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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social and religious conflicts were articulated with reference to a wide range of primary sources, many of which are unpublished.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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‘Documentary Adventures’: The Waldensian Inquisition Manuscripts in Trinity College Dublin

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The historiographical problems connected with the formation of the collection of Waldensian sources that ended up in the library of the Irish Archbishop James Ussher have only been given fleeting and superficial attention. Similarly, the presence of inquisition trials has either been ignored or simply referred to in passing, while for a long time ‘Waldensian literature’ has been the main focus of attention. The affair is comparable to the ‘queer story’ of the early modern inquisition manuscripts studied by John Tedeschi.1 This ‘documentary adventure’ does have its own appeal and it allows for several startling surprises, especially when we consider the medieval Waldensian manuscripts (both literary books and inquisitorial trials) that arrived in Ireland.

Generally speaking, we can say that scholarly research has favoured the valuable literary codices that survived the itinerant activities of the barba – as a Waldensian itinerant preacher was called – and has focused on philology rather than inquisition. The literary texts proved to be considerably more attractive, even though there has been little coordination in their study so far.2 This has created an imbalance in the analysis of these extraordinary ← 169 | 170 → records, which is all the more unfortunate given that an approach which conflates interpretations of both philological and inquisitorial elements would help us to gain a better knowledge of the history of the medieval Waldenses.3 A rare opportunity is, indeed, given by the manuscripts in Trinity College’s Old Library: they provide us with both the words of the heretics (viz. the...

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