War was a major engine of modern state-development in the medieval and early modern periods throughout Europe. While the idea of a military revolution - the creation of modern armies and the centralized state - has been traditionally seen as a 17th-century development, more recent scholarship has placed it in the 16th century and before. The contributors to this book offer perspectives on the early modern period.
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In recent years military history has moved decisively out of its specialized ghetto and has come to be regarded as central to the mainstream study of the past. The concept of a 'military revolution' consisting of the emergence of large infantry-based armies in early modern Europe, the use of potent gunpowder weapons and the rapid escalation of war costs, is now seen to have had far-reaching political and social consequences for European society. Indeed, war itself is now seen as a major engine of state development during this key period. The essays in this volume illustrate the integration of military history with the broader concerns of historians, and also suggest that the military history of the Middle Ages was more dynamic than is often recognized: that the 'military revolution' needs to be interpreted by placing it in the context of rapid socio-political transformation.
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