We must always look forward, but we must understand history so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past. I have seen too many instances where people continue to pursue wrong courses of action because they do not take the time to think critically about what has happened in the past.
The Dark Age is one of those moments in history we’re ashamed of. Still, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the Dark Ages which apply to survival and preparedness. The biggest one is defending your home.
With Rome in ruins, people in western and central Europe were constantly raided by peoples such as the Vikings in the north or Muslim Saracens in today’s Spain and southern Italy. They didn’t have anyone to defend them so they had to do it themselves (unless they were fortunate enough to live in castles, of course).
Probably the biggest lesson from the dark ages is that if your town or region is in ruins, it’s very unlikely that anyone will come to your rescue. Prepping is just that, taking matters into your own hands and not waiting for the Government or FEMA or local authorities to come help you.
During the Middle Ages, people under siege would bug out into the mountains where they were hard to spot and fight. They would burn down the crops because the enemy relied on finding food there and poison all the wells for the same reason.
These defensive strategies worked very well to weaken the enemy, even though peoples’ homes were left completely vulnerable. There’s an amazing lesson to be learned. When you see you’re unable to defend your home, it’s best to bug out than to die inside it. Mountain areas have always provided good cover not just from natural disasters but also from other people. I’m sure you can find a nice bug out location in the mountains, too.
What about bugging in? Was this ever an option in the Middle Ages? Only if you lived inside or near a castle, unfortunately. They were specifically made to withstand any kind of invasion and siege and allowed the entire population to live inside off the stockpiled food for months on end.
The structure of these castles was complex but they were well designed for defensive purposes. Some of the most interesting element was the keep, the best defended part of the castle where one could make a last stand (much like the safe room inside your house), as well as strategically placed towers which had arrow slits. Let’s not forget as well, the moat, which was a pit around the outside of the castle, filled with water, to make it more difficult for the attackers to climb the outer walls
Speaking of castles, life in court was also full of valuable lessons, the most important one being that you couldn’t trust anyone. Much like life post-collapse, OPSEC and COMSEC were highly important. The better you were at keeping your mouth shut, the more privileges awaited you, including money and land.
This will be similar with the WROL (without the rule of law) situations we might encounter should a total societal collapse happen. With no authorities, people will divide into factions. You’ll have to deal with both gangs of thugs fighting for influence over certain areas, as well as with conflicts within your own survival group.
Always Safe, Always Prepared