Protagonists of War

Spanish Army Commanders and the Revolt in the Low Countries

Raymond Fagel

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A new vision on the Revolt of the Low Countries through the eyes of Spanish commanders

Julián Romero, Sancho Dávila, Cristóbal de Mondragón, and Francisco de Valdés were prominent Spanish military commanders during the first decade of the Revolt in the Low Countries (1567–1577). Occupying key positions in this conflict, they featured as central characters in various war narratives and episodical descriptions of the events they were involved in, ranging from chronicles, poems, theatre plays, engravings, and songs to news pamphlets. To this day, they still figure as protagonists of historical novels: brave heroes in some, cruel oppressors in others. Yet personal, first-hand accounts also exist. Archival research into the letters written by these commanders now makes it possible to include their perspectives and the way they describe their own experiences. Looking through the eyes of four Spanish commanders, Protagonists of War provides the reader with an alternative reading of the Revolt, contrasting the subjective experiences of these protagonists with fictionalised perceptions.

Ebook available in Open Access.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).



Words of gratitude 

Chapter I: Captain Julián: the hero of the battlefield

Chapter II: Sancho Dávila: the champion of Catholic Spain 

Chapter III: Cristóbal de Mondragón: the good Spaniard 

Chapter IV: Francisco de Valdés: the exemplary soldier 

General conclusion: episodic war narratives in comparison


Format: Monograph - free ebook - ePUB

388 pages

ISBN: 9789461664044

Publication: October 01, 2021

Series: Avisos de Flandes 18

Languages: English


Raymond Fagel is lecturer in early modern history at the Institute of History, Leiden University.