Home > History, Web Communication > Destruction of Neuss (1586): modern and contemporary sources

Destruction of Neuss (1586): modern and contemporary sources

Antique Map Neuss Braun, Georg & Hogenberg, Franz

In order to accurately translate /expand my selected Wikipedia article – entitled  “Destruction of Neuss” (source language: english/flemish) – into Spanish , I have decided to deepen into the proposed subject not only through the study of the references that have been used to construct the chosen Wikipedia article, but also through a personal selection of both modern and nearly contemporary sources. The references that serve as sources for the translation /expansion of the aforementioned Wikipedia article have been selected according to two main criteria: relevance and citation impact.

Modern sources, such as the books “The destruction of Neuss” by Frederic P. Miller (2010) or “España y las 17 provincias de los Países Bajos” by Ana Crespo Solana (2002) ,  have been selected  for containing detailed and relevant information about the destruction of Neuss (July 1586), the historical event described in the selected Wikipedia  article.  These modern  or secondary sources provide a general overview — based on primary sources – of the historical background in which the destruction of Neuss took place. According to BGS University, ” secondary sources offer an analysis or a restatement of primary sources”. In fact, modern writers/historians/academics act with the benefit of hindsight. Furthermore, they base their thesis on contemporary or primary sources, taking into account different and even diametrically oposed standpoints that arise in warfare contexts. Nevertheless, according to Wikipedia, new authors may distort and put their own spin on the findings of prior cited authors. An objective attitude is thus fundamental to achieve a broad understanding of the causes and consequences of historical events, which is precisely the commitment of the aforementioned modern authors whose work has been considered useful for the translation /expansion of the selected Wikipedia article.

Bearing in mind the importance of original documents as prime witnesses more directly related to historical events, a list of  (nearly) contemporary sources ( published during the 16th and 17th centuries) has been chosen for the completion of the translation/expansion of the selected Wikipedia article. Contemporary or primary sources, according to the BGS University,  are “records of events as they are first described, usually by witnesses or by people who were involved in the event…but can also include memoirs, interviews or accounts that were recorded later “ . The citation impact of these original documents or primary sources is very strong:  Cabrera de Córdoba, one of the cited authors, witnessed the conflict – he was retained by the Duke of Parma during a diplomatic mission until the city of Neuss was captured by the Spanish forces. Other cited authors, such as Van Meteren,  became closely involved in related and consecutive events. However, it must be taken into account that these authors/historians/biographers were often influenced by their personal political standpoint thereby expressing themselves somewhat subjectively at some points (just as some modern authors!) . In fact, severe differences and even contradictions among chronicles describing the same historical event lead us to suspect that sometimes  the task of distinguishing true facts from pure fantasy is far from easy.

According to Wikipedia, a primary source is not necessarily more relevant or better than a secondary source: there can be bias and other tactics used to twist historical information. When analysing these sources, a careful evaluation of the amount and direction of possible distortions must be carried out by the researcher. The task of comparing different contemporary sources which narrate the same event is fundamental to uncover, or at least clarify,  the facts. In conclusion, the starting point for a quality article rests upon a wide selection of both primary and secondary sources, in combination with the ability of the writer to accurately select/use/analyse/compare/contrast  these sources.

References fot the Wikipedia article translation/expansion project:

Contemporary sources:

* Baudartius, Willem: Morghen-Wecker der vrye Nederlantsche provintien (1610).

* Bentivoglio, Guido: Las Guerras de Flandes. (1687)

* Cabrera de Córdoba, Luis: Historia de Felipe II. (1619).

* Van Meteren, Emmanuel: Historia Belgica Nostri. (Latin 1598/ Middle Dutch1663)

Modern sources:

* P. Miller, Frederic. “The destruction of Neuss”   2010

* Crespo Solana, Ana. (2002) “España y las 17 provincias de los Países Bajos”  2002

References post:

* Image: City of Neuss. Civitates Orbis Terrarum. G. Braun & F. Hogenberg (1619). Retrieved 20.03.2012 (Reinhold Berg Antique maps) from http://www.bergbook.com/htdocs/German_Old_Views.htm

* Primary source. In Wikipedia. Retrieved 20.03.2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_source

* Verifiability. In Wikipedia. Retrieved 16.07.2012 from  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability

* BGS University. Primary and Secondary sources (2012). Retrieved  20.03. 2012 from http://libguides.bgsu.edu/content.php?pid=20573&sid=145214
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