Military aspects of the Albigensian Crusade

Noah, Rachel Louise (1999) Military aspects of the Albigensian Crusade. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Although many general narrative works exist covering the events of the Albigensian Crusade, very little has been written specifically regarding the military aspects of the war in the Languedoc. The main written source used in this study has been the Chanson de la croisade Albigeoise, a contemporary vernacular work which has been found to contain much that this relevant to this subject. The recruitment and composition of crusader armies and armies in southern France is examined and comparisons made between the two. In order to establish a background for the crusading army an examination of the recruitment of royal armies in Northern France has been carried out. A study of documentary evidence reveals several mechanisms whereby armies in Northern France in this period were recruited. Such evidence is particularly important in terms of examining the use stipendiary troops and mercenaries. This may be helpful in ascertaining the composition of the crusading army. It is clear from examining the written sources that the type of warfare carried out during the crusade involved many types of troops in the crusading army, not just knights who dominate the written sources. Men with specialist skills as well as infantry, mounted sergeants and troops who could be utilised for general labour all had an important role to play. It is also clear that many crusaders fought for monetary reward as well in order to fulfil feudal duties and crusading vows. An examination of the social, political and economic background in the Languedoc has been carried out in order to establish the differences which existed in the recruitment of armies in northern and southern France. It has been found that different social structures affected land holding and political power. In its turn this affected the recruitment of men who served for monetary reward rather than giving service in return for land. It is probable that mercenary troops were used more frequently in southern France in comparison with the North. This was probably as a result of the different social structures which existed. The depiction of warfare in Occitan poetry has also been covered as it has been found that differences exist in the definition of knighthood in southern France particularly in relation to military service. Fortifications in northern and southern France have been examined and compared and an in depth survey of how such fortifications were utilised and besieged during the Albigensian Crusade has been carried out. It has been found that siege warfare was an extremely important feature of the warfare of the Albigensian Crusade as with much other warfare of this period. It has also been found that some differences existed between fortifications in northern France and the Languedoc in the thirteenth century. This due to political, social and economic conditions as well as the topography of the area. Other issues addressed include the possibility of the transfer of siege technology and fortification techniques between northern and southern France during the Albigensian Crusade and after. In some areas of southern France castle architecture underwent some changes due to the coming of the crusade, particularly after the royal take over of south western France. Although it is possible that technical innovation came about due to the nature of the warfare being undertaken, a technical superiority on either side has not been found. Warfare in the field is also examined. Areas covered include an examination of the study of field warfare, particularly battles. In general, it appears that warfare in the field following much the same pattern of raids, skirmishes, and ravaging as it did in other conflicts of the period with the decision to give battle an exception rather than the rule. The battle of Muret is examined as an example of the field warfare which took place during the conflict, though it emerges that examining such isolated incidents can rarely give a true picture of warfare as a whole during the conflict.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Matthew Strickland
Keywords: Medieval history, Military history
Date of Award: 1999
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1999-73726
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/73726

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