Stephen Bowd’s Research Blog

Between September 2016 and August 2017 I was a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow working on a book about the mass murder of non-combatants during the Italian Wars (1494-1559). The Italian Wars were marked by regular occurrences of violence against non-combatants. The sacking of the wealthy towns of Italy by troops was often accompanied by mass murder and contemporary estimates for fatalities range from a few dozen to many thousands. Despite its impact on the historical record the origins, dynamics, and memory of such violence has not received sustained and focused examination by scholars (except in the case of the sack of Rome in 1527). This project, which will be published as Renaissance Mass murder: Civilians and Soldiers During the Italian Wars (OUP, 2018), will provide the first analytical overview of mass murder during the Italian Wars and will examine what drove both soldiers and non-combatants towards violence which often horrified contemporaries but which could also be justified by the customs and demands of warfare and honour.

Author: Stephen Bowd

I am a Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Edinburgh, and a Leverhulme Research Fellow (2016/17).