chapter  12
Wars of religion
The examples of France, Spain and the Low Countries in the sixteenth century
Pages 14

The theme of war features prominently, at least in volume, in narrative sources from the fourteenth century onwards.1 Many medieval conflicts were triggered without much thought or planning, but it would be wrong to think that advance planning was completely alien to medieval governments. For war to be fought well, it was necessary to effectively combine money, men and their equipment, as well as logistical support, on the battlefield.2 Continual problems with manpower, command, money and supplies had to be dealt with. So few noblemen were willing to join military operations that, until the mid-fifteenth century, war remained an individual venture: gains and losses concerned each combatant, and state intervention was uncertain or marginal. In addition, war was not just for professionals. Everyone had the right to defend himself against aggression, be he in a rural community, town or principality.