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Part II - Cultures of War and Violence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 March 2020

Robert Antony
Guangzhou University
Stuart Carroll
University of York
Caroline Dodds Pennock
University of Sheffield
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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Bibliographic Essay

The first work in English to seriously study Chinese warfare was Kierman, Frank A. Jr and Fairbank, John King (eds.), Chinese Ways in Warfare (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974). Two recent surveys are Lorge, Peter, War, Politics, and Society in Early Modern China, 900–1795 (London: Routledge, 2005) and Andrade, Tonio, The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016).

On late Ming military see Robinson, David’s Bandits, Eunuchs, and the Son of Heaven: Rebellion and the Economy of Violence in Mid-Ming China (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2001) and Martial Spectacles of the Ming Court (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013). For a recent study of the Ming general Qi Jiguang (1528–88), see Teddy Sim, Y. H. (ed.), The Maritime Defence of China: Ming General Qi Jiguang and Beyond (Singapore: Springer, 2017). Swope’s, Kenneth The Military Collapse of China’s Ming Dynasty, 1618–1644 (London: Routledge, 2014) offers comprehensive coverage of the military demise of the Ming.

The Japanese invasion of Korea is treated in Swope, Kenneth, A Dragon’s Head and a Serpent’s Tail: Ming China and the First Great East Asian War, 1592–1598 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009) and Lewis, James (ed.), The East Asian War, 1592–1598: International Relations, Violence, and Memory (London: Routledge, 2015).

On late Ming rebellions, see Parsons, James, Peasant Rebellions of the Late Ming Dynasty (Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Asian Studies, 1993). Forges, Roger Des, Cultural Centrality and Political Change in Chinese History: Northeast Henan in the Fall of the Ming (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003), treats the activities of rebel leader Li Zicheng, while Swope, Kenneth’s On the Trail of the Yellow Tiger: War, Trauma and Social Dislocation in Southwest China During the Ming-Qing Transition (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018) covers the rise and fall of Li’s rival Zhang Xianzhong and his adopted sons.

The Manchu Banner military system is analysed in Elliott, Mark, The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001), while the militarisation of Qing culture is explored in Waley-Cohen, Joanna, The Culture of War in China: Empire and the Military under the Qing Dynasty (London: I. B. Tauris, 2006).

On sectarian disturbances in the Qing dynasty, see Naquin, Susan, Shantung Rebellion: The Wang Lun Uprising of 1774 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981). On secret societies, see Murray, Dian, The Origins of the Tiandihui: The Chinese Triads in Legend and History (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994) and Ownby, David, Brotherhoods and Secret Societies in Early and Mid-Qing China: The Formation of a Tradition (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996). Wang’s, Wensheng White Lotus Rebels and South China Pirates: Crisis and Reform in the Qing Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014) compares the White Lotus Rebellion in central China with the massive pirate upheavals in south-eastern China. On bandits and secret societies in the mid-Qing period, see Antony, Robert, Unruly People: Crime, Community and State in Late Imperial South China (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2016). For the literature on Chinese piracy see the Bibliographic Essay that accompanies Chapter 23 in this volume.

Bibliographic Essay

For a general overview of the historiography of the Spanish Conquest era in the Americas, a useful essay is Restall, Matthew, ‘The New Conquest History’, History Compass 10.2 (2012), 151–60. For broader historiographical trends in the scholarship on New Spain, see Terraciano, Kevin and Sousa, Lisa, ‘The Historiography of New Spain’, in Moya, José (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Latin American History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 2564.

For more on early enslavement of, and violence against, indigenous groups in the Spanish Caribbean, see Massimo Bacci, Livi, Conquest: The Destruction of the American Indios (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2018); Stone, Erin, ‘Slave Raiders vs. Friars: Tierra Firme, 1513–522’, The Americas 74.2 (2017), 139–70. A detailed treatment of indigenous enslavement in the Americas, including all North America, can be found in Reséndez, Andrés, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016).

A primary source on early violent encounters between Spaniards and indigenous Americans is Bartolomé de las Casas’s Historia de las Indias, but as it is not yet available in English I recommend An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies, trans. Andrew Hurley (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2003). Whitehead, Neil treats early violence in the Caribbean, along with a useful overview of the use of the term ‘Carib’ in justifying indigenous slavery, in Of Cannibals and Kings: Primal Anthropology in the Americas (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011); the book is the 7th in the Latin American Originals series, of which ten volumes (as of 2018) present primary sources, in translation with accessible introductions, on the history and literature of the Spanish Conquest.

For more on the wars of invasion and conquest of central Mexico, see Restall, Matthew, Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) and When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History (New York: Ecco, 2018), and Restall, Matthew and Schwaller, Robert, ‘The Gods Return: Conquest and Conquest Society (1502–1610)’, in Beezley, William H. (ed.), A Companion to Mexican History and Culture (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011), pp. 195208. Altman’s, Ida The War for Mexico’s West: Indians and Spaniards in New Galicia, 1524–1550 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2010) and her Contesting Conquest: Indigenous Perspectives on the Spanish Occupation of Nueva Galicia, 1524–1545, Latin American Originals 12 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017) provide an example of Spanish conquest wars in northern Mexico.

The vast literature on invasion and conquest in the Yucatán includes Chamberlain, Robert S., The Conquest and Colonization of Yucatan, 1517–1570 (Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution, 1948); Clendinnen, Inga, Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517–1570, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Graham, Elizabeth, Maya Christians and Their Churches (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011); George Lovell, W., Conquest and Survival in Colonial Guatemala: A Historical Geography of the Cuchmatán Highlands, 1500–1821, revised 4th edn (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015); and Restall, Matthew, Maya Conquistador (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1998) and Invasion: The Maya at War, 1520s–1540s’, in Scherer, Andrew and Verano, John (eds.), Embattled Bodies, Embattled Places: War in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican and the Andes (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 2013), pp. 93117. For the larger context of Spanish–Maya protracted conquest and conflict in southern Yucatán, see Bracamonte y Sosa, Pedro, La conquista inconclusa de Yucatán: Los mayas de la montaña, 1560–1680 (Mexico City: CIESAS, 2001). For the fall of the Itza kingdom in Guatemala, see Jones, Grant D., The Conquest of the Last Maya Kingdom (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998).

In addition to most of the items listed above, studies on the role of indigenous peoples in the Spanish conquest wars include Asselbergs, Florine G. L. and Restall, Matthew, Invading Guatemala: Spanish, Nahua, and Maya Accounts of the Conquest Wars, Latin American Originals 2 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007); Brian, Amber, Benton, Bradley and Loaeza, Pablo García, The Native Conquistador: Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s Account of the Conquest of New Spain, Latin American Originals 10 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015); Matthew, Laura and Oudijk, Michel R. (eds.), Indian Conquistadors: Indigenous Allies in the Conquest of Mexico (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007); and Townsend, Camilla, Malintzin’s Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006). On indigenous cartographic narratives of the conquest wars, see Asselbergs, Florine G. L., Conquered Conquistadors: The Lienzo de Quauhquechollan: A Nahua Vision of the Conquest of Guatemala (Leiden: CNWS, 2004; Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2008); and on textual Mesoamerican accounts, see Lockhart, James (ed.), We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico (1995) (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005), and Restall, Matthew, Sousa, Lisa and Terraciano, Kevin (eds.), Mesoamerican Voices: Native-Language Writings from Colonial Mexico, Oaxaca, Yucatan, and Guatemala (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

Bibliographic Essay

Because it is something of a categorical mistake for Western observers, warrior asceticism has received uneven attention in English-language scholarship. The earliest (non-fiction) work on the topic is Farquhar, J. N., ‘The Fighting Ascetics of India’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 9 (1925), 431–52, which introduced the oral tradition concerning Akbar’s arming of Hindu ascetics to fend off attacks by Muslims in the sixteenth century. This essay was followed by Ghosh, Jamini Mohan’s Sannyasi and Fakir Raiders in Bengal (Calcutta, 1930), which examined the ascetic resistance to English East India Company suppression in late eighteenth-century Bengal. The next major work, building especially on Farquhar, was Orr, W. G., ‘Armed Religious Ascetics in Northern India’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 25 (1940), 81100; its main contribution was Orr’s examination of late seventeenth-century Persian records from Jaipur. The leading Mughal historian Jadunath Sarkar included frequent reference to Rajendragiri and Anupgiri (‘Himmat Bahadur’) in his four-volume Fall of the Mughal Empire (Calcutta, 1932–50), as well as his more detailed co-authored study with Nirod Bhusan Roy of Shantiniketan, A History of the Dasnami Naga Sanyasis (Allahabad, n.d. [1952?]).

Detailed social histories of warrior asceticism began to appear in the 1960s, reflecting an increasing awareness of the importance of the akharas in the economic and political history of the eighteenth century. The pioneer in the field was Cohn, B. S., ‘The Role of the Gosains in the Economy of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Upper India’, Indian Economic and Social History Review 1.4 (1964), 175–83. Kolff, D. H. A. followed with ‘Sanyasi Trader-Soldiers’, Indian Economic and Social History Review 8.2 (1971), 213–20, which extended Cohn’s argument to suggest that the monastic-business networks were also effective in supporting naga soldiering. Bayly, C. A., Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion, 1770–1870 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), built on these arguments but emphasised the importance of military-trader ascetic orders in facilitating commercial and financial links between the increasingly regional political economies of the eighteenth century.

A new phase of analysis that combined social history with literary analysis was inaugurated by Lorenzen, David with his foundational article, ‘Warrior Ascetics in Indian History’, Journal of the American Oriental Society 98 (1978), 6175, which argues that it is likely that the inspiration for the decision to take up weapons had more to do with the need to protect monastic endowments from treasure-hungry kings in the deep past, long before Muslims arrived in India. Another important study is Thiel, Monika-Horstmann, ’s ‘Warrior-Ascetics in 18th Century Rajasthan and the Religious Policy of Jai Singh II’, in Gautam, M. K. and Schokker, G. H. (eds.), Bhakti in Current Research, 1982–85: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Early Devotional Literature in New Indo-Aryan Languages (Lucknow: Indo-European Publishers, 1985), pp. 4355. Finally, I should mention my Warrior Ascetics and Indian Empires (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), a major goal of which was to argue for the importance of warrior asceticism not simply to reframe the political and military history of early modern and modern India, but also for what it reveals about the categories with which religion and asceticism are perceived in history generally.

Bibliographic Essay

There is no single satisfactory overarching account of European warfare in this period, but Jeremy Black provides good treatments of sections of the time frame: Black, J., European Warfare 1494–1660 (London: Routledge, 2002), European Warfare 1660–1815 (London: University College London Press/Routledge, 1994). Also of use are Mortimer, G. (ed.), Early Modern Military History 1450–1815 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004), and Black, J. (ed.), European Warfare 1453–1815 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 1999). The key contributions to the long-running Military Revolution debate are assembled in Rogers, C. J. (ed.), The Military Revolution Debate: Readings on the Military Transformation of Early Modern Europe (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995). The causes of individual wars are covered by Black, J. (ed.), The Origins of War in Early Modern Europe (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1987).

The material and financial means to wage war are examined by Bonney, R. (ed.), The Rise of the Fiscal State in Europe c. 1200–1815 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999) and Storrs, C. (ed.), The Fiscal-Military State in Eighteenth-Century Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009), both of which offer good assessments of the fiscal–military state debate. Questions of manpower and organisation are well covered by Parrott, D., The Business of War: Military Enterprise and Military Revolution in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). This can be supplemented by Glete, Jan’s excellent study of Spain, Sweden and the Dutch Republic: War and the State in Early Modern Europe (London: Routledge, 2002). Ertman, Thomas offers an interesting take on the interaction between military change and political development in Birth of the Leviathan: Building States and Regimes in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), which also references much of the extensive literature on that topic. International aspects are covered from a variety of perspectives by Nexon, D., The Struggle for Power in Early Modern Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009) and Luard, E., Balance of Power: The System of International Relations 1648–1815 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992).

The best overviews of naval warfare are Glete, J., Warfare at Sea 1500–1650: Maritime Conflicts and the Transformation of Europe (London: Routledge, 2000) and Harding, R. Seapower and Naval Warfare 1650–1830 (London: Routledge, 1999). There are many general books on tactics, most of which are of limited value, though Nosworthy, B., The Anatomy of Victory: Battle Tactics 1689–1763 (New York: Hippocrene Books, 1990) provides much useful detail. The conduct of war is also accessible through studies of individual major conflicts such as Mallett, M. E. and Shaw, C, The Italian Wars 1494–1559 (London: Routledge, 2012) and Wilson, P. H., Europe’s Tragedy: The Thirty Years War (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2009). Various wider dimensions are explored by Hagemann, K. et al. (eds.), Gender, War and Politics: Transatlantic Perspectives 1775–1830 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010); Lynn, J. A., Women, Armies and Warfare in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); and Bowen, H. V., War and English Society 1688–1815 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). A more detailed guide to the literature is provided by Wilson, P. H., ‘British and American Perspectives on Early Modern Warfare’, Militär und Gesellschaft in der Frühen Neuzeit 5 (2001), 108–18.

Bibliographic Essay

Studies on violence in Ottoman society have concentrated mostly on late nineteenth-century national struggles, contingent inter-imperial wars and cultures of paramilitarism that culminated in World War I and the Armenian Genocide (1915), as well as more ethnic cleansing in a civil war that marked the empire’s transition into the Turkish Republic (1919–23). However, the question of violence in the process of Ottoman state-building has also been in the focus of scholars who write on the late medieval period up to the seventeenth century – a period of rapid expansion which has traditionally been understood as the golden age of the Ottoman Empire. Writing in reaction to early twentieth-century studies that ascribed the success of the early Ottoman polity to the ‘holy war’ ideology (gaza), scholars have sought to rethink the connections between state-building and inter-confessional violence. In Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), Cemal Kafadar has reread fifteenth-century Ottoman chroniclers and demonstrated how what historians have understood to be an exclusive, crusading ‘holy war’ ideology (gaza) was a much more ambiguous discourse that left space for the participation of Greek, Armenian and Slavic Christians as well as Turks in the Ottoman enterprise. Barkey, Karen’s Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) similarly argues that the Ottomans networked across social, religious and ethnic divides to build one of the longest lasting imperial ventures in history. For Barkey, the key factor that buttressed the longevity of Ottoman rule was a prescient central bureaucracy that conceived and enacted a policy conducive to inter-confessional tolerance and coexistence. Thus, since the 2000s the view that early Ottoman society was ecumenical, tolerant and syncretic has become a textbook orthodoxy.

The long eighteenth century, in contrast, has received much less attention, and continues to be plagued by the notions of ‘chaos’ and ‘decline’. Traditional scholarship largely portrayed this period as one in which the Ottoman state and society deviated from the strong, centralised military-fiscal state model of its past. Since the 1990s, Ottomanists have been preoccupied with challenging traditional narratives on decline, which were often replete with Orientalist, monolithic characterisations of Islamic society, choosing to focus instead on the Ottoman dynasty’s ability to adapt and reconfigure fiscal and administrative structures in a changing world. In Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994), Karen Barkey studied mostly Ottoman chroniclers to re-examine the chronic problem of banditry during the Celâlî rebellions that spread across Ottoman Anatolia after unsuccessful inter-imperial wars between the 1590s and 1620s. Barkey concluded that the Ottoman government negotiated with and co-opted bandits, thereby preventing them from building dangerous alliances with peasants and elites that could overturn state structures, underscoring Ottoman agency that pursued ‘non-European’ paths to state formation that assured its longevity.

More recently, revisionist scholarship has turned back to this unresolved issue of widespread bandit violence that plagued different regions of the empire between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries, and has distanced itself from state-centric perspectives of chaos and decline that previous generations of scholars received uncritically through the language of imperial chronicles. Utilising a wider range of sources, such as Ottoman manuscripts, archival sources, court records, as well as foreign travel and ambassadorial accounts alongside court-commissioned chronicles, both Tezcan, Baki’s The Second Ottoman Empire: political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Yaycıoğlu, Ali’s Partners of Empire: The Crisis of the Ottoman Order in the Age of Revolutions (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2016) offer alternative assessments of the narratives of turmoil and disorder associated with the period between 1622 to 1808, when widespread banditry and violence escalated into large-scale revolutions that led to the dethronement and even execution of a number of sultans. Both authors turn to the roles of social actors such as imperial bureaucrats, religious scholars, janissaries and provincial notables (a‘yân) in these conflicts to show how they represented much larger, overlooked factions of Ottoman society that joined in social movements against sultanic autocracy.

The imperial outsourcing and privatisation of imperial governance and military contracting figure positively in these new narratives of Ottoman experiments in ‘proto-democracy’, but the roles of paramilitary warrior populations, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, are not explored fully. In contrast, in Ottoman Wars, 1700–1870 (London: Pearson, 2007) as well as more recent articles Virginia Aksan makes the connection between the over-outsourced, eighteenth-century Ottoman military machine and widespread, peacetime banditry but with a twist: she shows how the Ottoman military machine increasingly insisted on recruiting Muslim irregular troops precisely at the time when non-Muslim, ethnic identity began to matter right before the turn of the nineteenth century and the age of nationalism.

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