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Old January 30th, 2018, 02:10 PM   #1

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Evacuating civilians in wartime


A number of Byzantine military manuals (De Obsidione Toleranda; Constantine VII, Text B; De Velitatione) emphasize how a responsibility of the general is to remove the rural civilian population and their moveable goods from a war zone should conflict arise. This is backed up in historical sources, such as Albert of Aachen mentioning the evacuation of civilians in Bulgaria during the First Crusade, or the future Leo III evacuating the population of Amorion during the Arab march to Constantinople in A.D. 717. Is there any evidence for a similar impetus to get the rural population away from hostilities in the medieval west?
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Old January 31st, 2018, 05:48 AM   #2

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Interesting question. I have never pondered the matter with attention. At first sight, considering the attitude of the Germanic populations who invaded and conquered Western Europe, it should be difficult that similar habits [or rules] existed here around.

Anyway, in common conflicts [when there wasn't the necessity to destroy the resources of the enemy, so killing also the farmers ... who were precious], in such a feudal society, the armies faced one each other on a battlefield and the common people [the ones who didn't take part to the battle] had left in peace. To cultivate and produce you need farmers, servants ...

So to evacuate the population would have been a waste of time and resources.

Some cases when this was a necessity [when a city underwent a siege, for example] presented obvious problems: if the city is besieged, it's not that easy to evacuate its population.
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Old February 1st, 2018, 01:59 AM   #3

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What is a war zone? If your 'zone' is being invaded the universal theme in the 'medieval west' is to get your people inside the castle.
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Old February 6th, 2018, 11:24 PM   #4
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In medieval Hungary which somewhere in the middle between east and west, during Mongol invasion there are mentions of people hiding in near forest avoiding ravaging mongol hordes. I do not think it was organized tho. Probably result of rational thinking of commoners. Stone castles which were only place that stayed untouched were very scarce back then. Actually, most stone castles were built after mongol raid in 1241-1242 sicne they proved to be useful.
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