By Leif Inge Ree Petersen
Siege conflict and armed forces association within the Successor States is the 1st learn to comprehensively deal with a facet of Byzantine, Western, early Islamic, Slavic and Steppe army background in the framework of universal descent from Roman army association to 800 advert. This not just encompassed the military right, but additionally a better advanced of consumer administration, deepest army retinues, exertions responsibilities and civilian conscription in city safeguard that have been systematically built by way of the Romans round four hundred, and survived to be followed and tailored by means of all successors.
The consequence used to be a typical post-Roman army tradition appropriate for extra restricted fiscal situations yet nonetheless capable of preserve, safeguard and assault urban partitions with talents rivalling these in their Roman forebears.
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Siege war and armed forces association within the Successor States is the 1st examine to comprehensively deal with a side of Byzantine, Western, early Islamic, Slavic and Steppe army historical past in the framework of universal descent from Roman army association to 800 advert. This not just encompassed the military right, but additionally a better advanced of consumer administration, inner most army retinues, hard work tasks and civilian conscription in city protection that have been systematically built by means of the Romans round four hundred, and survived to be followed and tailored via all successors.
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Additional resources for Siege Warfare and Military Organization in the Successor States (400-800 AD): Byzantium, the West and Islam
1 Thick and Thin Descriptions Since this study is based on the analysis of surviving narratives, anthropological tools are very useful in addition to the approaches of Sarris and Goffart. 40 The basic premise is that apparently straightforward, “thin” descriptions can fundamentally distort our understanding if we lack the necessary context, especially if the cultural differences are great: observers need background information, or a “thick description” to make sense of a certain behavior. ” Two boys fairly swiftly contract the eyelids of their right eyes.
Two concrete examples may illustrate my point. It is difficult to demonstrate Frankish besieging skills around 500 in detail from the few notices found in Gregory of Tours, our main source. Hence scholars’ conceptual framework (Germanism, ghost city, continuity) “fill in” the thick description. Indeed, historians focus on the Frankish victory at the battle of Vouillé in 507 to explain their conquest of Visigothic Aquitaine, and rapidly pass over the ensuing campaign, which Gregory describes more or less as a march through a series of cities merely to establish Frankish authority.
Focus on certain episodes but leave out the larger framework, or schematic, as they telescope complex sets of events down to the level of a simple phrase or sets of phrases. Neither type allows us to understand the complexity of events, nor the complex of institutions that underlie events, which scholars then attempt to reconstruct from other sources. This problem is all too typical for most of the sources available in this period: for much of the 5th, 7th and early 8th centuries sources are extremely brief, while others tend to focus on specific episodes for reasons of genre and rhetoric.