Covering the ten centuries following the fall of Rome, War in theMiddle Ages engages all aspects of its subject, including themilitary customs and conditions of the various Western Europeanstates; armor and weaponry recruitment; and rules of combatdeveloped to limit bloodshed. Philippe Contamine writes with an awareness that, in both theoryand fact, medieval warfare was constantly evolving. He opens with achapter on Roman military disintegration and the practice ofwarfare in the barbarian kingdoms erected on the empire's ruins. Hethen shows how feudalization multiplied conflicts, and describesthe resulting growth of the "great stone civilization" of thecastle. In the area of military method, he emphasizes threeinnovations: gunpowder, standing armies and the increased use ofinfantry, supplying in each case a wealth of data anddocumentation. Contamine traces the rise of a new literature of strategy andchanges in the concept of courage which he puts in the context ofactual risk. He points out that the chivalric ideals of the laterMiddle Ages operated within narrow limits, outside whicharistocrats and commoners freely slaughtered each other. Contaminealso analyzes the theories of just and unjust war that developed atthis time, and illustrates a phenomenon more typical of the period;the religious glorification of the warrior. Ever mindful of the chaos and devastation that war brings, Warin the Middle Ages nonetheless offers a clear and consistentpicture of the military ethos of a millennium.… (more)
With the invasion of the Germanic peoples between the fourth and sixth centuries, followed by the foundation of Barbarian kingdoms, new forms of political power and institutions were created, society was organized in a new way and new values were recognized and experienced.
Brantome took this to heart when in his "Discours sur les colonel de l'infanterie de France" he went back to the century of Froissart, to the capture of King John and the great wars between France and England.