The Evolution Of Warfare Throughout The Renaissance

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The Evolution Of Warfare Throughout The Renaissance To The Age Of Religious Wars Essay, Research Paper During the age of religious wars, leading to the Renaissance, warfare drastically changed. Strategies, weapons; the whole art itself was reshaped by the contact with other peoples and the strive to attain more power. Before this time, fighting was restricted to all the Medieval straitjacket would allow. “Wars” consisted mostly of the small forces of feudal nobles in their squeamish attempts to obtain more land. Once the Crusades occurred, everything changed. Alliances were formed and broken, new weapons unveiled, huge strategies deduced, and suddenly people weren’t just trying to defend the small plot of land they called “home”, but their entire nation. If there is

a fulcrum in warfare, it was the period of religious wars and the Renaissance. It should be noted that alliances are very much related to the art of war. They were (are) as omnipresent as war itself. They have been both the cause of war and the key to the victory. There is a direct correlation between warfare and alliances. Throughout this time, alliances were forming (and breaking) between European countries to either conquer one another, or simply keep each other in check. A very well-suited example would be the famous Third Crusade. Richard the Lionhearted of England, Frederick Barbrosa of the divided Germany, and Phillip Augustus of France, some of the most powerful rulers of Europe (some, bitter enemies), united for religious reasons to fight a holy war against the

“infidel” ruler, Saladin (Wallbank, T. Walter…et al 263). The three rulers united and traveled to Jerusalem to fight. Frederick died on the way and Richard and Phillip Augustus were left in charge(Wallbank, T. Walter…et al 263). England and France have a history of unfriendliness to each other (Wallbank, T. Walter…et al 302-303), and that was once more displayed when Phillip Augustus departed after a heated argument with Richard. The alliance was broken and the war was a failure for the Europeans. A little later in history, there was a famous example of Balance of Power. Henry VIII of England, Charles V of Spain, and Francis I of France dominated Europe around the early 1500’s. In order to keep each other from becoming to strong, they formed and broke alliances within

their little triangle. First Henry made an alliance with Charles to prevent Francis from becoming too powerful (Wallbank, T. Walter…et al 451). Then Henry realized that Charles was becoming too powerful, so he made an alliance with Francis. So in this case, it seems that forming alliances prevented war; no one was strong enough to attack the other (Microsoft Encarta CD-ROM). However this was not always the case. The thing that changed the face of war most of all were new weapons. From using these new weapons, new strategies came about, and goals became larger, for the one with the most powerful and plentiful weapons was always the largest threat. It was to be weapons that would offset all the old tactics, and one weapon to be more specific. Actually, one component of a weapon.

Gunpowder (Microsoft Encarta CD-ROM). The Chinese had used gunpowder for many years, but as fireworks and other devices for celebration. It was during the Sung Dynasty in China, circa de 1232, that it was used as a weapon for massive warfare (Scwartz 78). Chinese soldiers who were defending the besieged city of Loyang used a weapon known as a “thunder bomb” to free the city from the grip of the Mongols (Dyer 55). It was an iron vessel filled with gunpowder and was hurled at the enemy by catapult. The explosion blew those nearby to pieces, and the shrapnel of the casing could pierce through armor (Dyer 55). The Chinese also invented a primitive musket called a “fire lance”. It was a bamboo tube stuffed with gunpowder and would fire a cluster of pellets about 250 yards. The