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Michael Roberts (1908–1997) was an Englishmarker historian specializing in the early modern period and particularly known for his studies of Swedish history.

Roberts was born in Lytham St Annesmarker, Lancashiremarker and educated at Brighton Collegemarker. He taught at Rhodes University Collegemarker in Grahamstownmarker, South Africa from 1935, served in the army in East Africa during World War II and headed the British Council in Stockholmmarker 1944-1946. From 1954 until his retirement in 1973 he was professor of modern history at the Queen's University of Belfastmarker. He also held guest professorships in U.S. universities. He was a member of the British Academy and the Royal Irish Academy.

Roberts is chiefly known as the originator of the theory of a "Revolution in Military Affairs" or RMA, which he presented in a paper entitled "The Military Revolution: 1560-1660" first presented in a lecture at the Queen's university of belfast in 1955. this theory holds that certain changes in military tactics and technology led to a revolutionary new method of waging war that made combat more decisive than it had been previously.

Although originally working in the area of British history, Roberts soon gained an interest in the history of Sweden and learned the Swedish language prior to 1940. He made his most significant contributions on the period from the late 16th to the early 18th century when Sweden was a major player on the European political and military scene, but published several studies on later periods in both Swedish and British history. Some of his works on Swedish history are used as textbooks in Swedish universities and several have also been translated into Swedish. In addition, he proposed the concept of a 'military revolution' in the early modern Europe - an idea that, with modification, is still used by historians.

Roberts also wrote translations of Birger Sjöberg and Carl Michael Bellman, which he published himself. These works are on file at the National Library of Swedenmarker. In 2008 the Birger Sjöberg Society published Frida's New Clothes, a collection of the poet's lyrics in translation. Fourteen of the translations were by Roberts.

Michael Roberts had several Swedish honours bestowed upon him; among other things he received an honorary doctorate from Stockholm Universitymarker, and was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.

Select bibliography

  • The Whig Party, 1807-1812 (1939).
  • Gustav Adolf the Great (translator) (1940).
  • Gustavus Adolphus, A History of Sweden 1611-1632 (two volumes, 1953-1958).
  • Sweden as a great power 1611-1697 (1968).
  • The early Vasas : a history of Sweden 1523-1611 (1968).
  • Gustavus Adolphus and the Rise of Sweden (1973).
  • Twelve pieces and an introduction from Fridas bok (translator) (1975).
  • Epistles and songs: Carl Michael Bellman (translator) (three volumes, 1977-1981).
  • The Swedish imperial experience, 1560-1718 (1979).
  • British Diplomacy and Swedish Politics, 1758-1773 (1980).
  • The Age of Liberty : Sweden 1719-1772 (1986).
  • From Oxenstierna to Charles XII : four studies (1991).

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