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Ft. Leavenworth – The Medieval Theory of John of Salisbury

January 7 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Virtual Event

John of Salisbury (died 1180) was a prolific and erudite English writer. Dubbed “the best classical scholar of his age,” he was clerk to St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury and, later, became the bishop of Chartres. Among his numerous works is the book Policraticus, which, despite its fame as a political and moral treatise, has been virtually ignored by military historians. More’s the pity: Policraticus was read by military commanders and strategists into the 18th century and contained concepts on generalship, logistics, pay, discipline, training, and the military-state relationship that appeared in later–and purportedly innovative–treatises by such later writers as Thomas Aquinas, Christine de Pizan, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Justus Lipsius. In this talk, Professor John D. Hosler will survey the martial content in John of Salisbury’s writings and explain how he serves as the medieval bridge between ancient and early-modern military theory.

Submit your questions for Dr. Hosler to for the question and answer portion of the program.

This event is closed-captioned for the hearing impaired. 

This special program will be live-streamed to the institute’s YouTube channel and to its website, Due to continuing concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic, the program will only be available online. Follow the Dole Institute on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for updates regarding this and future programming.  

John D. Hosler (Ph.D., University of Delaware) is Professor of Military History at the Command and General Staff College and an expert in warfare in medieval Europe and the Middle East. He is the author of sixty articles and book reviews and author or editor of six books: the forthcoming Seven Myths of Military History (Hackett); Military Cultures and Martial Enterprises in the Middle Ages (2020); The Siege of Acre, 1189-1191 (2018), which was a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year; Where Heaven and Earth Meet (2013); John of Salisbury: Military Authority of the Twelfth-Century Renaissance (2012); and Henry II: a Medieval Soldier at War (2007). He currently serves as the President of De Re Militari: the Society for Medieval Military History and a Trustee of the United States Commission for Military History, and he is an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

The Ft. Leavenworth Series

The Ft. Leavenworth Series is an annual roster of lectures focusing on significant historical events, usually with an emphasis on military history. Each lecture is presented by faculty from the United States Army Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Established by General William Tecumseh Sherman in 1881, the CGSC is the graduate college for U.S. Army and sister service officers. The esteemed faculty and guests of the CGSC provide unique and captivating insights into the history of military conflict from the ancient to the modern ages at the Dole Institute of Politics.

The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics is dedicated to promoting political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bipartisan, philosophically balanced manner. It is located on KU’s West Campus and houses the Dole Archive and Special Collections. Through its robust public programming, congressional archive, and museum, the Dole Institute strives to celebrate public service and the legacies of US Senators Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole.


January 7
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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