chapter  5
20 Pages

‘Sons of Iniquity’

The Problem of Unlawfulness and Criminality amongst Professional Soldiers in the Middle Ages 1
ByNeil Jamieson

The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries saw warfare on a scale unparalleled in medieval history. The central conflict of the era was the Hundred Years War which began in 1337 and dragged on until 1453-59 although a conflict primarily between England and France, fought, for the most part, in France, the war involved many other kingdoms and areas of operation. Heavy fighting took place on the borders of England and Scotland, as the Scots tried to maintain their independence from England and support their French allies. There was a fundamental dichotomy in the attitude of medieval society towards violence and warfare. There can be no doubt that the ethos of the aristocracy, the dominant social class of the Middle Ages, was that of a warrior elite, who glorified participation in warfare, along with more general aristocratic violence, in the pursuit and defence of honour.