Sean McGlynn investigates the reality of medieval warfare. For all the talk of chivalry, medieval warfare routinely involved acts which we would consider war crimes. Lands laid waste, civilians slaughtered, prisoners massacred: this was standard fare justified by tradition and practical military necessity. It was unbelievably barbaric, but seldom uncontrolled. Such acts of atrocity were calculated, hideous cruelties inflicted in order to achieve a specific end. Sean McGlynn examines the battles of Acre and Agincourt, sieges like Beziers, Lincoln, Jerusalem and Limoges as well as the infamous chevauchees of the Hundred Years War that devastated great swathes of France. He reveals how these grisly affairs form the origin of accepted 'rules of war', codes of conduct that are today being enforced in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Written for the popular, not the academic market, this is a 'warts and all' portrait of war in the middle ages that combines vivid narrative with explanation and analysis.
Sean McGlynn is the author of THE INVASION OF ENGLAND 1216 (Sutton 2001) and contributed to the CASSELL ATLAS OF THE MEDIEVAL WORLD. He is a regular contributor to HISTORY TODAY, HISTORY REVIEW, ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW and many academic journals.