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During the Middle Ages siege warfare played a vital role in military strategy. Sieges were far more numerous than pitched battles, ranging from small-scale affairs against palisaded earthworks to full-scale assaults on vast strongholds. Needless to say, the art of siege warfare assumed a unique importance to both invader and defender alike. In this title Christopher Gravett explores the different aspects of medieval siege warfare, from chivalrous formalities to 'surprise and treachery', in a text backed by numerous illustrations including 12 full page colour plates by Richard and Christa Hook.
Like all warrior classes throughout history medieval knights engaged in military games, partly in preparation for war and partly for pure sport. From their often brutal origins in the 10th century to the gaudy pageantry and eventual decline of the 15th and 16th centuries, tournaments were the centre of the knightly life. The image of the armoured and surcoated knight on his caparisoned charger remains the epitome of the chivalric ideal. Christopher Gravett explores the history of the tournament from its chaotic beginnings to its more formal, 'civilised' incarnation, describing the various 'events' and equipment which came into use.
The German rulers were forceful and powerful men, and, surrounded by potential enemies, circumstances dictated the necessity of rule by strength based on military capacity. In the later 15th Century, three houses rose above the others; the families of Wittelsbach, Luxemburg and the powerful Austrian Hapsburgs. The struggles of these and other houses, and of the knights and towns, were to be a feature of German history throughout the Middle Ages. This title details the dress, weapons, heraldry and insignia of these prolific forces, as well as various battles, such as the Battle of Goellheim of 1298.