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The French Wars of Religion, 1562-98

6. Peace in the Wars of Religion

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About this Lecture


In this final module, we look at the pattern of peace-making in the French Wars of Religion, thinking not only about the Edict of Nantes (1598), but the several other Edicts that had ended each of the seven previous civil wars, beginning with the Edict of Amboise in 1663. In addition to this, we consider the difficulties involved in enforcing an Edict, as well as some of the more contentious clauses, not least the clause that demanded that events prior to the Edict should be 'obliterated and forgotten as if no such things had ever happened.'


In this course, Professor Mark Greengrass (University of Sheffield) explores the French Wars of Religion. In the first module, we consider whether the Wars of Religion are a period or a problem, thinking in particular about the key characteristics of the period, as well as the history of the term 'French Wars of Religion' itself. In the second module, we begin to question the accepted view of the chronology of the French Wars of Religion—namely, that it began with the death of Henry II and ended with the Edict of Nantes. After that, we consider whether the Wars of Religion really were fundamentally religious or civil wars, before moving on in the fourth module to consider the political and military organisations of the period. In the fifth module, we look more closely at why the Wars of Religion became synonymous with massacres and what the religious component in these massacres might be said to be. In the sixth and final module, we think about peace-making in the period, and the difficult process by which the Wars of Religion were brought to an end.


Mark Greengrass studied at Oxford University where he took his MA and DPhil degrees. He came to Sheffield in 1973, becoming Reader in 1994 and Professor of Early-Modern History in 1997. He was Professeur associé at the University of Pau in 1985-6, Professeur invité at the University of Paris-1 in 1999 and the University of Tours (François Rabelais) in 2001, Directeur d’études at the Ecole des Hautes-Etudes (Paris) in 1993 and 2001, and Visiting Fellow at Trinity College, Oxford in 1998. He was Invited Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Indiana in 2005. Since retirement from his post at the University of Sheffield in 2009, he taught for a year at the University of Paris-1 and then spent a year and a half at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau where he was Senior External Research Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS). He has also been Honorary Fellow at the Department of History, University of Warwick (2011-2013) and Gustave Gimon Visiting Fellow at Stanford University (2013). He has published widely on the political culture of early-modern France, on the Protestant Reformation and its impact, and on religious violence. He has also directed important online editorial projects, including the Hartlib Papers Online and the British Academy John Foxe Project. His most recent publications include Governing Passions: Peace and Reform in The French Kingdom, 1576-1585 (Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2007); and edited collections (with Lorna Hughes) on The Virtual Representation of the Past (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008) and (with Scott Dixon and Dagmar Freist) Living with Religious Diversity in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009). Christendom Destroyed – A History of Europe (1517-1648), volume 5 of the Penguin History of Europe Series, edited by David Cannadine, (London: Penguin: New York, Viking, 2014) will be coming out in a Chinese translation shortly.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Greengrass, M. (2018, August 15). The French Wars of Religion, 1562-98 - Peace in the Wars of Religion [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Greengrass, M. "The French Wars of Religion, 1562-98 – Peace in the Wars of Religion." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,