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“Our Age”: Frederick the Great, Classical Warfare, and the Uses and Abuses of Military History

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

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Type

Article

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Authors

Storring, Adam L 

Abstract

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title> jats:pWhereas the long-running Military Revolution debate has focused primarily on changes in military technology and the growth of states in early modern Europe, the example of King Frederick jats:scii</jats:sc> (“the Great”) of Prussia highlights how changes in the character of war were perceived by contemporaries, and how they used narratives of change for rhetorical purposes. Frederick and his contemporaries saw their own time as more intellectually advanced than any previous age, and this narrative of intellectual progress existed alongside a narrative of states bringing order. Frederick articulated largely consistent ideas about military history, but also used concepts of the superiority of “our age” to extoll the virtues of his own oblique order of battle, and manipulated narratives of technological change to apologise for his own mistakes. Frederick also turned to an idealised classical world – particularly Julius Caesar – to envisage conquests that went beyond the limits of his own day.</jats:p>

Description

Keywords

43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 47 Language, Communication and Culture, 4303 Historical Studies, 4705 Literary Studies

Journal Title

International Journal of Military History and Historiography

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

2468-3299
2468-3302

Volume Title

41

Publisher

Brill