In the medieval period, the mounted warrior held sway for an extended time. Typically heavily armoured, well-motivated and mounted on powerful, specially bred horses, the mounted knight represented a formidable force, which was used to effect against more lightly armoured troops. Since only the noble classes could afford the expense of knightly warfare, the supremacy of the mounted cavalryman was associated with the hierarchical structure of medieval times, particularly feudalism. As the period progressed, however, the dominance of the cavalry elite began to slowly break down. The Black Death in the 14th century swept through Europe, devastating the population and resulting in serious manpower shortages. This encouraged more economical use of available manpower, and the infantryman was much cheaper to outfit and maintain than the aristocratic knight. The Crusade era also saw a rise in the importance of infantry and required large numbers of men and material to be organized for distant battlefields. Such expeditions were part of the growing number of sieges, disputes and campaigns throughout the 13th and 14th centuries that greatly increased the cost of warfare for medieval regimes.
|Dimensioni||8 × 11 × 2 cm|