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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

While philosophers of the Medieval era examined the works of ancient writers to understand history and human nature, military leaders of the period also looked to the past for answers to the challenge of heavy cavalry. One group in particular, the Swiss, emerged with a unique answer to the power of heavy cavalry. The Swiss reinvented the heavy infantry formations used by the ancient Greek and Roman armies to great effect against their opponents. The unique topography and circumstances of the Swiss allowed them to implement a system of heavy infantry-centric warfare that profoundly influenced the European battlefield for several centuries from the Late Middle Ages into the Renaissance period. This Swiss method of war during the Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance demonstrated the effectiveness of heavy infantry against heavy cavalry formations and relegated the once dominant armored knights to a lesser role.

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