European Warfare 1494-1660 and the Military Revolution

Jeremy Black warns against a simplistic characterisation of a complex and diverse period.

The 'Military Revolution' has enjoyed a good innings, and, like many other theories, is valuable for encouraging debate and for serving as an analytical device. However, the concept also has its limitations, not least because it threatens to distract attention from one of the most important developments in recent work: a focus on changes not in the core areas (Spanish empire, Italy, Low Countries) and armies (Spain, Sweden) of the period but, instead, in other areas, particularly the British Isles and Eastern Europe. This is important because these areas are, in large part, approached in recent work not simply in terms of the diffusion of the Military Revolution but rather with reference to the autonomy and vitality of their developments.

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