Thursday 29 June 2023

More reading on the Great Procession part 2: Men of Warre from Helion review.

One of Helion’s ‘from Retinue to Regiment’ series’ most recent publications is this vastly informative book by Jenn Scott. ‘The Men of Warre. The clothes, weapons and accoutrements of the Scots at War 1460-1600’ crafts a comprehensive description of the composition of Scots armies throughout this period, the impact of French aid in terms of men and equipment, and importantly how the Scots, whether Lowlander or Highlander, nobles or commoners, were armed, armoured and dressed. Warfare to many of the men who served in these armies was a cultural phenomenon, whether this be pitched battles, where they invariably came off second best against the English, or cross border raiding, or ‘reiving’, to carry off livestock and hostages, murder rivals and burn settlements, essentially turning inter-family feuds into a way of life. Indeed my favourite sections of the book relate to this ongoing border warfare rather than, say, the battle of Flodden.

The book is well illustrated with eight pages of lovely original colour plates, each with a detailed commentary, and a good number of black and white images, largely of existing items of arms, armour and contemporary carvings depicting among other things ships and cannons. There is also a comprehensive glossary which will be of interest to many readers and an extensive bibliography.

In addition to the obvious interest this book will garner among historians and military enthusiasts the author also weaves in many elements relating to the social history of the Scots, and I can happily recommend this new book on that basis.

ISBN 978-1-804510-07-0. Softback, 114 pages.

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