Charles Oman

Charles Oman

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Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman (12 January 1860 – 23 June 1946) was a British military historian
Military history
Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, their cultures, economies and changing intra and international relationships....

 of the early 20th century. His reconstructions of medieval battles from the fragmentary and distorted accounts left by chroniclers were pioneering. His style is an invigorating mixture of historical accuracy and emotional highlights, and it makes his narratives, though founded on deep research, often read as smoothly as fiction, especially in his History of the Peninsular War. Occasionally, his interpretations have been challenged, especially his widely copied thesis that British troops defeated their Napoleonic opponents by firepower alone. Paddy Griffith
Paddy Griffith
Paddy Griffith was an influential British military theorist, he was the author of numerous books in the field of War Studies, a wargame designer for the UK Ministry of Defence, and a leading figure in the wargaming community....

, among modern historians, claims the British infantry's discipline and willingness to attack were equally important.

He was born in Muzaffarpur district
Muzaffarpur District
Muzaffarpur District is one of the thirty-eight districts of Bihar state, India, and Muzaffarpur town is the administrative headquarters of this district. Muzaffarpur district is a part of Tirhut Division....

, India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

, the son of a British planter, and was educated at Oxford University, where he studied under William Stubbs
William Stubbs
William Stubbs was an English historian and Bishop of Oxford.The son of William Morley Stubbs, a solicitor, he was born at Knaresborough, Yorkshire, and was educated at Ripon Grammar School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated in 1848, obtaining a first-class in classics and a third in...

. In 1881 he was elected to a Prize Fellowship at All Souls College, where he would remain for the rest of his career.

He was elected the Chichele Professor of modern history
Modern history
Modern history, or the modern era, describes the historical timeline after the Middle Ages. Modern history can be further broken down into the early modern period and the late modern period after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution...

 at Oxford in 1905, in succession to Montagu Burrows
Montagu Burrows
Montagu Burrows was an officer in the Royal Navy and subsequently the first Chichele Professor of Modern History at Oxford University...

. He was also elected to the FBA
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

 that year, serving as President of the Royal Historical Society
Royal Historical Society
The Royal Historical Society was founded in 1868. The premier society in the United Kingdom which promotes and defends the scholarly study of the past, it is based at University College London...

 (1917–1921), the Numismatic Society and the Royal Archaeological Institute
Royal Archaeological Institute
The Royal Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland is a learned society, established in 1844, primarily devoted to the publication of the Archaeological Journal, a production of archaeological news that has been in print since 1844....

.

His academic career was interrupted by the First World War, during which he was employed by the government Press Bureau and Foreign Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...

.

Oman was a Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 member of Parliament
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 for the University of Oxford constituency
Oxford University (UK Parliament constituency)
Oxford University was a university constituency electing two members to the British House of Commons, from 1603 to 1950.-Boundaries, Electorate and Electoral System:...

 from 1919 to 1935, and was knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

ed in 1920.

He became an honorary fellow of New College
New College, Oxford
New College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.- Overview :The College's official name, College of St Mary, is the same as that of the older Oriel College; hence, it has been referred to as the "New College of St Mary", and is now almost always...

 in 1936 and received the honorary degree
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

s of DCL
Doctor of Civil Law
Doctor of Civil Law is a degree offered by some universities, such as the University of Oxford, instead of the more common Doctor of Laws degrees....

 (Oxford, 1926) and LL.D (Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

, 1911 and Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, 1927). He died at Oxford.

Two of his children became authors. Son Charles (C. C. Oman) wrote several volumes on British silverware and similar housewares, worked as a Keeper of the Department of Metalwork in the Victoria and Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum , set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects...

, and was active in the Folklore Society
Folklore Society
The Folklore Society was founded in England in 1878 to study traditional vernacular culture, including traditional music, song, dance and drama, narrative, arts and crafts, customs and belief...

. Daughter Carola was notable for her biographies, especially that of Nelson.

Works

  • The Art of War in the Middle Ages
    Middle Ages
    The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

    (1885)
  • "The Anglo-Norman and Angevin Administrative System (1100–1265)", in Essays Introductory to the Study of English Constitutional History (1887)
  • A History of Greece From the Earliest Times to the Death of Alexander the Great (1888; 7th ed., 1900)
  • Warwick the Kingmaker (1891)
  • The Story of the Byzantine Empire (1892)
  • The Dark Ages 476–918, Period I of Periods of European History (1893; 5th ed. 1905)
  • A History of England (1895; 2nd ed. 1919)
  • A History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages
    Middle Ages
    The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

    , Vol. I: A.D. 378–1278
    (1898; 2nd ed. 1924)
  • A History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages
    Middle Ages
    The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

    , Vol. II: A.D. 1278–1485
    (1898; 2nd ed. 1924)
  • "Alfred as a Warrior", in Alfred The Great, Alfred Bowker, ed. (1899)
  • Reign of George VI, 1900-1925. A Forecast Written in the Year 1763 (preface and notes) (1763; republished 1899)
  • England in the Nineteenth Century (1900)
  • History of the Peninsular War
    Peninsular War
    The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

    , Vol. I: 1807–1809
    (1902)
  • Seven Roman Statesmen of the Later Roman Republic (1902)
  • England and the Hundred Years War, 1327–1485 A.D. (1903?), No. III of The Oxford Manuals of English History, Charles Oman, ed.
  • History of the Peninsular War
    Peninsular War
    The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

    , Vol. II: Jan. 1809-Sep. 1809
    (1903)
  • "The Peninsular War
    Peninsular War
    The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

    , 1808–14", in The Cambridge Modern History
    Cambridge Modern History
    The Cambridge Modern History is a comprehensive modern history of the world, beginning with the 15th century age of Discovery, published by the Cambridge University Press in the United Kingdom and also in the United States....

    , Vol. IX, Napoleon (1906)
  • "The Hundred Days
    Hundred Days
    The Hundred Days, sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815...

    , 1815", in The Cambridge Modern History, Vol. IX, Napoleon (1906)
  • "Inaugural lecture on the study of history" (1906?), in Oxford Lectures On University Studies, 1906–1921 (1924)
  • The Great Revolt of 1381
    Peasants' Revolt
    The Peasants' Revolt, Wat Tyler's Rebellion, or the Great Rising of 1381 was one of a number of popular revolts in late medieval Europe and is a major event in the history of England. Tyler's Rebellion was not only the most extreme and widespread insurrection in English history but also the...

    (1906)
  • The History of England from the Accession of Richard II. to the Death of Richard III. (1377–1485), Vol. IV of The Political History of England (1906), William Hunt & Reginald Poole, ed.
  • History of the Peninsular War
    Peninsular War
    The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

    , Vol. III: Sep. 1809 – Dec. 1810
    (1908)
  • A History of England Before the Norman Conquest (1910; 8th ed. 1937), Vol. I of A History of England in Seven Volumes (1904–), Charles Oman, ed.
  • History of the Peninsular War
    Peninsular War
    The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

    , Vol. IV: Dec. 1810 – Dec. 1811
    (1911)
  • Wellington
    Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
    Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

    's Army, 1809–1814
    (1912)
  • History of the Peninsular War
    Peninsular War
    The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

    , Vol. V: Oct. 1811 – Aug. 1812
    (1914)
  • The Outbreak of the War of 1914–18: A Narrative Based Mainly on British Official Documents (1919)
  • History of the Peninsular War
    Peninsular War
    The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

    , Vol. VI: Sep. 1812 – Aug. 1813
    (1922)
  • The Unfortunate Colonel Despard & Other Studies (1922)
  • British Castles (1926)
  • "The Duke of Wellington
    Duke of Wellington
    The Dukedom of Wellington, derived from Wellington in Somerset, is a hereditary title in the senior rank of the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The first holder of the title was Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington , the noted Irish-born career British Army officer and statesman, and...

    ", in Political Principles of Some Notable Prime Ministers of the Nineteenth Century, Fossey John Cobb Hearnshaw, ed. (1926)
  • Studies in the Napoleonic Wars (1929)
  • History of the Peninsular War
    Peninsular War
    The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

    , Vol. VII: Aug. 1813 – Apr. 1814
    (1930)
  • The Coinage of England (1931)
  • Things I Have Seen (1933)
  • "The Necessity for the Reformation" (1933) (public lecture)
  • A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth century (1937)
  • The Sixteenth century (1937)
  • On the Writing of History (1939)
  • Memories of Victorian Oxford and of Some Early Years (1941)
  • The Lyons Mail (1945)

External links