Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy
(12 September 1812 – 17 January 1878) was an English historian. He was born in Bexley
Bexley is an South East London]] in the London Borough of Bexley, London, England. It is located on the banks of the River Cray south of the Roman Road, Watling Street...
, England. He was educated at Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....
and King's College, Cambridge
King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college's full name is "The King's College of our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge", but it is usually referred to simply as "King's" within the University....
and called to the Bar in 1837. In 1840, he began teaching history at the University of London
-20th century:Shortly after 6 Burlington Gardens was vacated, the University went through a period of rapid expansion. Bedford College, Royal Holloway and the London School of Economics all joined in 1900, Regent's Park College, which had affiliated in 1841 became an official divinity school of the...
. He was knighted in 1860 and assumed the position of Chief Justice
The Chief Justice in many countries is the name for the presiding member of a Supreme Court in Commonwealth or other countries with an Anglo-Saxon justice system based on English common law, such as the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Court of Final Appeal of...
of Ceylon. His best known contribution to literature is his Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World
(1851). Other works include; Historical and Critical Account of the Several Invasions of England
(1852), History of the Ottoman Turks
, The Rise and Progress of the English Constitution
, and Imperial and Colonial Institutions of the British Empire
(1872). He died in London on 17 January 1878.
Academically, Creasy's work is of a high standard, featuring original texts among his writings.
For example, the quoted comment 'without horse' is followed by a Greek text to that effect in the Marathon Battle account. This feature, along with his detailed explanations of sources, and often of their sources, makes his work of enduring value.
Creasy's most famous work, the Fifteen Battles, reveals much about 19th century
European sentiment, being laced with explicit references to the deplorable barbarism and
immorality of non-Europeans. Indeed, the reason Creasy gives for the significance of many of the fifteen battles, is the very fact that they denied Middle Eastern / Far Eastern people groups access to European soil. Examples include the defeat of the Persians at Marathon, Persian defeat at Arbela, the defeat of Hasdrubal at Metaurus, Attila the Hun's defeat at Chalons, Charles Martel's defeat of the Moors at Tours. Other battles are seen as "decisive" because they shaped the development of Britain, which was the world's leading power at the time of writing: the Norman Conquest at the Battle of Hastings, the defeat of the Spanish Armada and of the French at Blenheim and Waterloo, although also the weakening of the British Empire by the independence of the USA - in 1851 nothing like the global power she would later become - won at Saratoga.
Coming as he does, just before Darwin, Creasy's world-view is notably one of 'enlightenment', and he sees Europe as the keeper of civilization. His thinking is eurocentric, and he describes Christianity as a gift to Europe, which it alone could deserve.
He shares with most Post-Waterloo, 19th century writers the illusion that world peace has been achieved by enlightened Man.