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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the contents of this book The Road to Rocroi. It studies the decline of the officer corps and high command of the Army of Flanders, the first and largest standing army of its day, from its status in the late sixteenth century as Europes military elite to the demoralized and increasingly incompetent group they became before the end of the Eighty Years War. It appears that the historiography of the Eighty Years War and of the Army of Flanders swings between two extremes. It either focuses exclusively on individual officers, campaigns or battles or it approaches the army from an organizational or structural angle with a heavy economic or financial emphasis. This study also points out aspects of the thesis that seem to be borne out by archival evidence left by the Army of Flanders.

Keywords: Army of Flanders; Eighty Years War; Europes military elite

10.1163/ej.9789004170827.i-408.7
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