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9-08-2015, 15:14


After 1450 the size and scope of more centralized government institutions increased in many parts of Europe, although not everywhere. Changes in military technology, particularly the use of gunpowder weaponry, along with the increasing size of armies, made warfare far more expensive than it had been earlier. Rulers of larger states, beginning with the Ottoman sultans, established permanent standing armies and supported more professionalized naval forces. They developed new types of taxes and bureacracies to pay for these increased military expenditures, and engaged in shrewd marital strategies to expand their holdings through marriage as well as warfare. The processes of consolidation followed similar patterns, but with local variations: in England the Tudors broke with the Catholic Church and the power of Parliament increased; in France, the Valois rulers reasserted the power of the monarchy over that of regional nobles and raised money by selling royal offi ces; in the Iberian peninsula, monarchs cemented their power through advantageous marriages, conquest of the remaining Muslim holdings, and the establishment of a separate Inquisition free of papal control that investigated converts from Judaism and Islam. In the Holy Roman Empire, the Habsburg emperors were unable to establish a centralized nation-state because powerful regional states ensured the emperorship remained an elected offi ce, and both religious divisions and war with France weakened imperial institutions. The Ottoman sultans created the largest state in eastern Europe, expanding southward across the Mediterranean as well as northward into Europe. North of the Ottoman Empire, several Christian dynasties, including Poland-Lithuania, Muscovy, Denmark-Norway, and Sweden, curbed the independent power of the nobles and created stronger states. In Italy, wealthy city-states ruled by merchants took over the countryside surrounding their cities, and maintained a shifting system of alliances in which no one city was allowed to become too powerful. Everywhere in Europe lower levels of government, such as cities, villages, and parishes, also collected taxes, issued laws, and maintained courts. The growth of the nation-state may appear to have lessened the power of hereditary aristocrats. It did end their ability to maintain their own armies and collect their own taxes, but traditional elites adapted to new circumstances very well, obtaining posts of command in the new standing military forces, offi ces in the expanded bureaucracies, and opportunities for wealth through the new systems of taxation. In some countries, nobles, clergy, and a few wealthy townspeople had a voice in political decisions through representative institutions, but their more important source of power was their inherited family status, maintained and enhanced by careful marital strategies. In 1600, as in 1450, political power was in the hands of rulers, nobles, and the occasional commoner favored because of capability, attractiveness, or talent. Rulers in the fi fteenth and sixteenth centuries did not limit their activities to what we would consider politics, but often attempted to shape the cultural and religious lives of their subjects as well, recognizing that these were integral to maintaining power. As both Jacob Burckhardt and Benedict Anderson have emphasized, nation-states were brought into being by writers and artists as well as soldiers and tax collectors. Painters, composers, poets, and essayists did not limit themselves to political matters, however, or work only or always for royal patrons. At the same time as some of Europe’s creative minds were devising new weaponry and new laws, others were creating new artistic techniques, new forms of literature, and new musical instruments. As we will see in the following chapter, a few made both deadly weapons for powerful rulers and exquisite paintings. QUESTIONS 1 How did technological and organizational changes alter land and sea warfare in this era? 2 How did marriage serve as a means of state-building in early modern Europe? Which were the most important dynastic marriage alliances? 3 What were the major similarities in the processes of political centralization in England, France, and Spain? The major differences? 4 How did the religious diversity of the Iberian peninsula, with signifi cant numbers of Jews and Muslims, shape the expansion of royal power there? 5 Why were the rulers of the Ottoman Empire able to create a large multi-ethnic and multi-religious political unit, while the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire were not? 6 What types of political institutions were created by cities in this era, and what factors created differences in access to power and legal standing at the local level? 7 Looking at Europe as a whole, who were the primary “winners” in the political developments of the period from 1450 to 1600? The primary “losers”? FURTHER READING For general studies of political developments during this era, see Richard Bonney , The European Dynastic States: 1494–1660 ( Oxford : Oxford University Press , 1991); Thomas Ertman, The Birth of Leviathan: Building States and Regimes in Medieval and Early Modern Europe ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 1997). For military developments, see John R. Hale,War and Society in Renaissance Europe, 1450–1620 (Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press , 1985); Bert S. Hall,Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe: Gunpowder, Technology, and Tactics ( Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press , 1997); Jeremy Black, European Warfare, 1494–1660 ( London: Routledge, 2002); Jan Glete,Warfare at Sea, 1500–1650: Maritime Confl icts and the Transformation of Europe ( London: Routledge, 2002); John A. Lynn ,Women, Armies, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2008); Fernando González de León , The Road to Rocroi: Class, Culture and Command in the Spanish Army of Flanders, 1567–1659 ( Leiden: Brill, 2009). The original essay positing a “military revolution” in the early modern period was by Michael Roberts. It is included in Clifford J. Rogers, ed., The Military Revolution Debate: Readings on the Military Transformation of Early Modern Europe ( Boulder, CO :Westview Press , 1995). See also Jeremy Black, A Military Revolution? Military Change and European Society, 1550–1800 ( Basingstoke, UK : Macmillan, 1991); Geoffrey Parker , The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500–1800, 2nd edn ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 1996); David Parrott , The Business of War: Military Enterprise and Military Revolution in Early Modern Europe ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2012). For discussions about the relationships between centralizing states and the nobility, see Samuel Clark, State and Status: The Rise of the State and Aristocratic Power in Western Europe ( Toronto : McGill-Queen’s University Press , 1995); Jonathan Dewald, The European Nobility, 1400–1800 ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 1996); John Adamson, ed., The Princely Courts of Europe: Ritual, Politics and Culture under the Ancien Régime, 1500– 1750 ( London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson , 1999); Hillay Zmora, Monarchy, Aristocracy and the State in Europe, 1300–1800 ( London: Routledge, 2001). There are many discussions of the political histories of specifi c western European countries during this period. For England, see John Guy , Tudor England ( Oxford : Oxford University Press , 1988); Steven Gunn, Early Tudor Government, 1485–1558 ( Basingstoke, UK : Macmillan, 1995); Susan Doran, England and Europe in the Sixteenth Century ( Basingstoke, UK : Macmillan, 1998); Susan Brigden, New Words, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485–1603 ( London: Allen Lane , 2000). For Ireland, see Steven G. Ellis, Ireland in the Age of the Tudors, 1447–1603: English Expansion and the End of Gaelic Rule ( London: Longman, 1998). For France, see James B. Collins, The State in Early Modern France, 2nd edn ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2009); Mack P. Holt, ed., Renaissance and Reformation France ( Oxford : Oxford University Press , 2002). For Spain, see John H. Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469–1716 ( London: Edward Arnold , 1963); John Lynch , Spain under the Habsburgs, 2 vols. ( Oxford : Oxford University Press , 1991, 1992). Interactions between Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Spain have been surveyed in Mark D. Meyerson and Edward D. English, eds., Christians, Muslims, and Jews in Medieval and Early Modern Spain: Interaction and Cultural Change ( Notre Dame, IN : Notre Dame University Press , 1999), and Mary Elizabeth Perry , The Handless Maiden: Moriscos and the Politics of Religion in Early Modern Spain ( Princeton: Princeton University Press , 2005). The role of the Spanish Inquisition in these, and in shaping Spanish society, has been discussed in William Monter , Frontiers of Heresy: The Spanish Inquisition from the Basque Lands to Sicily (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 1990), and Joseph Pérez , The Spanish Inquisition: A History ( New Haven : Yale University Press , 2006). Two important new analyses of the actions and legacy of the Inquisition are Francisco Bethencourt, The Inquisition: A Global History 1478–1834 ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2009), and Cullen Murphy , God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World ( Boston: Houghton-Miffl in , 2012). For political developments in central Europe, and particularly the role of the Habsburgs in these, see Michael Hughes, Early Modern Germany, 1477–1806 ( Basingstoke, UK : Macmillan, 1992); Andrew Wheatcroft , The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire ( London: Viking , 1995); Peter H. Wilson , The Holy Roman Empire, 1495–1806 ( London: St. Martin’s , 1999). A new study in English on Poland is Daniel Stone, The Polish-Lithuanian State, 1386–1795 ( Seattle: University of Washington Press , 2001). For the Ottoman Empire, see Daniel Goffman , The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2002); Colin Imber , The Ottoman Empire, 1300–1650: The Structure of Power ( Basingstoke, UK : Macmillan, 2002). For the Italian city-states, see Dennis Romano, Patricians and Popolani: The Social Foundations of the Venetian Renaissance State ( Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press , 1987); Richard Mackenney , The City State, 1500–1700: Republican Liberty in an Age of Princely Power ( Basingstoke, UK : Macmillan Education , 1989); Philip Jones, The Italian City-State: From Commune to Signoria ( Oxford : Clarendon Press , 1997); Thomas James Dandelet, Spanish Rome, 1500–1700 ( New Haven : Yale University Press , 2001); John M. Najemy , A History of Florence 1200–1575 ( London: Wiley-Blackwell , 2008). The classic study of the beginnings of diplomacy remains Garrett Mattingly , Renaissance Diplomacy ( Boston: Houghton-Miffl in , 1955). For more suggestions and links see the companion website www.cambridge.org/wiesnerhanks . NOTES 1 Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince and the Discourses, trans. Luigi Ricci, revised by E. R. P. Vincent (New York : Random House , 1950), p. 53. 2 Denys Hay , ed. and trans., The Anglia Historia of Polydore Vergil, AD 1485–1537, book 74 (London: Camden Society , 1950), p. 147. 3 Jacob Burckhardt , The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, 2 vols. ( New York : Harper and Row , 1958), vol. I, p. 22. 4 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Refl ections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, rev. edn ( London and New York : Verso , 1991), p. 6.