King Stephen’s Siege Tactics

Lincoln Castle - Photo by Gustavo Faraon / Flickr

I will describe Stephen’s siege tactics in three general areas: (1) indirect assault, (2) direct assault, and (3) non-weapon engineering.

Empress Matilda and the anarchy: the problem of royal succession in medieval England

Empress Matilda

Why is it that Matilda was unable to secure the throne in her own right? And why do historians continue to debate the legitimacy of her brief lordship?

Analyzing History: Bertran de Born – Innocent Poet or Inciter of Revolt

Bertran de Born

While words are powerful tools that can invoke emotions ranging from jubilation to revulsion, could they be the cause of a rebellion against Henry II of England by his children and wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine? Could the words of a mere troubadour drive the revolt of a family against their king?

How young William Marshal was saved from being catapulted into a castle

William Marshal at a joust unhorses Baldwin Guisnes. From the Historia Major of Matthew Paris.

Word came of this to his father,
but he said that he did not care
about the child, since he still had
the anvils and hammers
to produce even finer ones.

Matilda of Boulogne, Queen of England

The Empress Matilda hears the plea of Matilda of Boulogne, wife of Stephen of Blois who had usurped England's throne and whom the Empress' forces had captured.

Matilda and Stephen were the model medieval couple.

Empress Matilda, Lady of the English

Empress Matilda

Here lies the daughter, wife, and mother of Henry.

Gilbert Foliot and the two swords : law and political theory in twelfth-century England

Henry II quarrels with Becket

Considering the importance of the Church as a driving force in twelfth- century political history, the complex relationship between piety and Church involvement in lay politics during this time period remains surprisingly under-explored.

Excusing the Inexcusable: Abbots Who Diminish the Patrimony, and the Monks Who Love Them Anyway

Ely_Cathedral (by_John_Buckler)

This paper was part of the fantastic SESSION IV: Abbots between Ideals and Institutions, 10th–12th Centuries. This paper focused on the writing about abbots during the tumultuous period of Stephen’s reign.

“The Softness of Her Sex”: Matilda’s Role in the English Civil War of 1138-1153

Empress Matilda

This thesis examines the life of the Empress Matilda (1102-1167), focusing on how factors beyond her control directed much of its course. It discusses her attempts to take control of the political realm in England and the effect this had on her, her supporters, and her kingdom. It also analyzes her later years and influence on her son Henry II.

The Arthur of the chronicles

King Arthur

Even if we cannot accept the claim made by Geoffrey in his introduction that his putative source was ‘attractively composed to form a consecutive andorderly narrative’, he certainly made extensive use ofWelsh genealogies andking-lists.

Review: The Medieval Anarchy: History In An Hour

Medieval Anarchy

The latest ebook from History In An Hour, The Medieval Anarchy aims to give the reader a relatively quick look at events during the reign of King Stephen (1135-1154), a period of civil war throughout the Anglo-Norman empire.

Many Motives: Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Reasons For His Falsification of History

British Library MS Cotton Claudius B VII f.224, Geoffrey of Monmouth's Prophetiae Merlini.

It is clear to most modern historians who have studied Geoffrey’s Historia that its contents bear little to no resemblance to real events. Even in Geoffrey’s own lifetime many historians condemned the work.

Castle Warfare in the Gesta Stephani

Hedingham Castle

The reign of the English king Stephen (1135-1154), popularly known as `the Anarchy’, is a fruitful source of study for historians and castellologists, providing evidence for the deployment of `adulterine’ castles and the conduct of siege warfare.

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