Renaissance Military Memoirs: War, History and Identity, by Yuval Noah Harari

By Yuval Noah Harari

This can be a learn of autobiographical writings of Renaissance squaddies. It outlines the ways that they mirror Renaissance cultural, political and ancient awareness, with a selected concentrate on conceptions of warfare, historical past, selfhood and id. A vibrant photo of Renaissance army lifestyles and armed forces mentality emerges, which sheds mild at the perspective of Renaissance infantrymen either in the direction of modern ancient advancements akin to the increase of the fashionable kingdom, and in the direction of such concerns as comradeship, ladies, honor, violence, and loss of life. comparability with comparable medieval and twentieth-century fabric highlights the variations within the Renaissance soldier's realizing of battle and of human event.

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Additional info for Renaissance Military Memoirs: War, History and Identity, 1450-1600 (Warfare in History)

Example text

When he reflects on this practice, Rabutin flatly contradicts his initial promises. 13, 14, 41, 49, 59, 69, 92. 49, 242–3. 13, 62. 229). 12). 12, 28, 61, 82, 86, 171. 62). 188). 39 His initial declaration that he has no intention ‘to enroll in the corps of historiographes’ notwithstanding, it is quite clear that Rabutin much preferred the role of historian to that of eyewitness. He often appears as a narrator, commenting, explaining, and drawing lessons,40 whereas he rarely appears as a protagonist of any kind, and perhaps only once or twice as an eyewitness protagonist.

The sample I chose to read is not statistically representative. To my knowledge there has not been any statistically representative research of twentieth-century military memoirs, or even a general survey of such texts. Since my focus in this book is on Renaissance military memoirs, and I use twentieth-century memoirs only for comparison, I could not conduct such a survey myself, and I chose to follow Samuel Hynes’s example in The Soldiers’ Tale, and to rely on a rather accidental sample of texts, which is somewhat biased in favor of the best-known memoirs.

This certainly supports the idea that memoirists had a good reason to emphasize their role as eyewitnesses, in order to compensate for their rude style. However, it casts doubts on the idea that memoirs evolved from history in the first place out of genuine interest in truthfulness. (3) It is commonplace that when certain values gain increasing importance and popularity, people first adopt them externally, paying attention and reverence to them because they know they are expected to do so, and only gradually do they begin to digest and assimilate them.

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