Portraits from the French Renaissance and the Wars of Religion (Early Modern Studies Book 3)
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Available for the first time in English, these thirteen selections from André Thevet’s Les vrais pourtraits et vies des hommes illustres offer a glimpse of France during a time of great upheaval. Originally published in 1584, Thevet’s collection contains over two hundred biographical sketches, detailing the lives of important persons from antiquity to the sixteenth century. Edward Benson and Roger Schlesinger have translated and annotated Thevet’s portraits of his contemporaries, and divided them into three categories: monarchs, aristocrats, and scholars. Additionally, an extensive introduction places the work in context and describes the critical attention that Thevet and his writings have received. Together these portraits provide a history of sixteenth-century France as the country underwent tremendous change: from an intellectual renaissance and its first encounter with the New World to the Protestant Reformation and the Wars of Religion that followed. France was irrevocably altered by these events and Thevet’s account of the lives of individuals who struggled with them is indispensable.
the Annales de France41 and to search for the cause of the war over Milan. To tell the truth, had it been necessary to buy the Duchy of Milan, the kingdom could have paid it with the money it had to pay out to conquer it, in addition to the ransoms garnered by the Spaniard [Charles V] and the loss of several thousand brave and valorous officers, but that is how it is. Princes do not look so closely, no matter what it costs, everything they claim to possess must needs be surrendered to them. No
together with the King will be immediately restored by the generous aid of Henri. 78 François’ first wife, Claude, died in 1524. Henri II, King of France Readers struck by Thevet’s lengthy disquisition on the bitter rivalry Translator’s between Emperor Charles V and the kings of France in the middle of Introduction this chapter on Henri II will doubtless wonder at the source of such an extended conflict. Like the Plantagenets of England, the Habsburgs/ Burgundians sought to expand their power
feats of arms of the wrong done by time how much more must the virtue [vertu] with which he was endowed incite a heart to see itself admitted to the ranks of the immortals admirable forever? [223r] Of all the virtues of this Prince, the one is to be commended which pushed him to cherish, honor, and advance the good disciplines. To him must be attributed the occasion for my second trip, which I made to the Ocean sea toward the Antarctic Pole by his order with the Seigneur Nicolas de Villegaignon,
a prolixity. It was however necessary to discourse so long on this matter, not that I have any desire to lay bare the private details of the house of this Chancellor, but to bear witness for posterity to how much he loved good learning, since his will might serve as [a] model to the best testamentary disposition that one might wish. He did me the honor in the old days of showing me some rarities from his office [cabinet];44 I can testify that they were marvelous singularities. One 41 Presumably,
Scholars 156 26 Budé master place in the Kingdom of France. And he honored him with the posiof requests tion [estat] of Master of Requests of his household to keep him there.27 of the King’s Household This excellent personage used this position to increase and amplify the François I, at Budé’s instigaton, orders wages to the professor[s] of the King Death and funeral of Budé dignity of good learning, and pursued it more ardently than he had done in the past; he first persuaded this good