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The Context of War and Violence in Sixteenth-Century English Society

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image of Journal of Early Modern History

The Elizabethan epoch has long been regarded as a period in which England, isolated from the rest of Europe, fell behind the Continental powers during an era of "military revolution." More recently, England's sixteenth-century military history has attracted a growing number of scholars, but their conclusions vary widely and seem impossible to integrate. Yet recent analyses have generally been too narrowly focussed on events in Elizabethan England. This article (based on a synthesis of secondary studies, including social and cultural as well as military histories, but supported by evidence from the most important printed primary sources), attempts to put the military history of Tudor England in the setting, firstly of both earlier and later developments in England itself; and secondly, of the wider, contemporaneous experience of warfare in Europe as a whole. An understanding of the context of warfare can provide a better basis for future research into an issue with significant wider implications for early modern historiography.

Affiliations: 1: Newbold College


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