Christof Muigg

PhD Student at the University of Vienna

Dissertation project:

Two Sides of the Same Coin: Military and Diplomatic Practice in the Early Modern Habsburg Monarchy (ca. 1700 – 1797)

In my project, I examine the relationship of the military with diplomacy in Early Modern Europe. While it was customary for noble military commanders to be send on diplomatic missions, an analysis of the phenomenon of the soldier-diplomat is as much a lacuna in scholarly literature as the daily practice of military commanders in the given period in general. Employing case studies of exemplary high-ranking military commanders in the early modern Habsburg Monarchy, I discuss in what way a noble habitus represented a basic qualification for both the military and diplomacy. Specific patterns and factors in the diplomatic practice of noble military commanders will thus be identified and compared to their military practice. In an actor-centred perspective I use correspondences, diplomatic relations, military campaign reports, memoirs and diaries as accounts of self-testimony beside diplomatic instructions to empirically clarify this resemblance. Furthermore, the mentioned sources will be contrasted by early modern treatises on warfare, diplomacy and the nobility as well as by literature on medical theories like the Four Temperaments (Galen). The concepts and ideas we find in these literary works provided a cultural frame of reference for norms and expectations, which were intrinsically linked to imaginations like that of the perfect commander or the ideal ambassador. Analytical categories such as honour, reputation, social status and ethnicity will serve as methodological tools to read the source material. My aim is to create a synthesis of contemporary notions, perceptions and representations of the modes in which the military and diplomacy were related to each other, which was relevant for practices of war-making and peace-making in a period of European History characterized by its bellicosity.

Research Fields:
Military History of the Habsburg Monarchy
Cultural History of Diplomacy of the Habsburg Monarchy