6th March 2019

Robert von Friedeburg, Reader in History at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), has been invited to give a plenary lecture at the European Academy of Religion in Bologna.

His lecture, entitled ‘Religious Mass Mobilization and Religious Violent Conflict: Challenges to Europe’s Transforming Monarchies during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’, will be based on his two recent publications, the 2016 monograph ‘Luther’s Legacy: The Thirty Years War and the Modern Notion of State in the Empire, 1530s- 1790s’ (Cambridge UP 2016) and ‘Monarchy Transformed: Princes and their Elites in Early Modern Western Europe’ (Cambridge UP 2017) co-edited with John Morrill.

Speaking ahead of the lecture Robert explained why the subject held implications for the modern study of religious conflict:

“The lecture will stress that Early Modern Europeans, despite their different views on religion, shared a massive common interest in securing their livelihoods and cooperating even across religious divergences. In the money-market economies of Early Modern Europe, most social environments proved to be quite accommodating to religious minorities.

“Massive open warfare had almost always a strong political component, not least of rival factions among the upper aristocracy. It is therefore highly problematic to see Europe’s early modern past of religious conflict as somehow similar to sectarian conflict in the world today, in particular in the Middle East. Already by the early modern period, the integrative forces of Europe’s money market economies proved quite strong and are often underestimated.

“This argument is critical to a good deal of comparisons in modern scholarship and will spark debate accordingly.”

Whilst in Bologna Robert’s lecture will form part of a panel on ‘Wars of Religion’ marking an ongoing ‘observatory’ on the historiography of religious wars a subject which, particularly since 2001, has increasingly occupied historians.

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