Today we have a review of a great historical magazine for you. Medieval Warfare is published by Karwansaray Publishers out of the Netherlands. They publish other history magazines such as Ancient History and Ancient Warfare as well as one called Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy. But right now we’re taking a look at Medieval Warfare Magazine Volume 6, Issue 5. It is a bi-monthly magazine that features 60 full colour pages with great illustrations, and is edited by Peter Konieczny. The issue I have here is themed around the Knights Templar, but there are also a few unrelated parts of the magazine.
First of all, let’s see what the magazine has to offer in just pure written content. Coming under the theme of the issue there are 8 articles. Included in these you have a good introduction to the topic and who the Templars were, their rise and fall, and the aftermath of their order being destroyed up to how they are perceived in the present day. There is then a piece by world leading scholar in research into the military religious orders and the Crusades, Helen Nicholson, about her work and how she first became interested in this particular piece of history. Aside from a couple of good articles about the history of the Templars that go into more detail on certain events, there is also a list of 10 facts about the Templars, which is a nice touch to add into such a complex theme, making the magazine a little more easy to digest in this case. The ten facts are also quite interesting! Such as this one:
“Female Templars – While the Templar Rule demanded that its brothers keep women away, and forbade them from being members, scholars have been able to find scattered references to ladies who joined
the order and lived with the men. For example, a woman named Berengaria of Lorach was the ‘soror’ of a Templar house in Catalonia, where her name appears in witness lists among those of the brothers, and she is recorded as giving counsel to the commander of the house.”
The main theme of the magazine is then finished of with The afterlife of the Templars which looks at the depictions of the order after its end, and in modern popular culture. Overall in terms of just the theme of this one issue there is a good amount of content with a few different focuses and approaches that makes things interesting.
Other than the theme of the issue, there are also a few articles and other features in the magazine. The magazine starts of with Marginalia right after the editor’s introduction that is a couple of pieces of news or recent developments to do with the history of Medieval warfare. In this issue there is some news about the stone marking the spot where King Harold fell at Hastings in 1066 has been moved to a new location following a new study of the battlefield. Other features in the magazine include a very interesting one about Bellifortis, a treatise written by Conrad Kyeser in 1405 on military engineering at the time, with many designs and ideas on gunpowder weapons and siege warfare. I found this a particularly interesting read as it was completely unknown to me, and was apparently so to most people for a long time due to Kyeser not having acquired a patron by the time of his death and the therefore unlikely odds of any of his designs actually being built or used.
At the end of the magazine there are a few reviews. One was of the 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven which is quite appropriate for the theme of the issue. This is an interesting film to review as it is one of the most popular and successful out there about the crusades, and yet there are many criticisms to be made of it, majorly of its historical inaccuracies of not just the crusades, but also many fundamental facts about the Medieval world and warfare. The review here is one pretty much agree with, and tackles the choices that were made in the film that revolve around clumsily inserted modern agendas alongside poor history. The other reviews at the end of the mag are of a couple of books, one of which is particularly interesting to me; The Art of Swordsmanship, which is a translation of a fencing treatise originally written by Hans Lecküchner in the late fifteenth century, and translated by Jeffrey L. Forgeng. It was originally titled Kunst des Messerfechtens, or The Art of Messer Fencing.
Finally I just want to make some points about the design and appearance of the magazine. Overall I think it looks great. There are excellent illustrations by various people throughout, which often remind me of an Osprey book. Also the overall design is very clean, easy on the eyes, and easy to read unlike some other magazines I know of which end up looking like a bit of a mess. Here they just keep things simple and add in a few nice medieval styled designs around some of the text columns. Another little touch I like is the clearly separate boxes at the end of each article that give you sources for further reading which are a good way of including a list of sources that doesn’t look as confusing as in academic books or papers.
Overall I have to say this magazine was a great read and a pleasure to review. Now I’m certainly thinking about a subscription!
If you’d like to know more then go to their site at: https://www.karwansaraypublishers.com/pw/medieval-warfare/