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Warfare in Tenth-Century Germany


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Over the course of half a century, the first two kings of the Saxon dynasty, Henry I (919-936) and Otto I (936-973), waged war across the length and breadth of Europe. Ottonian armies campaigned from the banks of the Oder in the east to the Seine in the west, and from the shores of the Baltic Sea in the north, to the Adriatic and Mediterranean in the south. In the course of scores of military operations, accompanied by diligent diplomatic efforts, Henry and Otto recreated the empire of Charlemagne, and established themselves as the hegemonic rulers in Western Europe.
This book shows how Henry I and Otto I achieved this remarkable feat, and provides a comprehensive analysis of the organization, training, morale, tactics, and strategy of Ottonian armies over a long half century. Drawing on a vast array of sources, including exceptionally important information developed through archaeological excavations, it demonstrates that the Ottonian kings commanded very large armies in military operations that focused primarily on the capture of fortifications, including many fortress cities of Roman origin. This long-term military success shows that Henry I and Otto I, building upon the inheritance of their Carolingian predecessors, and ultimately that of the late Roman empire, possessed an extensive and well-organized administration, and indeed, bureaucracy, which mobilized the resources that were necessary for the successful conduct of war.

David S. Bachrach is Associate Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire.


Offers a welcome insight into Ottonian military organisation and warfare. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

[T[his book offers many valuable and new insights. Moreover, it is based on an astounding number of sources and scholarly works. It thus deserves the attention of all medievalists, not only those interested in military history. GERMAN HISTORY

Offers great scope for debate...which will support or contest Bachrach's insightful and often challenging arguments. MEDIEVAL REVIEW

An invaluable mine of information, detail and insights, all set out with great clarity and logic. HISTORY


First Published: 18 Oct 2012
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843837626
5 line drawing illustrations
Pages: 324
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
BIC Class: HBLC1

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Introduction
  • 2  Restoring Francia Orientalis: Henry's Long Term Strategy
  • 3  Forging a New Empire
  • 4  Military Organization
  • 5  Military Education
  • 6  Arms and Training
  • 7  Morale
  • 8  Tactics on the Battlefield
  • 9  Campaign Strategy: The Civil War of 953-954
  • 10  Conclusion
  • 11  Appendix: Major Military Operations by Henry I, Otto I, and their commanders
  • 12  Bibliography

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