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How Fighting EndsA History of Surrender$
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Holger Afflerbach and Hew Strachan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199693627

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693627.001.0001

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Surrender in Medieval Europe—An Indirect Approach*

Surrender in Medieval Europe—An Indirect Approach*

Chapter:
(p.55) 4 Surrender in Medieval Europe—An Indirect Approach*
Source:
How Fighting Ends
Author(s):

John Gillingham

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693627.003.0005

This chapter distinguishes two phases in the culture of war in Europe. In the first, the capture and enslavement of women and children were respectable war aims; in consequence the systematic killing of adult males (especially those of high-status) was routine; for a warrior to surrender was shameful and very rare. In phase two, the demise of slavery meant that for the first time women and children came to be regarded as non-combatants, and high-status warriors treated as a source of profit (ransom). In consequence the knightly class came to recognize circumstances in which surrender was both sensible and honorable. It amounts to a shift from the Old Testament-style warfare still characteristic of the early Middle Ages to war in the ‘age of chivalry’.

Keywords:   enslavement, women and children, ransom, non-combatants, chivalry, Old Testament warfare, knights

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