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Political, Religious and Social Conflict in the States of Savoy, 1400–1700

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Edited By Sarah Alyn Stacey

Taking conflict as its collective theme, this book brings together the work of early modern specialists to offer a range of insights into the political, social and religious climate in Savoy between 1400 and 1700. The contributors focus on the broader context of early modern European history, making clear the sometimes overlooked political and historical significance of Savoy. The volume explores the diverse mechanisms whereby political, social and religious conflicts were articulated with reference to a wide range of primary sources, many of which are unpublished. The chapters offer important perspectives on subjects such as: the diplomatic relations between the court of Savoy and certain foreign powers during a time of European unrest; the role of propaganda; the construction of national and religious identities; and persecution and resistance, notably in relation to the Reformation and the Waldensians. The conclusions that are established advance a better understanding of the history of Savoy and of the broader conflicts shaping Europe in the early modern period.
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Introduction

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Taking conflict as its collective theme, this volume of articles offers a range of insights into the political, social and religious climate of the Duchy of Savoy in the early modern period. It considers the diplomatic relations between the court of Savoy and various foreign powers during a time of wide-scale European unrest, unrest which had notable repercussions for the defining of national territories, identities, and religious allegiance. A primary focus of the volume in this last respect is the persecution of the Waldensians, the followers of the Christian spiritual movement which, in the sixteenth century, was absorbed into the Protestant Reformation.1 The conference that inspired this volume of essays was, in fact, organised around the Waldensian manuscripts conserved in the Old Library of Trinity College and collected by James Ussher (1581–1656), Professor of Theology in Trinity and, from 1625, Archbishop of Armagh.2

A number of the chapters consider the use of propaganda to manipulate perceptions about the House of Savoy, thereby touching on a conflict between political reality and constructed image arising from political ambition. This is the subject of the first three chapters which examine the attempts by the Dukes of Savoy to elevate their status either through court protocols or territorial expansion.

In the first of these chapters, ‘Language and Sovereignty: The Use of Titles and Savoy’s Royal Declaration of 1632’, Tony Osborne considers ← 1 | 2 → the political importance and implications of royal titles for Europe’s early modern dynasties. Taking...

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