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


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social and religious conflicts were articulated with reference to a wide range of primary sources, many of which are unpublished.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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Monstrous Births, Prophecy and Heresy in Savoy and Piedmont: The ‘Trattato dei monstri’ by Guglielmo Baldessano


← 274 | 275 → ELISABETTA LURGO

Monstrous Births, Prophecy and Heresy in Savoy and Piedmont: The ‘Trattato dei monstri’by Guglielmo Baldessano

Writing in the second half of the sixteenth century, Guglielmo Baldessano was the author of various historical and hagiographical works exalting the political and cultural programme of the Savoy dynasty. The most significant work by Baldessano, the ‘Historia ecclesiastica della più occidentale Italia’, is still unpublished. The manuscript of this work is concluded by a treatise on monsters (‘Trattato dei monstri’) in which the author lists a series of monstrous beings which appeared within Christendom up until the last years of the sixteenth century. Through a close analysis of the treatise, this chapter aims to demonstrate how the controversial spirit and the political instability in Savoy and Piedmont still fomented some apocalyptical tensions that were to continue far beyond the sixteenth century. Thus, in this work by Baldessano the religious and political interpretation of monstrous births and their reduction to the level of admonitions concerning individual transgressions coexist.

Guglielmo Baldessano: Life and Work

On 21 January 1562, a congregation of pious men convened in the house of a Turinese lawyer in order to institute a company devoted to mutual charity and the promotion of Eucharistic devotion under the spiritual leadership of the Jesuits. These men believed that the company would represent the ← 275 | 276 → first bastion for the moral reformation of the Church in Piedmont and for the fight against heresy, in accordance...

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