The Most Influential Battles of the Middle Ages

Battles of the Middle Ages

The medieval period, often called”the Middle Ages, was the period that ran for around a millennium around 300 CE up to 1500. In this time, the world changed, and many of the most infamous battles of history were fought during this time. There isn’t a single thing that distinguishes the medieval battle or siege as war evolved throughout the centuries. This article is not just going to define the different types of warfare but will also explain the outcomes and what they meant to the medieval world.

The Dawn of the Middle Ages: The Medieval Battle For Rome, 24th August 410

One of the most popular misconceptions about what is known as the “Middle Ages” or “medieval” world is that it was a time of knights in shining armor or chivalry, as well as ladies waiting for their turn. A portion of it wasthe period referred to by the name of “High Middle Ages”, that spanned from about 1000 to 1300 However, the truth is that the medieval era set the stage to that of the High Middle Ages. The most well-known medieval conflicts is known as the Sack of Rome, conducted by Alaric and his Visigoths in 410 CE.

In the past it was apparent that it was clear that the Roman Empire had been heading towards a decline. Things that transpired during the Third Century Crisis which had been largely redressed by Emperor Diocletian continued to afflict the Roman populace nearly two hundred years after. An angry populace was ready to take when their heavily Armed enemies were just within the walls of Rome.

After encircling the city for a few weeks after the siege, the Visigoths created a plan by which they would give the Romans within the city of their slaves, as part to show their respect for having fought a siege many days. The Romans have opened to the Salarian Gate, and the Visigoths entered the city.

Alaric along with his Visigoths took over Rome for three days, killing aristocrats and kings and burning buildings as well as taking everything they could find. In just three weeks, the eminent Rome city Rome -which was not devastated for over 800 years been totally destroyed in the span of three days. In addition even more, the Romans were able to see their fellow Visigoths as barbarians or savages, and regarded themselves as superior.

The reason why this battle from the medieval era makes the list is due to the impact it had, not only on Rome as a whole, but also on Roman thinking. They were completely destroyed by a savage army. They realized that they weren’t immortal and that their city was actually apprehensible. The Visigoths were certainly playing their part in the city’s swift demise after its destruction by the Sack of Rome in 410.

The Battle For England: The Battle of Hastings, 14th October 1066

This battle from the Middle Ages is one that nearly everyone has heard about. It was the final battle of Saxon rule in England and marked the beginning the era of Norman rule. The battle was significant since there was a Royal Family in England can be traced back for over 1000 years back to The Battle of Hastings, where the Norman Dynasty were the victors and their descendants would rule England for over a thousand years.

The actual battle took place on the south-east coastline of England in a town known as Hastings. The English monarch that time was Harold II, had just won a battle at York and his army marched across the country in a frenzied pace to confront William of Normandy’s troops. Harold’s troops were exhausted after the long and tiring march following many days of fighting that stretched over 300 miles from their home and were in a disadvantage due to this.

William’s troops took advantage of this and racked up an impressive victory, which culminated in Harold II dying possibly by an arrow which was fired into his eye, this image can be seen in the well-known Bayeux Tapestry. William was crowned William I of England on Christmas Day 1066. Today, he is more well-known by his name: William the Conqueror.

The Battle of Antioch, 28th June 1098

The Battle of Antioch was part of the war called the First Crusade, in which Christian European forces rallied together following Pope Urban II’s historic Council at Clermont in 1095 to help their Byzantine friends to their battle in the East in the fight against Muslim forces.

In the aftermath of fighting in Nicaea and Dorylaeum The Crusaders were able to reach Antioch. Their objective was to conquer Jerusalem (which they ultimately were successful in achieving — to an some extent) therefore why has victory at Antioch was included on this list of battles in the medieval era?

The location of where Antioch was situated was important in the lives of Crusaders. It was situated in modern-day Antakya, Turkey, east of the Orontes River. This means the supplies were able to be transported from Europe through the rivers in Greece as well as Turkey to the Crusaders. Additionally to this, it was the Battle of Antioch was the final stage of what was later referred to in”the Siege of Antioch: an eight-month-long siege of Antioch, which ran from 1097 in October to June 1098.

The Christians were required to defend Antioch and all their efforts to reach Jerusalem – in the Holy Land — would have failed. In the end, six divisions of starving Christian troops retreated out of the gate. Their Muslim chief, Kerbogha, ordered an immediate attack, however Bohemond from Taranto -one of the Crusader leadershad arranged for this along with a seven-division of Christian soldiers held against the assault.

The Crusaders claimed to have seen dreams of St George which increased their morale. Eventually they Muslim troops dispersed, swarmed across a variety of directions, and the Crusaders held on to their antioch city. Antioch.

The Fall of Jerusalem: The Battle of Hattin, 4 th July 1187

A battle fought in the Crusades ranks among the best medieval battles. However, this time it did not go for the Crusaders. Following having lost the Second Crusade — a catastrophe for the Crusaders The troops faced One of the Islamic world’s most powerful commanders: the Al-Nasir al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub more commonly referred to as Saladin.

Saladin’s Muslim troops had placed themselves well, in a curved form around Hattin, thereby cutting away their water flow of Lake Tiberias (known today as the Sea of Galilee). This ensured it was possible for the Muslim troops would be well-hydrated as was necessary however, it also made the Crusaders weaker and less hydrated.

The Muslims were encircling the Crusaders throughout the night and kept them awake with praying as well as beating the drums. They also lit a fire on the dry grass surrounding the camp of the Crusaders. This caused their throats to become even more dry.

The day of July 4th on July 4th, the Crusader troops were blinded the smoke of the Muslim fires. This gave the Muslims an excuse to start a fire by using archers. Disorientated and demoralized and confused, the Crusaders disbanded their formations and headed their way to the springs of Hattin. But, because of the dehydration and injuries they sustained most of them were merely removed from the battlefield by Muslim soldiers and then killed. Saladin was successful in gaining back Muslim territories and this is the reason why this battle is considered to be one of the most epic medieval battles in history.

Battle of Bouvines, 27th July 1214ll of Jerusalem: The Battle of Hattin, 4th July 1187

In 1212 in 1212, in 1212, King Philip II of France had intended to cross the English Channel and take England for himself. This had frightened King John, the English King of England, King John enough that he realized how vulnerable he was to just thirty miles water in between two rival kingdoms.

In response, John made peace with the Church (he was effectively put in suspension by Innocent III, Pope Innocent III in 1208 for his frequent squabbles against the church). It was not without cost however, as he agreed that he would surrender his kingdom to the Pope and to pay an annual amount of 1,000 points in tribute to Innocent as well as his successors to the throne for ever. The chronicler of the 14th century, Henry Knighton, noted that John had “turned himself from a free man into a slave”.

In the end, John had no choice but to fight and his army (along together with the forces of Otto IV’s Holy Roman Empire under Otto IV) were able to meet at Bouvines. Bouvines was where the Allied force of 9,900 soldiers outnumbered Philip’s army in the year 2000. However Philip’s army was destroyed by Philip’s army was defeated by the French army defeated John’s troops and completely wiped out any hope of John getting his territory back.

This was an extremely important medieval battle due to several reasons. Firstly it signaled the beginning of the fall of the Plantagenet Empire — all of the territory gained under John’s father Henry I, had been gone. It also ended the Anglo-French war in 1213-14. It also changed the direction of English history for the ages. Recognizing how weak he was John’s barons compelled John to sign Magna Carta, a legal document that continues to be a the precedent of English law more than 800 years after.

The War for Scotland: The Battle of Bannockburn, 24th June 1314

A hundred years later than Bouvines and in the time of King John’s grandson Edward II, there was another of the most epic medieval battles in history The Battle of Bannockburn.

Bannockburn was a part of the Anglo-Scottish wars that began in the 13th until the mid-fourteenth century. The Scottish King, Robert I (better known as Robert the Bruce) had taken back Roxburgh Castle and Edinburgh Castle in the early 1314s, which effectively encouraged the English to join the war in Scotland.

The result was known as the Battle of Bannockburn, which was one of the biggest loss of English history. The battle was a disaster prior to the battle began It was the time when the English Earls of Gloucester and Hereford disagreed on who would be the vanguard leader, and Edward was accused by Gloucester of being a coward. Gloucester for being cowardly, not a good idea in the days prior to a battle.

Infuriated by the King’s remarks, Gloucester charged forward to meet with the Scottish forces, and was shot dead. In response, the Scottish army then drove the English back to the Bannockburn stream, and snared it between the riverbanks. English forces retreated and broke up.

To add salt to English injuries, it’s thought Bruce’s Scottish troops only had 6000, as opposed with Edward’s armies of 20000. A major military failure has ruined the reputation of Edward II as king, especially given the fact that Edward I, his grandfather Edward I, was extremely effective against Scots. And to make matters even worse, in the posthumous funeral of Edward II, his son, Edward III, was also successful against the Scots in a number of instances which made Edward II’s reputation more sour. It is Edward III we will look to the next time.

The Battle of Sluys, 24th June 1340

As of now, all the battles debated were in the land. Sluys was different because it was an naval battle. A part of the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) The Battle at Sluys is one of the Edward III’s greatest victories as well as a massive triumph for England. With the King Philip VI of France having his sights set at his own North Sea in early 1340, Edward III knew he must take action to protect his country. But the odds were for Philip’s side in June. He had amassed a fleet comprising 213 vessels, while Edward had managed to gather around 150.

The 26th year anniversary commemorated the Battle of Bannockburn Edward’s English forces fought Philip’s French troops at the Bay of Sluys in Flanders. In Flanders, the French fleet was fighting to defend from the Bay, while Philip’s was moving toward the French. Philip had made sure the chaining of his vessels in order to create an unbreakable barrier to English forces.

But after four hours of fighting after four hours of battle, the English ships struck the initial line of French defenses and the French surrendered. Edward took all but 23 French ships. There are estimates of between 16,000 to 18,000 French soldiers and seamen also died. Sluys is to the list of greatest medieval battles due to the fact that it was the turning point during the Hundred Years War, and it proved to be a turning point for England.

The Battle of Agincourt, 25th October 1415

The next battle on our list is one of the Hundred Years War, but this time, it’s in at the middle of war. Under the reign of the Lancastrian King, Henry V, English forces prevailed in one of the most memorable medieval battles, but also one of the most memorable underdog stories.

After a couple of decades of peace and tranquility during the Hundred Years War, England and France had resumed negotiations, but the talks had turned bitter. This led to England began to reorganize to prepare itself for battle, this time under the great-grandson of Edward III, Henry V.

In the subsequent wars, English numbers had been reduced by illness and they attempted to resign from the English-controlled Calais but were was blocked through French troops at Agincourt. Despite their huge numbers disadvantage — about 7000 English soldiers to 25000 French in the same area Henry V had no other alternative but to fight for his freedom.

The French troops were commanded by a nobleman named Charles d’Albret (King Charles VI of France was extremely mentally sick) and Henry V commanded the English army. The English longbows were a major factor in the battles. They had gained importance in the first combats during the Hundred Years War under Edward III in battles like Crecy and Poitiers and Poitiers, again proved their superiority.

The English forces defeated their French and lost around 600 soldiers, in comparison to the 6 000 French who died, and the 2,000 French who were rounded up and most executed. The reason Agincourt should be included in this list of the most important medieval battles is due to the fact that it transformed on the Hundred Years War back in favour of England. It also demonstrated that the longbow even though it was used for nearly 100 years — was still the most effective weapon of the time.

The End of the Byzantine Empire: The Siege of Constantinople, 29th May 1453

This list of the top medieval battles is not complete without the harrowing story of the falling of Constantinople which marked the end of the Roman Empire.

Often referred to as”the “Conquest of Istanbul” in Turkish The fall of Constantinople was the culmination of a 52-day siege of the city that was then one of the cities in the Byzantine Empire. The earliest beginnings of the Byzantine Empire had been formed under Roman Emperor Constantine I in 330, who established the capital and was later renamed it was the Eastern Roman Empire after the end of the Western Roman Empire in the sixth century.

In the midst of centuries of conflict between the western and eastern churches Due to centuries of conflict between the western and eastern churches, the Byzantines were left by themselves in order to protect their capital, even though they had predicted an attack by the Ottomans.

However, this tale isn’t one of underdogs. It is true that the Ottoman army, led by the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II (who became known as Mehmed the Conqueror), was a massive force, with 200,000 soldiers in total, while the Byzantines were just more than 10,000. There was going to be a certain way become the ultimate Ottoman victory.

The Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos led the Byzantine army, which was destroyed by Mehmed’s troops. Mehmed created Constantinople the capital city for the Ottoman Empire following his victory. He not just stopped his reign as the Byzantine Empire but also the Roman Empire.

It is among the most important battles ever, and not only one of the most important medieval battles. It helped the Ottomans to advance further into Europe and gained greater land in the Balkans that continue to show the Muslim influence up to the present, especially in nations like Bosnia as well as Herzegovina along with Albania. Additionally, it brought about the change in warfaresieges were often put on hold by turrets that fired massive stones at walls of castles, but when gunpowder was introduced castles collapsed, and they transformed the military’s tactics for the last time.

The Fall of Constantinople is a crucial historical event in the history of medieval times, that it’s often called the ending of the Middle Ages, and the introduction into the Early Modern period. But some historians do not agree and prefer 1492 as the date for their battle as the last battle in this list of the most memorable medieval battles.

The Medieval Battle to Unify Spain: The Fall of Granada, 2nd January 1492

The last fight on this list is a different key historic event in the history of medieval times and the whole 1492 year is commonly described as the shift in that of the Medieval Period to the Early Modern Period and, in particular, Columbus’ “discovery” of the Americas. But the end of Granada is equally significant in European history.

Muslims have ruled in the Iberian Peninsula in various areas from the time of the conquest by Al-Andalus around 711. The loss of Granada — Muslims final stand against Iberia ended the 781-year period of Muslim rule on the Peninsula which they would never return.

The Granada War had been going since 1482, involving a myriad of conflicts and battles, however they all culminated in the defeat of Granada in 1492. The Granadan Defenders also had to contend by internal conflict, while the Christian forces were united under the reigns of monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, two monarchs that are considered to be some of Spanish history’s most admired and revered rulers ever By bringing their kingdoms together they were able to defeat their common enemies.

In the end, realizing that there was nothing else to go, Muhammad XII (also known as Boabdil) gave up the majestic Alhambra Palace to the Christian forces who occupied. According to legend, Boabdil’s mother was so upset when he wept while he handed over the keys of the Alhambra over that she remarked: “You do well, my son, to cry like a woman for what you couldn’t defend like a man.”

But, even though Granada was now under Christian control, it didn’t end all conflicts. In fact, it slowed down the coexistence between religions that was able to endure for many centuries. The majority of Jews were required to switch to Christianity or be exiled The same was true to Muslims.

However the defeat of Granada is without doubt one of the most significant medieval battles due to how it impacted and shaped the Iberian Peninsula to this day. The evidence of Muslim influence is evident in the magnificent Alhambra Palace today, but it is also evident in Spain’s heavily Catholic populace that Islam is well and truly gone from the peninsula forever.

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