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David Nicolle, born in 1944, worked in the BBC's Arabic service for a number of years before gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He has written numerous books and articles on medieval and Islamic warfare, and has been a prolific author of Osprey titles for many years. Graham Turner is a leading historical artist, specializing in the medieval period. He has illustrated numerous titles for Osprey, covering a wide variety of subjects from the dress of the 10th-century armies of the Caliphates, through the action of bloody medieval battles, to the daily life of the British Redcoat of the late 18th century.
Charlemagne's conquest of the Saxons was the hardest fought and most protracted of his wars; it involved 18 campaigns spread across 33 years, a great deal of lower-level fighting and the harshest final peace settlement that Charlemagne ever imposed upon a defeated foe. Rapidly taking on the character of a religious conquest from its outset, it also became the most important of all Charlemagne's wars for the future direction and character of European history and began the long process of uniting the German-speaking peoples. With extensive photographs, full colour artworks, maps and bird's-eye-views, this volume unravels the initial stages of a convoluted sequence of events that led to the conquest of the Saxons and ultimately Charlemagne's consolidation of Saxony into the greater Carolingian Empire.
Following the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, the Ottoman Empire undertook a massive military retraining program. Although many histories have depicted the Ottomans as a poor fighting force, this was more often due to poor leadership and logistics. The typical Ottoman soldier, the asker, was tough, well-trained, and courageous. While fighting over varied terrain from Gallipoli, to Mesopotamia and to the Caucasus, they proved themselves to be able front-line troops. This is the first English-language book to focus exclusively on the Ottoman infantryman in the First World War. Using a combination of first-hand accounts, period photographs and specially commissioned artwork, it explores the recruitment, training, and combat experiences of these often-neglected warriors.
By the time of the Crusades, the Islamic world had already developed its own sophisticated styles of fortification. Distinctive and highly effective, the region's unique military architecture continued to evolve in response to the Crusader and Mongol threats, and also drew upon the traditions of their foes and neighbours. The resulting Islamic concepts of military architecture had an influence upon fortifications in Western Europe, including Italy and the Iberian Peninsula. However, Islamic fortifications continued to focus upon the defence of cities and frontiers rather than providing security for feudal aristocracies, as was increasingly the case in Europe. Covering fortifications as far apart as North Africa, Afghanistan and northern India, this volume focuses on the Islamic side of the conflict, highlighting the fortifications in use when the Crusaders sought to reconquer the Holy Land, as well as the eventual absorption of the territories of Byzantium into the Islamic world.
Few centuries in world history have had such a profound and long-lasting impact as the first hundred years of Islamic history. In this book, David Nicolle examines the extensive Islamic conquests between AD 632 and 750. These years saw the religion and culture of Islam erupt from the Arabian Peninsula and spread across an area far larger than that of the Roman Empire. The effects of this rapid expansion were to shape European affairs for centuries to come. This book examines the social and military history of the period, describing how and why the Islamic expansion was so successful.
Despite minor setbacks, Christian Europe had enjoyed success on previous Crusader campaigns. Pursuing an ambitious but politically flawed strategy against an Islamic state friendly to their Crusader neighbours, the knights of the Second Crusade suffered a crushing defeat at Damascus in 1148. This battle shook the Crusaders' belief in their military supremacy, and revived the Islamic states, marking a crucial turning point in the history of the Crusades.
The history of Poland is a fascinating study of a people struggling to achieve nationhood in the face of internal and external enemies. Poland became a unified Christian state in AD 966 and by the 12th century a knightly class had emerged - a force that was integral to the defense of Poland against increasingly frequent foreign invasions. Intent on crushing rival Christian states, the Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights all mounted attacks but were beaten back by the Poles, as were invading Mongols and Turks. This book reveals the organization, equipment and battle histories of the medieval Polish armies as they developed and modernized to emerge as one of the dominant powers of Eastern Europe.
In the early decades of the 8th century AD, Islamic forces were flooding into Europe through the Iberian peninsula, threatening Frankish and Burgundian territory and raiding it with ever-increasing ferocity. At the battle of Poitiers, also known as Tours, Christian forces under the Frankish leader Charles Martel The Hammer (grandfather of Charlemagne) confronted a massive invading Islamic army. The Franks were victorious, effectively halting the northward advance of Islam and preserving Christianity as the dominant faith in Europe. Expert medievalist David Nicolle draws on contemporary sources to reconstruct this turning-point battle, places it in its historical context and reviews its background and immediate and longer-term historical consequences.
Osprey's study of Teutonic Knights from 1190 to 1561. The Military Order of Teutonic Knights was one of the three most famous Crusading Orders; the others being the Templars and the Hospitallers. Like these two, the Teutonic Knights initially focused upon the preservation of the Crusader States in the Middle East. Wielding their swords in the name of their faith, the crusading knights set out to reclaim Jerusalem. Unlike the Templars they survived the crises of identity and purpose which followed the loss of the last Crusader mainland enclaves in the late thirteenth century and, like the Hospitallers, they managed to create a new purpose - and a new field of combat - for themselves. Whereas the Hospitallers focused their energies in the eastern Mediterranean battling against Muslim armies, the Teutonic Knights shifted their efforts to the Baltic, to the so-called Northern Crusades against pagan Prussians and Lithuanians and, to a lesser extent, against Orthodox Christian Russia. As a result the Order of Teutonic Knights became a significant power, not only in the Baltic but in north-central Europe as a whole. Paradoxically, however, it was their fellow Catholic Christian Polish neighbours who became their most dangerous foes, breaking the Order's power in the mid-fifteenth century. The Teutonic Knights lingered on in what are now Estonia and Latvia for another century, but this was little more than a feeble afterglow. This title will examine this fascinating military and religious order in detail, revealing the colourful history of the crusades within Europe itself which inexorably changed the future of the continent.
This second volume of Crusader Warfare focuses on those non-Christian cultures which were most directly involved in the Crusades. Centering on the Islamic world, the Mongol World Empire , its fragmented successor states and certain other non-Christian cultures David Nicolle presents many fascinating aspects of warfare and the historical, cultural and economic background of the Islamic military during a much neglected period. In reality the Crusades, and the parallel but separate clash between the Islamic World and the Mongols, resulted from a remarkable variety of political, economic, cultural and religious factors. These campaigns involved an extraordinary array of states, ruling dynasties, ethnic, linguistic and cultural groups as well as the fighting forces associated with these disparate participants.Much current interest in the Crusades reflects the perceived threat of a so-called clash of civilizations and, while warnings of such a supposed clash in our own times are based upon a misunderstanding of the natures of both Western and Islamic civilizations, certain commentators have looked to the medieval Crusades as an earlier example of such a clash. Some have even interpreted the third force of the Mongols as somehow prefiguring the role of China, Japan or the Far East as a whole in the today's world.
This book presents as many aspects as possible of warfare during the period of the crusades within all the cultures most directly involved. To a large extent the current interest in the Crusades reflects the perceived threat of a so-called 'clash of civilisations'. While warnings of such a supposed clash in our own times are based upon a misunderstanding of the natures of both 'Western' and 'Islamic' civilisations, some commentators have looked to the medieval Crusades as an earlier example of such a clash. In reality they were no such thing. Instead the Crusades resulted from a remarkable variety of political, economic, cultural and religious factors. The Crusades, even excluding the Northern or Baltic Crusades, also involved an extraordinary array of states, ruling dynasties, ethnic or linguistic groups and the fighting forces associated with these disparate participants. This volume focuses on Western Europe and the Byzantium Crusades. Latin or Catholic Europe certainly had an 'eastern front'. Medieval Europeans, and certainly the knightly class which came to bear the brunt of Crusading warfare, would have seen all these fronts as part of Latin Christendom's struggle against outsiders. The latter ranged from infidels to schismatics, to pagans and other 'enemies of God'. Excluding Crusading or Christian frontier warfare north of the Carpathian Mountains did not reflect any real military or even political factors on the Latin side of the 'front'. It is based upon which enemies were to be included and which excluded. This study looks at Christian and in a few cases pagan armies whose actions or mere existence in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia, had a bearing upon military, political and economic relations between Christendom and Islam within the Mediterranean world.
Crusader castles and other fortifications in Cyprus, the south-western coast of Turkey and Greece are amongst the best examples of late medieval military architecture to be seen in Europe. These important fortifications, erected by the Hospitallers during the 15th century to face the growing Ottoman Turkish threat, vary considerably from those in the Middle East. Despite there being many visible remains of fortifications in Cyprus, Greece and the Aegean, few studies exist of these areas compared to the fortifications of the Holy Land. Providing numerous architectural plans, maps and colour illustrations, this book seeks to redress this imbalance and complement the previous bestselling treatments of Crusader fortifications in the Fortress series.
In most other national contexts, the term 'Renaissance' can be applied to the 16th and 17th centuries, but it cannot be said of Russia. During this time, the centralised state of the new Tsars achieved military unity under the domination of Moscow and started its expansion eastwards across Siberia and southwards towards Central Asia. Poland-Lithuania and Sweden also proved formidable threats to Russia's security. Despite their exotically Russian appearance, these armies gradually took on a more modern dimension. This book covers the armies 'invented' by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century, looking at their development through the 17th century.
The clash between King Richard I 'The Lionheat' of England and Saladin has become legendary, and the strategy and tactics of a resolute, heavily armed Anglo-Saxon army versus their more lightly armed opponents have continued to fascinate military enthusiasts down the ages. The religious and geopolitical significance of the third crusade are immense and are still being played out to this day. Here was a Crusader army marching towards the greatest goal in Christendom, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, harried by a Muslim force that was equally determined to stop it. Although the battle was eventually won by the Crusaders, the prize itself remained elusive.
In April 1291, a Mamluk army laid siege to Acre, the last great Crusader fortress in the Holy Land. For six weeks, the siege dragged on until the Mamluks took the outer wall, which had been breached in several places. The Military Orders drove back the Mamluks temporarily, but three days later the inner wall was breached. King Henry escaped, but the bulk of the defenders and most of the citizens perished in the fighting or were sold into slavery. The surviving knights fell back to their fortress, resisting for ten days, until the Mamluks broke through. This book depicts the dramatic collapse of this great fortress, whose demise marked the end of the Crusades in the Holy Land.
After the Second Crusade in 1148 the Crusader States embarked on a period of caution and consolidation and, in an increasingly hostile environment, began strengthening existing fortifications and building new castles. Following on from Fortress 21 in the series, which looked at Crusader castles in the Holy Land from 1097 to 1192, this book takes the history of these military structures through to the early 14th century. David Nicolle examines the design and development of castles, the defensive strategies and construction methods used, the influence of Arabic and Islamic traditions in military architecture, as well as siege weaponry and everyday social and religious life. All this is placed within a historical context. Plans, maps, a timeline, photograhs and reconstruction drawings (by Adam Hook) are presented throughout. A tour of five examples (Margat, Crac des Chevaliers, Atlit, Caesarea Maritima and Arsuf), is also included.
Charlemagne's army enabled him to create what he and his contemporaries regarded as a 'reborn' Western Roman Empire. Charlemagne revolutionised the organisation, logistics, indoctrination and training of his army. His troops seemed able to fight on indefinitely, even when they were thousands of miles away from Frankish territory. This title explores the role of the cavalry, the essential striking force of Charlemagne's army. In many respects the cavalrymen were the fore-runners of medieval Western European knights, yet the author shows how their recruitment, organisation, armament and tactics were still rooted in the medieval past. This book shows how the Carolingian armoured horseman played an important role in the development of European warfare.
Of all the castles constructed by Western Europeans during the Middle Ages, none have caught the public imagination so much as Crusader castles. These structures, ranging from the very simple to the huge and elaborate, also encompass almost all aspects of Western European military architecture during the golden age of castle building from the 12th to the 13th centuries. This first volume in a series of three will focus on 12th century castles in the regions now known as Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and south-eastern Turkey. Later volumes will focus on 13th century castles in Greece, Cyprus and the Aegean.