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The profession of arms and the nobility in spanish Italy: Some considerations

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a consideration of the relationship between the profession of arms and the Italian nobility during the age that saw first the affirmation and decline of Charles V’s imperial ambitions, then the consolidation of the Catholic Monarchy of the Spanish Habsburgs in the age of Philip II. It adds some reflections on the seventeenth-century phase of the settlement, crisis, and stagnation of Spanish power in Italy, focusing on military careers among the Milanese patriciate. It then excludes the eighteenth century, although it is good to keep in mind that for the Italian nobility as a whole, and in particular for nobles in provincial areas that had been part of the Catholic Monarchy, the death of Charles II in 1700 by no means signified either the eclipse of the Habsburgs or the end of all relations with Madrid and the Bourbon dynasty that took over the Spanish throne.

Keywords: Bourbon dynasty; Catholic Monarchy; Charles V; Italian nobility; Milanese patriciate; profession of arms; Spanish Habsburgs; Spanish Italy



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