The use of the sword as an effective military weapon has been abandoned since the First World War, but its decline had begun at a very much earlier period. T.H. McGuffie describes how, during the Franco-German struggle of 1870-1871, among some forty thousand cavalry engaged, only six men are believed to have received a mortal sabre-wound.
Though he had begun life as an energetic mercenary soldier, writes Alan Haynes, the Duke of Urbino became a celebrated humanist and a generous patron of contemporary art and learning.
‘The pleasure of books possessed me from childhood’ wrote this twelfth-century historian. Among other work, William of Malmesbury, writes J.J.N. McGurk, produced an Historia Novella, extending until 1142.
In the thirteenth century, writes Diana E. Greenway, one of the Bishops in the important see of Winchester was a rich and noble monk; the second a warrior accountant turned prelate.