The History of Leith

March 1, 2007

MILITARY SCIENCE IN WESTERN EUROPE IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY

What was an “army” in western Europe in the 16th century?
Standing peacetime armies of any substantial strength were virtually unknown. They were too expensive, logistically unfeasible, and regarded as dangerous by populace and parliament alike. Much of the nominal military might of a country during peace was often in the form of sections of the nobility, whose traditional role it was to command and fight during war (e.g. France’s compagnies d’ordonnance, heavy cavalry companies). While feudalism as a military system was much diminished, feudal obligations in war could remain in some form. English nobility, for example, were required to provide strictly defined military materiel proscribed by title, while
the kings of France could call the ban and arriére-ban, requiring military service (or a proxy) of all those holding land directly or indirectly. for more click here

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