Towns' military organization in the Romandie: the case of Freiburg in Üechtland.

Subproject 2 studies the institutional, operational and material aspects of medieval towns’ military organization in the light of changing political circumstances, limited to the actual French speaking part of Switzerland – the Romandie. A particular focus will be given to the city of Fribourg, which state archives hold more than 200 documents linked to the city’s military activities. This study will thus be two sided, with a comparative analysis of towns’ military organization in the Romandie and a focus on the operational aspects of Freiburg’s military forces.

A particular spotlight will be directed at the citizens' and inhabitants' involvement in the city's military organization. This duty was part of the citizens' status and was defined by charters, which had to be recognized by the lord. Other documents – such as expedition lists, inventories and city accountability – will provide information on the practical aspects of the citizens' and inhabitants' involvement. Studying these documents will allow to explore several hypotheses, mainly that of the military organization as a result of negotiations between the town and the lord and of a tendency to adopt the same structure as the town's social organization.

To study expedition lists and equipment inventories, I have chosen a quantitative method. Working with several datasets organized in spreadsheets enables the analysis of several relations, such as the possession of armor or horses according to wealth, or the involvement of individuals in military expeditions over time.

The towns' military organization has not yet been studied comparatively. Neither the practical organization of urban military organization within changing political environments has ever been explored in a systematic, comparative way. This study will thus address this relation between political change and military organization, not only between the town and its lord, but also the prerogatives of towns as rulers on their nearby lands.