It is a commonplace among historians of medieval warfare that battle was rarely engaged — as Vegetius had stated, battle should be avoided as far as possible because it involved too many risks and its result was final. It was often better to draw out a campaign and to harass the enemy by burning crops and besieging buildings, rather than commit everything to a few hours of direct engagement. This chapter, therefore, will consider various ways in which warfare was waged, and not simply battles. The discussion will follow the logical course of a campaign, from initial training to the final peace.
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