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Mediaeval Knights feared PTSD

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Something I never considered myself.
    "Medieval knights are often depicted as bloodthirsty men who enjoyed killing. But that is a completely wrong picture, new research shows.
    The knights did not kill just because they wanted to, but because it was their job – precisely like soldiers today. Nor were the Middle Ages as violent as we think, despite their different perception of violence compared to ours.
    “Modern military psychology enables us to read medieval texts in a new way – giving us insight into the perception of violence in the Middle Ages in the general population and the use of lethal violence by knights,” says Thomas Heebøll-Holm of the SAXO Institute at the University of Copenhagen, who researches the perception of violence in the late Middle Ages.
    “Previously, medieval texts were read as worshipping heroes and glorifying violence. But in the light of modern military psychology we can see the mental cost to the knights of their participation in the gruesome and extremely violent wars in the Middle Ages.”
    Violent knights feared posttraumatic stress | ScienceNordic
     
    TD-Tommy776 likes this.
  2. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    This doesn't surprise me too much. Those of us living in this current time like to think we are much more advanced than folks were hundreds or even thousands of years ago. It's not necessarily the case, as this discovery demonstrates. Thanks for sharing this, Gordon!
     
  3. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    No worries, Tommy. True what the article says though; we're so used to tales telling us brave these guys were, we never think that PTSD isn't a modern phenomenon.
     
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    The top of their food tree, maybe; professional warrioers, sopending hours every day training in some form or other, yes...but heroes?

    They themselves loved the tales of brave knights, especially all the tales that accreted to the Arthurian tales...but when you read about the aftermath of the taking of Acre or Jerusalem by the Crusaders of the First Crusade, or the sacking of a series of cities as they headed to the Holy Land, or the sack of Constantinople...I've always thought they liked the hero mythos because they were only too well aware they weren't ;)
     
  5. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    think it is safe to say Gents that all combatants even before medieval times that saw much action received some sort of PTSD that was of course increased as PTSD does come from the origins of childhood woundedness
     
  6. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Very true, Phylo. They even managed to wreak havoc in Constantinople- their bleedin' allies- on the way to fight the infidels.
     
  7. Marmat

    Marmat Member

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    ... the Calamitous 14th Century", by Pulitzer Prize winning author Barbara Tuchman does pretty much the same thing, the 14th century reflected in the 20th, but I don't think she mentions PTSD specifically. Tuchman's better known for "The Guns of August" and her Bio of Stillwell (the works she won Pulitzers for), but Distant Mirror is my favourite, I highly recommend it.
     
  8. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I agree Marmat. I've read all of Tuchman's books. A Distant Mirror is among her best. I never really thought much about Medieval knights, but the idea of them suffering from PTSD is intriguing.
     

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