War was a constant visitor, especially in the medieval period. Throughout history people constantly fought over things, but at the end of each battle there was a victor in most cases.
Have you ever wondered what happens after the battle is over? What did they do with the dead bodies, the equipment, the final act, etc.
Let’s start from ancient times and as an example we shall use the Greek cities. Back then when the battle was over and all enemies cleared from the war zone. The victorious army gathered the equipment and made personal trophies out of them. They stacked dead bodies on top of each other to form a mountain of corpses. A gruesome display none the less, but it worked. The sight you see at the end of a battle as a soldier, is a frightening one indeed, given the fact you killed a man, a friend might have died, and that all you see is death in front of you, but what is important is that you just won the battle.
RAKING UP THE DEATH TOLL
Wars were fought over different claims and each was different from the other. Each victory was different but in most cases the ones that were victorious ended up losing around 20% of its troops (Interesting number). Victory depended on a lot of things, such as: morale, troop power, technology, luck, etc. Many of the troops from the opposing army died when they were fleeing the battle field. This was when the defeated army ran away and was chased by the winner. In many cases half of the kills were achieved. Most of the time, the defeated army lost a lot of its troops, but in some cases so did the victor. When both armies loose most of their troops, but yet someone wins it’s called a Pyrrhic victory.
HOW THE PROCESS WENT
You just turned an age where you can serve your lord. He summons you to battle and you must join him. You are low equipped and you are sometimes used as a tactical dummy. Your banner is winning the battle and the enemy starts running. Firstly, you chase as a natural command and you finish the rest of the enemy. But, before you engaged into battle, you had some thoughts about risking your life for someone you don’t know and try to kill someone who you’ve never seen before. You do all that while your family is waiting for you to come home alive. Because of these reasons engagement in this conflict was very slow and this made battles last for hours.
After you have killed the running enemy, you would then have to occupy the territory. You would take their camp and their resource. In the meantime, part of the army secures the surroundings; other men are given tasks around the field. You manage to find survivors from your army or your enemies. You could either kill them or make them prisoners depending on your position. After this, it was useful to scavenge the equipment, which was really useful. People could reuse the armor of their enemies and the weapons as well. People grabbed what they could find, while priests were on the field praying to the dead.
Once this process ended and almost everything was secured, a negotiation would take place. Here the terms would be negotiated of what was going to happen next, including what is going to happen to the dead. The dead could always be burned or buried, but in most cases they were given a chance to be buried by their own. Medicine wasn’t well developed and treatment wasn’t always successful and people often died from wound infections. If the dead bodies were not accounted for, a disease was likely to arise.
This pretty much concludes the end of each medieval battle.
- You Fight
- You Kill Off The Running Enemy
- You Scavenge The Battlefield
- You Negotiate
- You Take Care Of The Dead Bodies
But in other cases other steps were used instead.