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


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social and religious conflicts were articulated with reference to a wide range of primary sources, many of which are unpublished.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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Language and Sovereignty: The Use of Titles and Savoy’s Royal Declaration of 1632


In one of the most influential and monumental works of Savoyard history produced during the early modern period, the Histoire généalogique de la royale maison de Savoie (1660), Samuel Guichenon devoted one of his chapters to the definition of souveraineté [sovereignty]. Both ancient and modern writers had grappled with the question, describing sovereignty’s qualities and essential markers. Jean Bodin, he wrote, identified seven characteristics, encompassing the powers to impose laws on all, to make war or peace, to institute magistrates and other officials, to act as the ultimate arbiter, to exercise clemency, to mint coins and to impose levies. Other writers considered different qualities, such as the right to naturalize foreigners, to legitimize bastards, or to receive ambassadors.1 Defining sovereignty by the ability to exercise authority domestically and internationally was one thing; grades of sovereignty were another, and across the first part of his treatise Guichenon was principally concerned with Savoy’s status, the antiquity of the Savoyard states, the ruling family’s unbroken line that dated back six centuries, its claims to various kingdoms, its marriages into Europe’s most illustrious ruling dynasties, and even with the nature and quality of material possessions such as crowns and relics.2

The Histoire généalogique was borne out of Savoy’s intense campaign for royal status, which reflected a much wider characteristic of early modern international relations: the obsession amongst Europe’s dynasties and states with issues of precedence, and notably with whether one princely family ← 15 | 16 → outranked another...

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