BECK index

Volume 10: EUROPE Wars & Plays 1588-1648

EUROPE Wars & Plays 1588-1648 has been published as a book.
For ordering information, please click here.


Germanic Empire and the 30-Year War

Austrian and German Empire 1588-1607
Austrian and German Empire 1608-18
Bohemia 1588-1617
30-Year War Begins in Bohemia 1618-20
Ferdinand II’s Imperial Victories 1621-30
Swedes in the Imperial War 1630-35
Imperial War 1636-44
Negotiating Peace in Central Europe 1644-48
Kepler and Boehme
Comenius on Education to 1648
Swiss Confederation and Neutrality

Eastern Europe 1588-1648

Hungary and Transylvania 1588-1648
Poland-Lithuania under Zygmunt III 1587-1600
Poland-Lithuania under Zygmunt III 1600-32
Poland-Lithuania 1632-48
Russia of Boris Godunov 1588-1605
Russia’s Time of Troubles 1605-13
Russia under Romanovs 1613-48

Scandinavia 1588-1648

Denmark of Kristian IV 1588-1648
Sweden’s Revolution 1588-1611
Sweden of Gustav II Adolf 1612-32
Sweden 1632-48
Norway and Iceland 1588-1648

Netherlands Divided 1588-1648

Spanish Netherlands 1588-1648
United Dutch Republic 1588-1608
Netherlands during the Truce 1609-21
Netherlands Divided 1621-28
Netherlands at War 1629-48
Grotius on the Laws of War and Peace

Spanish and Portuguese Empires 1588-1648

Spanish Empire of Felipe II 1588-98
Spain of Felipe III and Lerma 1598-1606
Spain of Felipe III and Lerma 1607-21
Spain of Felipe IV and Olivares 1621-39
Spain of Felipe IV in Decline 1640-48
Portugal under Spain and Liberated
Suarez on Law
Quevedo and Satire
Gracian’s Art of Prudence

Cervantes, Lope de Vega & Calderon

Cervantes’ Don Quixote
Cervantes’ Exemplary Novels
Lope de Vega’s Life, Loves, and Literature
Lope de Vega’s Plays before 1611
Lope de Vega’s Plays after 1611
Tirso de Molina and Alarcon
Calderon’s Plays before 1634
Calderon’s Plays after 1634

Italy and Spanish Rule 1588-1648

Venice, a Republic, Sarpi and Zen
Milan and Northwest Italy 1588-1648
Florence under the Medici 1588-1648
Popes Clement VIII, Paul V and Urban VIII
Campanella and His City of the Sun
Galileo and Scientific Discoveries

France’s Henri IV, Richelieu & Mazarin

Henri IV Ends France’s Civil Wars 1589-98
France at Peace under Henri IV 1598-1610
France’s Regency of Marie de Médici 1610-17
France under Louis XIII 1617-24
Richelieu, Master of Catholic France 1624-34
Richelieu and France’s Wars 1635-42
France under Regency and Mazarin 1643-48

Vincent, Descartes & Corneille

François de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal
Vincent de Paul and Ladies of Charity
Descartes’ New Philosophy
Descartes on Emotions
Corneille’s Comedies
Corneille’s Tragedies to 1648

England, Ireland & Scotland 1588-1625

Elizabethan England 1588-1603
Irish Rebels & Scotland of James VI 1588-1603
England under James I 1603-11
England under James I 1612-25
Ireland and Scotland under James 1603-25
Francis Bacon and His Essays
Bacon’s Advancement of Learning
Bacon’s Career and Scientific Ideas
Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy
Donne’s Poetry and Preaching

Britain of Charles and Civil War 1625-49

England of Charles I 1625-39
Ireland and Scotland 1625-39
British Conflict 1640-42
British Civil War 1642-45
British Civil War and Levellers 1646-49
Browne’s Religio Medici
Milton on Education and Freedom

Shakespeare’s Plays

Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Richard III & King John
Shakespeare’s Early Comedies
Shakespeare’s Richard II, Henry IV, V & VIII
Shakespeare’s Middle Comedies
Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Lear & Macbeth
Shakespeare’s Classical Tragedies
Shakespeare’s Late Romances

English Theater 1588-1642

Marlowe’s Last Four Plays
Greene, Peele, and Thomas Heywood
Chapman’s Plays
Dekker and Marston
Ben Jonson’s Plays
Middleton’s Plays
Webster and Tourneur
Beaumont and Fletcher
Massinger and Fletcher
Ford and Shirley

Summary and Evaluation of Europe 1588-1648

German Empire and the 30-Year War
Eastern and Northern Europe 1588-1648
Spain, Portugal, and Italy 1588-1648
France 1588-1648
England, Ireland & Scotland 1588-1648
English Theater 1588-1642
Evaluating Europe 1588-1648


Chronology of Europe 1588-1715
World Chronology 1588-1715



      During the resurgence of the Catholic Church in the Counterreformation the Habsburg Empire centered in Austria dominated Central Europe while the Spanish Habsburgs exercised imperial hegemony in Spain, Portugal, the southern Low Countries, and in most of Italy as well as in their overseas colonies. Conflicts developed between these Catholic powers and the Protestant Lutherans and Calvinists who were strong in Germany and northern Europe. Bohemia had developed reforms a century before Martin Luther and still wanted their religious freedom and political independence. The religious and imperial war that began there in 1618 spread and lasted thirty years, devastating most of Europe. Catholic France and Lutheran Sweden also sent armies against both Habsburg imperialists. Poland-Lithuania was a Catholic power that stayed out of the Thirty Years’ War but had conflicts with Russia and Sweden. The Swiss stopped being mercenaries and maintained their independence.
      During this era the Moravian minister Comenius offered spiritual insight and great educational reforms. The Dutch had the republic of the United Netherlands but fought against the imperial Spaniards in the southern Low Countries in an 80-year war that also ended in 1648. Hugo Grotius contributed valuable books on the freedom of the seas and the laws of war and peace, pioneering the important work of international law.
      Spain and the Portuguese had widespread overseas empires, and gold and silver from America helped finance Spain’s imperial wars. Yet Spain often went bankrupt in these wasteful pursuits. Jesuits spread education and their Catholic doctrines, and the oppressive Inquisition continued.  Spain also had a golden age in literature and theater with the novels of Cervantes and plays by Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, and Calderon. Quevedo provided satire, and Baltazar Gracian offered practical wisdom. Venice’s independence was defended by Sarpi and other reformers. The Popes provided money for the Catholic wars and ruled the Papal States around Rome. Naples and Sicily were oppressed by Spanish imperialism. Tommaso Campanella had radical ideas for a better life but had to write his visionary City of the Sun and other works in prison. His friend Galileo invented the telescope and made astronomical discoveries, but the dogmatic Catholic Church could not accept the Copernican sun-centered view and kept Galileo under house arrest. Yet his writing pioneered scientific methods.
      Henri IV unified France as a Catholic nation that tolerated Protestants. During the Thirty Years’ War Cardinal Richelieu increased the centralized power in France and directed French war efforts against Spain and other enemies, but many people suffered from the wars. Vincent de Paul became a priest and devoted his life to helping the poor, teaching priests, and organizing many women to help those suffering people. Descartes gave philosophy a new direction using both intuition and reasoning in his contemplative methods. He also wrote a helpful book on the emotions. Corneille wrote great comedies and tragedies for the French theatre.
      The destruction of the Spanish armada in 1588 saved England, but fighting continued sporadically until Elizabeth’s successor King James I ended the war. James ruled England and Scotland and worked to unify them along with Ireland which was oppressed by the English. His son Charles I also believed in his divine right to rule but did not have the temperament of his father and could not get along with Parliament which overthrew him in a civil war. Francis Bacon also encouraged scientific advances and wrote brilliantly on human experience and education. Robert Burton gathered material on diagnosing and curing melancholy, which in our time is called “depression.” John Donne contributed beautiful love poetry and sermons. Shakespeare’s plays provided London audiences and English readers with extraordinary historical dramas, romantic comedies, and heart-wrenching tragedies. The sensational English theater of this era that ended with the closing of the theaters by the Puritans in 1642 also offered plays by Marlowe, Peele, Thomas Heywood, Chapman, Dekker, Marston, Ben Jonson, Middleton, Webster, Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger, Ford, and Shirley.
      During this era most nations used the New Style (NS) Gregorian calendar, but the British, Holland, Protestant Germany, Sweden, Russia, and the Eastern Orthodox nations still used the Old Style (OS) Julian calendar, and their dates are ten days behind the Gregorian calendar. British dates in this book also use the year beginning on January 1 rather than in March.

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