The New Knights

The Development of Cavalry in Western Europe, 1562-1700

Frederic Chauvire

This work analyzes the upheavals which occurred in the charge of cavalry, from a tactical, socio-cultural, and anthropological point of view, in order to understand how this arm adapted to the evolutions of the art of war and was able to keep an important role on the battlefield.
Date Published :
July 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Century of the Soldier
Illustration :
85 b/w illustrations, 7 b/w maps, 5 diagrams
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913336486
Pages : 242
Dimensions : 9.8 X 7.1 inches
Stock Status : Available


From the middle of the 16th century to the early years of the 18th century, cavalry experienced significant changes in doctrine, deployment, and the equipment it used. The Men-at-Arms, carrying lances and arranged in large formations, were replaced by more lightly-armed cavalrymen fighting with swords and pistols in new and more flexible tactical formations. These transformations have often been interpreted as a symbol of decline in the cavalry, an archaic arm, a conservator of chivalric values, incapable of adapting to the new transformations in the art of war.

This book aims to deconstruct this simplifying vision by focusing on an analysis of what constitutes the principal combat action of heavy cavalry: the charge. While centered on France, this study refers to the whole of Europe. The battlefields of the French Wars of Religion to the War of the Spanish Succession are examined in detail, along with the types of cavalry, their equipment and how they performed on the battlefield.

About The Author

Doctor of modern history, certified professor of history and geography, Frédéric Chauviré is an associate researcher at the Tempora laboratory in Rennes 2 University. His work focuses on warfare practices and cavalry in early modern period, from a tactical, anthropological and socio-cultural point of view. He notably published Histoire de la cavalerie (Perrin, 2013), “L’ethos chevaleresque dans l’éthique militaire aristocratique ”, Inflexions, n ° 27, 2014, and “Le sort des prisonniers sur le champ de bataille aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, vers une humanisation ?” in L. Jalabert (dir.), Les prisonniers de guerre (XVe-XIXe siècle). Entre marginalisation et reconnaissance (PUR, 2018).


"...covers a lot of ground, as he looks at developments all across Europe, and gives us looks at a number of innovators, such as Moluc, Henri IV, Gustavus, and Saxe. Chauviré also makes some observations about what things did not change, reminding us that innovation doesn’t always involve total abandonment of prior practice.

- The NYMAS Review

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