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‘The sacking of a town is an abomination’: siege, sack and violence to civilians in British officers’ writings on the Peninsular War – the case of Badajoz


Daly, G, The sacking of a town is an abomination': siege, sack and violence to civilians in British officers' writings on the Peninsular War - the case of Badajoz, Historical Research pp. 1-23. ISSN 1468-2281 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Institute of Historical Research

DOI: doi:10.1111/1468-2281.12252


For all its notoriety, the 1812 British sack of Badajoz during the Peninsular War has been surprisingly overlooked as a subject of historical investigation, symptomatic of a broader neglect of European sieges and sacks for this period. This article explores British officers’ reactions to the sack through their letters and memoirs. It suggests rethinking Badajoz as a site not only of excess and atrocity, but also one of constraint, outrage, shame and censure. In so doing, it investigates sieges as an important place for examining changes and continuities in customary laws of war, cultures of war, and moral, humanitarian and sentimental discourses over the long eighteenth century.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Peninsular War, Badajoz, British Officers
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:British history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Europe's past
UTAS Author:Daly, G (Dr Gavin Daly)
ID Code:130192
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2019-01-15
Last Modified:2019-03-15

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