Furies: War in Europe, 1450?1700

Furies: War in Europe, 1450?1700

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by Lauro Martines
     
 

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During the European Renaissance, an age marked equally by revolutionary thought and constant warfare, it was armies, rather than philosophers, who shaped the modern European nation state. "Mobile cities" of mercenaries and other paid soldiers-made up of astonishingly diverse aggregations of ethnicities and nationalities-marched across the land, looting and savaging…  See more details below

Overview

During the European Renaissance, an age marked equally by revolutionary thought and constant warfare, it was armies, rather than philosophers, who shaped the modern European nation state. "Mobile cities" of mercenaries and other paid soldiers-made up of astonishingly diverse aggregations of ethnicities and nationalities-marched across the land, looting and savaging enemy territories.
In the 15th century, Poland hired German, Spanish, Bohemian, Hungarian, and Scottish soldiers. Later, Sweden fought in Muscovy with Irish, English, Scottish, French and German troops. Units of Croats, Germans, Walloons, Albanians, and especially Swiss served in French armies. In the Netherlands, Italians and Spaniards fought beside Irishmen, Germans, Dalmatians, and Walloons. Regiments of Swiss pikemen fought for Spain, France, and Venice, as well as for German and Italian princes. Companies of Poles, Hungarians, and Croatians fought in German regiments.
Growing national economies, unable to pay or feed massed armies for any length of time, thus became war states, an early nationalism which would later consume modern Europe. Furies: War in Europe 1450-1700 by acclaimed historian of the Renaissance Lauro Martines compellingly and simply delivers the story of modern Europes martial roots, capturing the brutality of early modern war and how it shaped the history of a continent

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Martines (Fire in the City), best known for his work on the Italian Renaissance, makes a major contribution in this survey of war in “early modern Europe.” Challenging the conventional emphasis on diplomacy, bureaucracy, and technology in most military histories addressing the period, Martines describes medieval Europe’s wars as having been shaped by a Christianity that saw battle “as punishment for sin”; a Protestant Reformation that justified “killing for God”; and a quest for private gain that drove poorly paid and insufficiently supplied armies to wreak havoc on civilian populations. The sacking of cities was not uncommon even if negotiations had been formally arranged, and mutually miserable groups of soldiers and peasants destroyed settlements as they fought over the scarce resources of subsistence economies. As civil societies dissolved in the face of random and organized violence, “fragile, unruly” armies developed into a parasitic form of community whose numbers often dwarfed those of proper towns. The direct consequences of plunder and plague, Martines concludes, far outweighed any abstract economic stimulus generated by war. The burgeoning fiscal-military state, moreover, sustained war making by replicating armies’ behavior in drawing resources from their subjects by compulsion. The difference between monarchs and mercenaries, Martines shows, was merely a matter of degree. Agent: Kay McCauley, Aurous Inc. (Jan.)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Fascinating.... Martines is a master researcher and, like a collector showing off his treasures, his delight in his findings sparkles on every page.
The Wall Street Journal

Impressive narrative power.... A thoroughly good read that is also reliable history, scrupulously documented yet with its pages uncluttered by footnotes... Savonarola's story...bears fresh retelling, and Lauro Martines does so with scholarly authority and an admirable combination of clarity and pace.
New York Review of Books

An intriguing book.... Every situation and character Martines presents to usis of marvelous complexity.
The Washington Times

A story that is as gripping as it is horrifying.
The Times (UK)

A spine-chilling political drama of conspiracy, murder at High Mass, and bloody revenge.
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History Paul D. Lockhart

Lauro Martines's new book is a godsend . . . made a pleasure to read by the author's nimble and darkly humorous prose, he has given us an unforgettable glimpse into a violent--and rarely seen--age.
Library Journal
Many historians of war focus on generals, rulers, and tactics. Martines (Fire in the City: Savonarola and the Struggle for the Renaissance Florence) seeks to diversify the study of war by chronicling the plight of the common people during wartime. Chapters devoted to the sacking of cities, plunder, sieges, arms, and soldiers vividly describe the starvation, disease, and brutality that soldiers and civilians faced during 250 years of war. Much of the book's descriptive power is due to its excellent case studies drawn from primary sources. Additionally, Martines intertwines a discussion of the economic realities of warfare into the narrative, showing that inadequate financing and logistical considerations often contributed to the harsh conditions. The religious aspects of the wars are addressed and considered but are downplayed in favor of secular elements. Furies closes with a thoughtful discussion of warfare in the context of the state in early-modern Europe. VERDICT Highly recommended for any reader seriously interested in the history of early-modern Europe.—RK

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608196197
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
01/15/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
513,302
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Lauro Martines is one of the worlds foremost historians of the Italian Renaissance and Early Modern Europe. He is the author of nine books, most recently the critically acclaimed titles Fire in the City: Savonarola and the Struggle for the Soul of Renaissance Florence (OUP 2007) and April Blood: Florence and the Plot Against the Medici (OUP 2004). Formerly a professor at UCLA, he has lived in London for many years.

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