First the standing army, then firearms scuttled the military spirit of the Crusades

September 8, 2016

By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Louis XI, King of France

Louis XI, King of France

Well, then came the secularization of the fighting spirit through the hiring of regular armies in France. If I remember correctly, it was Louis XI that started it; but all the monarchs of the time started doing it as well. That did not exist before. The king would summon their vassals, who in turn would bring their own subjects to the king and command his army. So the vassals commanded the king’s army.

Handguns were usually called culverin. These handguns had to be supported and fired by a hand-held lit match being brought to the touch hole.

So, from a marching feudalism the army became an administration, a bureaucracy, and thus war was transformed. The invention of firearms aggravated very much this situation by introducing anonymity into the success of war. And the perfect warrior is no longer one who takes greater risk and knows how to personally face the adversary, but one who is a better shooter.

The first European image of a battle with cannons: the Siege of Orleans in 1429.

The first European image of a battle with cannons: the Siege of Orleans in 1429.

You can see how low level this is: the one who is better at hiding himself with his weapon to shoot the adversary wins. You see how the military crusading spirit slowly disappears.

Don Quijote and Sancho Panza by Gustave Doré.

Don Quijote and Sancho Panza by Gustave Doré.

And then came the novel Don Quixote, which was the last nail in the coffin of the crusading spirit.

 

(Excerpt from an Almoço Tuesday, Jan. 30, 1990 – Nobility.org)

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