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The Shock of the New

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The Battle of Hastings, decisive in itself and one of the best documented in medieval history, was also a conflict between opposing methods of warfare.

Since antiquity, the main cavalry weapon, the lance, had either been used for stabbing or thrusting at an enemy, or had been hurled like a javelin. These traditional techniques, and their limitations, had been clearly demonstrated at Hastings, where repeated cavalry charges by the Normans against the 'shield-wall', or 'war-hedge', of the English infantry on Senlac Hill had proved ineffective through most of the day.

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