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French Wars Of Religion Revision Notes

History Notes > General History VIII: 1500 - 1618 Notes

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France in the Sixteenth Century
?????Notes from past notes
? King Francis (1515) o Not a developed country
? No common:
? Language
? Legal system
? Blurred borders with the Holy Roman Empire
? Foreign enclosures (Calais, Orange).
? Local customs in North, Roman law in south
? Codification only under Louis XII and Francis I o Expansion
? Annexation of Brittany + Bourbon demesne (1532) o Loss
? Flanders, Artois and Tournasis (Madrid 1525, Cambrai, 1529, Crepy 1544)
? A very big country o Le guide des chemins de France ? Paris to Marseilles ? 14 days (1554 ?
? Trade o Picks up
? Marseilles
? 400 livres (1500) ? 1,300 livres (1519-20) ? 8,000 livres (1540s) o Atlantic ports
? Rouen, Nantes, La Rochelle.
? Largely self-sufficient o Rich in gold bullion (Chancellor Duprat, 1517!?]
? Economy o From 1500-1550
? In pretty good shape; though under attack and basically collapses in the end!
? II: Government
? French King o Different to others
? Head of state
? No interregnum between monarchs
? Cannot be lawfully be denied on health/age grounds. o Sacre
? At Rheins remained a symbol of kingship's supernatural quality and alliance to the Gallican Church
? Sacerdotal Character
? Bishops anointed King's body with chrism, king takes Communion.
? Thaumaturgical character
? Touch healed scrofula (only continental monarch of the 16th C to enjoy this power).
? Theories of Rule:
? Royal Absolutism o Bude's "L'institution du prince" (1547) o Power invested in one man: the king

?He alone can legislate, dispense justice, levy taxes, concession, bestow local privileges.

Moderatism o Seyssel's La Monarchie de France
? Argues King must collaborate with Parlement courts, tempered by aristocracy and acts as a servant of the Church to prevent lapse in monarchical oath.

Natalie Zemon-Davies, 'The Rites of Violence', Past and Present. No 59 (May, 1973), pp. 51-91. Bible, liturgy, action of political authority, traditions of popular folk justice to purify religious community, humiliate the enemy (to make him less harmful).????Calvinist preacher to his flock (1562): 'And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars and burn their grove with fire' and ye shall hew down the graven images of their god and destroy the names of them out of that place'.1 The crowd o Prompted by political and moral traditions which legitimise even prescribe their violence. o Violence as "irrationality"?
Religious violence o Linked to social (class-based?) and economic (grain prices) issues. I What were the goals of popular religious violence?
o A little like preaching o Defence of true doctrine and the refutation of false doctrine through dramatic challenges and tests.
? Woman in Montepelier in 1558 to a Catholic preacher ? "you blaspheme!'
? Reformed crowds in 1562, in La Rochelle and Paris: The Gospel, the Gospel, Long live the Gospel!
Catholic response: o Again, not just random violence, but the refutation of false doctrine. o Angers
? Seized a French Bible and threw it in the river, saying 'There's the truth of the devil drowned'. o Why didn't God protect them in 1572?
o Stuffed leaves of Protestant Bible in the mouths and wounds of corpses, mocking the Huguenots, asking when God would come to their aid. Ridding community of dreadful pollution 'Polluted hands' o Protestants were vessels of pollution
? 'Huguenot'
? In Tours, King Huguet would rattle doors, haunt people at night (like the Prots who went to their lascivious conventicles at night)

1 Page 2 [all page numbers for this article are from the electronic numbering, not the article itself].


? Sexual uncleanliness
? Concubinage
? Rumoured the Church of Lyon had organisations of hundreds of women as temple prostitutes.
? Rouen o After the First War, Mass and the brothel re-entered Rouen together.
? Mass ? 'vile filth'. Restores the unity of the body social and guarantee of its traditional boundaries Violence as a strictly political action o The Grande Rebeine of Lyon (1529)
? 'The commune is rising against the hoarders of grain'
? The 'little people' would meet where municipal assemblies were ordinarily held.
? Then, they went around seizing grain from wealthy people like the city council would have done. o Grain-Riot, Provins (1573)
? Artisans
? Seize grain sold at high price to non-residents of city, because civic authorities failed to provision the town at an honest price. Political violence extended to religious crowds Imitating the Magistrate o 1540s
? Parlement of Aix and Paris ordering of mass executions for heresy largely anticipate crowd massacres of later decades.
? Official acts of desecration and torture
? Seen through widely dispersed wood-cuts. Crowds o Executions
? Would take victims to official execution spots in Paris (1562) such as the Marche aux Pourceaux (Paris). o Judicial sentences
? Catholic crowds would "re-try" and "re-arrest" those convicted of heresy in mock imitation of judicial procedure.
? Mock Trial, Provins, Champagne (1572)
? Incredible o Mock trial as to whether corpse could be burned. Calvinist crowd o Different imitation of the magisterial model
? They were using the king's sword how he ought to be using it. Conclusion: o Crowds saw themselves:
? Defending true doctrine
? Ridding the community of defilement o???? Like the spirit of the dead, they are. Sexual uncleanliness
? They would have sexual intercourse after the voluptuous Psalmsinging of their nocturnal conventicles.

? Acting out magisterial roles. Essentially religious character to the violence.??????o II Why did people think they could act like the state?
o Surprising
? Jesuit Emond Auger
? Pedagogue d'Armes (1568) o Urges a holy war to exterminate heretics, direct address only to Charles IX.
? Even Protestant resistant theories
? Never says that private persons have the right to violent disobedience. So why? And why with absolutely no remorse?
Clerics and political officers are active in the violence Militia officers o Involved in the massacres of Paris and in the Lyon Vespers. Preachers legitimise violence o Calvin
? Not happy with it, but accepts the idea of violent iconoclasm as 'an extraordinary power from God'.
? How else could the Netherland 1566 riots have been so successful?
o Catholic preachers
? Blamed the loss at St Quentin to the presence of heretics in France. Legitimacy from the crowd itself Little people had to take law into their own hands o Royal edicts
? Enjoined anyone who saw murder, theft or misdeed to chase after the criminal o Canon law
? Allowed certain priestly roles to laymen in times of emergency. o Calvinists
? Civil and Military Defense of the Innocents (1563). Discussed that private individuals had the right to act independently in the name of religion. o Psalm-singing
? Brought people together especially during times of trouble. III What was the occasion of religious riot then?
When it is believed that religious and/or political authorities are failing in their duties and/or need help in fulfilling them. Not Grain prices o In 1562, grain prices were lower during first 5 months in Toulouse, unlike 1557 (when there was no disturbance). o 1572
? Bartholomew's Day Massacre saw slowly rising grain prices, but not a dearth of supply. Religious worship and 'sacred space' o The disputes are basically: should the religious form of these events be Catholic or Protestant


? Fights ensue over cussing of Virgin o Baptism o Funeral o Religious services o Processional life
? Corpus Christi Day
? Protestants don't put out rugs in front of their doors Festive Catholicism o Dancing, masks, banners, costumes and music - 'lascivious abomination' o Caused great grievance among Huguenots, who would challenge with psalmsinging. IV Differences between Catholic and Protestant rites of violence Calvinists o Iconoclastic
? Made war only on images and altars (while Calvinists say, the Catholics spill blood with every kind of cruelty). o Target mainly priests monks and friars
? After a millennium of clerical ''tyranny''.Catholics o Bloodshed
? Why?
? Stronger numerically
? Stronger sense of the persons of heretics as sources of danger and defilement. o Target any Calvinists really. Violence as an expression of class hatred? Attack against rich Huguenots?
o Not overly convincing
? Pillaging
? Played its role in all riots
? But not really the "people" slaying the rich. o Lyon, Massacre of 1572
? Of the 141 males killed in the Vespers, 88 were artisans, 34 were merchants and 6 were lawyers. o Perhaps more convincing when talking about peasants though On the understanding of religious violence o Destruction by water
? Act as a holy water: an essential feature of Catholic rites of exorcism. o Fire which destroyed a Protestant apothecary in Montpelier
? The smell is to imitate incense. o Desecration of corpses
? Only Catholic crowds pay attention to the corpse after it is dead
? Bodies were thrown to the dogs like Jezebel and dragged through the streets, their genitalia and internal organs cut away. o Desecration of religious objects
? Protestants o???Bartholomew's Day is about a wedding, no different from the burial at Toulouse or the baptism at Nemours.


Folk justice
? Catholic crowds lead Prot women through the streets with muzzles on (popular punishment for the shrew).
? Or with a crown of thorns. Rites of violence and comedy. o Lyon
? A protestant dresses up as Saint Irenee during the sacking of the Church of Saint Irenee, with his episcopal ring around his neck. o Rouen
? At the end of Rogation's Day
? Lance with a dragon on it: the dragon has eaten the host. o "Farce" of Saint Point
? Game was to go with some women after a party, get one or two Protestants from jail and have them drowned from the Saone Bridge. Comedy o Used to hide from 16th Century rioters the full magnitude of what they were doing, and create 'guilt-free massacre'. Rites of religious violence o De-humanises these people who they have to kill. V Who made the crowd?
o Not simply the alienated poor o Largely artisans o Could also be lawyers, merchants, notaries o Women
? Just as involved. o Adolescent males
? Youth given a license to act as the conscience of the community in matters of domestic discord. Organised crowd o Companies of "marching bands" in Autun, Auxerre and Le Mans o Sieur de Flassans in Aix-en-Provence
? His band have a uniform
? Special feathered hats with white crosses and were led by a Franciscan carrying a great wooden cross. To explain massacre on the magnitude of Bartholomew's Day?
o A frenzy, primitive display gone out of control?
o Usual part of social behaviour?
Conclusion: o????

Would burn crosses upon a spit; through the sacred host to the dogs and leave human excrement on holy-water basins.


What are we seeing here?
o Ordinary people taking on the role of the preacher, prior and magistrate to defend the Truth of doctrine, or to purify the community, either to maintain Catholic boundaries and structure, or to-reform relations within it. o Justifying the violence?
? Found in group identity, religious script, folk lore. o Drawn from a store of punitive or purifactory traditions in 16th C France. o Crowds don't act in mindless ways.
? Targeted violence with a purifactory backdrop.
? Not manic violence, but controlled, humiliating and brutal.

Mark Greengrass, France in the Age of Henri IV (London, 1984).Chapter One: The French Civil WarsLouis Le Roy o 1576
? 'Everything is out of place and in confusion and nothing is as it should be'.2 Luther o Doesn't make an impact really in France
? France had effective royal and ecclesiastical instruments to repress heresy. Millenarian tone to the era o 'panic literature'
? Living in the Last Days o In France, people do not want change Calvinism o By 1545, large numbers had grouped together o Perceived themselves as the 'precious few'. o 1559
? Had their first synod in Paris o 1560
? Established their Confession of Faith and Ecclesiastical Discipline. What is Calvinist doctrine?
o Rejected
? Judicial astrology, prognostication, divination and aggressive millenarianism. o Predestination
? All events are willed by God, our salvation is shaped by Him in ways we cannot comprehend. o Holiness
? Lay solely in the Word of God alone. o They ridiculed Catholic ritual
? Its idolatry, carnival. Huguenots??2 Page 1.

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