The Medieval Period started around the collapse of the Roman Empire 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, as this medieval period progressed military tactics advanced and great military generals were born. Battles were usually fought over territory and the riches that could be stolen from the conqueror of the enemies lands and were brutal and unforgiving encounters.
Important Medieval Battles & Wars between 5th and 6th century
It is still debated exactly when the Medieval period began, but it is widely accepted that it began around the 5th century and many scholars have proven this to be correct. The first battles that took place during these times were on the territory around Rome. In the year 410 on 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 Belisarus bring an end to the settled area of North Africa by the Vandals which lead 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.
Important Medieval Battles & Wars between 7th and 8th century
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 Byzantine 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 finish their conquest of Persia in the decisive battle of Nehawand.
643 – The Arab army take 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 that 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 – 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 across two centuries.
Important Medieval Battles & Wars between 9th and 10th century
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 is ended in 1018.
Important Medieval Battles & Wars between 11th and 12th century
1018 – The Byzantine army led by Basil II finish the conquest over the Bulgarians after a bitter 50 year struggle.
1066 – 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 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 success of the first Holy Crusade with the re-taking of Jerusalem.
1109 – German expansion is stopped when the 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 to 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 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.
Important Medieval Battles & Wars between 13th and 14th century
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, 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 Reconquesta which will be successful and in 1248 the Muslims will have possession of only Granada.
1258 – The great siege of Baghdad took place, after its fall the Mongols brought an end to the Islamic Golden Age.
1298 – The Scottish resistance succeeds against the English at the battle of Stirling Bridge under the leadership of William Wallace. A major battle for Scottish independence happened in 1314 at the battle of Bannockburn.
1337 – Brings the start of the 100 years war between England and France, it 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 defeat 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.
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.
Important Medieval Battles & Wars In the 15th century
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
1415 – The Portuguese Empire is formed with the capture of Ceuta by the Portugal kingdom. In 1415 the English win another very decisive battle against the French forces due to their longbow men at the battle of Agincourt which will lead to a signing of 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 which 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 over 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 a capital of the Ottoman Empire and marks the fall of the Byzantine empire.
1453 – The English lose the 100 year war versus France and are driven back from Europe.
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 defences, a Hungarian nobleman called John Hunyadi.
1459 – Brings the falls of Smederevo, marking the fall of Medieval Serbian empire.
1455 – The battle of the Roses started with the battle of St. Albans and ended in 1487 at the battle of Stoke.
1492 – Brings an End to the Reconquesta 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.
End of the Brutal Battles & Wars in the Medieval Times
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 it’s battles and brutality came to an end.