Chaplains and soldiers
Experience and narratives in the Low Countries (1567–1648)
in Early modern war narratives and the Revolt in the Low Countries
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The long war in the Low Countries was both a testing ground and a turning point in the relationship between religion and war, soldiers and clergy. Here, a permanent chaplaincy for the pastoral care of the Spanish enlisted soldiers – the tercios – was established for the first time under Alessandro Farnese. On both the Catholic and the Protestant sides, dozens of books and pamphlets were printed to motivate the combatants in the service of their faith, and to discipline the armies’ behaviour. This chapter seeks to reconstruct the experience of the Catholic military chaplains before and after the establishment of the Jesuit missio castrensis led by Thomas Sailly. More specifically, it shows how the narrative of war, violence and death, and the role of the chaplains among the soldiery, changed between the early years of the conflict and the later phase after Farnese’s arrival.


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