Bloodied Banners: Martial Display on the Medieval Battlefield

Bloodied Banners: Martial Display on the Medieval Battlefield

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"A penetrating investigation of medieval martial display... The reader is struck by its originality, and by its sophisticated and critical interpretative engagement with historical and literary sources. Particularly notable is the author's subtle exploration of the function of armour: not only its practical role, but as a form of display... A refreshingly different approach to the world of the medieval combatant and his place within that `host of many colours' that was a medieval army, it adds a new dimension to our understanding of medieval warfare." ANDREW AYTON, University of Hull

The medieval battlefield was a place of spectacle and splendour. The fully-armed knight, bedecked in his vivid heraldic colours, riding out beneath his brightly-painted banner, is a stock image of war and the warrior in the middle ages. Yet too often the significance of such display has been ignored or dismissed as the empty preening of a militaristic social elite.
Drawing on a broad range of source material and using innovative historical approaches, this book completely re-evaluates the way that such men and their weapons were viewed, showing that martial display was a vital part of the way in which war was waged in the middle ages. It maintains that heraldry and livery served not only to advertise a warrior's family and social ties, but also announced his presence on the battlefield and right to wage war. It also considers the physiological and psychological effect of wearing armour, both on the wearer and those facing him in combat, arguing that the need for display in battle was deeper than any medieval cultural construct and was based in the fundamental biological drives of threat and warning.

Dr ROBERT W. JONES teaches Medieval History at Advanced Studies in England, a branch campus of Franklin and Marshall College, in Bath. He was formerly a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, and an Associate Lecturer at Cardiff University.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 228 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 15.24mm | 362.87g
  • The Boydell Press
  • Woodbridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 17 Illustrations, color; 14 Illustrations, black and white
  • 1783270276
  • 9781783270279
  • 1,802,797

Table of contents

Heraldic display and the role of identification on the battlefield
The banner as a symbol of identity, authority, and status
Badges and communal display
Audible display on the battlefield
The practical function of armour on the battlefield
The psychological role of armour on the battlefield
The display value of the sword and horse on the battlefield
Religious symbolism in martial display
Martial display and the case for a fourteenth-century military revolution
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Review quote

A good example of new, fruitful routes into the study of medieval warfare. EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY

Provides a large amount of material for those interested in medieval military culture. THE RICARDIAN

Engagingly readable and clear. [...] It will be useful for undergraduates and for more specialized audiences from a variety of fields, including literature and art history, not just military history. [...] This is a masterful and fresh appraisal of this rich and fascinating field. PARERGON

Well-researched and referenced. ANTIQUARIES JOURNAL

An excellent, vivid, well written book, an entertaining and encouraging work. HOBILAR

Provides an important corrective to prevailing views regarding military value of martial display. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW
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