Swordsmen: The Martial Ethos in the Three Kingdoms

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9780199261215: Swordsmen: The Martial Ethos in the Three Kingdoms

Roger Manning is one of those historians with an excellent eye for a subject ... Manning's study provides a fund of useful references and a good starting point. ( Richard Cust, The English Historical Review)

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Based upon a wide range of historical and literary sources, Swordsmen is a scholarly study of the military experiences of peers and gentlemen from the British Isles who volunteered to fight in the religious and dynastic wars of mainland Europe from the English intervention in the Dutch war of independence in 1585 to the death of the soldier-king William III in 1702. This apprenticeship in arms exposed these aristocrats to the chivalric revival, the military revolution and the values of neostoicism, and revived the martial ethos of the English aristocracy and reinvigorated the martial traditions of the Irish and Scots. This remilitarization of aristocratic culture and society was completed by 1640, and provided numerous experienced military officers for the various armies of the civil wars and, subsequently, for the embryonic British army after William III committed the Three Kingdoms to the armed struggle against Louis XIV during the Nine Years War.
Service in mainland European armies also exposed swordsmen from the British Isles to a fully developed cult of duelling which hampered official efforts to divert aristocratic aggression from feuding and private war to the more rational military and political objectives of the modern state, subverted military discipline and delayed the process of professionalization of the officer corps of the British army.

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