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Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern European History I


Admission requirements



In this course we will be examining current debates in the history of medieval and early modern Europe. Each students studies two topics over a period of six weeks.

Semester I, weeks 1-3

Dr. Raymond Fagel and dr. Anteun Janse

The Military Revolution debate

Although the concept itself had been introduced by Michael Roberts as early as 1955, it was especially during the mid-nineties of the twentieth century, that military historians conducted an extensive debate on the existence, shape and chronology of a ‘Military Revolution’ during the Early Modern period. In our classes we shall examine at the arguments used, but also ask how ‘revolutionary’ this development was, given that elements of it can be traced back to the fourteenth century. We will also explore the importance of state formation and the relation between military developments and the rise of the West.


  • Geoffrey Parker, The military revolution: military innovation and the rise of the West, 1500-1800 (Cambridge University Press 2003). ISBN: 521 47958 4.

  • A. Ayton en J.L. Price, The medieval military revolution. State, society and military change in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Macmillan 1998). ISBN: 978-1-86064-353-8; ISBN10: 1-86064-353-1.

Additional reading to be announced in class

Semester I, weeks 5-7

Prof. Peter Hoppenbrouwers and dr. Erika Kuijpers

Wars of religion, 1400-1700
Late medieval and early modern Europe was plagued by social and political instability which, combined with religious tension, formed an explosive mixture and could lead to conflicts. These could take the form of revolts of heterodox religious groups and the subsequent suppression of heresy, or the large-scale confessional wars of the Reformation period. At the same time, Christian Europe was locked in battle with the the forces of Islam, now headed by the Ottoman Turks. So, here we have two completely different set-ups for religious warfare, one directed against an enemy from within, the other against the infidels outside Christendom; the latter tinged with antemurale undertones, the former coloured in apocalyptic shades. These two scenarios generated a curious mixture of dogmatic intractibility, crusading heroism, chivalrous values, burgeoning national feelings, eschatological fanatism, sheer banditry, and the usual itch for adventure, that certainly is worthwhile studying. This course aims to analyse these two-headed developments from the late Middle Ages until the Peace of Westphalia (1648). First, we will study recent debates on the nature, dynamics and impact of religious conflict. Then we will diachronically look at several cases, such as the Hussite wars in late-medieval Bohemia and the start of the Thiry Years War in Bohemia, or the conflict between the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires.


  • Norman Housley, Religious Warfare in Europe, 1400-1536 (Oxford, 2008)

  • Konrad Repgen, ‘What is a religious war?’, in E.I. Kouri en Tom Scott, red., Politic sand Society in Reformation Europe (Basingstoke, 1987), 311-326.

Additional reading will be announced during the classes.

Course objectives


  • familiarise themselves with some key debates in the field

  • learn how to analyse and contextualise a historical discussion

  • learn how to discuss and analyse such a debate succinctly

  • learn how to write a review


The course is taught twice a year and only runs for six weeks. In these six weeks, two topics will be discussed – see the course description for the topics on offer.
See course-schedule

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Students will be asked to prepare and sometimes to report in writing on the reading they do for the classes. They will also write a short essay or review article on each of the two topics they study.

Reading list

See above


via uSis.

Contact information

E-mail: Prof.dr. J.F.J. Duindam (coordinator)