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By expanding the geographical scope of the history of violence and war, this volume challenges both Western and state-centric narratives of the decline of violence and its relationship to modernity. It highlights instead similarities across early modernity in terms of representations, legitimations, applications of, and motivations for violence. It seeks to integrate methodologies of the study of violence into the history of war, thereby extending the historical significance of both fields of research. Thirteen case studies outline the myriad ways in which large-scale violence was understood and used by states and non-state actors throughout the early modern period across Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Atlantic, and Europe, demonstrating that it was far more complex than would be suggested by simple narratives of conquest and resistance. Moreover, key features of imperial violence apply equally to large-scale violence within societies. As the authors argue, violence was a continuum, ranging from small-scale, local actions to full-blown war. The latter was privileged legally and increasingly associated with states during early modernity, but its legitimacy was frequently contested and many of its violent forms, such as raiding and destruction of buildings and crops, could be found in activities not officially classed as war.

The two sides of provincial violence in early modern Burma
Michael W. Charney

raiding of other villages occurred even in good times, but especially in bad times. In the period examined here, villagers moved out of areas in the face of excessive exactions by Konbaung officials, and looked further afield. When delta villagers pushed north into the dry zone closer to the royal centre they found security measures much weaker than they had in the delta. The Irrawaddy River that connected Upper Burma, the central dry zone, and the southern delta together, no longer remained a safe channel of communication, requiring the appointment of a special officer

in A global history of early modern violence