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 sturdy kings from Charles VIII to Henri II created tensions in conventional society which mixed with financial difficulties and rising spiritual divisions to deliver the dominion with reference to disintegration lower than a chain of susceptible 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 non secular orthodoxy.
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Extra resources for A History of Sixteenth-Century France, 1483–1598: Renaissance, Reformation and Rebellion
3 Let us for now follow the merchant's path up the social scale. The acquisition of land was the traditional startingpoint on the road to nobility, especially as the lands acquired were often seigneurial. It also brought economic security. Trading was always a risky business. Most sales were made on credit a practice which opened doors normally closed to the unpolished burgher, bringing contact with noblemen and churchmen. As he rose in status, the merchant took his place among the civic magistrates.
And the son of Jean Ango happily combined royal service with his offices and revenue farms, and even combined the post of Governor of Dieppe with active participation in joint-stock companies involved in piracy, cod-fishing, and other trading ventures. These aristocrats of business, no less than their humbler local counterparts, expressed their financial power in stone. Mansions in town and chateaux in the country provided work for local architects, sculptors and painters. Richard Gascon maintains that, 40 A HISTORY OF SIXTEENTH-CENTURY FRANCE in Paris at least, the libraries of the merchants were more Impressive than those of the lawyers, the royal servants, and the churchmen.
They often had a lucrative second string to their bow, perhaps trading as merchants. Dealing in corn and cereals, they could even profit from the high prices in periods of dearth. Or by running an inn, a tavern, a kiln, or a mill, they could lord it in a fashion over their less fortunate neighbours. Or again, manufacturing linen or woollen cloth in their home, they might trade in a local or even regional market, or deal with a merchant from the town. This rural bourgeoisie had a good business sense, and rented demesne land and seigneurial rights from landlords, or went into tithe-farming for monastic or episcopal proprietors, or simply for the local parish priest.
A History of Sixteenth-Century France, 1483–1598: Renaissance, Reformation and Rebellion by Janine Garrisson