By Janine Garrisson
A masterful new survey of sixteenth-century France which examines the vicissitudes of the French monarchy in the course of the Italian Wars and the Wars of faith. It explores how the advances made below a succession of robust kings from Charles VIII to Henri II created tensions in conventional society which mixed with monetary difficulties and rising spiritual divisions to deliver the dominion on the subject of disintegration less than a sequence of vulnerable kings from Francois II to Henri III. The political situation culminated in France's first succession clash for hundreds of years, yet used to be 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
Tradesmen, from the wealthiest merchants to the humblest grocers, bought land as insurance against the ups and downs of trade. Vezian d'Anthenac, a woad-merchant from Toulouse, finished with 8 hectares of land from a series of 12 deals in 1553. This process operated at all levels of society, and craftsmen frequently called on the notary to seal up a purchase of land from some peasant ruined by social, economic, or demographic crisis. Thus the French countryside underwent significant changes in the sixteenth century, slowly at first, then quickening during the decades of the troubles.
Louis XI interfered frequently and often arbitrarily, but did little more than scratch the surface of local privilege. Fran<;ois I and Henri II looked to the towns as sources of revenue, but had no desire to encroach upon their traditional liberties. The most important towns in the kingdom were in any case already under the royal thumb, and constituted the basis of the monarchical apparatus which, as we shall see, expanded so dramatically in the early sixteenth century. Sovereign courts such as Parlements, chambres des comptes and chambres des aides were established or strengthened in the provincial capitals.
Alternatively, the Church held tempting prebends, rich plums which the prudent parent could reserve in advance for a son to take up on reaching the requisite educational attainments and canonical age. 4 These men would secure the rights to the entire output of a number of town or country craftsmen, providing them with raw materials and perhaps also with the tools of the trade, and then marketing their products through a national or even international network. The producers thus tended to become dependent on these capitalists, tied to them by advances made in cash or kind.
A History of Sixteenth-Century France, 1483–1598: Renaissance, Reformation and Rebellion by Janine Garrisson