Tag Archive | war & politics

Early Modern Military-Medical Complex

is what they’re calling a future special issue of the Canadian Journal of History.

To quote from the call:

For this thematic issue of the Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire we invite proposals for articles that will explore the changing relationships between early modern armed forces, medicine, society, and the state. Potential authors might want to consider topics such as the administration and treatment of patients in field hospitals and the operational relevance of field medicine, the institutionalization of military medicine and education as well as training and career paths in military medicine, and the relationship between military and civilian medicine and the role of military medicine in the formation of medical knowledge. This thematic issue will develop an international comparative perspective on early modern military medicine and the state.

Abstracts due 15 October. See here if you’re interested.


It seems everything is about representation these days.
Prak, Maarten. “Citizens, Soldiers and Civic Militias in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe.” Past & Present 228, no. 1 (August 1, 2015): 93–123.
(For those in the publishing biz who need it, the doi is 10.1093/pastj/gtv030)
First paragraph: One of the world’s best-known works of art of the early modern period has an uncomfortable relationship with current historiography. The subject matter of Rembrandt’s Nightwatch, created between 1640 and 1642, is amateur soldiers — but had these not become obsolete as a result of the Military Revolution? As it is, the figures in the Nightwatch are going through military procedures, closely following Jacob de Gheyn’s soldiers’ manual of 1607, even though it is quite clear that they are citizens, not soldiers. In the painting we see officers of an Amsterdam civic militia company on their rounds, depicted against the dark shape of a town gate.1 In seventeenth-century Amsterdam civic militias patrolled the city at night; one of their duties was to shut the gates, and to take the keys to the home of the presiding burgomaster. In the centre of the picture is the company’s commanding officer, Frans Banning Cocq, who, as the son of a German immigrant, was understandably proud of the status that he had achieved in his home town. He and his fellow-officers paid Rembrandt one hundred guilders each to have their portraits included. The painting was to be displayed in the doelen, or militia hall, where it could be viewed by members of their own and other militia companies, as well as by ordinary passers-by.2 A hundred guilders, the equivalent of four months of a labourer’s wages, for a portrait that would not become private property, was a substantial amount of money, suggesting how much importance was attached to the public presentation of one’s person in a militia context. ….

Erin go bragh (and bragh and bragh…)

Because we just can’t get enough of Cromwell and the Irish:

Cunningham, John. “Divided Conquerors: The Rump Parliament, Cromwell’s Army and Ireland.” English Historical Review 129, no. 539 (August 2014): 830–61.
This article reassesses the relationship that existed in the period 1649–53 between war in Ireland and politics in England. Drawing upon a largely overlooked Irish army petition, it seeks to remedy an evident disconnect between the respective historiographies of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland on the one hand and the Rump Parliament on the other. The article reconstructs some of the various disputes over religion, authority and violence that undermined the unity of the English wartime regime in Ireland. It then charts the eventual spilling over of these disputes into Westminster politics, arguing that their impact on deteriorating army-parliament relations in the year prior to Oliver Cromwell’s expulsion of the Rump in April 1653 has not been fully appreciated. The key driver of these developments was John Weaver, a republican MP and commissioner for the civil government of Ireland. The article explains how his efforts both to place restraints on the excessive violence of the conquest and to exert civilian control over the military evolved, by 1652, into a determined campaign at Westminster to strengthen the powers of Ireland’s civil government and to limit the army’s share in the prospective Irish land settlement. Weaver’s campaign forced the army officers in Ireland to intervene at Westminster, thus placing increased pressure on the Rump Parliament. This reassessment also enables the early 1650s to be viewed more clearly as a key phase in the operation of the longer-term relationships of mutual influence that existed between Dublin and London in the seventeenth century.