Our Latest Issue: The German Peasants' Revolt

Our final issue of 2016 is quite timely, as we are going to take a look at a massive popular uprising. While this year has seen Trump, Brexit and other elections in which the common people have risen up to bring massive change to their countries, what happened in 1524 and 1525 turned out to be not as successful for the masses.

The German Peasants Revolt would see hundreds of thousands of poor serfs and townsmen challenge the elite of 16th-century Europe. Large swaths of Germany and Austria would see peasants take up arms and battle the counts, dukes and lords of the Holy Roman Empire. Historians have long been interested in the social and economic issues related to German Peasants Revolt, but few have looked at the military-side of these events.

Our issue is perhaps the best English-language examination of the war, and leads off with Kelly DeVries, one of most well-known historians of warfare in the Middle Ages. His article, “Lucifer and his angels: A look at the German Peasants’ Revolt” examines the causes of the uprising, and the military events of 1524 and 1525.

DeVries’ article will lead you into a series of more in-depth examinations of the revolt, including Erich Anderson’s, “Landsknechts in the German Peasant armies” that follows the mercenary forces that would play a huge role in the fighting. This is followed by Jean-Claude Brunner on “The Prince-Archbishop vs. the People - The Siege of Salzburg”. He answers the question did the defenders of a castle really defeat a peasant army by painting a cow?

Sidney Dean delivers us a great biography of Götz von Berlichingen, the knight who had an iron hand! His unusual story also took him into the war, where he became a leader of a peasant army - a job he never wanted.

Iason-Eleftherios Tzouriadis, a graduate student at the University of Leeds tells us about anti-war art in 16th-century Germany. It was based on a paper I heard earlier this year at the International Medieval Congress, and I found it so fascinating and insightful that I just had to include him in this issue. I think you will really enjoy this article!

Our theme on the German Peasants’ Revolt finishes with Murray Dahm writing about “Through Modern Eyes: Friedrich Engels on the Bauernkrieg”, which looks at the most famous book about the revolt. Engels was one of the founders of communism, so his work has had a huge influence on how historians have perceived the peasants and their actions.

We also have two non-theme articles, both of which I am very happy to include in this issue. First, Paul Sturtevant is going to tell us why the military flail, which many see as one of the most famous weapons of the Middle Ages, is not actually medieval! Then we have Danny Lake-Giguere, another PhD student, who will tell us what forest management has to do with medieval warfare.

All this and more in our new issue of Medieval Warfare magazine. We would love to have you purchase it or subscribe to us - you can do so by clicking here.

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