"I am the punishment of God...If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you." Genghis Khan
Here, on the verge of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Barbarians—rudely clad and rude of speech, untutored and unwashed—approach the last outposts of Roman civilization…
Unfortunately, the Roman army itself now consists mostly of Barbarians: Italians (Romans) had stopped volunteering centuries ago. Without its alliance with the Visigoths, the nominally Roman army could not have turned back the Huns. A strange new world is about to be born. A world after the Roman Empire.
Before us lie new ways of warfare. Feudalism, armored men, armored horses—where did they come from? Keep, donjon, moat, castle, the small scale of military might seems almost laughable; the largest battles in the West for the next millennium would be on the scale of one or two Roman legions (about 5000 per legion).
But Europe is not the world. Warfare continues everywhere. We will examine the armies and armaments of Byzantium, the newly risen empire of Islam; China; Japan; even the New World before it met the Old; and the next generation of steppe warriors, whose sway is undone only by the sulfur of China.
So, let us follow their armies, meet their leaders, and marvel at their ingenuity in armament, strategy, and organization; and watch how victory and defeat can turn on the proverbial nail.