War in the Early Modern World

War in the Early Modern World

War in the Early Modern World

War in the Early Modern World

Synopsis

Conflict is central to human history and is frequently the cause, course, and consequence of change. Yet the study of war, especially prior to the modern period, is a subject that has received insufficient attention in academic circles over the past four decades. Furthermore, most of that attention has been devoted to warfare in Europe. When the rest of the world has been considered, it has generally been with reference to the expansion of European military power. This volume seeks to redress this imbalance. In War in the Early Modern World, Europe is deliberately allocated only one chapter as a team of distinguished international scholars provides accounts which qualify the usual Eurocentric perspective. The contributions on Africa, Asia, and America reveal the variety of military systems in the early modern world and are important not only to an understanding of military developments, but also to the history of particular regions and of the world in a crucial period of change and growing interaction. The Introduction provides valuable discussion on the "rise of the West" in light of the volume's emphasis on the vitality of non-Western military systems. The nature and role of technological change, and the relationship between military developments and state-building are also considered.

Excerpt

Conflict is central to human history and is frequently the cause, course and consequence of change. Yet the study of war, especially prior to the modern period, is a subject that has received insufficient attention in academic circles over the past four decades. Furthermore, most of that attention has been devoted to warfare in Europe. When the rest of the world has been considered, it has generally been with reference to the expansion of European military power.

This volume seeks to redress this emphasis. Europe is deliberately only allocated one chapter and that is not placed first. A team of distinguished international scholars offer accounts designed to limit the Eurocentric perspective, and in the Introduction an attempt is made to discuss the "rise of the West" in the light of the volume's emphasis on the vitality of non-Western military systems. Because of limitations of length, it has been necessary to omit consideration of systems in several parts of the world. It is hoped that they will be covered in succeeding volumes.

I am most grateful to Jan Glete, Cliff Rogers and Peter Wilson for commenting on earlier drafts of parts of the Introduction, and to Wendy Duery for her secretarial support. I have benefited from the opportunity to develop themes outlined in the Introduction in papers delivered at Temple University and the Anglo-American Conference.

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