Military defense in the royal towns of Touraine during the Wars of Religion: a daily martial culture

Abstract: During the Wars of Religion, the urban spaces of Touraine were affected by civil and religious violence, but above all by the presence of soldiers. The rich corpus of administrative sources preserved for the royal towns of Amboise, Chinon and Loches allows us to understand the central place occupied by military issues in these different municipal policies, as effective ways of preserving the urban space and identity.

The three royal towns of Amboise, Chinon and Loches, spread across the Touraine region, all had fortresses, real royal strongholds, which had to be defended from the crown’s enemies in the context of the Wars of Religion. The three municipal authorities, responsible for ensuring the defense of their urban areas through a system of citizen guards, were therefore in regular contact with the soldiers, whether they were sent by the royal authorities to guard the town and the castle, or
simply as a stopover on their way to a war zone . Military and defensive1 issues are therefore omnipresent in the administrative documents of these three cities and are manifested by the militarisation of urban spaces. This paper proposes, among other things, to compare the military and defensive mechanisms of the three cities, as well as their impact on urban life, in order to understand the place of the martial fact in the political culture of the second half of the 16th century.


1 SOURIAC Pierre-Jean, « Foules et guerres civiles. Mobilisation, présence militaire dans la région toulousaine durant la première décennie des guerres de Religion (1562-1570) », L’effort de guerre, Actes du 127e congrès du C.T.H.S, Nancy, 2002, CTHS, p.31-51, 2004.


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Acknowledgement: This poster was presented in the panel: Martial Urban Space: Defending and safeguarding the town, during the conference Martial Culture in European Towns (1350-1550), at the University of Bern (11-13 November, 2021)

Cite this article as: remidemoen, "Military defense in the royal towns of Touraine during the Wars of Religion: a daily martial culture," in Martial Culture in Medieval Town, 12/11/2021, https://martcult.hypotheses.org/1457.

Aspects of Urban Military Organisation in the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Period: The Case of Freiburg i. Ue. (c. 1440-1500)

This essay discusses focuses on Fribourg as a case study for military organisation in French-speaking Switzerland in the second half of the fifteenth century. The martial responsibilities of individuals and the city are discussed in a wider context, explaining the background behind the formation and equipment of armed companies. Additionally, the methodology and primary sources used for this type of research are addressed in detail. This presentation was intended for the International Medieval Congress 2020 at the University of Leeds, as one of the three papers of the panel “Martial Culture I: Within the Walls of the Medieval Town.” The Congress was cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation, and only a smaller version was conducted virtually. Two of our speakers decided to release their paper on video format. Watch or listen this paper by following the link below.

Watch the video of the talk here

Abstract of the panel: Our research project (2018-22) considers towns as producers, organisers, and brokers of martial culture within the rapidly changing political world of late medieval Europe. It examines how towns transformed and were transformed by military techniques and urban ‘marti­al culture.’ The latter developed at the intersection of legal prerogatives, political requirements, and the evolving ownership and use of weapons. It integrates a number of historiographical approaches that are usually explored separately: ur­ban institutional, social, and political history; military history; arms and armour; urban martial competitions; knowledge production and dissemination; fighting expertise, and the transformation of the urban space itself. (Paper A : Martial Experts. Experts. Fencers, Gunners, and Arbalesters as Masters in Swiss Towns. Paper B : Aspects of Urban Military Organisation in the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Period. The Case of Freiburg i. Ue. (ca. 1440-1500). Paper C :  The Spaces of Martial Culture in Late Medieval Towns).

This paper is also available on the Bern Open Repository and Information System (BORIS) with the following DOI: 10.7892/boris.145107

Cite this article as: Mathijs Roelofsen, "Aspects of Urban Military Organisation in the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Period: The Case of Freiburg i. Ue. (c. 1440-1500)," in Martial Culture in Medieval Town, 17/07/2020, https://martcult.hypotheses.org/1026.