Behind every Great Man there’s another Great Man who is supposed to have inspired him, even though he’s a unique genius. Whiggish narratives of progress in cavalry tactics often say that Prince Rupert and/or Oliver Cromwell got his brilliant ideas from Gustavus Adolphus. Back in the caracole post we saw how Michael Roberts credited Gustavus Adolphus with getting rid of the caracole and bringing back proper, vigorous, manly shock charges. These assumptions have had knock-on effects for historians of the English Civil Wars, who have often tried to classify various tactics as either Dutch (old and rubbish – how quickly they forgot that Maurice of Nassau was a Great Man) or Swedish (new and good). I’ve already discussed how Rupert and Cromwell weren’t necessarily doing anything new, when we can tell what they were doing at all. This week, see how their tactics don’t relate to national stereotypes.
Prince Rupert of the Rhine was, and still is, a controversial figure in the English Civil War. In 1643 he burnt down Birmingham, but he also did some bad things (see what I did there?). He’s often associated with the cavalier stereotype, in both positive and negative ways. Although he became famous as a cavalry commander, he was also an administrator who helped to build a new army for the King in 1643-44, governor of Bristol when it surrendered in 1645, and later an admiral. This post investigates what we do and don’t know about Rupert’s cavalry tactics. (more…)
Next cavalry tactics post coming up tomorrow and another Wharton letter on Sunday, but for now here’s some quick news:
- I’m on Twitter! @cavalrycorps
- There’s an early modern edition of Carnivalesque blog carnival at The Georgian Bawdyhouse on Saturday 25 August. You can submit any blog posts about early modern history posted in the last couple of months using the submission form.
- There are so many interesting discussions going on at Skulking in Holes and Corners that it’s hard to pick one out, so just read all of them.
And some relatively new blogs that I’ve only recently found out about:
- the many-headed monster: Mark Hailwood and Brodie Waddell blog about early-modern English society and culture, including lots of weird and surprising things
- Past in the Present: Paul Lockhart, who has researched early-modern Denmark and the American Revolution, blogs about his work, early-modern military history in general, and differences between academic and popular history
- Pen, Book, Sword: covers medieval military history, violence, disabilities and lots of other things
- Ross Mahoney is looking into creating an Air Force Records Society. If you’re interested, go and give him support and feedback. There’s more discussion at Airminded.
- Also at Airminded, horror writer Arthur Machen and the First World War.
- Skulking in Holes and Corners asks what was so special about battlefields in early-modern war.
- Language Log reports that inept reactionary pressure group the Queen’s English Society is going to close because most of its members can’t be bothered to do anything, and shows that they weren’t even very good at grammar (hat tip Andrew Hickey). This could also mean the end of the No She’s Not, She’s German Society.
- Historypunk is starting a series of posts on how humanities academics can build an online reputation. In my experience it wasn’t too hard to build up a reputation when I had nothing much to do, but keeping up my online presence has been much harder when it’s competing with paid work and writing for traditional publication. Writing a book has almost killed my blog but now I need to promote the book online. I might have to try Twitter soon…
- Ages ago I was asked to link to this editable collaborative online edition of the Devonshire Manuscript. So now I have, although I haven’t had time to try it out.
- Podcasts of IHR seminars are now freely available under a Creative Commons licence at History SPOT without having to log in, which is a big improvement.
I’m planning to finish my Winter in Windsor series of posts while it’s still winter, but in the meantime here are some links:
Skulking in Holes and Corners is a relatively new blog by Jamel Ostwald, who has written a book about Vauban and is writing another about Marlborough. The blog ‘hopes to facilitate communication between the rarest of beasts, early modern European military historians (EMEMHians – but please give me a better idea for a name)’. He’s made a very good start, so go and read it, comment on it and link to it.
- My book is going to be published on 21 August 2012, and you can already read the blurb. Just proofreading and indexing to go.
- Andrew Hickey has written a brilliant short story about Shakespeare which skewers the snobbery of Oxfordian conspiracy theories.
- Ben Brumfield reports on the 2012 American Historical Association conference from a software developer’s perspective.
- History SPOT has a podcast of Ben Worthy’s IHR seminar paper on the impact of the Freedom of Information Act.
- Zotero 3.0 has been released. It can now run as a standalone program as well as a Firefox extension and has lots of new features. I couldn’t have written my book as quickly (or at all?) without Zotero to manage my bibliography and citations.
- The latest version of the Spotify client crashes whenever I search for Kim Carnes. Bug or feature?