Young Italian men joined the Habsburg army in the Low Countries to gain military experience. In pursuit of social advancement, many of these soldiers sought to maintain ties and contacts with their hometowns. Letters were the principal medium for soldiers to establish such a long-distance communication, providing the latest news from the front. This article provides the first examination of letter-writing soldiers as purveyors of news from the battlefield to the governing elites in Italian states during the late sixteenth century. It examines how soldiers of different ranks and social backgrounds used letters to construct a reputation as trustworthy correspondents and as military experts. By providing event-based and up-to-date military and political information on the conflict in which they were actively deployed, soldiers played a crucial role in the circulation of information and shaped the reception at the Italian courts of the unfolding events in the Low Countries.

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