By Janine Garrisson
A masterful new survey of sixteenth-century France which examines the vicissitudes of the French monarchy through the Italian Wars and the Wars of faith. It explores how the advances made lower than a succession of robust kings from Charles VIII to Henri II created tensions in conventional society which mixed with fiscal difficulties and rising non secular divisions to carry the dominion as regards to disintegration less than a sequence of susceptible kings from Francois II to Henri III. The political challenge culminated in France's first succession clash for hundreds of years, yet was once resolved via Henri IV's well timed reconnection of dynastic legitimism with spiritual orthodoxy.
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Additional resources for A History of Sixteenth-Century France, 1483–1598: Renaissance, Reformation and Rebellion
Those whom contemporaries described flatly as 'merchants' tended to deal in anything saleable within their immediate vicinity: cloth and clothing (textiles were the consumer goods par excellence of the time), URBAN LIFE 35 jewellery, paper, horses, or grain. What matters is that these goods might come from anywhere in France - lace from Brittany, broadcloth from Normandy or Paris - or beyond - velvet from Genoa or silk from Milan. They would be retailed anywhere within a radius of 20 kilometres from the town where they arrived wholesale.
Can one detect an URBAN LIFE 41 expansion of educational provision in France towards the end of the fifteenth and in the early decades of the sixteenth centuries? A rather timid affirmative can draw some support from the wealth of modern research into this period, one of the turning-points of modern history. The scholarly debates which rage around the origins of the Reformation can now be supplemented by that provoked by Pierre Chaunu over the expansion across the kingdom of the cultural elite - even if that elite remained a minority.
Tithe strikes were a feature of the Garonne valley and Languedoc, where ecclesiastical dues weighed particularly heavily on harvests, sometimes verging on 12 per cent of the grain crop. 21 Nor were they unknown in Saintonge and Normandy. Some commentators, following Monluc, have argued that the Protestant pastors attempted to mount the bandwagon by preaching against the tithe. But one can credit the faithful of the rural parishes with enough intelligence to see that their church dues were not always promoting the Kingdom of God.