Search results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 18 items for

  • Series: Studies in Early Modern European History x
  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Fénelon, Jacobitism and the political works of the Chevalier Ramsay

Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686-1743) was a Scottish Jacobite émigré who spent most of his adult life in France. His political works predominantly relied on a mixture of British and French doctrines to stimulate a Jacobite restoration to the British throne. Ambitious and controversial, Ramsay believed that key reforms and a growing empire would make Britain the ‘capital of the universe.’ His position as an intellectual conduit between the two kingdoms enables an extensive assessment of the political thought in Britain and France. Examining a number of important thinkers from the 1660s to the 1730s, this work stresses the significance of seventeenth century ideology on the following century. Crucially, the monograph explores the exchange of ideas between the two countries in the early Enlightenment. A time when Britain had rejected the absolutist pretensions of James II in the Glorious Revolution (1688) to protect mixed sovereignty and a key role for Parliament. This enshrinement of liberty and mixed government struck a chord in France with theorists opposed to Louis XIV’s form of centralised sovereignty. Following Louis XIV’s death in 1715, greater support for monarchical reform became evident in French political theory. Aided by the viewpoints and methodology of intellectual conduits such as Ramsay, shared perspectives emerged in the two countries on the future of monarchy.

Visions of episcopacy in seventeenth-century France

This book explores how conceptions of episcopacy (government of a church by bishops) shaped the identity of the bishops of France in the wake of the reforming Council of Trent (1545–63). It demonstrates how the episcopate, initially demoralised by the Wars of Religion, developed a powerful ideology of privilege, leadership and pastorate that enabled it to become a flourishing participant in the religious, political and social life of the ancien regime. The book analyses the attitudes of Tridentine bishops towards their office by considering the French episcopate as a recognisable caste, possessing a variety of theological and political principles that allowed it to dominate the French church.


This book explores the appropriation of science in French society and the development of an urban scientific culture. Science underwent a process of commodification and popularization during the eighteenth century as more and more individuals sought to acquire some knowledge of scientific activities and as more and more people entered public debates on science. Popular science took many forms in the eighteenth century. While books, periodicals, universities, and academies all provided a breadth of scientific popularization at different levels and for different audiences, this book focuses on popular science within urban culture more generally. More than ever before, public lectures and demonstrations, clubs, and other activities arose in the eighteenth century as new opportunities for the general population to gain access to and appropriate science. These arenas for popular science were not restricted to people of a certain education. In fact, popular science, and public lecture courses in particular, was often set at a level that could be understood by pretty much anyone. This was a bone of contention between popularizers and their critics who felt that in some cases popular science lacked any sort of real scientific content. In reality, some popularizers had specific theoretical content in mind for their courses while others were admittedly more interested in theatrics. Identifying the audience, cost, and location of popular science helps reveal its place in urban culture. The book looks at the audience, identified through advertisements and course descriptions, as well as the economics of courses.

The career of Charles d’Albert, duc de Luynes (1578–1621)

Historians relying upon hostile contemporary sources have dismissed Charles d'Albert, duc de Luynes, as an inept mediocrity. Luynes took the oath of office as constable on Friday 2 April 1621 in the long gallery of the Louvre overlooking the Seine. Cardinal Richelieu considered Luynes to be the implacable enemy of the Queen Mother, and blamed him for her quarrel with her son. Cardinal Richelieu, a client of the Queen Mother, despised Luynes whom he savaged in his memoirs in a devastating character assassination that significantly influenced later historiography. This book presents a more positive assessment of his career as a favorite, and long-overdue recognition of his contributions to Louis XIII's government. It provides another look at Luynes untainted by the malice of Richelieu. The occupation of falconer reveals something about Luynes's character; it is said to be like the falconer-patient, goodtempered, shrewd, and inventive with keen eyesight, sharp hearing, a strong voice, and a habit of sleeping lightly. The book discusses the nature of the king's relationship with Luynes as demonstrated by their staging of royal ballets. The book discusses Concini's murder and the Order of Saint Esprit, which became the most prestigious military order in France, as well as the dilemma faced by the court nobility. The siege of Montauban, executed by Luynes is also discussed. The pamphlet attack on Luynes began with the Queen Mother's revolt in 1620. The anti-Luynes attack accelerated with the southwestern campaign against the Protestants, and continued for a year after his death.

Rothenburg, 1561–1652

Given the widespread belief in witchcraft and the existence of laws against such practices, why did witch-trials fail to gain momentum and escalate into ‘witch-crazes’ in certain parts of early modern Europe? This book answers this question by examining the rich legal records of the German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a city that experienced a very restrained pattern of witch-trials and just one execution for witchcraft between 1561 and 1652. The book explores the factors that explain the absence of a ‘witch-craze’ in Rothenburg, placing particular emphasis on the interaction of elite and popular priorities in the pursuit (and non-pursuit) of alleged witches at law. By making the witchcraft narratives told by the peasants and townspeople of Rothenburg central to its analysis, the book also explores the social and psychological conflicts that lay behind the making of accusations and confessions of witchcraft. Furthermore, it challenges the existing explanations for the gender-bias of witch-trials, and also offers insights into other areas of early modern life, such as experiences of and beliefs about communal conflict, magic, motherhood, childhood and illness. Written in a narrative style, the study invites a wide readership to share in the drama of early modern witch trials.

Theology and popular belief

The Malleus Maleficarum is one of the best-known treatises dealing with the problem of what to do with witches. Written in 1487 by a Dominican inquisitor, Heinrich Institoris, following his failure to prosecute a number of women for witchcraft, it is in many ways a highly personal document, full of frustration at official complacency in the face of a spiritual threat, as well as being a practical guide for law-officers who have to deal with a cunning, dangerous enemy. Combining theological discussion, illustrative anecdotes and useful advice for those involved in suppressing witchcraft, the treatise's influence on witchcraft studies has been extensive. The only previous translation into English, that by Montague Summers in 1928, is full of inaccuracies. It is written in a style almost unreadable nowadays, and is unfortunately coloured by Institoris's personal agenda. This new edited translation, with an introductory essay setting witchcraft, Institoris and the Malleus into clear English, corrects Summers' mistakes and offers an unvarnished version of what Institoris actually wrote. It will undoubtedly become the standard translation of this controversial late medieval text.

In the sixteenth century, many different stories on the Revolt in the Low Countries spread throughout Europe, written by very different authors with very different intentions. Over time this plethora of sources and interpretations faded away, leaving us with only a couple of canonical narratives, extremely opposed in essence. In this way, the Dutch and Spanish national myths were forged on the basis of two different visions of the conflict: as a liberation war and act of rebellion against cruel Spanish oppressors or as a glorious part of the history of the Spanish Empire. This book revolves around the concept of episodic narratives, factual texts on the events and its protagonists, which can be seen at first sight as anecdotic, but that happen to be the building blocks of history. This approach renders the book thought-provoking for anybody interested in the history of the Revolt in the Low Countries, but also for those who wish to understand the dynamics of early modern narratives. Since it offers a wide array of sources in different languages it also provides readers with the chance to engage with texts they do not have easy access to. How did the Spanish write about the Revolt, what can we find in Italian chronicles, what were the Jesuits writing in their letters and how does the war look like from the perspective of a local nobleman or a Spanish commander?

Louis XIV’s military occupations of Lorraine and Savoy

This book investigates the occupations of two of the territories, Lorraine and Savoy, both of which were occupied twice during the course of Louis's personal rule: Lorraine in 1670–1697 and 1702–1714, Savoy in 1690–1696 and again in 1703–1713. It first provides some necessary background in terms of French frontier strategy during the seventeenth century, and also relations between France, Lorraine and Piedmont-Savoy in the longer term. It includes a brief account of the occupation of Lorraine under cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, to provide useful comparison with an earlier occupation. The book then gives a narrative analysis of the occupations from the point of view of France's strategic priorities. It also considers the administrative side of the occupations, in terms of the structures and personnel put in place by the French regime and the financial and security burdens imposed on the occupier and the occupied. The book further investigates French policy towards elite groups, and their reactions to French occupation. It looks at the ways in which the nobilities responded: whether they chose to collaborate with or resist the French, and what forms that collaboration and resistance took. The attention then turns to those who held offices in occupied territories, in the sovereign courts, where they continued to exist, as well as in the lower, subaltern courts and the towns. Finally, the book considers the French church policies towards, and the responses of, the episcopate, the religious superiors and the lower regular and secular clergy.

Abstract only
The marriage of Tudor England and Habsburg Spain

The co-monarchy of Mary I and Philip II put England at the heart of early modern Europe. This positive reassessment of their joint reign counters a series of parochial, misogynist and anti-Catholic assumptions, correcting the many myths that have grown up around the marriage and explaining the reasons for its persistent marginalisation in the historiography of Tudor England. Using new archival discoveries and original sources it argues for Mary as a great Catholic queen, while fleshing out Philip’s important contributions as king of England. It demonstrates the success and many positive achievements of this glittering dynastic union in everything from culture, music and art to cartography, commerce and exploration. Philip and Mary’s negative reputation derives from a particular version of English identity and reflects confessional differences in early modern English history. The acceptability of Mary’s foreign marriage will continue to reflect the evolving relationship between Britain and Europe, and its cultural politics. Moving from the commercial and strategic interests served by Anglo-Spanish alliances, it analyses the negotiations and marriage contract, Mary’s government, the Act for the Queen’s Regal Power, the Wyatt rebellion, the co-monarchy, gynophobic polemic, court culture and ceremony, bilingual lexicography, portraiture and print, and the historical (mis)fortunes of this glittering dynastic match.


Feudalism, venality, and revolution is about the political and social order revealed by the monarchy’s most ambitious effort to reform its institutions, the introduction of participatory assemblies at all levels of the government. It should draw the attention of anyone interested in the sort of social and political conditions that predisposed people to make the French Revolution. In particular, according to Alexis de Tocqueville’s influential work on the Old Regime and the French Revolution, royal centralization had so weakened the feudal power of the nobles that their remaining privileges became glaringly intolerable to commoners. Feudalism, venality, and revolution challenges this theory by showing that when Louis XVI convened assemblies of landowners in the late 1770s and 1780s to discuss policies needed to resolve the budgetary crisis, he faced widespread opposition from lords and office holders. These elites regarded the assemblies as a challenge to their hereditary power over commoners. The monarchy incorporated an administration of seigneurial jurisdictions and venal offices. Lordships and offices upheld inequality on behalf of the nobility and bred the discontent evident in the French Revolution. These findings will alter the way scholars think about the Old Regime society and state and should therefore find a large market among graduate students and professors of European history.