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History   >   Milton and the English Civil War: Cromwell


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Milton and the English Civil War: Cromwell

This course provides key historical context for John Milton's 'Paradise Lost', looking in particular at the figure of Oliver Cromwell. The course is divided into eight parts. The first looks at Cromwell's invasion of Ireland (1649-53), before subsequent modules look at his early life, his life as a politician, and then a soldier. The fourth, fifth, and sixth modules look at the English Civil Wars, beginning with a general overview of what life (and death) was like in this period, before examining in more detail the First and Second Civil Wars, ending with the trial and execution of Charles I. In the final two modules, we explore the Interregnum and, finally, the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.


In this module, we look at Cromwell's campaigns in Ireland in the period 1649-53. Cromwell's actions in Ireland were brutal, and this is a period which Milton tends to play down - if not ignore entirely - when eulogising Cromwell in his later writings. We begin by looking at the Siege of Drogheda - an event which epitomises Cromwell's savagery in Ireland - before examining Cromwell and his army's religious beliefs in an attempt to explain their strong anti-Catholic sentiment.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Purkiss, D. (2018, August 15). Milton and the English Civil War: Cromwell - Ireland [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Purkiss, D. "Milton and the English Civil War: Cromwell – Ireland." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


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Prof. Diane Purkiss

University of Oxford