Episode 9: Gerald of Wales: Medieval Adaptation to Terrain and Enemy
Professor Matthew Strickland joins Beatrice and Paul to discuss Gerald of Wales, royal clerk and chaplain to King Henry II of England in 1184. In times when the Norman rulers of the British Isles relied on clerics as civil servants, Gerald (c. 1146 – c. 1223), of mixed Welsh-Norman descent, furnished exceptional analytical surveys of Wales and Ireland.
From Gerald’s surveys, we get invaluable insights into how war was fought in these remote parts of Europe – “irregular” compared with what was happening on the Continent, making best use of terrain and of the regular armies’ logistic problems.
Gerald of Wales or Geraldus Cambrensis (Latin) had studied in Paris and travelled widely in Western Europe, which enabled him to observe and articulate what was particular about Wales and Ireland, including warfare. His writings on the topography and peculiarities of both countries were presented to the Angevin kings. Professor Matthew Strickland runs the prestigious War Studies programme at the University of Glasgow. He specialises on European medieval warfare in the Age of Chivalry, and his publications include the seminal War and Chivalry: The Conduct and Perception of War in England and Normandy, From the 11th to 13th Centuries (Cambridge University Press, 1986).
The views or statements expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the podcast does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by RUSI employees are those of the employees and do not necessarily reflect the view of RUSI.
Gerald of Wales: Expugnatio Hibernica: the conquest of Ireland edited with translation and historical notes by A.B. Scott and F.X. Martin (Royal Irish Academy, 1978)
Gerald of Wales: The Journey through Wales, the Description of Wales, trs. by Lewis Thorpe (Penguin, 1978)
Gerald of Wales: Instruction for a ruler (De principis instructione), ed. & trs. by Robert Bartlett (Oxford University Press, 2018).
Strickland, Matthew: War and chivalry: the conduct and perception of war in England and Normandy, 1066-1217 (Cambridge University Press, 1986)Contamine, Philippe: War in the Middle Ages trs. by (Wiley, 1986)
Military Strategy Magazine
Season Two of Talking Strategy is made possible with the support of Military Strategy Magazine.Military Strategy Magazine
Senior Associate Fellow
Director, Military Sciences