The medieval period started around the same time as the Western Roman Empire began to collapse around c.476 and ended with the rise of the Renaissance period and the new age.
Many important battles that shaped history were fought during this medieval period, military tactics advanced and great military leaders were born.
It is still debated exactly when the medieval period began, but it is widely accepted that it began towards the end of the 5th century and many scholars have proven this to be an accurate dating. The first battles that took place during these times were on the territory around Rome.
In the year 410 on the 24th of August, the city of Rome was sacked by King Alaric, of the Visigoths. This was a deciding factor in the further decline of the Western Roman Empire.
After 45 years the city was sacked again, this time by Genseric, King of the Vandals, which lead to the decisive and complete fall of the Roman Empire.
In the year 507, The Franks which were led by Clovis were victorious against the Visigoths in the Battle of Vouille forcing the Visigoths to retreat to Spain.
In the year 533, the Byzantines led by Belisarius bring an end to the settled area of North Africa by the Vandals which led to the fall of the Vandal kingdom, and the Reconquest of North Africa was completed.
The famous Gothic Wars took place from 535-554 between the Byzantine Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy, the battles brought victory to the Byzantines.
The last great Roman-Persian war took place between 602 and 629, a battle which made both forces very weak to the newly formed threat of the Arab armies in 630.
627 – The Byzantines led by Heraclius crush their enemies, the Persians, in the Battle of Nineveh.
638 – The city of Jerusalem falls under the might of the Arab armies which was the newest threat and will shake these medieval times.
641 – The Arab army finishes their conquest of Persia in the decisive battle of Nehawand.
643 – The Arab army takes over Alexandria.
674 – The first-ever siege by the Arabs of the city of Constantinople ended in 678. The army failed to take over the city, making this the first-ever defeat of the Arab army.
698 – The Arab armies take over Carthage, bringing the Byzantine rule over North Africa to an end. In 711 Spain gets invaded by the Arab army starting the ruling of the Iberian peninsula until nearly the end of the 15th century.
732 Battle of Tours – A decisive victory was won over the advancing Moors (Muslims) in the battle of Tours where the Franks stopped any further advancement of these armies.
793 – Brings the Vikings into the British territory with the sacking of Lindisfarne, which is considered to be the start of the Viking Age which will span two centuries.
827 – The Muslims make their moves against Europe, with the invasion of Sicily and the capture of Bari in 840.
866 – The Vikings bring their “Great Army” onto the English shoreline and Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia become overwhelmed.
910 – King Edward the Elder of England brings victory over the Northumbrian Vikings at the decisive battle of Tettenhall, the Vikings never raid south of the River Humber again.
917 – The leader of the Bulgarians, Simeon I defeats the Byzantines at the battle of Anchialu.
955 – At the battle of Lechfeld, Otto the Great stops the Hungarian forces from entering Central Europe.
981 – A massive conquest against the Bulgars is started by Basil II called the Bulgar Slayer, his conquest ended in 1018.
1018 – The Byzantine army led by Basil II finish the conquest over the Bulgarians after a bitter 50-year struggle.
1138 *Battle of the Standard, sometimes called the Battle of Northallerton English forces under William of Aumale repelled a Scottish army led by King David I of Scotland.
1066 *Battle of Hastings –The Duke of Normandy, William The Conqueror, invades England and becomes King after the battle of Hastings which lead to an end of the Anglo-Saxon rule in England and the start of Norman lineage.
1071- The Seljuks defeat the Byzantine army at Manzikert and the Normans capture Bari which was the last Byzantine possession in southern Italy, starting the end of the Byzantine rule in Asia Minor.
1095 – Marks were the start of the first of many Holy Crusades which were sent to clean the Holy Land from the Muslims and defend the Byzantine empire. The year 1099 brings the success of the first Holy Crusade with the re-taking of Jerusalem.
1109 – German expansion is stopped when Emperor Henry V is defeated at the battle of Hundsfeld.
1116 – The Turks receive a massive blow from the Byzantines at the battle near Philomelion, after which the Turks abandon the entire coastal area of Anatolia and all of the western Anatolia.
1147 – 1149 – The second crusade takes place in order to retaliate for the fall of Edessa which was the first Crusader state, these battles were a failure.
The first major defeat of cavalry from infantry happened in 1176 at the battle of Legnano where the cavalry of Frederic Barbarossa lost to the infantry units of the Lombard League.
1187 – Brought the recapture of Jerusalem by Saladin which will lead to a third Holy Crusade. The more famous crusades happened between 1189 and 1192, but even after winning major battles, the crusade failed to recapture the city.
The fourth crusade took place in 1202 but this time it was against the Croatian city of Zadar because it was unable to pay tribute to the Venetian Contractors. A catholic crusade against a catholic city was a major disappointment of that time. The crusade did not stop there and it even led to the sacking of Constantinople around 1204 marking the decline of the Byzantine empire.
1212 – The Spanish Christians defeat the Moors and start the campaign Reconquista which will be successful and in 1248 the Muslims will have possession of only Granada.
1214 *The Battle of Bouvines was a historically decisive battle between the French army and a coalition army comprising soldiers and knights from various European kingdoms.
1241 *The Battle of Legnica also known as the Battle of Liegnitz was a battle between the Mongol Empire and European forces that took place at the village of Legnickie Pole.
1258 – The great siege of Baghdad took place, after its fall the Mongols brought an end to the Islamic Golden Age.
1297 *Battle of Stirling Bridge – The Scottish resistance succeeds against the English forces under the great leadership of William Wallace.
1298 *Battle of Falkirk First Major Battle of First War of Scottish Independence *English Victory
1302 *Battle of Courtrai also known as the ‘Battle of the Golden Spurs’ was a battle fought by the Kingdom of France in a bid to reassert its control over the County of Flanders.
1314 *Battle of Bannockburn – A major victory for Scottish independence as Robert the Bruce is victorious.
1337 *100 Years War between England and France, will last 116 years and span across four different war periods. At the battle of Crecy, the English forces which were led by Edward III and Edward the Black Prince defeated the French forces of Philip VI in a great battle in which they were outnumbered 4 to 1 but won because of their improved arsenal and by having the Longbowmen in their armies.
1346 – Battle of Crécy *100 Years War The Battle of Crécy in 1346 was one of the most important battles during the Hundred Years’ War between France and England. It was also the first major victory of the English against the French during the initial years of the Hundred Years’ War.
1356 *Battle of Poitiers *100 Years War The battle took place in 1356 on French territory near Poitiers. It resulted in a decisive victory for the English side with the French suffering a humiliating defeat with French leaders, including the French King, being captured by the English forces.
1389 – A famous battle took place in Kosovo between the Christian army and the Ottoman army, both armies lost their leaders, and the Turks due to having more men as backup continued to conquer the lands. In 1396 the crusade brings failure with them at the Battle of Nicopolis, marking the end of the crusades.
1396 *The Battle of Nicopolis was fought between the military of the Ottoman Empire and the allied military might of European nations.
The 15th century starts off with a decisive battle over the Ottomans, in the battle of Ankara, leading to the capture of Bayezid I by the Tamerlane forces
1403 *Battle of Shrewsbury battle between the army of Lancastrian King Henry IV and the rebel army of Henry “Harry Hotspur” Percy from Northumberland.
1415 – The Portuguese Empire is formed with the capture of Ceuta by the Portugal kingdom.
1415 *Battle of Agincourt the English won another very decisive battle against the French forces due to their longbowmen at the Battle of Agincourt which will lead to the signing of the Treaty of Troyes 5 years later making Henry V heir of France.
1429 – Brings the entrance of the legendary Joan of Arc, where she helps the French win the siege of Orleans for Dauphin of France, which was one of a series of battles that drives the English back out of Europe.
1444 – The Ottomans decide the fate of Hungary in their war against the Hungarians in the battle of Varna in which they are victorious, bringing defeat to the Hungarian-polish armies and the death of Wladyslaw III Of Poland.
1453 – The Ottomans continue their victory streak and take over the city of Constantinople making the city the capital of the Ottoman Empire and marking the fall of the Byzantine empire.
1453 *Battle of Castillion – The battle was fought as part of the protracted Hundred Years’ War between the two nations and the decisive victory of the French in Castillon marked the end of the war.
1453 – The English lose the 100-year war against France and are driven back from Europe *See above *Battle of Castillion
1456 – In the massive siege of Belgrade, the Ottoman advancement is halted for seven decades due to the tactical superiority of the leader of the defenses, a Hungarian nobleman called John Hunyadi.
1459 – Brings the falls of Smederevo, marking the fall of the Medieval Serbian empire.
1455 *Wars of the Roses *37 Year War started with the battle of St. Albans and ended in 1487 at the battle of Stoke.
1485 – The Battle of Bosworth also called the Battle of Bosworth Field, was fought in 1485 between the rival Yorkist and Lancastrian factions of England. The battle was the last conflict of the 30-years-long Wars of the Roses between the two factions.
Many historians consider the Battle of Bosworth as the event that signaled the end of the medieval period
1492 – Brings an End to the Reconquista campaign against the Moors within the Iberian peninsula. Also in 1492, the famous Italian Wars start, leading to the downfall of the Italian city-states, this battle lasted until 1559.
As medieval society advanced in the Late Medieval Period it became more civilized and there started to be more co-operation rather than fighting to solve disputes amongst peoples, community spirit first started to advance in these later stages of the medieval period and this new regard for the individual would bring about a new age called the Renaissance which started in Italy, human rights and the rights of the individual started to become an important issue and the Medieval period with all its battles and brutality came to an end.