I had 24 down previously and I’m adding two more to that and replacing another:
Breitenfeld (1631) – The key battle of the Thirty Years War, and the Christian Wars of Religion in general. Ensured the religious freedom of German Protestant States and firmly established Sweden as a great power of the time.
Fontenoy (1745) – Major French victory in the Austrian Succession War, with wide-ranging international significance.
And replacing Alaric’s Sack of Rome (410) with;
Adrianople (378) – A major Roman defeat that really did begin its final decline. The Emperor was killed, most of the Eastern Army annihilated and a hostile force of barbarians allowed to remain within the confines of the Empire. Every subsequent disaster and sack stem from this defeat.
That brings me up to 26 battles. I think I’ll look into it more and attempt to round it off to 30 since I like things neat and tidy. I’m giving up on the ‘whittling down’ plan since I realised assigning an arbitrary number to this kind of thing is limiting and pointless. I also have a load of ‘honorable mentions’ I might lump together at some point.
Looking at my list again, I am fully aware of how Euro-centric it is. This stems from my own personal historical interests, my geographical location, and simply put, a deficiency in knowledge for Asian, African and South American wars. If someone wants to enlighten me, go right ahead.
As for what I’m actually going to do with these 30 battles when I have them collected, I’m not sure. I guess I’ll do a little write-up in turn on each of them, not so much a narrative of the clashes, but showing why they are ‘decisive’, whether it was the result alone, the tactics and tech employed, or their macro-historical importance. Something nice and short, no heavy-handed analysis.
If someone out there thinks they’d like to write something up on one of them, drop me a line in the comments.
I think Lepanto I think is deserving of a place. End of battle’s using oar-powered galleys, it prevented the invasion of Rome and it ended Ottoman naval dominance of the Mediterranean.
See, the effects of Lepanto have been heavily debated over the years. I think a lot it is conjecture. It really wasn’t a case of the Holy League losing and the Ottomans pouring into Italy.
And the Otts were able to rebuild their fleet within a relativly short periof of time, going on to conquer a fair slice of northern africa within decades.
Plus, the Holy League fell apart soon after the victory, so no furthur captilization could be attempted (which effects its macrohistorical import).
The technoligical aspect is noteworthy however as is its extreme symbolic significance. One to consider.