Look! A Distraction!

While I’m engaged in a probably-doomed effort to finish my thesis in the next twelve hours, you should all go over here. Eggs Maledict, another of our nutty crowd of wannabe medievalists at USyd, has a little rant about how ‘history from below’ hasn’t penetrated the ranks of medieval boy history military historians.

Delbrück, the Clausewitz-ian (my term, clearly) historian, decided that medieval warfare was essentially individualist, primitive and stupid. His entire writing on the topic displays poor use of sources and a number of conclusions based on faulty assumptions. Verbruggen cut Delbrück to pieces in his work, but it’s been almost ignored by modern historians. I have my own conspiracy theories about this which relate to another ‘great’ historian of medieval warfare, Smail. He published shortly after Verbruggen and somehow managed to completely eclipse the Belgian, who, in an edited and expanded edition of his original work, showed a number of holes in Smail’s work. Almost no-one acknowledges Verbruggen, which is strange, because he makes his arguments much more incisively than Smail, particularly in his criticism of Delbrück; Verbruggen is especially sharp on Delbrück’s use of sources and suggests that the German lacked familiarity with them, being over-reliant on his students.

You tell ’em, Eggs :D. And better you than me: I’ll be over here with my early 11th century manuscript historians.

ED: Oh, and while we’re at it, if you follow this link you will find that K has a “Who’s Who In The Holy Land From 1174 to 1187” type post.

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One Response to “Look! A Distraction!”

  1. kishnevi Says:

    I have to confess that I was heretofore entirely ignorant of the existence of Herr Delbruck, M. Verbruggen, and Mr. Smail (I wonder if he’s related to a much disliked neighbor of mine by that name who moved away last year), but everything I ever read, primary or secondary, always indicated that medieval warfare was not individualist, primitive or stupid. Or at least, no more individualist, primitive and stupid than any war has ever been, including those being fought in the current century.


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