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There were three basic ways that a city could hope to survive a siege. They were 1) being relieved by a friendly force 2) outlasting the besiegers, and 3) "self relief," which was pretty rare.

If a besieged town was part of a larger polity, the greatest expectation was for relief by friendly forces superior to the besigersbesiegers. This held true for the Protestants at BelfastDerry in 1689, but not for the Gauls at AlesiaAlesia in Roman times, buteven though both the besieged and the relieving forces outnumbered the besieging Roman forces.

The conventional expectation in Medieval Europe was that if a city could hold out for one year, it could outlast a siege. This was cited by any number of medieval writers, but the one I know best is Machiavelli's, ["the"the Prince."][2]" A well prepared city would have food and drink and working materials for its citizens for a year. They would also hope that the weather and other elements would wreck more havoc on the besiegers. This multi-month defense eventually worked in eastern Europe against the Mongols, who could not resupply their horses and their "composite" bows as well in Europe's forests as on the steppe. An exception to this one-year rule was Carthage, which held out for three years, but eventually succumbed to Roman attack. As at Alesia, the Romans managed to defy medieval wisdom.

Self-relief was a pretty rare event.That's mainly because an army that elected to suffer being besieged was typically outnumbered (Alesia was a notable exception.) So a surrounding army could "entrench" and take the defensive as muc as the besieged. And the besieged armies had many of the difficulties of other surrounded groups, such as being cut off from help or resupply, with the notable exception that the city or fortress prevented it from imploding. A notable case of self-relief was [Crusaders capturing the city of Antioch,][3]Crusaders capturing the city of Antioch, being besieged in turn by the Saracens, and breaking out a month later.

[3]:*The "one year" rule also applied to serfs seeking to escape their masters. The operative motto was "Statluft macht frei," that is "City air makes one free"applied to both individuals and cities.

There were three basic ways that a city could hope to survive a siege. They were 1) being relieved by a friendly force 2) outlasting the besiegers, and 3) "self relief," which was pretty rare.

If a besieged town was part of a larger polity, the greatest expectation was for relief by friendly forces superior to the besigers. This held true for the Protestants at Belfast in 1689, but not for the Gauls at Alesia, but

The conventional expectation in Medieval Europe was that if a city could hold out for one year, it could outlast a siege. This was cited by any number of medieval writers, but the one I know best is Machiavelli's, ["the Prince."][2] A well prepared city would have food and drink for its citizens for a year. They would also hope that the weather and other elements would wreck more havoc on the besiegers. This multi-month defense eventually in eastern Europe against the Mongols, who could not resupply their horses and their "composite" bows as well in Europe's forests as on the steppe. An exception to this rule was Carthage, which held out for three years, but eventually succumbed to Roman attack.

Self-relief was a pretty rare event.That's mainly because an army that elected to suffer being besieged was typically outnumbered (Alesia was a notable exception.) So a surrounding army could "entrench" and take the defensive as muc as the besieged. And the besieged armies had many of the difficulties of other surrounded groups, such as being cut off from help or resupply, with the notable exception that the city or fortress prevented it from imploding. A notable case of self-relief was [Crusaders capturing the city of Antioch,][3] being besieged in turn by the Saracens, and breaking out a month later.

[3]:

There were three basic ways that a city could hope to survive a siege. They were 1) being relieved by a friendly force 2) outlasting the besiegers, and 3) "self relief," which was pretty rare.

If a besieged town was part of a larger polity, the greatest expectation was for relief by friendly forces superior to the besiegers. This held true for the Protestants at Derry in 1689, but not for the Gauls at Alesia in Roman times, even though both the besieged and the relieving forces outnumbered the besieging Roman forces.

The conventional expectation in Medieval Europe was that if a city could hold out for one year, it could outlast a siege. This was cited by any number of medieval writers, but the one I know best is Machiavelli's, "the Prince." A well prepared city would have food and drink and working materials for its citizens for a year. They would also hope that the weather and other elements would wreck more havoc on the besiegers. This multi-month defense eventually worked in eastern Europe against the Mongols, who could not resupply their horses and their "composite" bows as well in Europe's forests as on the steppe. An exception to this one-year rule was Carthage, which held out for three years, but eventually succumbed to Roman attack. As at Alesia, the Romans managed to defy medieval wisdom.

Self-relief was a pretty rare event.That's mainly because an army that elected to suffer being besieged was typically outnumbered (Alesia was a notable exception.) So a surrounding army could "entrench" and take the defensive as muc as the besieged. And the besieged armies had many of the difficulties of other surrounded groups, such as being cut off from help or resupply, with the notable exception that the city or fortress prevented it from imploding. A notable case of self-relief was Crusaders capturing the city of Antioch, being besieged in turn by the Saracens, and breaking out a month later.

*The "one year" rule also applied to serfs seeking to escape their masters. The operative motto was "Statluft macht frei," that is "City air makes one free"applied to both individuals and cities.

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There were three basic ways that a city could hope to survive a siege. They were 1) being relieved by a friendly force 2) outlasting the besiegers, and 3) "self relief," which was pretty rare.

If a besieged town was part of a larger polity, the greatest expectation was for relief by friendly forces superior to the besigers. This held true for the Protestants at Belfast in 1689, but not for the Gauls at Alesia, but

The conventional expectation in Medieval Europe was that if a city could hold out for one year, it could outlast a siege. This was cited by any number of medieval writers, but the one I know best is Machiavelli's, ["the Prince."][2] A well prepared city would have food and drink for its citizens for a year. They would also hope that the weather and other elements would wreck more havoc on the besiegers. This multi-month defense eventually in eastern Europe against the Mongols, who could not resupply their horses and their "composite" bows as well in Europe's forests as on the steppe. An exception to this rule was Carthage, which held out for three years, but eventually succumbed to Roman attack.

Self-relief was a pretty rare event.That's mainly because an army that elected to suffer being besieged was typically outnumbered (Alesia was a notable exception.) So a surrounding army could "entrench" and take the defensive as muc as the besieged. And the besieged armies had many of the difficulties of other surrounded groups, such as being cut off from help or resupply, with the notable exception that the city or fortress prevented it from imploding. A notable case of self-relief was [Crusaders capturing the city of Antioch,][3] being besieged in turn by the Saracens, and breaking out a month later.

[3]: