy was non-existent, the Handbook brings together leading scholars to explore a range of literatures, campaigns, laws, and contexts that highlight medieval warfare’s multifaceted contours. The scope of the work is ambitious, with over 30 chapters dedicated to analysing strategy across six continents. From Charlemagne to Henry V and Scandinavia to Florence; southbound to Morocco then across the Sahara to Kongo; past the Adriatic to Byzantium and Georgia and the Crusades and Egypt; further still into Indian and Chinese dynasties and Japan; and finally, to Central and South America—this Handbook provides ready access to military strategy across the medieval world stage. In the process, it fills a significant gap in the history of strategy and serves to connect the ancient world with the modern, demonstrating that—whatever the period—military leaders have consistently plied warfare in the pursuit of greater ends.

    This Handbook will be of much interest to researchers and students of military strategy, medieval military history, and strategic studies in general.


    John D. Hosler

    Part I: Europe

    1. Charlemagne’s Long-Term Strategic Goal: Obtaining the Imperial Title in the West

    Bernard S. Bachrach 

    2. Anglo-Saxon and Viking Military Strategies

    Richard P. Abels                                

    3. Grand Strategy of the Ottonian Empire, 919-973

    David S. Bachrach

    4. Strategy in the High Middle Ages: Anglo-Normans, Capetians and Plantagenets

    Steven Isaac   

    5. Insurgency: Unconventional Strategy in the West, 500-1300

    Laurence W. Marvin              

    6. The Continuous Crusade in Northeast Europe: Warfare in Livonia, Estonia, Prussia and Lithuania, 1198-1411

    Alan V. Murray and Gregory Leighton

    7. Military Professionalization and Strategy in Late Medieval England

    David Simpkin           

    8. Beyond the Town Walls: Economy and the Florentine Forces, 1336-1392

    William Caferro

    9. The Origins of National Navies in the West

    Susan Rose

    10. Strategy and Military Revolutions

    Clifford J. Rogers                                                                  

    Part II: The Mediterranean

    11. Strategy and Grand Strategy: Resources, Geopolitics and Ideology in the East Roman/Byzantine Empire

    John Haldon

    12. Maurice and His Legacy: Strategike in the Byzantine Military Manuals         

    Georgios Theotokis

    13. The Fatimids and Syria

    Yaacov Lev and David Bramoullé                 

    14. The Crusades: Western Armies and Eastern Strategies

    John France                                       

    15. The Rule of the Temple and the Military-Religious Orders

    Helen J. Nicholson                            

    16. Raiding as a Strategy in Medieval Georgia

    Mamuka Tsurtsumia                                                  

    17. Spain’s Leading Thirteenth-Century Law Code and (Incidental) Military Treatise Las Siete Partidas

    L.J. Andrew Villalon                         

    18. Ottomans: Mehmed the Conqueror

    Juho Wilskman                                                          

    Part III: Asia and Africa

    19. Beyond and Behind the Wall: Siege Warfare of Sui-Tang China, 600-900

    Kai Wan Kwan

    20. China in the Gunpowder Age, Song to Ming Dynasties

    Peter Lorge                                        

    21. Strategy and Warfare in Ancient and Medieval Japan

    Thomas Conlan                                              

    22. Strategies in Post-Gupta India

    Kaushik Roy

    23. Strategy of the Delhi Sultanate, 1206-1526

    Kaushik Roy

    24. Strategy and the Mughal Empire

    Andrew de la Garza

    25. Strategy in the Mongol Way of War

    Timothy May

    26. Almoravid Tactics and Strategy

    Joe Morrel                                         

    27. “The Kingdom of Ethiopia Shall Live Forever”: Military Strategies in Ethiopia (13th-16th Centuries)

    Deresse Ayenachew Woldetsadik

    28. Military Strategies in Pre-17th Century West Africa

    Gérard Chouin                                   

    29. The Military-Political Strategy of the Medieval Kingdom of Kongo

    John Thornton

    Part IV: Western Hemisphere

    30. The Excan tlatoloyan and Military Strategies for Mesoamerican Control in the Late Post-Classic Period

    Marco Antonio Cervera Obregón

    31. Late Andean Warfare: Evolving Military Sophistication under the Inka

    David O. Brown

    32. Medieval Strategy: Conclusions and New Directions

    Daniel P. Franke


    John D. Hosler is a Professor of Military History at the Command and General Staff College. He is the author, most recently, of Jerusalem Falls: Seven Centuries of War and Peace (Yale UP), and is the editor of Seven Myths of Military History (Hackett).

    Daniel P. Franke is Associate Professor of History at Richard Bland College of William & Mary in Petersburg, Virginia. He specializes in the military history of Germany and England, and is currently completing a study of Frederick Barbarossa as a military commander.

    "A major contribution not only to strategic studies but also to our understanding of medieval warfare as a whole, this collection fully vindicates its thesis that strategy existed before the term and was of fundamental importance."

    Jeremy Blackauthor of Military Strategy: A Global History, University of Exeter, UK

    "This is a groundbreaking resource, surveying approaches to military strategy from across the planet.  Written by an impressive line-up of leading experts, this collection provides a scholarly benchmark for research on an astonishing range of military societies, whilst simultaneously offering new insights on many aspects of global military history."  

    Nicholas MortonNottingham Trent University, UK