Medieval Warfare Vol VIII, Issue 3: The Battle of Vlaardingen - Frisian ‘pirates’ vs the Ottonians

Medieval Warfare Vol VIII, Issue 3: The Battle of Vlaardingen - Frisian ‘pirates’ vs the Ottonians

Medieval Warfare Vol VIII, Issue 3: The Battle of Vlaardingen - Frisian ‘pirates’ vs the Ottonians

The battle of Vlaardingen is a fairly obscure example of a type of battle that occurred from time to time during the Middle Ages, in which a highly regarded mainstream feudal army was defeated unexpectedly by an un-regarded opponent. It happened in the same Low Countries setting as the battle of Courtrai of 1302, a more famous later example, but on this occasion the victorious Frisians benefited from the victory rather more than the Flemish managed after Courtrai.

The articles on the theme start with a look at the rise of the Ottonian kings of Germany, the dynasty that replaced the Carolingians in the eastern part of Charlemagne’s empire. We then move on to a look at the battle itself, between an Ottonian Royal Army under Duke Godfrey III of Lower Lotharingia and Count Dirk III of Frisia, including a look at the aftermath, in which Count Dirk managed to negotiate a stable peace treaty, establishing his family as the rulers of what became Holland. Finally there is a look at the Frisian militia, the most important part of the Count’s army, and a much more professional force than its Ottonian opponents realised.

Away from the theme there is a look at what late Medieval people meant by chivalry, through the eyes of the authors of a near contemporary biography of Duke Louis II of Bourbon, a French leader during one of their periods of success in the Hundred Years War. There is a look at the warrior saints of the Middle Ages, who were used to give spiritual justification for many of the wars of the period. There is a brief look at the equipment of a soldier of c.1000, the start of a series of similar articles that should build up nicely. Rather well timed is a look at knife crime in Medieval London, making it clear that the city is much safer now than it was then. Next is a look at the burial of warriors of uncertain origin Lutomiersk in Poland, attempting to find where they came from. Finally there is a look at the medieval use of deception in warfare, a constant theme in chronicles of the period, but often ignored in the past by historians who believed that there was little subtlety to medieval warfare.

Articles
The rise of the Ottonians - Origins of the German empire
The battle of Vlaardingen - the powerful don’t always prevail
The Frisian militia system - No rabble at Vlaardingen
Further reading - Books and articles about the Ottonians

The good duke - A personal golden age of chivalry
The warrior saints - A heavenly assist on the battlefield
The millennium warrior - With helmet, shield and spear
The dagger in medieval London - ‘But he bear a basilard’
Lutomiersk unveiled - The buried warriors of Poland
The virtue of cunning - Prudence and the medieval military ruse


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