The inept leadership of John De Warenne led to the English disaster at Stirling Bridge. From their position on Abbey Crag, the Scots carried everything before them wiping out the English bridgehead on the north bank of the River Forth. Painting by Angus McBride

medieval warfare

Reenactors heft medieval bills in anticipation of an attack by men on horse. Bills were favored by the English but were more effective on mail than on plate armor.

medieval warfare


By Michael Kluever

The medieval polearm was the Colt Pistol equalizer of the Middle Ages. it placed the common infantry soldier on par with the heavily armored horseman. Read more

medieval warfare

Thundering Clash at Lewes

By Terry Gore

Royalist knights under the command of Prince Edward of England rode with furious speed toward the thousands of London militia who had been sent to set fire to the town of Lewes. Read more

medieval warfare

Roncesvalles and the Birth of Chivalry

By Don Hollway

The Age of Chivalry brings to mind knights in shining armor and damsels in distress, along with traveling troubadours and minstrels singing chansons de geste, “songs of deeds,” telling of feats of arms and labors of love. Read more

Saint Louis, King Louis IX of France receives Robert of Nantes, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in Damietta, Egypt, in June of 1249. Robert is lending his knights to the battle ahead, the Seventh Crusade. Nineteenth century painting by French artist Oscar Gué.

medieval warfare

The Battle of Al Mansourah and the Seventh Crusade, 1251

By Douglas Sterling

After a century and a half of efforts—with mixed success—by Western Europe to seize control of the Holy Land, the Seventh Crusade of 1250 led by Louis IX of France was the last best chance to change the political and military situation in the Eastern world before the Reformation. Read more

Yermak’s Cossack brigade drives a wedge into Khan Kuchum’s Tatar horde in the climactic Battle of Chuvash Cape on the Irtysh River in 1582.

medieval warfare

Russia’s Conquest of Siberia

By Victor Kamenir

Russian historical documents dating back to 1095 speak of an unknown people living beyond the Ural Mountains in Siberia who spoke an incomprehensible language and traded furs for iron knives and axes. Read more

Croatian nobleman Nikola Zrinski leads a sortie against the Turks at the Hungarian fortress of Szigetvar in 1566. The bloody siege was Suleiman’s last battle.

medieval warfare

Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I

By William E. Welsh

Venetian military engineer Gabriel Tandini listened intently in the semi-darkness of the Knights Hospitaller counter-tunnels beneath the walls of Rhodes for sound of Turkish sappers trying to dig under the city’s walls. Read more

Pope Eugenius III presents his pilgrim staff to King Louis VII at the Church of St. Denis. A high-ranking knight holds the Oriflamme, which was the battle standard of French kings.

medieval warfare

Crusader Calamity at Damascus

By William E. Welsh

The hot sun beat down on the mud-brick and wooden buildings, the lush orchards, and the patchwork of pastoral fields around the oval-shaped, walled city of Damascus in southern Syria on the morning of July 24, 1148. Read more

The 9th-century Oseberg ship in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo was excavated in the early 20th century from a burial mound in southern Norway. The karve-style, clinker-built ship with its broad hull is made almost entirely from oak.

medieval warfare

The Viking Longship

By John Spindler

In the first week of October 844, Emir Abd ar-Rahman II of Cordoba learned disturbing news: Vikings had captured Seville. Read more

medieval warfare

Disaster at Nicopolis

By William E. Welsh

Thick black smoke rose skyward from burning villages on the southern frontier of the Hungarian Kingdom in the spring of 1395. Read more

medieval warfare

English Man-at-Arms in the Wars of the Roses

By William E. Welsh, Artwork by Graham Turner

The Wars of the Roses (1455-1487) encompassed three civil wars that were fought between two rival branches, York and Lancaster, of the House of Plantagenet, for control of the English throne. Read more

With a Christian cross prominently displayed at left, Charles Martel’s Frankish forces beat back Muslim invaders at Tours in Charles Steuben’s 19th-century painting.

medieval warfare

Charles The Hammer At Tours

By William E. Welsh

In the late spring of ad 732, an 80,000-man-strong Muslim army spilled northward through gaps in the western Pyrenees onto the verdant, gently rolling landscape of Gascony. Read more

medieval warfare

The Battle-Ax

By William McPeak

The shafted ax has been around since 6000 bc, in both peaceful and warlike uses. The so-called battle-ax cultures (3200 to 1800 bc) extended over much of northern Europe from the late Stone Age through the early Bronze Age. Read more

medieval warfare

Hussite Jan Zizka

By John E. Spindler

Jan Zizka belongs to the elite group of leaders who never lost a battle. He was born on or around 1360 in the village of Trocnov in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Read more