First, this chapter explores political violence in the late Middle Ages and the early modern era. Even though the term terrorism did not exist before the French Revolution, political phenomena that closely resembled various forms of modern-day terrorism have been known and feared since the fourteenth century. The late Middle Ages and the early modern period witnessed the assassinations of numerous princes. The authorities as well as the populace feared organized gangs of criminals in the pay of rival political or religious leaders. These gangs were said to attack the civilian population using arson and mass poisoning in order to destabilize whole states. The fear of the terrorist “state destroyer” was part and parcel of state building from its very beginning. Secondly, the chapter discusses nineteenth-century historiography about early modern political violence. Nineteenth-century historians refused to interpret early modern political crime as terrorism: they either denounced it as lacking any political concept or vindicated it as justifiable resistance.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of History, Philosophy and Culture
Year of publication: 2021Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-10-02
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