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What Was the Biggest Army Raised in the Medieval Era

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What Was the Biggest Army Raised in the Medieval Era?

As there were many armies and many wars during the medieval era, there are many possible answers to this question, however, the winner may be the Chinese army.

Believe it or not, in the ancient period, armies were more professional and organized.

Because of this, their armies were bigger and stronger.

Looking back at the medieval period, armies were not as organized on such a large scale, even though there were some individual elite medieval units.

Which Armies Were the Largest?

Starting from the hundred years war, France called up to 50 000 – 60 000 soldiers, even though they weren’t stationed in one place.

There was a single unit with around 25 000 soldiers.

England had around 30,000 soldiers. If they clashed, the number would have been around 50,000 – 60,000 and this could escalate into a huge fight.

It is also worth mentioning the Holy Roman Empire, which had around 80,000 – 100,000  soldiers before the Third Crusade.

The biggest battles were in the Far East

At the time, China had a population of around 100 million people, which was a huge number for the medieval period.

In 1363 the battle of Lake Poyang took place and this might have been the largest battle to ever take place in the medieval period that we know of.

It is believed that the number of troops deployed in this fight was around 800,000.

This is a massive number for this period and it sounds almost impossible. But considering that China had a dense population at the time it is almost possible for these numbers to be true.

Even if we were to take into account that the numbers of this battle could be a little exaggerated and reduce them by 200,000, it would still be one of the biggest battles ever to take place.

Another candidate for the biggest army raised in the medieval period, would be the Sui Dynasty mobilization of troops.

It is believed that this dynasty recruited around 600 000 to 1.1 million troops for the campaign to take over the territory of Korea.


Frederick W. Mote; Denis Twitchett (26 February 1988). The Cambridge History of China: Volume 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644

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