Christine Shaw, editor. Italy and the European Powers: The Impact of War, 1500-1530. History of Warfare series. Leiden: The Netherlands, 2006. ISBN 978-90-04-15163-5. Illustrations. Notes. Index. Pp. xix, 317. $179.00.
Dr Christine Shaw, a Research Fellow at Swansea University, has edited a collection of essays dealing with the early part of the Italian Wars (1494-1559). Shaw is the author of numerous scholarly articles dealing with the political history of Renaissance Italy, along with Julius II: The Warrior Pope (1993), The Politics of Exile in Renaissance Italy (2000), (as editor) The World of Savonaroia: Italian Elites and Perceptions of Crisis (2000), and Popular Government and Oligarchy in Renaissance Italy (2006).
Shaw brings together a collection of fifteen essays dealing with the Italian Wars and their consequences for Italy and Europe from Louis XII of France’s conquest of the Duchy of Milan in 1499-1500 to Charles V’s conquest of the Republic of Florence in 1530. The author views Charles V’s triumph as the end of the most decisive phase of the military campaigns. Most of the essays in this collection were given at a conference at the University of Warwick. There are several essays that might interest students and scholars of International History. In regards to military history, Michael Mallett examines the transformation of warfare from 1494 to 1530, focusing on the employment of larger armies, development of standing armies, and the use of gunpowder weapons. Atis Antonovics analyzes the French defeat at the hands of the Spanish army in the Kingdom of Naples in 1503-1504, noting the problems with morale and logistics. Simon Pepper explores siege warfare in the early Italian Wars. Eva Renzulli explains the development and use of defensive fortifications at Loreto in the Papal States as part of the Papal program to protect the Adriatic against Ottoman attacks.
The early Italian Wars changed Italian politics. Two of the five major Italian states were conquered and fell under foreign control. David Abulafia discusses Ferdinand of Aragon’s approach to government over the Kingdom of Naples. Letizia Arcangeli examines French government in the Duchy of Milan. Moreover, Christine Shaw explores the Papacy’s relations with the Great Powers of the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, and France while George L. Gorse discusses France, Genoa, and the question of sovereignty. Other historians explore the writings of Machiavelli and Guicciardini, courtly culture, artwork, music, and Italian universities.
This is an interesting assortment of essays. They indicate the direction that current research is headed regarding the Italian Wars.
Dr William Young
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks North Dakota