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Grandees on campaign: The impact of aristocratization

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Chapter Summary

The flow of high aristocrats into the high command was the catalyst for a major transformation in the cultural and fighting standards and practices of the Spanish army. In keeping with the validos artistic program, the Army of Flanders of the Cardinal-Infante became a ceremonial instrument of Spanish propaganda. Parades and triumphal arches were visual manifestations of a clear change in the style of command. In sharp contrast with their French counterparts, the Spanish aristocracy of Olivares day had lost much of its earlier inclination for the profession of arms and frequently resisted his efforts to send them to a distant, difficult and dangerous conflict where so many good captains had already lost their lives, fortunes and reputations. Another positive aspect of Olivares aristocratization of the high command was a certain humanization of warfare, especially in the treatment of prisoners of war.

Keywords: Army of Flanders; Cardinal-Infante; Olivares aristocratization; Spanish propaganda; style of command



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