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Atrocities in 12 Century European Warfare
Andrew Pedry 7/21/2010


Under accepted 12th century Western norms a city which resisted a besieging force forfeited all rights to mercy should the besiegers take the city. An example of this is the treatment of a captured city. These definitions were. Once a pattern of circumstances surrounding atrocities developed. the entire town was counted as combatants. Atrocities were frequently committed under three circumstances: during civil war. the English Experience by Michael Prestwich and Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades. It has a chapter on “War and the Non-Combatant in the Middle Ages” written by Christopher Allmand. A number of articles and essays on the subject have been written. 2) killing of prisoners. In most cases the justification of these actions was directly tied to the social role (ie. 3) execution using particularly horrendous methods. after a contested siege.” This term is intended to refer to a writer who was sympathetic to the sitting king during a civil war. Another term that needs description is “royalist. Translated primary sources regarding 12th century warfare were easily available online. religious or secular) of the author and the author’s connection to the aggressors. 2 . but a review of several books1 which provide overviews of medieval warfare indicate that the subject frequently receives little dedicated attention in the broader discussion of medieval war. Secondary source writings on this topic are somewhat scarcer. 1 Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages. “Atrocity” is here defined as: 1) violence committed against non-combatants. 1000-1300 by John France have no dedicated discussion of the topic. regarded by contemporary writers as unjustified. under certain circumstances. but were condemned by moralistic writers. and when fighting combatants of a different religion. In essence. finding instances of atrocities became fairly routine. by resisting. Medieval Warfare: A History is an essay collection edited by Maurice Keen. Some actions were understood to be lawful.It would be helpful to immediately define the ambiguous and culturally-rooted term “atrocity” as it is used in this project.

and the potential clearly did not warrant mitigation or explanation in his account – the occupants of the city had resisted and were Muslim. “The Battle of Zallaqa in 1086. edited by Patrick Geary.). but Alfonso . Anna. “Genoese expedition to Almeria (1147).God curse him! .” in Readings in Medieval 1997. Aris & Phillips: 1989-92 ‘Abd al-Wahid al Marrakushi’s account of the battle which checked Christian encroachments into Muslim Spanish lands in 1086 was written nearly two hundred years after the fact in 1224.v.” in Christians and Moors in Spain. Of greater note here is the unusual mention of mass slavery in a 12th century European text. There is no direct acknowledgment of this. Comnea.1148) was the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexius. Caffaro’s work is heavily sympathetic to the Genoese. His account differs significantly from many other Muslim recounts of this battle for its lack of mythological or legendary elements. and mixes apparent precision: “they set sail in 63 galleys and with 163 other vessels” with a great deal of religious rhetoric and apparent exaggeration: “On that day 20. and in it discussed the events of her father’s reign. Caffaro. She wrote The Alexiad near the end of her life. As a Byzantine she expressed mixed feelings regarding the members and actions of the First 3 .” While the actual number of survivors may have been higher than nine. the chronicler’s point is the brilliance of absolute victory. killing them on all sides. in that account the Scots are gathering slaves from England in the end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th centuries. Orchard Park: Broadview Press.v.000 (his numbers do not appear to add up to his own total) Saracens and the enslavement of “10.408-418.” in Christians and Moors in Spain.). such a one-sided slaughter is recounted in the most positive light “The Muslims pursued them. Anna Comnea (1083 . Caffaro was a Genoese who wrote before 1154 about the Genoese role in the capture of Almeria during Alfonso VII’s re-conquest of part of the Iberian Peninsula. Compare to John of Worcester’s chronicle (q.000 women and children. both of which could be seen as legal justification for their killing under the circumstances. “[portion of] The Alexiad. it would seem then that a substantial part of the total Muslim dead included civilian men. edited by Colin Smith.000 Saracens were killed. From his language this would not seem to have been an unusual or remarkable act. but the only other source referenced in this bibliography which makes reference to potentially comparable large-scale enslavement is that of Queen Margaret (q. the Christian forces under King Alfonso were allegedly slaughtered nearly to the last man. Aris & Phillips: 1989-92.000 or 30. edited by Colin Smith.escaped with nine men.000 is suspect.PRIMARY SOURCES ‘Abd al-Wahid al Marrakushi.” After the Christians’ success in storming Almeria Caffaro recounts the killing of 20. pp. he was clearly indicating that a substantial body of persons was taken into custody for use as slaves.” In the context of the passage. While his figure of 10. As is typical of battle reports by the victor in medieval and modern periods. While no atrocities per se were recounted here.

the cultural and religious differences between them and the citizens of Nicea. Henry’s writings indicate his position as a royalist.000 in all. Archdeacon of Huntingdon. Historia Anglorum : the history of the English people. Civil war seems to have invoked significant unease amongst period writers. translators. The Normans’ apparent wanton devastation of a civilian target is also somewhat out of the expected circumstances for atrocities. She saw them as a weapon against Islam. Henry. but her feelings about the crusaders are more nuanced. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1080–1160) other than a scarce outline of his life and his role as the Archdeacon of Huntingdon. lands devastated and everything imaginable plundered. among those writings is an account of Geoffrey. Oxford: Clarendon Press/Oxford University Press. but was fully prepared to detail their atrocities. 1999. acting with horrible cruelty to the whole population. atrocities.Crusade. cities and churches were burned down. Leslie. There were frequent deadly encounters between knights. impaled others on wooden spits and roasted them over a fire. his depictions of the king in battle are favorable. Very little is known about Henry of Huntingdon (ca. Translated and edited by Diana Greenway. 1096 – 25 October 1154) in 1143 written from a royalist perspective. men died. She clearly expresses antipathy towards Muslims. Diana and Watkiss. as seen in the passage below: Later some Normans. 4 . earl of Essex’s role in the civil war between himself and King Stephen of England (ca. 1148) during the reign of King Stephan. The text reads: “…great dissension in favor of the contending parties and distressing disturbances broke out at that time in the kingdom of England. Depictions of the deprivations. An unknown author wrote this text in 1203 to advance the autonomy and position of Walden Monastery in relation to advances by the local bishop. who was engaged in suppressing revolts for most of his reign. old people were subjected to every kind of torture. 1996. 10. He wrote his Historia at the request of Bishop Alexander of Lincoln (d.” This brief description of the general atrocities of war is linked to the kingdom’s state of civil war. joined him bet detached themselves from the rest of the army and ravaged the outskirts of Nicea. and social disorder associated with civil war are often somehow more frantic than warfare involving competing kingdoms as notions of stability and normality are shattered. Anna’s willingness to detail atrocities committed by co-religionists (in a broad sense) and notional allies is unusual among the sources of the period. and the king’s enemies are marginalized and demonized. they cut in pieces some of the babies. as seen by this and several other writings featured in this bibliography. a desire to compel Nicea to capitulate or bring its army to the field. The Norman’s extremely long journey up to this point. The Book of the Foundation of Walden Monastery. Part of the text describes the history of the Monastery’s patrons. property was ruined. Greenway. and exaggeration in the recounting may be explanations for their actions.

Washington. “Many were killed” is a frequent turn of phrase both for those on the receiving end of a military defeat and civilians suffering from an army’s brutality. like Suger (q. Aldershot: Ashgare Publishing. Ibn al-Athir. but much less emphasis was placed on this betrayal of obligation and less emphasis was placed on their low birth station. Richards. Nelson. it was not an event that elicited the kind of emotional response which would dictate elaboration.S.” While the wholesale slaughter of people was an event of note.” Other primary sources such as the Historia novella : the contemporary history. While he frequently failed to identify his sources his work is one of the central sources which describe the events of the First Crusade from an Islamic standpoint. In The Restoration of the Monastery of Saint Martin of Tournai he. His writings are characterized by a focus on Muslim politics and maneuvering. Herman of Tournai. 1996. and the king was brought into it in misery. Translated by Lynn H. There are a number of massacres and atrocities described in this text. particularly the branch from Mosul.” thus reinforcing the idea that ‘atrocities’ as we now understand them were sometimes an accepted part of medieval warfare – though their recounting could be manipulated to serve an author’s agenda. yet they usually receive no more than brief mention by Ibn al-Athir. 2006. While clearly a supporter of the King and Count. deal with the sacking of Lincoln in more detail. he attributed the unsettling details to the “law that governs hostilities. While both men were clearly writing accounts which condemned the actions of the Count’s murderers.Henry describes the Battle of [the city of]Lincoln in 1141 where the King was captured and “Consequently the city was sacked according to the law that governs hostilities. Herman also glosses over some of the executions which Suger relates in gory details. For a week the Franks continued to slaughter the Muslims. but he does recount the important actions of the Crusading westerners. theft. and the Gesta Stephanim. by William of Malmesbury. Presumably Henry was trying to avoid casting the King in a poor light by drawing attention to the suffering of his subjects after his defeat. Part . was an abbot in Fladers during the rebellion of 1126-27. Unlike Suger. like Suger. describes the murder of the Flemish Count Charles and the events that followed his death. Herman also condemns the Count’s murderers for committing their sin in a church and for killing their sovereign lord. Ibn al-Athir was a Mesopotamian Muslim who held some administrative positions and whose family was connected to the Zankid dynasty. The Restoration of the Monastery of Saint Martin of Tournai. 1The Years 491-541/1097-1146: The Coming of the Franks and the Muslim Response. Even the slaughter at Jerusalem in 1099 elicited only two sentences: “The inhabitants became prey to the sword. describing the arson. Herman took a less venomous approach to the Count’s murderers. Herman of Tournai.v. Translated by D. The Chronicle of Ibn al-Athir for The Crusading Period from al-Kamil fi’l-Ta’rikh.). his account reads more like a history and less like a propaganda piece. Suger’s certainly comes across as a more sensationalized piece designed to elicit a more emotional response. 5 . Instead. and murder which comprised the event. DC: The Catholic University of America Press.

into wretched captivity…” 6 . His account is clearly and appropriately sympathetic to the Muslim cause and his information is presented with the mixed propaganda-and-history style that is characteristic of the period. something of a theologian) presumably because the atrocities were committed against Christians (a religious “other”) and because they were committed by the forces of his city. John was a royalist and clearly biased in his writing against the man who sacked his city. destroy and burn. kill. 1998. McGurk. The recount describes a fairly typical post-siege scene of looting. His chronicle also describes the siege and sack of Sudeley by the Count of Meulan in retaliation. In his description he says: “Zahir al-Din on learning that the Franks had invested Tyre marched out and made his camp at Banyas. and returned to Worcester the next day. The Chronicle of John of Worcester. John of Worcester’s (d. London: Luzac & Co. Extracted and translated from the chronicle of Ibn Al-Qalanisi.R. with the object of causing them vexation and forcing them to abandon the siege. cultural and ethnic similarities of the combatants in John’s account and the differences among the combatants in Carrafo’s account. Gibb.” Compare this with the harsh condemnation of the same treatment done to his own citizens: “Many are taken prisoner in the streets and in the townships. It can be valuable to compare this account where the captured citizens are taken specifically for the purpose of extracting ransom with Caffaro’s account (q. Edited and translated by P.) where captured citizens are taken into slavery. Civilians were deliberately targeted with the hope of forcing a reaction by the Frankish military commander. and led away.. In the beginning of his account of the siege of Tyre in 1111-1112 he describes the deployment of Muslim forces from his city of Damascus under the command of Zahir al-Din at the behest of the mayor of Tyre. The Damascus Chronicle of the Crusades. he served as mayor of Damascus on two occasions. 1932. Ibn al-Qalanisi (1070-1160) was a Damascene Muslim scholar and politician. John of Worcester. property damage and capture for ransom.v.A. These actions received no condemnation from Ibn al-Qalanisi despite his background as a scholar (and thus. 1140) chronicle is the only extant source describing the siege and sack of Worcester in 1139 by Miles of Gloucester who had rebelled against King Stephen earlier in 1139. rob. whence he dispatched his squadrons together with bands of brigands into the territories of the Franks with a free hand of plunder. coupled like dogs. He seized and carried off a booty of men with their goods and cattle.” The nature of medieval war and the strategic use of “atrocities” are as well illustrated in these events as the chevauchees of the Hundred Years War. He wrote an account of the First Crusade covering 1097-1159 and as an important citizen of Damascus would have been close to and well informed of the Crusade’s events. ca. Also of interest is the way that John addressed the retaliatory sack of Meulan: “If you ask what the earl [Sudeley] did there. Oxford: Oxford University Press. the answer is barely worthy of record for he rendered evil for evil.Ibn al-Qalanisi . given the nature of Medieval Muslim education. Presumably the differences in these incidents lie in the religious.Translated by H.

” The key to this passage is “the inhabitants of the whole city. Matthew was born in Edessa in the second half of the 11th century and died in 1144. and so disturbing the plunderers.” which indicates that a massacre of civilians might 7 . even that which is fit only for dogs. to slaughter little children. So while this army of most infamous robbers was poured into the miserable province. besieging the city by sea and by land. and raped.The Church Historians of England. about the warfare between England and France and Scotland in 1173-74. attended by a more honourable (sic) and civilized body of military. Lanham:University Press of America. in order to prevent the possibility of a band of soldiers sallying from it. In Joseph Stevenson’s book is an account by William of Newburgh (d. and to do everything of this kind that is horrible to mention. filled with florid accounts of battlefield slaughters. and to some extent it appears to have been a deliberate operational tactic used by their leadership. William’s language is similar to that exhibited by Pope Urban II describing the Muslims during his appeal to the knights of France before the First Crusade. London. who kept watch around him. murdered. When analyzing his work atrocities can only be identified by ignoring the flourishes that usually serve to indicate that a particularly gruesome event has occurred and focusing on the factual details that he does provide. Tenth to Twelfth Centuries: The Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa. causing the streets to be inundated with blood. Matthew of Edessa. They pillaged. to cut the throats of old men. and remained in observation around a very strong castle called Alnwick. For example: “…the King of Jerusalem equipped a fleet against Tripoli and. With this language William took acts which were generally a standard part of warfare and through his rhetoric and dehumanization of the enemy sought to magnify the threat posed by the Scots and elevate the civilization represented by the English. and the barbarians were reveling (sic) in their inhumanity. th Everything was consumed by the Scots. to whom no kind of food is too filthy to be devoured. a prominent 12 century English historian. civilian massacres and divine retribution. William’s account of the Scots is so polemical that it serves the historian more as a source for the imagery of extreme “outgrouping” than for historical description. 1856. It is difficult to pick out particular atrocities in Matthew’s writings due to the generally blood-soaked accounts which he gives. especially when they were invading the lands of a different ethnic group. He was a churchman in the Armenian Apostolic Church and his writings show mixed sympathy and antipathy for both Franks and Arabs. it was a delight to that inhuman nation. Tripoli was set on fire and the inhabitants of the whole city were put to the sword. Edited by Joseph Stevenson. volume 4. launched a formidable assault against it. more savage than wild beasts. Translated by Ara Edmond Dostourian. His Chronicle is a melodramatic piece of writing. appeared to be unemployed. to rip open the bowels of women. part 2. Within this account we can surmise that the Scots acted as most raiding invaders of the time did. Armenia and the Crusades. the Scottish king himself. who were robbing and killing around them in every direction. and while they were grasping their prey. 1993.1198).

who were from families that owed fealty to the Count. After the beheading the Count was allegedly hacked to pieces and all of his th 8 . There are numerous regulations regarding theft. from those committed by his audience of Franks against other Christians only in their extremities. but it was always understood to be undesirable. surprised the Count at prayer and beheaded him with their swords. He wrote of the revolt in Flanders (1127-1128) in his Life of Louis VI and in Chapter XXX describes the murder and revenge of Count Charles of Flanders. one that mentions retention rights in the event that buried treasure is found. England. to help persuade his audience to take up the crusade. he shall be shorn and branded on the cheeks and flogged. Oxford OX2 6HS. Anne's College. Martin’s. St. What is remarkable about this list in the study of atrocities is what it does not include. “The Calling of the First Crusade. Life of Louis VI. historian and administrator for the French kings in the early to mid 12 century. but he was clearly using their violence against Christian civilians. Gesta Frederici I imperatoris. Robert wrote his account of Urban II’s call to the first Crusade ca. and a number which address inter-camp violence. Never the less. if at all. The Pope did not advocate atrocities in response to the actions of the Muslims. Suger was an abbot. not violence against civilians themselves. Christian religious centers. However. Only one addresses violence against civilians. By ascribing violence against civilians and religious institutions to a religious (and thus social) outsider group and then making that violence beyond the scope of any acceptable norm he was able to exert considerable persuasive power on his audience. Robert the Monk. one that appears to address prostitution. The offences ascribed to the Muslims differed. and it reads: “If anyone set fire to a village or a house. Translated by Jean Dunbabin. While Louis VII was away on the second Crusade he served as a regent for the kingdom.” The punishment lain out is severe and has heavy overtones of humiliation and social degradation along with its purely physical pain. Suger.have taken place. Violence against civilians was part and parcel of 11th and 12th century warfare before the crusades. several that dictate game-retention rights while hunting. Miller. Hanover. 1100-1125. 132-134. and their religious “otherness” as justifications for war. 1912. even if it could be justified. a vassal of the French King. Simson. Pope Urban used atrocities. his murderers. Otto of Freising. Boston: Bedford/St. Edited by B. both real and imagined. given Matthew’s dramatic bent all of his accounts should be taken with a large measure of salt and compared with other contemporary sources. Otto of Frieising was Frederick ‘Barbarossa’ I’s biographer and contemporary recorded 25 camp rules set down by Frederick I at the start of a campaign in northern Italy in 1158. The Count’s murderer was technically a fairly humane affair.” In Power and the Holy in the Age of the Investiture Conflict by Maureen CA. clearly he was a powerful man firmly in the French Kings’ camp. 2005. this article is still only addressing property damage.

Peter Tudebode was a priest who accompanied the First Crusade and witnessed the siege of Antioch. their killing of their sovereign lord and that they murdered the Count while he was praying in a church. Margaret. to a monk of the period the true atrocity was their betrayal of their liege in a house of God. and impaled and others were thrown from a roof. was eager to advocate for a local hero. 1884. blinded. Peter. to Whom is the honor and glory now and throughout eternity. and finally as enemies of God he ordered them put to the torch. and focus on her exceptional morality. shrieked and screamed so that their voices resounded in heaven to God for whose love their flesh and bones were cremated. bishop of St. This was an atrocity as heinous as they come. Tudebode. Turgot. those knights of Christ. Margaret was an English noblewoman who fled to Scotland after the William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066. for Whom they had so loyally suffered in the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. Edinburgh: William Paterson. in a towering rage because he could not make Rainald turn apostate. and upon Rainald’s refusal had him beheaded.” “savage. In his account of the siege he described the treatment of a captured Crusading noble. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. one was tied to a wheel.followers who could be found were killed. They are “dogs. She married the Scottish King. Amen. sympathy.” “puffed up with pride” and ‘savage. Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere. 9 . The Christians. 1974. As Suger reckoned. this was no less than they deserved. and hay piled around them. Tudebode dutifully recorded the incident with a pen loaded with moral outrage. but the victims’ deaths and ascensions were described with the goal of eliciting outrage. Queen of Scotland.’ His lengthy diatribe against them seems to stem from their low birth. who had instituted large-scale raids and slave-gathering expeditions into England in response to William’s invasion by Normans. and so they all entered martyrdom on this day wearing in heaven their white stoles before the Lord. He was allegedly a confidant of St. In this instance the atrocity was happening in a time and place which warranted particular dramatization. like many other western medieval ecclesiastical writers. When the murders were caught (in some cases. firewood. and though their executions today appear to be far more atrocious than their crime. One was hung with a dog who chewed him to death as the dog was being beaten. and as such was part of a caste which throughout the Middle Ages was particularly sensitive to atrocities. The emir attempted to convert Rainald.” Here we have a massacre being used to its maximum political advantage. at once ordered all the pilgrims in Antioch to be brought before him …he ordered them stripped… He then had chaff. Andrews. Tudebode was a priest. Rainald. Hill. Margaret. Their punishments perfectly fit their crimes. and a number of Christians in Antioch by the emir of said same city. Translated by John Hugh Hill and Laurita L. and support. Life of St. Turgot. “Then the emir. and his writings are one of the earliest accounts we have of Scotland during the time of the Conquest. Translated by William Forbes-Leith. after a siege) they were violently executed. Suger was merciless in his condemnation of the murderers.

Translated by Elisabth M.v. she was English by birth liberating Englishmen and women who had been captured by Scots (of whom she was now Queen) in retributions for the actions of the Norman lords who held England. moved by deep and noble grief.CA. on that day of that year the lives of many people were jeopardized through the life of one man and. “…as the duke saw to what extent he and his people were under attack. the effect of the subsequent warfare on the countryside he described so: In the year of our Lord one thousand one hundred and twenty-seven. and all happiness nearly extinguished by the detestable outbreak of death. seem to have avoided mention of such a far-reaching condemnation of the resulting war as it was conducted by the King in just retribution for the murder of the Count. Her actions also illustrate a retained sense of cultural identity. of Romance Languages & Literatures. The other authors.” These Normans “found the French at Mortemer totally preoccupied with arson and rape of women. honesty carried off. Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumieges. CT 06459.) and Herman (q. during the fifth indiction. through language and detail selection. according to God’s just judgement. war. William of Jumieges.) wrote about the murder of Count Charles and the subsequent war and execution. Vita Karoli comitis Flandri. the deserved deaths of many men were engendered in a kind of horrible breeding by the undeserved death of one man. peace was taken from our land. at once chose soldiers whom he quickly sent out to curb the pillagers of the Pays de Caux. St. The French detachment. 1070 of King Henry I’s incursion into Duke William of Normandy’s holdings in 1054. he. 1995 William of Jumieges was a Norman monk born ca. Walter was made archdeacon of Flanders in 1116 and like Suger (q. She then paid the ransom for select individuals “of all ranks” who were the most ill-treated.v. advanced through the Norman countryside and Pays de Caux.” 10 . pillaging. Translated by Jeff Rider. and his overall condemnation of the events is in line with his contemporaries’ writings. His account differs in the emphasis on the ‘collateral damage’ caused by the murder.In section 25 of chapter 3 Turgot told of how St. foulness and all unhappiness. There at dawn battle was instantly joined and continued on both sides with bloodshed until noon. Orderic Vitalis. Margaret had her spies search through Scotland for English captives who were being held in slavery in Scotland. During this event one arm of the French King’s army advanced with the intent of drawing out a portion of Duke William’s forces. Wesleyan University. Middletown. Dept. Walter’s position as a Flemish royalist churchman/biographer was similar to that of Suger and Herman. 1025 who gave an account ca. This attention to social upheaval caused by the murder demonstrated a more plebian attention to consequences than shown by Suger or Herman. Margaret’s concern for individuals across class lines is unusual for the early 11th century. Walter of Thérouanne. Indeed. She clearly recognized the human suffering involved in the practice of slavery and was prepared to risk the wrath of her husband and King by secretly opposing it. on March 2. travail. Van Houts. Oxford: Clarendon Press. and Robert of Torigni.

Presumably they were enough of a fact of life that while a monk could condemn them as wrong they were enough a part of the fabric of life that they did not warrant significant comment. On the one hand. 11 . he offers an idealized view of Duke William’s response to the suffering of his people. The French preoccupation with arson and rape is clearly presented as a ‘bad thing’. While his work is a selfprofessed propaganda piece for Duke William. but like many of these 11th century sources it does not see them as worth dwelling on. the way that he associated the Duke with the kind of altruistic concern for his people shown above preempts the widespread ideas of chivalry which will not take root in Europe’s warrior caste for several centuries.William’s account is interesting for two reasons.

Mitchell. and Wednesdays which were not religious holidays. clergy and the elderly and protecting the property of the church. Humanity in warfare. editors. but it illustrates a widespread desire to limit the effects of war in the high Middle Ages. acceptable. respectively. an idea that Cowdrey (q. Christie. 1999. as a vent for frustrations. Allmand addresses the gradually increasing recognition for the legitimacy of protecting non-combatants starting in the 9th and 10th centuries. London: George Widenfeld & Nicolson. Ltd. Allmand moves beyond the 12th century within three pages of his nearly twenty-page chapter. and the use of torture are authored by David Hay. Geoffery’s discussion of the thoughts being addressed regarding the civilian in war during the later Enlightenment period bear similarities to those seen in the 12th century. Oxford: University of Oxford Press. 1980. increase ransoms. Kelly DeVries.v. Geoffery. Obviously the “Peace of God” was widely ignored.SECONDARY SOURCES Allmand. The collection of essays in this book addresses many of the issues surrounding atrocities throughout the Middle Ages. Noble Ideals and Bloody Realities. 12 . the value of human life. 2006. Another parallel lay in the belief that actions against civilians taken in a spirit of hostility were automatically deplorable. DeVries concludes that the value of human life changed slowly through the middle ages. Chapters devoted to civilian casualties. Leiden: Brill. but not a source of comprehensive information or analysis. This protection initially focused on limited violence against women. The idea that civilians should generally be left unmolested was common among 12th century churchmen. the 12th century moral authorities who were addressing warfare and civilians were largely churchmen. or to produce a confession. “War and the Non-Combatant in the Middle Ages. the way that it could be used as a deliberate strategic or operational tool while being simultaneously condemned.) also addresses. as psychological warfare. children. Hay discusses the complicated views of violence against civilians. Best. as entertainment. 253-272.. Unlike the mostly secular humanist publicists discussed by Geoffery. In the 11th century the effort to limit warfare culminated in the “Peace of God” where the church declared that warfare could only be legally executed on Mondays. as was the idea that material theft to support an army was unavoidable. Niall and Maya Yazigi. Christopher. to ensure transfer of property. writing about torture in the crusades. Torture was used to gather intelligence. concludes that torture was used on both sides against each other and members of their own religion. and if executed without excess. Tuesdays.” In Medieval Warfare: A History edited by Maurice Keen. Warfare in the Middle Ages. and Piers Mitchell. making this a starting point for the study of 12th century atrocities. cheapening as the size of armies increased and the use of indiscriminate mass missile fire increased.

particularly in light of this bibliography. France’s work is an important overview of the period’s warfare. ‘Holy war’ was a concept that had been developing for centuries. France. “Christianity and the morality of warfare during the first century of crusading. or avarice could be conducted without sin.” “Crusading and Warfare in the Middle East” touch on the often more horrendous nature of violence against the Slavs and Muslims. greed.Cowdrey. making this a somewhat less useful text for this bibliography’s subject than France’s work. 1999.” In The Experience of Crusading. and generally required a war to be enacted by a sovereign lord for the purpose of defense or retribution for a harm. the book is strongly focused on Western Europe. Volume 1: Western Approaches. The Culture of War.the entire Middle Ages. Regardless. 2003.the English. 1996. H. The English Experience. proprietorial warfare and campaigns also provide useful insight into the systems surrounding and commanding the armies that committed atrocities. and thus provides critical context to the atrocities which occurred. Of note is that Prestwich covers a narrower group . but which largely matured during the crusading period. John France provides a topical overview of warfare during the crusading period. command structure and the nature of authority. 175-192. He focuses on the origins. Michael. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. While the book claims purview over all of Western warfare. Martin. and utilization of the concepts of ‘holy war’ and ‘just war’. New York: Ballantine Books. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages. Van Creveld. whether physical or social. France’s other shortcoming.v. These ideas play closely into the kinds of warfare that were so often characterized by atrocities: civil war and war against non-Christians. Cowdrey tackles the thorny issue of Christian justifications for warfare during the first century of the crusading period. but they are not addressed in any kind of cohesive manner. All Christian warriors faced the moral problem that injuring and killing people was considered a sin and a social injustice.E. His chapters on sieges. In the concept of holy war warfare which is directed towards a sanctioned enemy without a mentality of aggression. Prestwich. is a lack of attention to the role of civilians or ethics in war. Ideology and the Outsider. The ‘just war’ concept had been adopted from Classical writers. development. New Haven: Yale University Press. The topics surrounding atrocities and atrocities themselves are occasionally mentioned as they connected to a larger campaign or battle. Much of the same commentary that can be made about France’s work (q. Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades: 1000-1300. 2008. John. His chapters on “Europe. 13 .) also applies to Prestwich’s. from a wider chronological framework . edited by Marcus Bull and Norman Housley. Mitigation of this religious and social guilt could be had if the warfare was just or declared holy. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

the second of which: “In War and Battle” contains the chapters most relevant to understanding the atrocities. His book is broken into four sections. culturally. The central idea of that chapter is that rules of combat serve as a limiter to violence and that the wider the gulf (socially. his discussion of “The Rules of War” directly addresses self-imposed limitations to violence and why levels of violence used by the same army may be different depending on whom that army is facing.In The Culture of War Van Creveld discusses warfare from a broad human perspective. In particular. or linguistically) between the belligerents the less likely it becomes that those rules will be the same or understood and elevated violence or atrocities become more likely. 14 .