Rory Rapple

Rory Rapple


Associate Professor

Graduate Program Field

European History


Britain and Ireland; Cultural; Intellectual; Legal; Military History; Political


B.A., Trinity College Dublin, 1997
M.Phil., University of Cambridge, 1998
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, 2002

Research and Teaching Interests

I teach lecture courses on Tudor England, Seventeenth-Century England, Late-Medieval and Early-Modern Ireland, Medieval Ireland as well as a seminar entitled "Violence in Early-Modern Europe".

My research interests include, Political thinking in Early Modern Britain and Ireland; Britain, Ireland and the Atlantic World; violence in Early-Modern Europe; military culture in Early-Modern Europe; Aspects of political and social culture in Ireland during the twentieth century.


I am writing a book on the life and mental world of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the pioneer of English transatlantic exploration and settlement. This book will place particular emphasis on his considerable reputation among contemporaries as the champion of a particularly high view of monarchical power. Gilbert is a great topic on whom to research and write because of his tendency to intellectualize the various contexts, English, Irish, and Atlantic, in which he found himself. This gives us a fresh and challenging perspective on very many aspects of Early Modern English political, social and intellectual life and can change our views on what thoughts were thinkable during the second half of England's sixteenth-century. Related to this topic are my research and writing on the transmission of secular absolutist styles of thought from French constitutional sources to England and Ireland. The evolution of English political thinking on absolutism and free monarchy is a central concern of my work as are the relationships between the Crown’s authority, the autonomy of its delegates and the enterprises and initiatives that they pursued.

I am also writing a number of articles on the methods used in the administration of the Crown Army in Tudor and Early Stuart Ireland from the eve of the Nine Years’ War to the unfolding of Strafford’s plans for a new army. This is part of a wider survey of the character of the Tudor and Stuart administration in Ireland.

I am also currently researching a book project on the dynamic of the conflict often called the "Nine Years' War" which convulsed both English and Irish politics in the last decade of Elizabeth I's reign.

Martial Power and Elizabethan Political Culture: military men in England and Ireland, 1558-1594 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Select Book Chapters and Articles:
‘Brinkmanship and bad luck: Ireland, the Nine Years’ War and the Succession’ in Doubtful and Dangerous:The Question of succession in late Elizabethan England, eds. S. Doran and P. Kewes (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014), 236-256.

‘Shakespeare, the Irish, and Military Culture,’ an 8,500 word chapter in The Age of Shakespeare, ed. R. Malcolm Smuts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015).

“Writing about violence in the Tudor kingdoms," The Historical Journal, 54, 3 (2011) 829-854,

"Taking up office in Elizabethan Connacht: the case of Sir Richard Bingham," English Historical Review, CXXIII, 501 (April 2008): 277-299, Oxford University Press.

Contact Information

Office: 477 Decio
Phone: 574-631-3472

Mailing Address:
Department of History
219 O'Shaughnessy
Notre Dame, IN 46556


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