"First War of Scottish Independence: 26 March 1296 - 1 May 1328 and Battle of Bannockburn: 23–24 June 1314" by Scott Lyons

The inaugural conflict for Scottish freedom, known as the First War of Scottish Independence, is a defining segment in Scotland's storied past. Within this turbulent era, spanning from the onset of English incursions in 1296 until the affirmation of Scottish independence via the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton in 1328, the gritty narrative of Scotland's fight for self-governance unfolded. Culminating from this period's chronicled events was Scotland's fortified stand, solidified by their heralded victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.  On the 23rd and 24th of June in the year 1314, the decisive Battle of Bannockburn was waged, crystallizing as a pivotal landmark in the First War of Scottish Independence. This clash saw the strategic prowess of Scotland's King, Robert the Bruce, challenging the formidable legions led by King Edward II of England. The Scots, though vastly outnumbered, cleverly leveraged the harsh landscape, the formidable schiltron phalanxes—soldiers equipped…

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"The Black Prince: Hero of England or 'a Nasty Piece of Work?'" by Scott Lyons

Edward of Woodstock, more commonly referred to as the Black Prince, was a legendary figure during one of the most significant periods of European history--the Hundred Years' War. As the eldest son and heir apparent of King Edward III of England, Edward embodied an idealized image of chivalry, military prowess, and nobility, earning him the legendary status he holds today. Edward's military exploits and actions as England's Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Knight of the Garter have cemented his place in history as one of the greatest warriors of his time. In evaluating the legacy of the Black Prince, a crucial question arises: did he deserve to be remembered as a heroic warrior of his time, or was he instead a ruthless and savage killer who took the lives of innocent non-combatants without just cause? The Black Prince is well known for his participation in several noteworthy battles of the Hundred Years War. Below are a few. Battle of Crecy - 26 August 1346 Crecy Campaign 26 July…

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"24 May 1337 – 19 October 1453: Late Middle Ages Struggle: The Hundred Years' War: 1337-1453" by Scott Lyons

The Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) was one of the most significant conflicts in the Middle Ages, spanning over 116 years and involving five generations of kings from two rival dynasties. This war was fought between the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of England, ultimately leading to five generations of kings from two rival dynasties vying for the French throne. It was what historian Norman Davies observes as "... above all, an orgy of what later generations were to judge most despicable about 'medievalism'--endless killings, witless superstition, faithless chivalry, and countless particular interests pursued without regard to common weal." (Davies 1996, 419) The war resulted in the rise of national identities, the decline of chivalry, and the emergence of professional standing armies and artillery that permanently altered warfare in Europe. The war originated from England's claims to the French throne and escalated into a broader power struggle involving factions from across…

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4 Replies · Reply by Erwin Leydekkers Nov 18, 2023
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"November 1095 to 1291: Religious Wars: Crusades in the Holy Land and Knights Templar" by Scott Lyons

The Crusades were a series of religiously motivated military expeditions that took place between 1095 and 1291. The primary goal of the Crusaders was to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslim infidels who had taken control of Jerusalem. These expeditions marked one of the most significant moments of the medieval era, and their impact on Western civilization remains evident to this day. The Crusades were initiated by Pope Urban II in 1095, who called upon all Christians to take part in a holy war to liberate the Holy Land from Islamic rule. The response was overwhelming, and thousands of Europeans, both noble and common, responded to the call to arms. The First Crusade was launched in 1096, and after a long and arduous journey, the Crusaders reached Jerusalem in June 1099. They successfully captured the city, establishing a Latin Christian kingdom in the region. The success of the First Crusade sparked further Crusades, with the Second Crusade launching in 1147 and the Third Crusade in…

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2 Replies · Reply by Scott Lyons Sep 23, 2023
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"431-404 BC: Athens versus Sparta: The Peloponnesian War" by Scott Lyons

Right: Book cover of The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War by by Thucydides (Author), Robert B. Strassler (Editor), Richarb B. Crawley (Translator), Victor Davis Hanson (Introduction). Thucydides' historical account of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta is a revered and enduring masterpiece in the Western literary tradition. It has remained a vital source of knowledge and insight for over two millennia, catering to the interests of various communities ranging from generals and politicians to intellectually curious individuals. Endowed with an unparalleled abundance of valuable information, this work continues to captivate readers with its extensive military, moral, political, and philosophical discourses. So, when Thucydides dubbed this tome "a possession for all time," he didn't exaggerate in the least. Its treasure trove of knowledge is simply unmatched. This book is a must-have in your home library. The Peloponnesian War is a…

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29 June 1440: The Battle of Anghiari

Above: Copy after lost original, Leonardo da Vinci's Battaglia di Anghiari, by Rubens (c. 1603). Original fresco in the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence, executed in 1504-1505 and destroyed around 1560. Source: Public Domain. The Battle of Anghiari, which took place on 29 June 1440, was a significant event in the context of the Wars in Lombardy that ravaged Italy from the mid-14th to the mid-16th century. The conflict was sparked by the competition between several Italian city-states, each seeking to expand their territories and exert their dominance over their rivals. In this particular battle, the forces of Milan clashed with the League of some Italian states, led by the powerful Republic of Florence. The stakes were high, as the outcome of the skirmish could determine the balance of power in central Italy. The Milanese army, commanded by Francesco Piccinino, had a reputation for being strong and well-prepared. However, their opponents were not to be underestimated, as the…

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"21 July 480 BC: Xerxes and the Battle of Thermopylae" by Scott Lyons

The Battle of Thermopylae, which took place in 480 BCE during the second Persian invasion of Greece, is one of the most famous battles in ancient history. While the precise dates are uncertain, sources suggest that the three-day battle took place either from 21 to 23 July or from 8 to 10 September in the year 480 BC. The primary source for our knowledge of this battle is the account given by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus in his work The Histories, written about 40 years after the battle. Herodotus records that Persian King Xerxes I commanded an enormous army, believed to number between 100,000 and 250,000 soldiers, in his campaign against Greece. In response, the Greeks, anticipating the invasion, dispatched a contingent of around 7,000 warriors, under the leadership of Spartan King Leonidas I, to guard the strategic pass of Thermopylae, the principal gateway to central Greece. The terrain of Thermopylae was crucial to the Greeks' strategy. The narrow pass, flanked by…

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20 June 451: The Battle of Chalons-sur-Marne, also known as the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains

Above: Battle of the Catalaunian plains, between Attila, Aetius, Meroveus and Theodoric I; from Jacob van Maerlant's Spieghel Historiael (KB KA 20, fol. 146v). Date of its creation is noted as between circa 1325 and circa 1335. Source: Public Domain. Click to expand. The Battle of Chalons-sur-Marne, also known as the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, took place on 20 June 451, between the Roman general Flavius Aetius and his allies and the forces of the Huns, led by their legendary leader Attila. Attila was known as the "Scourge of God" and had already conquered much of Eastern Europe, including modern-day Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. He then turned his attention to the Western Roman Empire, which was weakened and struggling to maintain its power. Aetius, who was himself a skilled military strategist, managed to gather a coalition of Roman soldiers, Visigoths, Burgundians, and other Germanic tribes to face the Huns in battle. The two armies clashed on the plains of…

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"William Wallace of Scotland: Separating Fact from Fiction" by Scott Lyons

Most will immediately recognize the name William Wallace and associate the Scottish icon with the movie "Braveheart," starring Mel Gibson. Much of the film is historically inaccurate, including relationships, titles, dress, and the implied death of his father, who was indeed alive during William Wallace's adulthood. Despite the film's deviations from historical records, Braveheart does attempt to frame a timeline that reflects William Wallace's resistance against English rule in the late 13th century. The movie begins with Wallace's childhood in Scotland and the death of his father, which differs from historical accounts. It goes on to depict Wallace's return to Scotland as an adult after years abroad, his marriage and tragic loss of his wife, Murron, which fuels his rebellion. In defiance, Wallace leads the Scots in the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, achieving a significant victory despite the film omitting the bridge's crucial role in the battle. The romantic subplot involving…

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