By Lou Drendel
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Extra resources for Air War Over Southeast Asia (2) 1967-1970
Similarly, Contamine’s War in the Middle Ages says little about the early Middle Ages. Earlier, Sir Charles Oman’s A History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages saw the early Middle Ages as a period when armies were simply rampaging barbarous mobs with no strategic or tactical awareness whatsoever. The relevant volume of Hans Delbrück’s History of the Art of War in the Sphere of Political History was more sophisticated and is still historiographically important and worth reading, but now, needless to say, looks very dated indeed in terms of its historical framework.
The classic, useful studies of medieval warfare tend not to discuss this period. Verbruggen’s The Art of Warfare in Western Europe during the Middle Ages really begins with the Carolingians, about which he makes only a few, though nevertheless useful, points, but he adopts a highly diachronic, normalist approach to warfare, moving back and forth between the ninth and fourteenth centuries via all stops in between. Similarly, Contamine’s War in the Middle Ages says little about the early Middle Ages.
Thereafter, the Merovingians never seem to have gone to war except in the company of their senior palace official, the mayor of the palace. That the presence of the mayor indicates the relative impotence of the king is however an assumption drawn from historiographical traditions based ultimately upon the pro-Carolingian historians of the early ninth century, like Einhard. 33 Nevertheless we should remember that the late Merovingians were very often minors, and changes in the nature of politics will also have given pre-eminence to the mayors of the palace.