The Age of Wars of Religion saw navies, armies, armed merchant companies, and mercenaries battle one another and local potentates in many lands and along numerous shores. Wars of religion were fought in and between all the major religions and civilizations, from Europe to China, in Africa, and in the isolated Americas, mixing motives of knightly idealism, mercenary greed, and competing claims of divine sanction. This unparalleled work traces the extraordinary upheavals of the period in military technology, competing theologies, and civilizational change that were brought about by, or impinged upon, military conflict. It offers nearly 2,000 discrete but cross-referenced entries on cultural, military, religious and political history, as well as geography, biography, and military literature.
Close to 2,000 entries offer detailed information on the major events, places, battles, figures, technologies, and ideas one must know to begin to make sense of the past six centuries of global conflicts. Though especially ferocious and intense, the Wars of Reformation and Counter-Reformation fought by Europeans from the 15th through 17th centuries were hardly unique in world or military history. The Byzantine Empire, bastion of Christian Orthodoxy, staggered to the tortuous end of its long conflict with the Ottoman Empire, the Great Power of the Sunni Muslim world. The Ottomans, in turn, were still engaged in an equally ancient intra-Muslim war, between Sunnis and Shi'ites. In India, the Hindu Rajputs and Marathas, and also the Sikhs, organized armies around religious communities to throw off the Muslim Yoke (Mughul Empire), and also fought against Christian invaders from Europe. As for the isolated Americas, ideas of divine kingship sustained by powerful priesthoods and religious warfare also prevailed, as exemplified by the Inca and Aztec empires.
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