The New Knights

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 :
January 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Century of the Soldier
Illustration :
66 b/w ills, 3 photos, 15 color artworks, 6 b/w maps, 6 diags
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913336486
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9.8 X 7.1 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Between the middle of the 16th century and the beginning of the 18th century, the battle cavalry experienced deep upheavals. The men-at-arms armed with spears and arranged in hedges disappear in favor of cavalrymen fighting with swords and pistols in new tactical formations. These transformations have often been interpreted as the symbol of the decline of the cavalry, an archaic arm, a conservatory of chivalric values, incapable of adapting to the transformations of the art of war. This work aims to deconstruct this simplifying vision by focusing on the analysis of what constitutes the privileged combat action of heavy cavalry: the charge. A study centered on France but open to the whole of Europe, exploring the battlefields that dot this geographical area from the Wars of Religion to the War of the Spanish Succession. To embrace such a complex object of history, such an analysis must seek to cross tactical, sociocultural and anthropological perspectives. It must take an interest in the institutional and technical environment, in the actors, but above all in the principles which found this singular warrior practice, in his doctrine of use. It is then possible to apprehend the dynamics which presided over the metamorphosis of the heavy cavalry, to measure the adaptability of this arm and to understand that, far from being only a legacy of a glorious past, it continued to play a significant role 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).

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