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By Robert Michulec

ISBN-10: 9623616481

ISBN-13: 9789623616485

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37 *** Moving on from the theoretical studies of how to wage war and how to fight, we should consider the moral foundations for war. The main problem here is that there were several threads of tradition and thought on this subject during the period 300–1500. One extreme view of warfare was that war is never justifiable in any circumstances. This was the view of some Christians, based on Christ’s teaching in the Gospels. 38 It was also the view expressed in the magical text Picatrix, translated in 1256–8 from an Arabic text (itself apparently based on late Hellenistic Greek writings, among other sources) into Castilian Spanish for King Alfonso X of Castile, and later into Latin.

Sometime before 942, Odo, abbot of the monastery of Cluny in central eastern France, wrote ‘The Life of Gerald of Aurillac’, an account of a pious nobleman who held his lands in the vicinity of Cluny and who had renounced pillage and given his lance to the service of Christ, protecting the poor and needy and the churches against the bandit knights. Yet although he approved of what Gerald was doing, Odo was clearly ambivalent about the necessity of bloodshed, even when it was in the cause of protecting the weak.

The question of how people fought is also difficult to establish. How far were warriors trained, and how far did they ‘learn on the job’? Despite Vegetius’s instructions that soldiers should train every day, there are very 12 Medieval warfare few references throughout the Middle Ages to warriors actually being taught how to fight. It has been suggested that the literature of the warrior classes, the epic and romance, provided some instruction to young warriors on how to conduct a campaign and about comradeship and responsibility; but most scholars believe that the martial feats described in such stories cannot have happened in reality.

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4th Panzer Division on the Eastern Front: 1941-1943 v. 1 (Armor at War 7000) by Robert Michulec

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