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4 Honour, Faction and Private Wars

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Chapter Summary

Barons and lords of castles did not maintain their fortresses and arm their subjects and vassals in order to make them available to their political superiors. The primary purpose of their military resources was to defend themselves, their friends and allies, and to advance their interests. In the sixteenth century there were a number of notorious murders of women of the military nobility by their male relatives, in what could be seen as "honour killings". Barons and castellans engaged in private wars over the possession of lands and castles, either in disputes over the inheritance or division of estates, or in efforts to recover by force lands that had formerly been held by the aggressor's family. Barons and castellans had strong connections to factions that could draw on greater resources to fight with; they also become engaged in another kind of semi-private, semi-public warfare, in support of their factional allies.

Keywords: barons; castellans; honour killings; military nobility; private wars



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