Medieval Glossary

Battle

An action or engagement between the forces of two armies. A battle is either general or partial. It is general when the whole or greater part of each army is brought into action. The battle is partial when only certain parts of the army are engaged. Battles can be arranged into three general classes: defensive, offensive, and mixed battles.

Also, a battle is a division of a medieval army. Typically there were three Battles in an army: the Vanguard, the Main Battle, and the Rearward Battle. The troops were commanded by a tenant-in-chief (such as a baron or earl) or a knight banneret.

Related term(s): Vanguard; Main Battle; Rearward Battle; Tenant-in-chief; Knight-banneret; Baron
Category: Military - General
Added: 04.30.05
Last modified: 10.07.05
Source information: Wilhelm, Thomas. A Military Dictionary and Gazetteer. Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1881. 52; Wise, Terrence. Medieval Warfare. New York: Hastings House Publishers, Inc., 1976. 20, 26.

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