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Early modern war narratives and the Revolt in the Low Countries$
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Raymond Fagel, Leonor Álvarez Francés, and Beatriz Santiago Belmonte

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526140869

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526140876

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‘Lode della nazione italiana’: Italian historians on the Spanish soldiers

‘Lode della nazione italiana’: Italian historians on the Spanish soldiers

Chapter:
(p.74) 4 ‘Lode della nazione italiana’: Italian historians on the Spanish soldiers
Source:
Early modern war narratives and the Revolt in the Low Countries
Author(s):

Cees Reijner

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526140876.00011

Nearly all Italian historians from the seventeenth century who wrote on the Revolt in the Low Countries took the view that the war waged by the Spanish monarchy against the rebels was a just one. Some of these histories, however, do contain criticism of the monarchy’s administrative and military policies in the rebellious Low Countries. This chapter focuses on the Sack of Antwerp in 1576, one of the central episodes of violence during the first phase of the Revolt in the Low Countries. Though most Italian historians supported Spanish policy, some wrote more critically about these events. While it was a way of criticising Spanish dominance within the Italian Peninsula, the Sack of Antwerp could also be used to create a clear-cut opposition between the behaviour of Spanish and Italian military in the Low Countries. The cruelty of the Spanish soldiers could be contrasted with an image of superior and virtuous Italians fighting in the same war and on the same side. As such, these texts could be used to support an Italian patriotic language that could be found, for example, at the Medici court in Florence.

Keywords:   Sack of Antwerp, Italian chronicles, Dutch Revolt, Spanish tercios, Spanish Italy, war narratives

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