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From the Classroom to the Battlefield—Jesuit Teachings on Fortification Building in Early Modern Europe

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Chapter Summary

The Jesuits of the Baroque age spared no effort to place their considerable mathematical knowledge at the service of the leading personalities of Catholic Europe in their 'just' wars against Protestants and Turks. By 1640, the Jesuit mathematicus in Italy, France and Portugal was not only directing classes of military architecture but also made himself available to serve the Catholic cause as a battlefield consultant. His attitude of 'accommodation' created problems for the Jesuit Order which reached a high point in Spain when a programme of studies concerned with De Re Militari was set up in the Madrid Imperial college at the instigation of the King of Spain. Jesuit knowledge on fortifications and artillery even reached exotic scenarios in South America, the Philippine archipelago and China where the controversial missionary policies of the Jesuit Order were threatened by armed forces that sought to eliminate them.

Keywords:Baroque age; battlefield formations; Catholic Europe; Chinese cannon; Jesuit classroom; Philippine fortresses; South American missions

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