Quality of Feudal Arms

Nov 2010
7,514
Cornwall
#41
John is IMO right to downplay Tours; but the Franks did not need superior numbers to win this battle (and IMO the numbers are unknown or perhaps even) . The leadership advantage (Charles Martel and Odo) or even the defensive advantage was basically what it came down to. Yes, the west fought cuiously well against the "Muslims", but Tours is not the best example.

Lopsided losses happen (and even then it ought to be pointed out that Charles Martel did not pursue the retreat and your stastics may be off to to unreliable data).

Although western armies fought curiously well against the "Muslims" from the period of 721-801; most of these victories are downplayable (Pepin the short won a border dispute beceause the Arabs were busy fighting Berber revolts; even so, the south of France remained something of a grey area until, pissibly, William of Provence captured the naval base of Fraxinet.)

IMO Louis the Pious conquest of Barcelona in 801 was more notable than Tours; Tours was basically a glorified defensive advantage.
--------------------


Battle of Rio Salado (1340)
).
Odo was no friend of the Franks and had been defeated by the muslims prior to Tours - they were thrown together and the result allowed the Franks to move south in 'protection' - the real significance of Tours

Coincidentally I've just touched on the conquest of the Spanish March (Luis the Pious) in that Roncesvalles thread. The area was a sort of power vacuum and the population either hispano-roman-gothic or Yemeni/Abassid supporting and very receptive to another power than the Omeyas.

I don't believe there was too much fighting in this conquest, just a takeover. I've read before that the independent-mindec and troublesome warlords in the Pyrenees were a thorn in the side to both the Franks and Cordoba. The Spanish March eliminated them at a time when alliances were changing. Early in Charlemagne's reign the Franks were at daggers drawn with Constantinople and consequently closer to the Abbassids. Later Frankish-Imperial relations thawed meaning they transposed into enemied of the Aabassids and, by natural consequence, closer to the Omeyas of Cordoba. The Catalan counties would of course dipose of the Frankish hegemony when the Franks were unwilling or unable to offer any support in the face of the reign of terror of Almanzor. including the dismantlimng of Barcelona and the enslavement of any remaining population without the wit or means to escape to the hills.

Rio Salado was an odd one. A by-no-means common alliance of the African Merinids and the Kingdom of Granada (Merinid-Granadino politics were among the most complex you'll ever read about!), I believe the numbers involved and gathered together for this surpassed any battle in post roman Spain, even Las Navas de Tolosa.

Alfonso XI was a lucky man. Not only did he have Portuguese competence to depend on, but if the campaign had lasted maybe just one more day his army would have run out of food and water and had to disappear double quick. The precipitous incompetence of the Merinid Sultan presented him a victory which was highly unnecessary by abandoning a strong position.

Mind you it probably wouldn't have made much difference - everybody would have just packed up and gone home afterwards just the same. It was never going to have much in the way of strategic consequences, states on both sides were too politically precarious for that.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,531
#42
Siege of Algeciras seems quite interesting and one I only recently read about- gunpowder, booms to cut off food, several naval manoeuvres, threatening supplies, multiple skirmishes and at least 3 outright battles. This is the type of situation where numerous European kingdoms working together seemed to be able to match some of the capabilities of the ancient centralized states with contingents from England, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Flanders participating along with the main Castilian and Aragon armies.

Without the reinforcements and money from all these outside powers, it is doubtful Castile would have succeeded in the siege.
 
Nov 2013
683
Texas
#43
Siege of Algeciras seems quite interesting and one I only recently read about- gunpowder, booms to cut off food, several naval manoeuvres, threatening supplies, multiple skirmishes and at least 3 outright battles. This is the type of situation where numerous European kingdoms working together seemed to be able to match some of the capabilities of the ancient centralized states with contingents from England, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Flanders participating along with the main Castilian and Aragon armies.

Without the reinforcements and money from all these outside powers, it is doubtful Castile would have succeeded in the siege.
Oddly enough, the Muslims tended to fight well in these battles. Makes me wonder why Morrocco or Grenada didn't somehow use the oppurtunity to end the vassalisation of Grenada.
 
Nov 2010
7,514
Cornwall
#44
Siege of Algeciras seems quite interesting and one I only recently read about- gunpowder, booms to cut off food, several naval manoeuvres, threatening supplies, multiple skirmishes and at least 3 outright battles. This is the type of situation where numerous European kingdoms working together seemed to be able to match some of the capabilities of the ancient centralized states with contingents from England, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Flanders participating along with the main Castilian and Aragon armies.

Without the reinforcements and money from all these outside powers, it is doubtful Castile would have succeeded in the siege.
You are lucky indeed to find a time they cooperated, given the track record before and after. Castillian- Aragonese hostilities never really came to an end until the marriage of Ferdinand and Isobel. And that was certainly traumatic to start with.

As for Granadino-Merinid relations - rarely have I read anything so complex as the poltics between these two.
 
Nov 2017
866
Győr
#45
So, can we consider medieval mosaic-state of France a powerful country, despite it was not able to provide neither big armies not big conquests during its medieval history? Most French historians always state that France became powerful country only from the Early modern period.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,099
Sydney
#46
Not quite the kingdom of Francia was more than a third of Charlemagne empire ,
at a time of cold climate , it's food resources maintained a large population
the King vassals extended from the Pyrenees to Flanders
it was seen as the most powerful kingdom in Europe
from the 11th century onward , roughly the age of the cathedrals
It was a much imitated center of intelectual culture , art and fashion
 
Nov 2010
7,514
Cornwall
#47
Not quite the kingdom of Francia was more than a third of Charlemagne empire ,
at a time of cold climate , it's food resources maintained a large population
the King vassals extended from the Pyrenees to Flanders
it was seen as the most powerful kingdom in Europe
from the 11th century onward , roughly the age of the cathedrals
It was a much imitated center of intelectual culture , art and fashion
Francia was small. You are thinking of what is France today

carolingian empire map - Google Search:
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,099
Sydney
#48
" France became powerful country only from the Early modern period. "

when for the baptism of a royal infant the cream of medieval Europe got invited into the new cathedral build by Abbot Suger , it created a sensation
he had the thick walls replaced by stained glass windows ,instead of the usual dark , colorful light streamed on the audience
Gothic style was born
Basilica of Saint-Denis - Wikipedia

The supremacy of France dated from Philip Augustus who defeated the house of Anjou ,
the king of England the count of flanders and the emperor of Germany allied against him

Philip the Fair crushed his Flemish subject ,held pope prisoner in Avignon
he broke the power of the knight Templars , chided his vassal the king of England
and had his family reigning from the South of Italy to Hungary
he was active in Spanish and German politics and was reckoned the most powerful ruler of Europe
Philip IV of France - Wikipedia

maybe I misunderstand Early modern period
 
Apr 2018
278
USA
#50
The tail end of the middle ages around the 15th century or so saw central europe, the low countries, and burgundy becoming sort of a cultural powerhouse in addition to the renaissance starting in Italy while France was busy fighting England. Even parts of eastern europe like austria and Czechoslovakia were starting to become really big players around this time. It's really more during the age of colonization that Spain, England, and France really start to take over as major superpowers again.