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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 25 January 2022

Surrender in Medieval Europe—An Indirect Approach*

Surrender in Medieval Europe—An Indirect Approach*

(p.55) 4 Surrender in Medieval Europe—An Indirect Approach*
How Fighting Ends

John Gillingham

Oxford University Press

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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