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Chapter Summary

Throughout the twentieth century, military historians have acknowledged the often-pivotal role of siegecraft in warfare. One individual, Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban, is said to have played a central part in reducing the defense’s dominance while setting the stage for a Military Enlightenment later in the century. Assessing the impact of his legacy on this grand narrative can contribute to a better understanding of this balance and its influence on the early modern world. The early modern period (c. 1400–c. 1775) witnessed several swings in this balance between the attack and defense. The offensive-defensive balance dictated in large part how successful military campaigns would be and how much money those operations would cost. Elaborating the shifting balance between offensive and defensive tactics is of critical importance therefore for the understanding of the role war played in the development of the early modern state.

Keywords: military historians; Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban; siegecraft



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