European Warfare, 1494-1660

European Warfare, 1494-1660

European Warfare, 1494-1660

European Warfare, 1494-1660

Synopsis

The onset of the Italian Wars in 1494, subsequently seen as the onset of 'modern warfare', provides the starting point for this impressive survey of European Warfare in early modern Europe. Huge developments in the logistics of war combined with exploration and expansion meant interaction with extra-European forms of military might. Jeremy Black looks at technological aspects of war as well social and political developments and effects during this key period of military history. This sharp and compact analysis contextualises European developments and as establishes the global significance of events in Europe.

Excerpt

This book is intended as a 'prequel' to my European Warfare 1660-1815 (London and New Haven, 1994), and is aimed for the same broad readership, contributing both to scholarly debate and serving as a good text for under-graduate courses and for the general military history reading public. The book offers a mix of thematic and chronologically organised chapters with start and end dates which are not regarded as absolute 'turning points' but as indicative of more general shifts. I have tried to emulate the distinctive features of European Warfare 1660-1815 by devoting considerable attention to Europe's military profile and activities outside Europe. This is seen as an important contextualisation for European developments and also a way to establish the global significance of developments within Europe. There is also an inclusion of naval developments and warfare. This contributes to an understanding of the global impact of Western warfare and opens the possibility of comparing land and sea developments. The book combines operational history with an analysis of structures and long-term change, and with cultural, social and political contexts.

Throughout the book, I have tried to emphasise the diversity of force structures and military developments within Europe, not least by giving due weight to changes in Eastern Europe. This helps undermine the determinism implicit in any 'meta-narrative' or overarching schematic analysis. In particular, it is important to avoid allowing the technology of weaponry to drive the interpretation and, instead, to give due weight to social and political contexts. This argument relates to the still current debate on the 'military revolution' in early modern Europe, a concept that has entered the main-stream of work on the period. Unlike studies that give too much weight to selected conflicts, particularly the Dutch Revolt and the first phase of the Thirty Years' War, in order to emphasise military innovations and support the thesis of a military revolution, this book offers a wider ranging coverage, of major wars, local conflicts and rebellions, in order to demonstrate the continued role of cavalry and of traditional weapons systems and tactical formations, the non-revolutionary character of military changes, and the relative capability of armed forces. The study of a variety of conflicts helps to aid

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