The main focus of this issue is the First Baron’s War. This began after King John refused to accept the terms of Magna Carta, triggering a revolt by many of his nobles. They then called for help from France, and gained the support of Prince Louis, heir to the throne and the future Louis VIII of France. At first Louis and his supporters dominated, but despite his best effort King John retained some very able supporters. John’s main contribution to his side’s eventual victory was to die, leaving his young son Henry III as king. John’s death removed the main reason for the war, but Louis still appeared to be in the stronger position. Key articles here look at two of the three key military moments in the war – the long siege of Dover, which held out against Louis, and the battle of Lincoln, where part of his army that had been sent north was destroyed.
Seven articles focus on the First Baron’s War – from its causes to the battle of Dover, although finishing before the final naval battle of Sandwich. An eighth looks at the development of the English castle, and the impact that castle design had on sieges. This is a useful study of this important medieval war.
Away from the main theme there is a look at the use of honey as battlefield medicine, the crossbow, and two key battles between the Byzantines and the Fatamids in northern Syria, both of which saw Byzantine armies defeated.
Because Magna Carta failed - the First Baron's War (1215-1217)
The Siege of Rochester - Hard Pressed and strongly resisted
Hating John - How English chroniclers portrayed the king
The Siege of Dover - the key to England
From towers to tunnels - Gamechangers in English castle-building
The Battle of Lincoln - A day to be venerated through our age
A warrior for king and Christ - Peter de Roches at the battle of Lincoln
Prisoners of war - The aftermath of the Battle of Lincoln
The battles at Orontes and Aparmea
The sweet side of war - Honey and military medicine
A devilish device - The crossbow