The siege dominated warfare during the medieval period. Contemporary evidence - from both accounts of sieges, and records of government - survives in relatively large quantites for the later medieval period; together with archaeological evidence, it is used here to offer a full and comprehensive picture of siege warfare. The book shows how similar methods were practised everywhere, with knowledge of new technologies spreading quickly, and experts selling their skills to any willing employer: it also looks at how the erection of defences capable of withstanding increasingly sophisticated attack became an expensive proposition. The question of whether some of the immense surviving monuments of this age really had a military function at all is also addressed.
The book begins with the Mongol conquests in Asia and Europe and the thirteenth-century apogee of pre-gunpowder siege warfare, before examining the slow impact of guns and the cumulatively massive changes in attack and defence of the fifteenth century. The companion volume, A History of the Early Medieval Siege, covers the period from around 450 until 1200.