Challenges to authority
The development of Protestantism in Nantes, 1558–72
in Authority and society in Nantes during the French wars of religion, 1559–98
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The theory and practice of urban authority and governance were deeply affected, while the relationship between the city and the crown was strained. In this chapter, the process and significance of the growth of Protestantism in Nantes are assessed, and the repercussions of the movement for political and religious life in the city are also discussed. The emergence of Protestantism in Nantes had a profound and immediate impact on attitudes to the authority of city institutions and on practical governance in the town, even though the movement was relatively small compared with those in other cities. In these circumstances, the city authorities had great practical difficulties in maintaining order and effectively exercising their authority. Further, undermining practical governance was the corrosive impact of Protestantism on the ideological props to authority in the city. Contemporary authors emphasised the religious and cultural threat posed by heresy to the influence and institutions of the Roman church.

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