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This volume collects the papers presented at the conference “Books for Captains and Captains in books. Italo-German Conference on the training and image of the military leader during the Renaissance”, held at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel on 24th and 25th February, 2014.
The essays explore at length why and how the captain became the subject of a series of new discourses. The volume thus proves an extensive insight into an understudied, if not neglected subject. It investigates the rise of the captain in early modern Europe through a wide variety of sources: treatises, poems, books of precepts, translations from the classics, and visual sources. While the focus of this collection is mainly on Italy, the articles stress the relevance of cultural transfer to and from Germany while also taking into account other countries such as Sweden, France, Poland and Spain. The interdisciplinary approach allows the successful reconstruction of the figure of the captain in order to understand the reasons of its rise and to explain its multifarious representations. The collection also enables us to investigate some of the most crucial historiographical questions concerning early modern Europe (i.e., the role of the Counter Reformation or the issue of social mobility) from new perspectives. Books for Captains and Captains in books will certainly pave the way for future research into this fascinating and complex topic.