John Gillingham
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Fontenoy and after
Pursuing enemies to death in France between the ninth and the eleventh centuries
in Frankland
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This chapter considers the moral choices made by men at war when they decided either to kill their enemies or to spare them. It deals only with the battles of the Carolingian civil wars and of subsequent struggles between Frankish/French princes - that is, between enemies who unquestionably shared a common culture. The battle of Fontenoy, about which Janet Nelson has written often and always illuminatingly, is by far the most famous of these battles, and by far the best recorded. Two of the combatants, Nithard and Angelbert, fighting on opposing sides, wrote about it, one in a remarkable prose history, the other in a remarkable poem. It figures not only in contemporary and near-contemporary accounts by the annalists of St Bertin, Fulda and Xanten, but also in two histories composed south of the Alps by Andreas of Bergamo and Agnellus of Ravenna.

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The Franks and the world of the early middle ages

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