Monday, November 15, 2010

Feudal Warfare

What do most people think of when they think of the Middle Ages? Knights? One of the most famous components of the Middle Ages is the knights. One thing to remember about them is that feudal warfare wasn't very lethal. At one battle five hundred knights fought, and only one was killed. Everyone felt bad about that.

A key part of war during Medieval times was the feudal system. The kings were at the top of it. Underneath him were the knights. They swore their allegiance to him, and fought for him for a certain amount of time each year. In return, he gave them land and peasants to work it with. The knights were rich. You had to be. The armor was very expensive. It was very protective, too. It was sometimes made to look like clothing. Some German armor looks like pleated fabric. Swords were indispensable. They took a long time to make. Good swords were highly prized, while the very best ones were passed down through the generations. There were many different styles of swords, due to the changes of the styles of armor. Attacking through chainmail required a sword which was about three feet long and double edged, with a steep point. Attacking through plate armor depended on being able to stab through chinks in the armor, so swords had sharp, sloping points.

Another thing that affected war was the idea of ransom. It was customary to not try to kill your enemy, but instead to capture him. A dead man was a dead man, who would not be useful to you at all. But captives could be ransomed, which could bring in a lot of money. At first, it was customary to lock up captives in a dusty dungeon. This however, wasn't much fun for the captive, who was likely to be the captor next time, so prisoners were eventually treated like honored guests. It was customary to accept a relative of the captive in exchange for the man's freedom so he could go collect the money for his ransom. One man actually returned to prison because he couldn't raise his ransom.

Well, that's all for now!

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