Early medieval militarisation

Edited by Ellora Bennett, Guido M. Berndt, Stefan Esders and Laury Sarti

Early medieval militarisation


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3864-4
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: April 2021
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Medieval history, Medieval European Archaeology, Humanities / Military history, HISTORY / Military / Medieval, HISTORY / Medieval, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology, Military history, European history: medieval period, middle ages, Archaeology by period / region, c 500 CE to c 1000 CE, Medieval History, History


The societies of ancient Europe underwent a continual process of militarisation, and this would come to be a defining characteristic of the early Middle Ages. The process was neither linear nor mono-causal, but it affected society as a whole, encompassing features like the lack of demarcation between the military and civil spheres of the population, the significance attributed to weapons beyond their military function and the wide recognition of martial values. Early medieval militarisation assembles twenty studies that use both written and archaeological evidence to explore the phenomenon of militarisation and its impact on the development of the societies of early medieval Europe. The interdisciplinary investigations break new ground and will be essential reading for scholars and students of related fields, as well as non-specialists with an interest in early medieval history.


1 Introducing early medieval militarisation, 400-900 AD - Laury Sarti, Ellora Bennett, Guido M. Berndt and Stefan Esders
Part I: The military and society
2 Soldier and civilian in the Byzantine Empire c. 600-c. 900: a militarised society? - Philip Rance
3 The exercitus Gothorum in Italy: a professional army in a demilitarised society? - Kai Grundmann
4 Military organisation as an indicator of militarisation (and demilitarisation) in Lombard Italy - Guido M. Berndt
5 The 'dark matter' evidence for Alfredian military reforms in their ninth-century context - Ryan Lavelle
Part II: Warfare and society
6 War and the transformation of society in the early Byzantine Arabia - Conor Whately
7 The role of the military factor in the political and administrative shaping of the Visigothic Kingdom (sixth to seventh centuries) - Pablo Poveda Arias
8 Recent archaeological research on fortifications in France, Belgium and Swizerland, 750-1000 - Luc Bourgeois
9 Gens Germana gente ferocior: Lombards and warfare between representation and reality - Stefano Gasparri
10 The blinkers of militarisation: Charles the Bald, Lothar I and the Vikings - Simon Coupland
Part III: Ethics of war
11 Manlike discipline and loyalty against the 'enemies of God': some observations on the militarised frontier society of eastern Francia around 600 - Stefan Esders
12 Swords in Christian hands: reflections on the emergence of the 'Schwertmission' in the early Middle Ages - Uta Heil
13 'Holy wars'? 'Religious wars'? The perception of religious motives of warfare against non-Christian enemies in ninth-century chronicles - Hans-Werner Goetz
Part IV: Perceptions of the warrior
14 Change of habit equals change of values? Burials of 'military men' between 300 and 500 AD - Benjamin Hamm
15 Warlike and heroic virtues in the post-Roman world - Edward James
16 Military equipment in late antique and early medieval female burial evidence: a reflection of 'militarisation'? - Susanne Brather-Walter
17 The construction of the enemy in pre-Viking England - Ellora Bennett
18 Warriors and warlike kings in the Gesta Karoli of Notker the Stammerer - Thomas Wittkamp
19 Early medieval 'warrior' images and the concept of Gefolgschaft - Michel Summer
20 Conclusion: militarisation: process or discourse? - Guy Halsall


Ellora Bennett is a D.Phil Candidate at the Freie Universität Berlin
Guido M. Berndt is a Research Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin
Stefan Esders is Professor of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages at the Freie Universität Berlin
Laury Sarti is Lecturer at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

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