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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 Times

(p.41) Introduction
How Fighting Ends

Hans-Henning Kortüm

Oxford University Press

In considering surrender in medieval times, one must first differentiate between pitched battles and siege warfare. Whereas the latter normally was a collective process, surrender on the battlefield typically was an individual one, not a mass phenomenon. Medieval surrender must be understood as a social interaction between two persons or two parties: the person or party who was surrendering and the person or party who was accepting the surrender. Therefore there were no standards or even laws for medieval surrender on battlefield. Success frequently depended on pure contingency and, even if there was a chance for the losing party to surrender, the winning party still had the option of refusing. The victor accepted the offer to surrender only if the reward was sufficient.

Keywords:   Nibelungen, fidelity, heroes, song of Roland, flight, honour, shame, prisoners of war, profit, pitched battle, sieges, ransom, capitulation

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