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Armies of Dark Ages Europe, 613-987 (Hardback)

Charlemagne, the Carolingians and their Enemies

Military World History > Europe

By Gabriele Esposito
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Armies of the Past
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 60 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781399031912
Published: 30th September 2024


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The centuries that followed the fall of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476 saw the formation of numerous Romano-Germanic kingdoms from the fusion between different Germanic communities and the Roman population. In time the Frankish Kingdom came to dominate over all the others and conquered most of continental Europe under the guidance of the famous Carolingian royal family. In the book we will follow the military ascendancy of the warlike Franks from 613 to 987.

The greatest protagonist of this bloody period was Charlemagne, probably the greatest military commander of the Early Middle Ages. He transformed the Frankish kingdom into a large state – the Holy Roman Empire – that dominated most of continental Western Europe for almost a century. Charlemagne spent his long reign (768-814) fighting against a multitude of warlike enemies who lived on the frontiers of his dominions: Arabs, Basques, Bretons, Frisians, Vikings, Saxons, Thuringians, Slavs, Avars, Bavarians and Lombards. He obtained some spectacular victories over the latter, but also suffered some humiliating defeats like the famous one of Roncevaux Pass. Gabriele Esposito follows the evolution of the Frankish Army from the rise of the Franks’ under the Merovingian monarchs to the dissolution of the Carolingian royal family, reconstructing the most important military campaigns in detail. All the major troop types are covered, providing information on the organization and equipment of each contingent. The enemies of the Franks are also considered. The clear text is illustrated with dozens of stunning colour photographs depicting replica weapons and equipment of the period in use.

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About Gabriele Esposito

Gabriele Esposito is an Italian researcher and a long-time student of military history, whose interests and expertise range widely over various periods. Most of his recent studies have been dedicated to the reconstruction of the organization, functioning and tactics of the armies across history; in each of his publications there is always some relevant space dedicated to the 'material culture'of the various armies taken into account and - more in particular - to the empirical science known as 'uniformology'. Gabriele is the author of numerous books on armies and uniforms and is a regular contributor to many specialized magazines in Italy, France, Netherlands and UK. His many previous works include Armies of Early Colonial North America 1607-1713Armies of the Late Roman Empire 284-476Armies of the Hellenistic States 323 BC to AD30Armies of Celtic Europe 700 BC-AD 106Armies of Ancient Greece, circa 500 BC to 338 BC; and The Macedonian Army of Philip II and Alexander the Great 359-323 BC, all published by Pen & Sword since 2018. He lives in southern Italy, near the ancient battlefield of Beneventum.

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