The French Wars of Religion 1559-1598 / Edition 3

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In the second half of the sixteenth century, France was racked by religious civil wars and peace was only restored when Henry of Navarre finally converted to Catholicism, deciding – in his immortal phrase – that 'Paris is worth a mass'.

In this lucid introduction to a complex period in French history, Robert Knecht:

  • Explains the evangelical and Lutheran origins of the Huguenot Church in France
  • Challenges simplistic interpretations of the religious conflict as purely a cloak for political rebellion
  • Provides concise analysis of the wars themselves and the ferment of political ideas which they generated
  • Evaluates the extent of France’s recovery under Henry IV

This third edition has been updated throughout to take account of the latest scholarship, particularly on the Massacre of St. Bartholomew and the reign of Henry III when the monarchy almost succumbed to the challenge posed by the Catholic League. There is a new colour plate section and the main text is supported by a full glossary of terms, maps and three detailed genealogical tables, as well as a carefully chosen selection of original documents.

Each book in the Seminar Studies in History series provides a concise and reliable introduction to complex events and debates. Written by acknowledged experts and supported by extracts from historical Documents, a Chronology, Glossary, Who’s Who of key figures and Guide to Further Reading, Seminar Studies in History are the essential guides to understanding a topic.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781408228197
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/10/2010
  • Series: Seminar Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

R. J. Knecht is Emeritus Professor of French history, University of Birmingham.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the third edition x

Publisher's acknowledgements xi

Note on referencing system xii

Chronology xiii

Who's who xxii

Glossary xxx

Maps xxxiv

Part 1 Analysis 1

Introduction 3

1 The Growth of Calvinism 7

John Calvin (1509-64) 7

The creation of a militant church 9

The Conspiracy of Amboise (1560) 12

The impact of Calvinism 12

2 The Kingdom in Crisis 14

Calvinism and the nobility 14

The growth of faction 18

The crisis of 1559-60 21

3 Catherine De' Medici and the Colloquy of Poissy 29

The regency of Catherine de' Medici (1560-64) 29

The Colloquy of Poissy (1561) 30

The Edict of January (1562) 33

4 The First Three Religious Wars 34

The first war (1562-63) 35

The second war (1567-68) 39

The third war (1568-70) 40

5 The Massacre of St Bartholomew 43

Coligny and the Dutch revolt 43

The Valois-Navarre marriage 46

An unsatisfactory peace 46

The massacre in Paris 49

The provincial massacres 51

6 Huguenot Survival and Resistance 53

The United Provinces of the Midi 54

The Huguenot doctrine of resistance 56

7 Henry III 62

Henry III: A controversial monarch 63

The Catholic League 65

The Duke of Anjou 66

The disputed succession 67

The 'Day of the Barricades' 70

8 'paris Is Worth A Mass': The Triumph Of Henry IV 74

The political thought of the League 75

The accession of Henry IV 78

The end of the League 80

The Edict of Nantes 81

9 Conclusion 85

The political effects of the wars 86

The social and economic effects of the wars 91

Recovery? 96

Part 2 Documents 99

1 The Tumult of Amboise, 1560 100

2 Michel de l'Hopital: the voice of moderation, 13 December 1560 101

3 The Colloquy of Poissy, 9 September-18 October 1561 103

4 Monluc in Guyenne,1562 104

5 The situation in 1562: A Venetian view of France 105

6 Promises to avenge the murder of Francois, duke of Guise, 1563 107

7 The St Bartholomew's Day Massacre, 1572 108

8 The Huguenot state in the south, 1572 109

9 Francogallia by Francois Hotman, 1573 110

10 The Right of Magistrates by Théodore de Bèze, 1574 111

11 The Peace of Monsieur, 6 May 1576 113

12 The Royal Mignons, July 1576 115

13 The Defence of Liberty against Tyrants by Philippe Du Plessis-Mornay, 1579 116

14 The Order of the Holy Ghost, January 1579 117

15 The 'Day of the Barricades', 12 May 1588 118

16 The murder of Henri, Duke of Guise, at Blois, 23 December 1588 120

17 The death of Catherine de' Medici, 5 January 1589 123

18 The assassination of Henry III, 1 August 1589 124

19 An apologia for the Sixteen, 1593 125

20 The Edict of Nantes, 30 April 1598 127

21 Henry IVs speech to the Parlement of Paris, 7 February 1599 131

Genealogies 132

1 The later Valois 132

2 The house of Guise-Lorraine 133

3 The house of Montmorency 134

4 The house of Bourbon-Vendôme 135

Further Reading 136

References 143

Index 155

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