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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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Geoffrey Parker’s Universal Soldier revisited: European military history and human universals

Geoffrey Parker’s Universal Soldier revisited: European military history and human universals

Chapter:
(p.201) 11 Geoffrey Parker’s Universal Soldier revisited: European military history and human universals
Source:
Early modern war narratives and the Revolt in the Low Countries
Author(s):

Gregory Hanlon

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526140876.00018

Geoffrey Parker’s exploration of the common soldiery in the seventeenth century broadened our understanding of the social profile of men fighting in the various armies of the period. This chapter revises Parker’s concept of the Universal Soldier and delves into ‘the human behavioural repertory’, connecting it to the history of early modern warfare. Focusing on warfare in seventeenth-century Italy, it shows how sociology and anthropology can be used to understand the behaviour of the common soldier as ‘the human animal in collective danger’. This chapter is a call to return to the primary sources to see what these texts can teach us about the way soldiers behaved in times of war, and to this end makes use of many recent valuable insights stemming from the social sciences. It also reviews some of the salient writing in the field and suggests how historians might insert warlike behaviour they encounter in early modern Europe into a species-wide framework. Hopefully in the future we will possess a huge database of war narratives that can bring us further in understanding human behaviour surrounding war.

Keywords:   Universal Soldier, human behaviour, warfare, war narratives, human animal

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