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Craze_b0i View Drop Down
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    Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 08:52
I am sure this has been asked before, and apologies if it has, but I didn't find it on 'search'.
 
But anyway... what are your favourite historical topics? (This can be study of a particular period, nation, culture, or anything.)
 
Pick up to 3 favourites...
 
- Early Modern European Warfare
- Cultures of Precolombian Mesoamerica
- The early history of Britain, especially the so called Dark Ages.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Justinian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 09:41
I don't think we have had a topic like this in a few years, it would probably have been on the archive if you're curious. 

Now to answer the actual topic, the interests have expanded over the years.  Originally it was focused mainly in Rome, Byzantium, WWI and WWII, the Napoleonic era and Alexander the Great. (yep, he gets his own era)  You're gonna make me choose just 3 topics.  That's just cruel.Wink  If forced to pick just three...  I'll put the Hellenistic era, (including Alexander and Philip) Rome, (including ByzantiumTongue) and either the Napoleonic era or WWII.  Because you said topics and not defined periods, its even harder. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aster Thrax Eupator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 12:00

I attempt to gain a rough understanding of most areas of history which have had a massive impact upon the history of the world at large, and as such, I have books on Tang China, the early Arab Conquests, the Renaissance, the Third Reich, the Ottoman Empire...you name it! However my long time, serious passion would have to be classical history. Within that it would have to be 5th century Athens, Archaic Greece, Republican Rome and the Early Hellenistic period. I'm also fascinated by "Homeric" studies in regards to the historical angle, but that's mainly conjecture and highly experimental so it's debateable whether it really merits inclusion. Outside of classical history it would have to be (if I were to choose three non-classical subjects...): The early/sub Early Modern Period in General (c.1470s-1620s), with emphasis on English religious history, the counter reformation, Spanish imperialism and the Italian wars. After that it would have to be the Great Arab conquests, covering the Rashidun right up to the Ayyubids and Mamlukes, but roughly ending at the Abbasid period. The final period would have to be the early history of mesopotamian civilisation, including the extremely early pharonic dynasties, the Helladic and Mycenean periods in Greece, the Amorite, Kassite, Old Assyrian, Sumerian, Akkadian and Neo-Sumerian periods. The last is actually what got me interested in classics - I got fascinated by the Sumerians and Egyptians from a very, very young age, read the epic of Gilgamesh and some Egyptian history, and then got interested in the Persian (Archenemid) empire, and from there, the Greeks and into the classical world. Undoubtedly, my prime area is the classical world, without a doubt, and in some respects, its antecedents, but I feel every historian requires a good synoptic view of world history (which is naturally going to be a lifetime endevour). Smile

 
Quote - Early Modern European Warfare
 
Indeed, a fascinating period! The Italian wars have always gripped me as a major manifestation of these developments (c.1474-1516), in which Charles VIII's armies, with their vast forces and heavy cannon, managed to smash castles which had stood the test of hundreds of years of medieval warfare, in a matter of hours. The Battle of Pavia in 1525 is also worthy of note as a successor to the Italian wars, in which Francis I's horse were cut down by the gunfire from the Spanish "Tercio" formations of Charles V (Perfected under Gonzalo de Cordoba "El Gran Capitan" as early as the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella (c.1469-1516)!!!!!!), heralding a new age of military tactics. If you are interested in this, you should certainly do some research and reading on the Ottoman empire, whose defeat of the Safavid dynasty of Iran in 1514 at the battle of Chaldiran with gunpowder, again, against cavalry, shows the development of such tactics in the east as well - contemporary with the European developments to some extent and in some respects. I may well start up a thread about this topic - it's a fascinating area of debate, and I'm glad to meet someone else who is also interested in it! Smile Handshake


Edited by Aster Thrax Eupator - 15 Sep 2009 at 12:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2009 at 20:33
@ Justinian: Well I guess you can have more than 3, I just wanted to encourage people to state their 'favourites'. Wink
 
@ Aster: I did part of my undergrad degree on this, Trace Italiennes, spanish Tercios, Maurice of Nassau, William of Orange, the 'Military Revolution'... I could take about it for hours! Let us indeed start a thread. Thumbs Up


Edited by Craze_b0i - 15 Sep 2009 at 20:35
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Quote @ Aster: I did part of my undergrad degree on this, Trace Italiennes, spanish Tercios, Maurice of Nassau, William of Orange, the 'Military Revolution'... I could take about it for hours! Let us indeed start a thread. Thumbs Up
 
At what point did you finish it? Did you go into the late 17th/mid 18th century - star forts, iron ramrods, rockets and all that stuff?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2009 at 04:58
Twas a long time ago.... but I think we went up to early 18th, the bayonet, the War of Spanish Succession etc...
 
Also did the whole military revolution debate, Roberts, Parker and Black. Then also the 'military revolution' abroad (Europeans fighting overseas vs military capabilities of other peoples). Personally I agree most with Geoffrey Parker, the significant change was early on - with both the Italian fortifications and the Spanish Army reforms.


Edited by Craze_b0i - 16 Sep 2009 at 05:02
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Naval history (merchant or military)
Trades union history/non-Marxist socialism
History of science and mathematics
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aster Thrax Eupator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2009 at 22:50
Quote Also did the whole military revolution debate, Roberts, Parker and Black. Then also the 'military revolution' abroad (Europeans fighting overseas vs military capabilities of other peoples). Personally I agree most with Geoffrey Parker, the significant change was early on - with both the Italian fortifications and the Spanish Army reforms.]
 
Parker and Black? That doesn't ring a bell to me! I mainly got interested via studying the general political layout of Europe at the time; especially the Hapsburg-Valois conflict.
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Aster,
 
Craze_b0i has mentioned the Military Revolution debate that has cooled off recently, but is still interesting.  Look for Clifford Rogers, ed., The Military Revolution Debate, Readings etc....(1995)
 
My trade paperback copy is ISBN 0813320542.
 
Michael Roberts, Geoffrey Parker, Jeremy Black and a number of other early modern military historians are represented in this collection....John Lynn; David Parrott; John Guilmartin et al.
 
There are some other historians like Robert Elting, Bert Hall, Jan Glete and Robert Frost who are not in that mix, but they are all worth reading if you are into this.  You can Google them all and find their writings.
 
Just an observation that there is a hell of a lot more to the early modern miliary picture than Habsburg-Valois rivalry.  According to Roberts, the Mil Rev didn't occur until after that rivalry was decided by Cateau-Cambresis.  Smile
 
 
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Originally posted by Craze_b0i Craze_b0i wrote:

Twas a long time ago.... but I think we went up to early 18th, the bayonet, the War of Spanish Succession etc...
 
Also did the whole military revolution debate, Roberts, Parker and Black. Then also the 'military revolution' abroad (Europeans fighting overseas vs military capabilities of other peoples). Personally I agree most with Geoffrey Parker, the significant change was early on - with both the Italian fortifications and the Spanish Army reforms.
 
Michael Roberts was a bit too much into tactics and strategy as agents of change, and Parker sort of overemphasized the technological (artillery fortification and the naval gun platform), but their theories are well worth reading.  They have been inspirations for 20 years and more for other historians of early modern state formation, growth of armies and evolving fiscal machinery. 
 
Historians being the "pseudo-scientists" that they are  Wink, many revisions usually dump on the theories of previous historians.  In the case of the Military Revolution, I have not seen so much of that as I have building on the theories of previous historical writings.  Maybe that is because the professional historian of military history is a bastard child, shunned by the pussies who write boring tomes about social and gender issues related to early modern cod fisheries, and the evils of European achievement (pinguin is not here right now). 
 
Certainly since WW II, and until Parker, the tweed jacket crowd had not thought military history worth the time of well adjusted adults.  Big smile   Their loss.  In case it has escaped their notice, war, rumor of war, armies and all the social effects therefrom are always with us.
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 17 Sep 2009 at 07:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2009 at 19:35
Quote In case it has escaped their notice, war, rumor of war, armies and all the social effects therefrom are always with us.
 
Precisely. On the early modern subject you see a lot of books entitled 'War and Society in ....' This is why military history matters, it impacted society in so many ways.
 
To explain my comments on the 'military revolution', it was a term coined by Michael Roberts who suggested that the Dutch and Swedish reforms c 1560-1660 represented a decisive change from medieval to 'modern'. Parker then modified this theory to suggest the changes could be seen already, much earlier, in the Spanish armies. Black and others then jumped on the bandwagon, putting forward their own theories. While others argue that there was no 'military revolution' at all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aster Thrax Eupator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2009 at 23:20
Quote Just an observation that there is a hell of a lot more to the early modern miliary picture than Habsburg-Valois rivalry.  According to Roberts, the Mil Rev didn't occur until after that rivalry was decided by Cateau-Cambresis.  Smile
 
Naturally - my point is that it's through the Hapsburg-Valois rivalry and Italian wars that I got interested in it. Obviously, there's a lot more to it.
 
Quote
To explain my comments on the 'military revolution', it was a term coined by Michael Roberts who suggested that the Dutch and Swedish reforms c 1560-1660 represented a decisive change from medieval to 'modern'. Parker then modified this theory to suggest the changes could be seen already, much earlier, in the Spanish armies. Black and others then jumped on the bandwagon, putting forward their own theories. While others argue that there was no 'military revolution' at all.
 
Cheers! I'll have a little rummage around to see if I can find any books by these chaps on these topics. I'm well aware of Geoffrey Parker, but mainly via his research on Philip II's letters and the "Golden age" of Spain as a concept.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 2009 at 18:17
Originally posted by Craze_b0i Craze_b0i wrote:

 To explain my comments on the 'military revolution', it was a term coined by Michael Roberts who suggested that the Dutch and Swedish reforms c 1560-1660 represented a decisive change from medieval to 'modern'. Parker then modified this theory to suggest the changes could be seen already, much earlier, in the Spanish armies. Black and others then jumped on the bandwagon, putting forward their own theories. While others argue that there was no 'military revolution' at all.
 
Semantics, whether there was a revolution or not depends entirely on what is understood by revolution.
 
As far as the Swedish army reforms are concerned, I thought it was commonly held that they were inspired by the Spanish.
Sing, goddess, of Achilles' ruinous anger
Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
To Hades, and their bodies to the dogs
And birds of prey
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2009 at 00:02
1) Modern Irish History (Post 1700)
2) History of political thought (Extremely broad, I know. But there is something about the evolution of politics and morality that has a certain teleological quality which enables a rather straight forward narrative)
3) The Crusades in the Holy Land (Particularly the 'forgotten kings', such as Baldwin I or II)
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The Americas of course, and the history of Iberia. Followed by the Middle East, Europe, the Pacific, Japan and China in that order.



Edited by pinguin - 19 Sep 2009 at 00:53
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Northern Europe (especially prehistoric and protohistoric times), the Americas (especially the Amerindians), Africa (Ancient Nubia, Ancient Egypt and subsaharan Africa), China, Oceania.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2009 at 01:16
Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

Originally posted by Craze_b0i Craze_b0i wrote:

 To explain my comments on the 'military revolution', it was a term coined by Michael Roberts who suggested that the Dutch and Swedish reforms c 1560-1660 represented a decisive change from medieval to 'modern'. Parker then modified this theory to suggest the changes could be seen already, much earlier, in the Spanish armies. Black and others then jumped on the bandwagon, putting forward their own theories. While others argue that there was no 'military revolution' at all.
 
Semantics, whether there was a revolution or not depends entirely on what is understood by revolution.
 
As far as the Swedish army reforms are concerned, I thought it was commonly held that they were inspired by the Spanish.
 
The Swedish attempted reforms under both Erik XIV and Karl IX, and were unsuccessful for reasons that included financial inadequacy and also entrenched (financial) military interests. 
 
The soldiers initially also resisted wearing more armor and also using the pike.  Foreign mercenaries had to be recruited at great expense to overcome those objections.  The reforms under G II A benefitted from the continued state of war with Poland after 1600, the disaster at Kircholm in 1605 and the development of the toll and tax revenue from the Baltic port towns as Sweden extended her influence.
 
The main influences for the Swedish reforms at that time were the organization and the tactical thinking of the Dutch army under Maurice of Nassau.  (One of his cousins, John of Nassau-Siegen, had briefly commanded the Swedish army in Livonia in 1601.)  Michael Roberts explains at length those influences, and the Swedish innovations developed from them.  Much of the Dutch reforms were, of course, based on contemporary Spanish practices that were different in 1600 than they had been in 1570.
 
Parker also goes into this in his Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road.  Very interesting stuff....at least for me.  Smile
 
 
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Pike wrote:
Historians being the "pseudo-scientists" that they are  Wink, many revisions usually dump on the theories of previous historians.  In the case of the Military Revolution, I have not seen so much of that as I have building on the theories of previous historical writings.  Maybe that is because the professional historian of military history is a bastard child, shunned by the pussies who write boring tomes about social and gender issues related to early modern cod fisheries, and the evils of European achievement (pinguin is not here right now). 
 
The professional historian of the military gave birth to historiography (have you forgotten Thucydides?) and if there are any bastard progeny running around, Pike, it's those revisionist PCers that can't see the fish for the roe!
 
And yes--here come my two cents--there was a Military Revolution but it was not that neat little thing Michael Roberts held for his 1560-1660 period. In a way, that was but the tail-end of change that began with simple engineering and technological adaptation in the middle of the 15th century.  From the bronze cannon to the complex fortifications of the urban environment, the change in tactics and the utilization of manpower came in the years 1460-1560, everything after were but later refinements to technology in the service of the military.  


Edited by drgonzaga - 19 Sep 2009 at 02:07
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Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Pike wrote:
Historians being the "pseudo-scientists" that they are  Wink, many revisions usually dump on the theories of previous historians.  In the case of the Military Revolution, I have not seen so much of that as I have building on the theories of previous historical writings.  Maybe that is because the professional historian of military history is a bastard child, shunned by the pussies who write boring tomes about social and gender issues related to early modern cod fisheries, and the evils of European achievement (pinguin is not here right now). 
 
The professional historian of the military gave birth to historiography (have you forgotten Thucydides?) and if there are any bastard progeny running around, Pike, it's those revisionist PCers that can't see the fish for the roe!
 
And yes--here come my two cents--there was a Military Revolution but it was not that neat little thing Michael Roberts held for his 1560-1660 period. In a way, that was but the tail-end of change that began with simple engineering and technological adaptation in the middle of the 15th century.  From the bronze cannon to the complex fortifications of the urban environment, the change in tactics and the utilization of manpower came in the years 1460-1560, everything after were but later refinements to technology in the service of the military.  
 
Thucydides and all those guys performed the essential task of chronicler.  Of course they were to a great degree chronicling military affairs which were most of public affairs.  In the slaughterhouse of the 20th century, such things became quite unfashionable, as if ignoring them made them go away.  Really, not until Parker in 1988 was that arrested.
 
I agree that any concept of revolutionary effect has plenty of wiggle room.  Clifford Rogers sets much of it back into the 14th century, and Jeremy Black likes the relatively mature conditions of the early 18th century.  Whatever, Roberts got the ball started, and he wrote quite well.
 
A few years ago, I wrote an article on changes in the mid 17th century that argued that from about 1620 to "about" 1660 the conditions for state armies as instruments of public affairs became possible.  Not to say that there were not examples in 16th century Spain or in the Dutch Republic of the 1590s to 1609, but that can be argued as well.
 
The pace of change in the 17th century was faster than in the 11th or 12th, but slower than now, of course.  To the interests and the people of the time, the changes must have been somewhat "revolutionary"....a generation, or two at most.
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 19 Sep 2009 at 02:36
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The pace of change in the 17th century was faster than in the 11th or 12th, but slower than now, of course.  To the interests and the people of the time, the changes must have been somewhat "revolutionary"....a generation, or two at most.
 
And costly as well, but as some forget "standing" armies at the service of the monarchy are a function of the royal purse. Having always been fascinated by the change of the urban landscape in areas of constant conflict (the Spanish Netherlands, Northern Italy), nothing capures my attention quicker than the redoubtable star-shaped fortifications that rose to prominence in the 16th century: outworks such as ravelins and demilunes as well as the caponiers, all formulated to protect the urban prize from the technological innovations in artillery and blunt the ever increasing numbers in soldiery. Yet, I would propose that "state" armies as instruments of public affairs began a bit earlier than 1620, and that the Tercios Ferdinand and Isabel unleashed in Italy between 1492-1506 are a perfect example. But then historical phenomena are difficult to reconcile with calendrical notation.


Edited by drgonzaga - 19 Sep 2009 at 03:30
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Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

The pace of change in the 17th century was faster than in the 11th or 12th, but slower than now, of course.  To the interests and the people of the time, the changes must have been somewhat "revolutionary"....a generation, or two at most.
 
And costly as well, but as some forget "standing" armies at the service of the monarchy are a function of the royal purse. Having always been fascinated by the change of the urban landscape in areas of constant conflict (the Spanish Netherlands, Northern Italy), nothing capures my attention quicker than the redoubtable star-shaped fortifications that rose to prominence in the 16th century: outworks such as ravelins and demilunes as well as the caponiers, all formulated to protect the urban prize from the technological innovations in artillery and blunt the ever increasing numbers in soldiery. Yet, I would propose that "state" armies as instruments of public affairs began a bit earlier than 1620, and that the Tercios Ferdinand and Isabel unleashed in Italy between 1492-1506 are a perfect example. But then historical phenomena are difficult to reconcile with calendrical notation.
 
The military forces of the Reconquista were essentially quasi-feudal, and based on the concept of the company of say 300-500 soldiers commanded by a captain.  Cordoba was styled El Gran Capitan partly due to the concept (and there being little established heirarchy below the prince and his/her chosen commander).  The further concept of tercio is more recognized from Charles V....as you know an expression of a third part of the corpus of an army in the field.
 
In Italy the colonna, or "regimented" group of companies had become used, under a senior captain (later as colonello).  That actually predated the tercio as an organization, but not as a permanent administrative formation; the colonna only came together for a campaign or perhaps just for one action that passed for a battle in Renaissance Italy before the French and Spanish came.
 
At some indeterminate time, the revival of classical Roman military thought and practice in the late Renaissance recalled the permanence of the Roman legion and a greater sense of continuity and organization in armies.  However, the tercio took some time into the middle 16th century to come to a more permanent and well organized formation - both tactical and administrative.
 
I love this stuff!  Smile
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 19 Sep 2009 at 08:03
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drgonzaga,
 
To your points about the military costs of early modern war born by the royal purse, that was the greatest problem resulting from the developing technology of artillery and modern (Italienne) fortifications.  Obviously, enormous capital outlay was required, especially for fortifications that could withstand artillery, and few princes could afford that.  Many of the new trace Italienne walled enceintes were funded by municipal finances, especially after the sack of Rome in 1527.
 
By 1500, towns were becoming wealthier than noble estates and were better able to withstand the effects of early modern inflation.  Many princes - dukes, counts, etc. - were really just "varsity nobles" who were now selling their expertise at arms and social position as recruiting patrons to greater princes - Kings, the Emperor - if they could pay.
 
The established attitude of estates that the prince should "live of his own" was fast becoming untenable.  Well before 1600, even the greater princes - Spain, France, England - were feeling the pinch.
 
As far as early fortifications, Google the Italian city of Lucca.  That is one of the last complete enclosed towns with intact walls, bastions, etc.  No ravelins and demi lunes at the time, just the angled bastions with batteries in retired flanks to cover the curtain walls.  My wife and I were going to go to Italy a couple years ago, and that was on my list of things to see, but we didn't make the trip.
 
Those bastions were designed for artillery fire, and the later, more complex, bastions and outworks were designed for artillery and musketry as well.  Great stuff.
 
 
The outworks at the top date from later than the bastions and curtain walls. 
 
And see Christopher Duffy, Siege Warfare...etc., 1494 - 1660. (1979)
 
And have a great early modern military day.  Big smile
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 19 Sep 2009 at 08:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2009 at 14:48
Thank you, Pike, but as always it does get down to money and for that reason, the Iberian peninsula is a perfect example of how commerce--and its revenues--served as the principal mainstays in the development of centralized government at the expense of the feudal autonomy that characterized the medieval monarchies. In that respect, whether it was France's "Spider King", Louis XI, or Fernando and Isabel dragging cannons over the Meseta in the 1460s, their military actions ensured that the West of Europe did not suffer the fate of the Germano-Italian core. In that respect, it is also interesting to trace the autonomy of Portugal as a function of the royal monopoly on trade under Joao II and his successors Manuel I and Joao III. The market centers remained the great medieval loci but the wealth was reaped by the crowns and secondly the merchant. I am generalizing here but the marriage between the kings and their urbanized subjects did form the groundwork for the deployment of the standing army at the service of the monarch.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2009 at 14:50
PS: Have you ever taken a look at the fortifications Henry VIII set up on the English coastline thanks to his despoilment of the monasteries? Once that dried up his successors had to turn to questionable practices in order to balance the purse!LOL

Edited by drgonzaga - 19 Sep 2009 at 14:52
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