Archive | December 2011

One final 2011 gift

As a final post before the year 2011 passes us by, John Lynn has kindly allowed us to digitally resurrect his A Guide to Sources in Early Modern European Military History in Midwestern Research Libraries. This was created by Lynn and his grad student George Satterfield (author of Princes, Posts and Partisans) back in the early 1990s. An online copy had been residing at Illinois’ ACDIS website, but at some point it was removed. We were able to recover the digital version from a 20-year-old Word file, however, and it lives again!

The Guide is most immediately helpful for anyone in the midwestern US, as it lists those early modern treatises and histories held by research libraries from Minnesota to Ohio, Lynn himself having taught for several decades at the University of Illinois. The Guide is a small slice of history in its own right, because in the 90s such a listing was a godsend, in an age when things like Google Books didn’t even exist yet (although a few brilliant visionaries envisioned them!). Nowadays we’re a bit spoiled, as many of the works listed in the Guide are now readily available through various online databases, as we’ve discussed earlier. But the Guide is still a useful bibliographical listing of hundreds of works published in the period. It’s a mandatory starting point for anyone seeking to study EMEMH.

I’ve posted html and PDF versions of the Guide at my website. The PDF version is large (4+ MB), but it includes the accompanying images, bookmarks for chapters, links in the Table of Contents to jump to the various sections (the print version’s page numbers are now irrelevant), and its text is fully searchable as well. The html version allows you to copy and paste any entries you might wish into your own bibliographic database, or otherwise manipulate the text. Enjoy!

My copy of Lynn's Guide

Christmas snafu

Turns out sometimes an editor is a good idea. Either that or a web interface that doesn’t make it so easy to un-intendedly send out an unfinished draft of a post meant for a year later. In other words, ignore the Christmas 2012 post if you received it.

Maps of Spanish Succession fortresses in Flanders

As you all know, you can search for images of EMEMH items in Google’s Image search. Another resource for images is (once again) available – a selection of maps from the 19C Vault and Pelet series Mémoires militaires, relating to the War of the Spanish Succession. Eons ago in grad school on one of my trips up to the University of Michigan libraries the staff there were kind enough to scan in a number of these huge maps from the Atlas in the series. For awhile they had them up online, then they seemed to disappear. But as I am preparing to update my old website, I just noticed that they are back. Go to the Miscellaneous collection search page here and search under “ostwald” to find two dozen detailed scans of fortresses and sieges from the war (in the Low Countries). These are 19C maps, and I’m not sure how exactly these plans were made (other than by France’s Dépôt de la Guerre), but they seem relatively accurate from what I can tell.

A sample (detail from the larger map):

Detail from map of Rheinberg in Mémoires militaires

Other EMEMH works published in 2011

Hope everyone had/is having a good holiday season. What follows is an end-of-year bibliographic wrap up of EMEMH for 2011.

In addition to the four works previously mentioned here, herehere, and here (or click the Bibliography category), a few other works were released this year. I’ll assume you’ve looked at the EMEMH Titles page, so I won’t repeat those books here (although I did add a few more from this year). Other articles and chapters that appeared this year include:

  • Lincoln, Andrew, “The Culture of War and Civil Society in the Reigns of William III and Anne,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 44, no. 4 (2011): 455-474.
    Abstract: The essay examines the representation of war in poems and church services during the reigns of William III and Queen Anne. It identifies relations between social discipline and the imaginative participation in violence, and considers how war—described by poets as a test of heroism, and represented by the church as the occasion for spiritual purgation—served the interests of those who wanted to regulate and refine the manners of civil society. It argues that the promotion of gentler manners did not undermine the commitment to military aggression, but worked in the service of it.
  • Ó Siochrú, Micheál, “Civil Autonomy and Military Power in Early Modern Ireland,” Journal of Early Modern History 15, no. 1/2 (2011): 31-57.
    Abstract: The transformation of Irish towns in the early modern period (from bastions of English loyalism, to centers of Catholic resistance, to stridently Protestant colonial outposts) has received relatively little attention from historians. Instead, scholars have focused on the major land transfers of the seventeenth century, but the change in urban settlement patterns proved even more dramatic and was closely related to the positioning of civic communities in relation to the military struggles of the 1640s and 1650s. The central argument is that the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland marked a crucial and irrevocable transformation in both the possibilities of civic militarism and the nature of urban society and politics more generally. It demonstrates that during the 1640s, the citizens of Ireland’s major provincial cities participated in the troubles through strategic neutralism and the retention (or careful negotiation) of military force, acting with the fortunes of the citizenry in mind. This approach continued a tradition of relative civic autonomy, which was probably more embedded and accentuated in Ireland than either Scotland or England.
  • Phillips, Carla. “The Allied Occupation of Madrid in 1710: A Turning Point in the War of the Spanish Succession.” Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies 35, no. 1 (2011).
    Abstract: The War of the Spanish Succession began in 1701, when most of Europe allied to block the accession of the French Bourbon Duke of Anjou to the throne of Spain as Felipe V. The ensuing war lasted until 1714, at enormous cost. Louis XIV of France provided early support to defend his grandson’s throne, but in 1709 he began to seek a separate peace with the anti-Bourbon coalition and to abandon Felipe V and Spanish interests in Europe and the Americas. He re-committed to the war in 1710.  Standard histories often argue that the turning point in the war came in 1711, when the Habsburg pretender to the Spanish throne, the Archduke Charles, also became the likely choice for Holy Roman Emperor. Faced with a revival of Habsburg hegemony, the ardor of the anti-Bourbon allies cooled, and the war wound down. Against that standard interpretation, I argue that the turning point came in 1710, centering on the allied occupation of Madrid. This paper explores the events before, during, and after that occupation, including the important role that the Portuguese played—or failed to play—in that historic chain of events
  • Lenihan, Pádraig. “Namur Citadel, 1695: A Case Study in Allied Siege Tactics.” War in History 18, no. 3 (2001): 282-303.
    Abstract: The alternative to Vauban’s slow and relatively bloodless sapping – ‘efficiency’ – involved the ‘vigour’ of crude but quick attacks over open ground coupled with very heavy artillery fire. Sieges of Mainz, Bonn, and Namur town by members of the Grand Alliance against Louis XIV were, however, neither ‘vigorous’ nor ‘efficient’. Coehoorn’s ‘new method’ at the siege of Namur citadel in 1695 was novel in the concentration of firepower against a small section of defences artfully chosen as part of an assault plan. Perceptions of his success were inflated: ultimately his plan proved too complex to put into practice, and ‘vigour’ took the citadel. [sounds like a familiar topic…]
  • Robinson, Gavin. “Equine Battering Rams? A Reassessment of Cavalry Charges in the English Civil War.” Journal of Military History 75, no. 3 (2011): 719-731.
    Abstract: According to traditional narratives the tactic of shock charges imported from Sweden replaced the caracole, a maneuver which involved successive ranks of cavalry advancing, firing their pistols, and retreating to reload, during the English Civil War. A successful cavalry charge was supposed to depend on close order and momentum to maximize the shock of impact. But this theory of shock is anachronistic. Physical shock is largely absent from early seventeenth century English drill books and eyewitness accounts of Civil War battles. The laws of physics and evidence from racing accidents show that if close-order shock charges could be achieved they could not give any tactical advantage. There is similarly little evidence for the continued use of the caracole into this period.
  • [This just in] Fury, Cheryl A., ed. The Social History of English Seamen, 1485-1649. Boydell and Brewer, 2011.
    Abstract: Traditionally, the history of English maritime adventures has focused on the great sea captains and swashbucklers. However, over the past few decades, social historians have begun to examine the less well-known seafarers who were on the dangerous voyages of commerce, exploration, privateering and piracy, as well as naval campaigns. This book brings together some of their findings. There is no comparable work that provides such an overview of our knowledge of English seamen during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the tumultuous world in which they lived. Subjects covered include trade, piracy, wives, widows and the wider maritime community, health and medicine at sea, religion and shipboard culture, how Tudor and Stuart ships were manned and provisioned, and what has been learned from the important wreck the Mary Rose.
  1. McJimsey, Robert. “England’s ‘Descent’ on France and the Origins of Blue-water Strategy.” In Arms and the Man: Military History Essays in Honor of Dennis Showalter.  Edited by Michael S. Neiberg, 243-258. Leiden, Brill, 2011.
  2. Lee, Wayne, ed. Empires and Indigenes: Intercultural Alliance, Imperial Expansion, and Warfare in the Early Modern World. New York: NYU Press, 2011. [Mostly colonial and global focus]
  3. Trim, D.J.B. “The Huguenots and the European wars of religion, c.1560-1697: soldiering in national and transnational context.” In The Huguenots: History and Memory in Transnational Context: Essays in Honour and Memory of Walter C. Utt. Edited by D.J.B. Trim. Leiden: Brill, 2011.
  4. Onnekink, David, ed. Ideology and Foreign Policy in Early Modern Europe (1650-1750). Ashgate, 2011.

I separated the last four because, as you likely know, book chapters don’t usually have abstracts for individual chapters, and I don’t have copies of #1-#4 (yet). Anybody have access to the Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies?

Looking at the list, we have a mix of different types of military history, including two tactical histories (sieges – yay!), as well as studies of urban, mercenary, diplomatic, naval and (cross-)cultural subjects, which I think is an indication of a diverse field. But on the other hand, the ‘field’ of EMEMH (if you can call it that), this year saw a total of seven articles, two book chapters, three edited books with multiple chapters germane to the subject, as well as six books published. I’m not sure whether that’s a lot or a little – it seems like a lot, but then this covers almost 300 years of history, across a dozen countries or more, and most people will likely focus on only a subset of these. In that sense, it’s very little. [I’m sure I’m not the only early modernist to be impressed with how active the field of medieval military history is (they usually have more sessions at the Society for Military History conferences than EME, and they even have their own journal!) despite having so many fewer sources to draw upon.]

On the other hand, I’ve only included English-language works here, since that’s the common lingua franca for anyone reading this blog. It therefore excludes foreign language works, although Anglo-American scholars do tend to dominate EMEMH from what I can tell – or maybe it’s primarily Anglophones who are interested in the topic. Additionally, these EMEMH titles don’t include relevant works on a particular period/place/theme that aren’t ‘military history’ in a narrow sense but would be required reading for military historians of a particular country and era – a discussion of economics/politics/social matters for country X in period Y. And, as the book data suggests, the publication rhythm can be ‘clumpy’ for any number of reasons. So when you add all those up (which admittedly I haven’t), that probably ends up being a lot for a single year. Perhaps over time I’ll expand the blog’s database to earlier works to get a sense of broader trends – I have a pretty decent bib database to draw from.

Maybe I’ll even include some foreign-language works, or works relevant to military history, but not military history proper (I’d have to limit it to a field I’m familiar with of course). It’d be interesting to get a sense of exactly how many works we should be reading – that way we have something to feel really guilty about. The need to focus on the literature of a specific country is likely a primary reason why EMEMHians are spun off into distinct period/place orbits, like separation in a centrifuge. How many works do we share in common with our fellow compadres in the EMEMH, vs. how many we share with our period/country domains? Which conferences and journals do we publish in? How do we measure the pull of theme vs. place/period?

What else have I missed?

Christmas-Day 1693

I’ll have another Christmas post shortly, but in the meantime I can’t resist including this excerpt from a rather odd Christmas-day Pindarick ode from 1693 printed in the Athenian Oracle (an interesting paper if you have the time to look at it). Pindaric odes were all the rage during Queen Anne’s reign, often used to celebrate a victory, or, in this case, a birth. I’m no poet, or even an appreciator of poetry, but I find this one of the more interesting Christmas poems I’ve read. No roll-call of reindeer with alliterative names, but instead it starts with someone named Herbert – an English poet actually. After an epigram by said poet George Herbert, the first stanza notes that poor Herbert is dead (d. 1633), or at least he has left the Thames for “Jordan’s well known stream.” You hate to see a character killed off in the first act, but that’s only an appetizer. Entrée Jesus. The second stanza describes “David’s mightier Son” descending from the Heavens, with lots of celestial imagery. But it gets interesting (in a military sense) in the third stanza, where the suddenly all-grown-up Jesus dukes it out with the Prince of Darkness:

“As when some General, Father of the War,
Singles his haughty Rebel from afar,
He bids his Host give back, who press in vain,
And shoots himself away, across the trembling Plain;
His Eyes like Lightning, his lost Foe confound,
His Spear like Thunder nails him to the Ground;
So, single comes our Lord, again to try
The Force of his once vanquish’d Enemy:
The Wine-press he alone will tread,
Displays a Banner strangely Red,
By which Captivity is Captive led.
The Banner of the Cross, in which he knows,
He soon shall Conquer all his Fathers Foes:
With this on fatal Golgotha he stood,
Earth’s Heavn’s, and Hell’s united Force he bears,
Nor once gives back, nor once Despairs,
His Limbs all torn with Wounds.”

This isn’t the first time Jesus is compared to the Great Captains, and won’t be the last either. The succeeding verses bring up David and Goliath, include more gratuitous falling stars, transform Jesus-as-General into a “mean Mechanick’s son” laid in a cave incognito, and generally describe a battle between Good and Evil, the latter embodied by “proud Lucifer” with his “seven-plated Shield” and “Adamantine Arms,” kinda like Wolverine.

I would’ve thought a Christmas poem would want to focus more on Jesus and his birth, but no lowly manger for this Sun-god. Maybe the author had just read about the English taking it on the chin at the battle of Landen/Neerwinden and needed to work out his frustrations?

In short, it’s not like many of the carols I sang as a kid, but I kinda wish it was.

Happy holidays.

EMEMH publications – analysis continued

I’m continuing the cursory descriptive analysis of the EMEMH book info. I’ve added a few more titles, mostly decent-length books from popular presses that I honestly don’t focus too much attention on. So now we’re at 181 titles. Prepare yourself for more gory details, plus a few colorful charts. I still need time to think more about the peer review issue, but I will get back to it soon. In the meantime…

Read More…

More 2011 publications

McShane, Angela. “Recruiting Citizens for Soldiers in Seventeenth-Century English Ballads.” Journal of Early Modern History 15 no. 1-2, (2011): 105-137.


This article revisits the heroic and glamorous language of recruitment and retention in seventeenth century England through an exploration of the market, medium and message of many hundreds of “military” ballads that were disseminated from London across the country, especially in times of war. These show that military volunteerism among the lower sorts was less surprising and more sophisticated than historians have previously imagined, which suggests the need to reconsider the question of military professionalism among ordinary rank and file soldiers. Furthermore, the common use of the love song as a vehicle for military messages, reveals how regular soldiering became a new vocation for the “lower sorts” in this transitional period for army development. This new “profession” not only marked a direct break from the older system of “estates” which put fighters at the top and workers at the bottom of society, it was negotiating its place within the social structures of household formation in early modern England.

Other good sources for English ballads:

  • Bagford, John, ed. The Bagford ballads: illustrating the last years of the Stuarts. London: Printed for the Ballad Society, 1876.
  • UCSB English Broadside Ballad Archive: excellent source of 17C English ballads, including hundreds on “military” topics – do an EEBA Keyword search in Advanced Search. Site includes full facsimiles, transcriptions and, for many, mp3s of people singing them!

And let’s not forget The Recruiting Officer.

Digitize those Sources!

I was just scanning in some old journal article and book chapter photocopies (bowl season just around the corner) and converting them into OCRed-text PDFs. This is useful not just for back-up purposes, but for searchability as well. You can get relatively cheap office printer/copier/fax combos that come with an Automatic Document Feeder to feed in multiple pages automatically (like the name says). Assuming you have a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Pro (your university may have a cheap or even free license available), you can search across any number of PDF files for full words or ‘stems,’ and they say it’ll even do proximity searches. Best of all, it can save the search results to a single PDF file, showing the context of the term with links to the original! I’ve been wanting to do this kind of thing for 15 years – I was actually OCRing 1,000s of pages of primary sources back then (don’t want to think about how many days of work has been replaced by Google Books…), and I almost spent $300 on an ADF for my e-bay purchased scanner. Now with the confluence of digital text and search, an easy way is finally here. Awesome. Real digital humanists use open-source software that usually requires some programming skills, but I’ll go with what I’ve got for now. In addition to my database that I’ve had for a dozen years or more.

Adobe Acrobat search results sample

I was also downloading PDF articles from the library’s databases, and discovered that 1) War in History has had a good run of early modern articles over the past several years, and 2) Brill is the new publisher for the International Commission of Military History‘s Bibliography, and currently has the 2011 online edition for free viewing/download. Check it out.

Ghost Cat!

As more and more people are doing these days, I photographed an overdue interlibrary loan book with my small digital camera – the book was so thick that the photocopier blacked out too much of the inner margins. I used a transparent plexiglass sheet to hold the very thick book open. After turning in the book, I scanned through the pictures, just to make sure they were all in focus and that the margins are legible. Lo and behold, I come across proof positive that ghosts really do exist! Those 19C spectral photographers really were onto something after all.

My Research Assistant, Abby


Now that those of you with an academic bent are finishing up your final grades, you should be sure to take some well-deserved time off during this holiday season to relax and read through posts you may have missed during the crush of Fall semester. Highlights include:

The comments remain open; the right-hand margin has a Recent Comments section to keep everyone updated on the most recent comments. Discussion is never closed!

And don’t forget to vote for Topic of the Month if you haven’t already. First up in January will be battles (because that’s the topic of my current book project), and it’s beginning to look a lot like a logistical February. So come prepared.

I’ll fill out the rest of December with some more thoughts and analysis of EMEMH publishing, and do a roundup of other 2011 publications that I missed (including one on cavalry).