The Social Dimension of Western Civilization

The social dimension of Western civilization is broadly discussed and artistically presented in the fifth edition. The social dimension of Western  civilization volume 1 readings to the 17th century by Richard M. Golden therefore giving fascinating and astounding information of the ways in which western people worked, wedged war, brought offenders to justice, their conduct, how they died among other everyday activities. Sir John Keegan is a well-experienced man on the nature of combat regarding the 14th and 21st centuries on ground, air, water and lastly intelligence in warfare not forgetting the psychology of battle. The face of battle deals with the structure of historical writing on wars, the strengths and limitations of the battle pieces. It also scrutinizes three war periods of medieval Europe, the era referred to as Napoleonic and the First World War.

The face of battle tries to crack down on three battles, namely; Agincourt, Waterloo and Somme, these three battles involved British soldiers and occurred in one geographical area. Keegan takes into consideration quotes from ordinary soldiers, since the experience of individual soldiers like the one on a photograph of a weeping soldier of Vietnam holding the body of his dead child. Keegan focuses on ordinary soldiers, because the lessons of war are hard to imagine for those who have never gone to war. It is only for the soldiers who have been bereaved of their loved ones or wounded that the impact of war can be easily determined.

The Agincourt war was a network of armaments, battlefield conditions and tactics. The reason behind the English victory is that they positioned themselves at the top of a higher land that was surrounded on both sides by woods. The French were groomed in heavy armor, while the English disguised in light armor enabling them to be very mobile.  French knights attempted very much to go up the raised ground, but were setback by the unfavorable soggy ground and their weighty armor.  The woods that surrounded the English people helped in making the front line small hence, the English army capitalized on this and triumphed over the French.

While the French climbed, the English used long bows to pierce them with arrows before they neared them. The French troops in the front line began to fall down because of the arrows directed at them. As those in the frontline collapsed, those behind them continued charging unaware of what was happening behind their eyes. This left the French knights who were behind, falling on the knights who had fallen before them. After their falling, rising up was not possible because of their heavy clothing.

Some of the knights were drowned, because their colleagues, who were falling on them due to the harm caused by the arrows, pushed them into running dirty water. After many knights had fallen to the ground and were unable to rise up, the English men with daggers ran after them and took their dear lives. Finally, after the majority of French knights were killed, they had to retreat, therefore, giving the king of England, known as Henry`s V victory. The English victory was realized, since their army had good experience and high discipline standards. Losing of the French was because their army comprised of nobles who stupidly wanted to prove their strength against the English army.

The French forces were also not determined, since some left the battlefield to attend to their personal issues. Some French knights took unnecessary breaks to warm their bodies or feed their horses instead of fighting tooth and nail to realize their objectives of subduing the English knights in the war

The battle of Agincourt, that has been made everlasting by Shakespeare, was marked by greed for riches, slaughter-yard violence and other atrocities; on how in Waterloo, the redcoats of Wellington faced the musket valleys delivered from small yards away. Secondly, how the little size of Somme battlefield dictated the “kill or to be killed” ferocity defenders from Germany in the confrontation of the British infantry’s massed invasions. Technological developments may have transformed the nature of warfare, but the battle has remained humane enough: since it is a matter of giving orders and adhering to them, there is hate and compassion, solidarity and also self-preservation. To generalize, it is a place, where ordinary men are battling with very unordinary of circumstances.

The Agincourt war was a tussle between the k\Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France or the House of Valois. The earlier wars were full of feudal armies dominated by cavalry, unlike recent wars that are conducted by the use of new weapons and tactics. Wars of the ancient times embraced the use of chariots, while those of recent times embrace use of heavy mechanisms and vehicles. Wars fought in a span of more than a hundred years did not last very long, unlike earlier wars that could be fought for over 100 years. Women were given training to participate in wars of not more than a hundred years ago, unlike those that were fought in the olden days that only recognized men.

Memorable episodes include the leading of troops by Henry V into participating in the war in hand on hand fighting. The then French king remained calm over commanding the French army personally. The reason behind this is that he was ailing from acute, repeating malady and medium mental incapacitation. Constable Charles d’Albert and influential French men of the Armagnac party, therefore, commanded the French. Fascinating is the English longbow, which was widely used by Henry, with English among other archers constituting majority of his army.

Another episode that will linger in the mind for some time is the sinking of stakes on the ground to deter horses by the archers who were less armed. The heavily armed opponents who were firm had very little to dread from cavalry. This is quite memorable, since it depicts panic in the archers who were not armed to the tooth. The sitting that yielded in giving the name, the  war is also an episode worth to remember. Here Henry called heralds of either army who happened to watch the fight together and settled on the name Agincourt after the closest fortified place. This sitting is memorable, since it shows agreement between warring parties, which is not a practicable thing in most cases.

Another interesting episode is the falling of the French knights and their incapability to rise up. It is interesting to learn, that the weapons expert in history, known as Michael Loades, has demonstrated his ability to rise up on a number of times, while dressed in full plate armor. The only reason behind their failure could be due to fatigue, since they had been treading paths that were muddy.

It is pleasing and ironical that the French army outnumbered the English army, but they still had to lose to the English knights. Although, this cannot be the reason behind victory or losing, since the battlefront was shaped like a funnel; thus, closing many knights from wedging war as a team, the single-handed approach that the French gave to the English war. The terrain was perhaps the main factor that caused the French knights to weaken further and eventually their retreating gradually.

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