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digging out after the coming holocaust our dirty. fight and die. stink. mimicking in diluted form the language of a common man so alien to them both. Like good scriptwriters. I write this in December 2000. who read their brilliant orations from texts prepared by others.html page 5 . and he’ll be exiled to the wastelands with a beautiful. they excise all their hero’s belches. fight and die.Introduction E at. stink.com/degenerate/index. One man will stand up and say it was not so. glamorous portraits and heroic poses not withstanding. mutated descendants will be regaled with stories of Sir Alfred and Dubya II’s epic conflict for the soul of a nation. mute (beautifully mute?) fashion model at his side.diacritica. I remember the distinct shock I felt in my first college level history class when I learned all the subtle machinations which influence the writing of history. and bowel movements. our own lives aren’t that much different. The excitement we celebrate on sacred holidays is manufactured by publicists.http://www. Two hundred years from now. I believed there was more to the past than dry facts and dirty Degenerate . farts. airbrush their dimples. Suffocating the odor with deodorant and Glade plug-ins. transforming dim-witted temper tantrums into legendary acts of heroism. History is like this: eat. Nobody will listen to him but the incomparable Zira and Cornelius. and point out these two men were nothing but spoiled brats raised in luxury. That’s all there was to the life of a 16th century noble. and that epic struggle for the presidency between two men who promised prescription drugs and 10% discounts on hardware for senior citizens has just reached its whimpering climax. A s blurry as my memories are.
fight and die into a breathtaking overture of depth and character. determined to preserve personal power to the ruin of her sons and her kingdom. When you deprive the story of man of the hand of God (or Marx) and admit that history is nothing but a rudderless series of accidents. more often than not. but the narration and ordering of those artifacts and dates is subject to whims and theories which everyone. Marxists believed that history is a process of man’s evolution from slavery to liberation. Most damning of all. She confounds the Marxists and Capitalists alike as she brought neither progress nor liberation. Queen Elizabeth has long been revered for her wisdom. we can fight like cowards or like homicidal maniacs. she led a more exciting life than either. civil wars.http://www. Capitalists believed. in the final analysis. her sex was almost irrelevant. In this great advanced age. Unless Glade plug-ins are a great apex of civilization.old ruins.com/degenerate/index. Mary of Scots for the romantic figure she cut of the doomed heroine. Two scions of powerful families fight for vulgar ambition and the glory of a middle-class tax cut. dynasties are torn down about the ears of the last in-bred specimen of the ruling line. no spiritual sister to the suffragists yet to come. we are told. must believe in. fight and die than one would think possible. And one hell of a story. The world isn’t getting any better or any worse. R Degenerate .html page 6 . She was no feminist precursor. punctuated as it was by massacres. We all eat. ennobling their struggle to eat. But no one to my knowledge has made a valid rehabilitation of their contemporary. all the same. die in peace or with the glint of dazzling knives behind our backs. stink. all you have left is the story. though they do believe an advanced race of aliens built the pyramids and a face on Mars. stink. stink. Millions couldn’t care less and believe in neither of them. fight and die. they’re both fucked. But. so many ways to stink. in a history of private enterprise. But her life is impossible to turn into a series of wishful self-portraits for female executives. she left a beautiful corpse behind. and the slow descent of France into hell. Three of her sons became kings. nations disappear. a cold-hearted monster. singular hero’s and the march of progress. and her reign over France lasted more than 30 years. though. some leave a beautiful corpse behind. granting a better life for everyone and Coca-Cola for the Chinese.diacritica. ecent historians—particularly those extracting tenure from gullible philanthropists by specializing in “feminist history”— have reclaimed a number of wrecks from the past. two of her uncles were popes. the third powerful woman of the 16th century’s Goddess Trinity. Marxism takes food out of their mouth and Capitalism works them until they’re broken. There is. with more variations on eat. others leave a good story. Faces change. Catherine de Medici. Because there are a million things to eat. At a glance. millions starve. She was.
leaving Lorenzo’s second son. orphaned three weeks after she was born. the aforementioned Pope Leo X—born Giovanni de Medici—the job of restoring the city to his family’s control. the acclaimed il Magnifico.http://www. Piero. Leo was the second son of the famous Lorenzo de Medici. Madeleine had died twelve days after giving birth to the fitful child now rocking at her side. the Infanta did have the good fortune of a powerful protector.com/degenerate/index. Piero managed to undo all of his father’s goodwill and provoked the people of Florence to rebellion in just six years through his arrogant and haughty demeanor. Lorenzo’s influence had smoothed the way for Degenerate .A Cradle Between the Coffins I t was quite a spectacle. where a child’s cradle gently swayed. one cold morning in a cathedral in Florence. when the child of fortune. Piero drowned a bitter exile. made sure that the business of being Shepherd to the World didn’t interfere with family business.Pope Leo X in the barber’s chair sin. In the casket on the right was her husband. Though nothing could overcome this tragedy. a teen-aged princess of France and the greatest trophy on the mantle of the family she had married. was baptized at her parents’ funeral. a gallant. In the coffin to the left was Madeleine. Pope Leo X. He had his work cut out for him. as to each side of the infant’s bed a coffin had been placed. In spite of the odds. Besides himself and the orphan of Florence. Lorenzo. daughter and heir of the illustrious House of Medici. Catherine’s great uncle and mentor to her father. all that stood between the glorious past of the Medici and their extinction was a handful of bastards. It was arranged in a strange formation. Leo made the resuscitation of his family his first priority.diacritica. The odor of musty cathedrals and blood-stained rags permeates the life of Catherine de Medici. Upon Lorenzo il Magnifico’s death. and there is no better place to start than the very beginning.html page 7 . and through stuffed ballot boxes and the dagger of the assas. For all his shortcomings. indirect but undisputed ruler of Florence. dressed in the regalia of a petty Italian duke. control of the city fell to his first born son and Leo’s older brother. gentleman. who survived his wife by just six days.
The Three Degrees of Separation Degenerate . After taking tect her from the still-hostile citizens of the city. the latter havwould have had he lived a hundred year more). they perfectly encapsulate his philosophy. where she would has the bigger balls: the King of France or I. Cardinal Giulio—to Sword of an Unforgiving God. in the dedicaengineered from behind the scenes the attempted assassition of Nicolo Machiavelli’s The Prince. Upon being elected pope. Lorenzo. Now let us enjoy it.diacritica. Innocent VIII. in which his brother (and Pope Clement VII’s Messiah-like from his doldrums to free the rest of father) Guiliano de Medici was murdered. whored. Leo drank. tury myth-makers considered Julius II the first founding Leo toyed with the idea of marrying his young father of the modern Italian state.html page 8 . The fortunes of the House of Medici now rested Innocent’s successor was the infamous Rodrigo Borgia. he proclaimed “Let’s see who She was placed in a convent. ing been tonsured as a priest at the wise old age of 8. In the nation of Lorenzo il Magnifico in the Pazzi Conspiracy of closing chapter. Leo’s minded determination to drive the “foreign barbarians” nephew Ippolito. son. Back in Rome. the field against the French. Every library in the world these days thering the fortunes of a limitless flock of nephews. and some 19th censatisfactory for a Medici woman. and holds Lorenzo’s second edification. Leo died before any of the plans could be finalized and Catherine was still a child nun. could give Leo but little pleasure. The state of his home city. personification of Thought in the Medicean Chapel in Florence. their neglect of theological righteousness as Bishops of Michelangelo painted the younger Lorenzo as the Rome was unprecedented.com/degenerate/index. who he married off to Lorenzo il Magnifico’s daughLorenzo died before he had the chance to fulter Maddalena. propelled by a singleniece to the second of the Medici Bastards. this Lorenzo de Medici was a small.http://www. Florence. pillaged and stabbed their way into hiswould later be blamed for causing the Protestant tory. the author exhorts Lorenzo to rise April 1478. “Do it again and I’ll hang Florence to watch over the young heiress and proyou. Though he bore the name of his famous grandfather. A typical cleric of his day. out of the peninsula.Leo to be made a Cardinal in his youth. and amused himself with the worldly passions which made the Renaissance Papacy such a scandalous office. Julius II. who Though the perception of papal holiness would reach its accomplished little in his life but to have two of nadir under the two Medicis. Leo hijacked Church funds to outfit an army to drive the republicans from Florence and make the city a Vatican-warming present to his dead brother Piero’s only son. narrow-minded man. Leo is alleged to have quipped to his illegitimate cousin Giulio (who Lorenzo had also helped to become a Cardinal): “God has seen fit to give us the Papacy. Sixtus’ succesItaly from the German. Leo’s immediate successor and renowned as the Leo dispatched the first of the Medici so-called “Warrior Pope”. three bastard children and an who as Pope Alexander VI stood by or even helped as his aging pope whose life was so dissolute that he offspring raped. Spanish and French barsor. on an orphan girl. His family had been exiled. considered to be one of his The forgotten Sixtus IV devoted dauntless energy to furfinest works.” His death was receive a poor education unworthy of a Medici but genuinely mourned by many Italians.” If these were not his words. Innocent also agreed to the elevation of the fill Machiavelli’s prophecies (and probably never future Leo X as a cardinal at the age of 16. took the throne and the Holy Bastards—his cousin. publicly acknowledged his illegitimate barians descending on the peninsula. the city’s republican liberties restored. Reformation. After the 26-day reign of the elderly Pope Pius III. one could hardly say that Mankind’s greatest works of art dedicated to him.” he told one rebel who begged for mercy. gambled.
To complicate politics and understanding together. another less romantic soul thought she should earn her keep in common Degenerate . Margaret. With two uncles as popes. sent a Spanish army down the boot of Italy to cut the uppity Pope down to size. the year long siege. of course. Alessandro.com/degenerate/index. but the mob wanted blood. Normally conflicts between Princes and Popes would result in one excommunicated and the other defiant. with Clement agreeing to pay a huge ransom to the Emperor. The same Spanish army which had raped Rome now surrounded Florence and held the city under siege. The privations were horrifying during Pope Clement VII in “pasta-sucking Italian” pose. Alessandro. The distinguished leaders of the republican party.html page 9 . One member of the city council suggested selling Catherine to the Turkish Sultan for his harem. with the promise that he should marry the Emperor’s own bastard daughter.http://www. wouldn’t succumb to killing a child who had spent all of her life among nuns. one would admire the fortuitous fate of the orphan. In one such conflict. the Florentines abandoned their young republic and. subject to the whims and caprices of greater princes and kings of Europe. officially a bastard of Catherine’s father Lorenzo but never acknowledged by him. as Pope Clement VII. and the conclave of the princes of the church ordained Leo’s bastard cousin. Emperor Charles V. and refused to surrender. They settled their squabbles. in a unanimous motion and in all seriousness. Now all that remained was the subjugation of Alex and Maggie’s nuptial gift: the city of Florence. named Jesus Christ their perpetual monarch. it ended with Clement exiled from Rome and the Holy City sacked by the Imperial army. In this nihilistic atmosphere. tore down the Medici coat-of-arms and once more declared a republic. ruler of Germany and Spain combined. as Duke of Florence. Naturally. Clement had little choice but to negotiate with his enemy. soon thereafter. The object of their resentment and cruel fantasies was not the distant pope but their ten year old divested Duchess.diacritica. This time. The Florentines understandably weren’t thrilled to be handed over to a Medici and Hapsburg couple like so many toasters or fine china. But the Pope of the 16th century was often but an overdecorated prince of Italy. some citizens didn’t wish well upon the Medici brats who were starving the city their ancestors nourished. Cardinal Giulio. This first Medici bastard also named the third bastard. With the Pope unable to send assistance. Catherine. rat meat was sold for a fortune in the markets. From the fortified Castle of Saint Angelo outside of Rome.sun continued to shine on the Medici family however. was rumoured to be Clement’s own bastard from his more lurid days as a Cardinal. the Florentines rose in one terrible night of riots in April of 1527.
com/degenerate/index.diacritica. Such was the fate of the man who replaced Jesus Christ as King of the Florentines. Clement would die to the general rejoicing of the Romans and most of Christendom. Cooler heads prevailed and a deputation of citizens found her in the Convent of the Murate. fate would get a case of the giggles. she hoped to remain for the rest of her life. Degenerate . T he republicans eventually cajoled and threatened the sisters into handing over the girl. Despite the public’s identification of her with Florence. a taste for transvestitism and.brothel. Cardinal Ippolito de Medici. died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 24. While the Duke stripped down and slid between the sheets. a distant relation of the Medici who survived the Spanish siege and the wrath of the republicans because of her unimpeachable virtue and celebrated devotion to her invalid husband. she said. on more than one occasion. So ends the connection of Catherine de Medici to the city of her ancestors. her hair cropped close and dressed in the habit of a nun. Lorenzino made a friendly wager with Alessandro over which could be the first to defile a cousin of theirs. He wasn’t a bad man. his comrade drilling his dagger into the Duke’s throat. “Are you asleep yet. Still another proposed tying her to the city’s walls to wait for the assault of Spanish cannon. and Catherine spent the rest of the war a virtual hostage in another convent closer to the city center. When deciding the destiny of Duke Alessandro. distant relation named Lorenzino. He hovered over the Duke in his bed and asked. my love?” He then stabbed Alessandro in the stomach. where. but he was an unlucky one. Being a good sport. He left the government of Florence to others and spent most of his time carousing and whoring with a mysterious. When the gates were finally opened to the Spanish and Alessandro entered triumphant. Lorenzino and a man reputed to be his lover stole into the bedroom. the city was as alien to her as San Francisco would be to an inmate of Alcatraz. She steadfastly refused to leave her cell.http://www. As for the saga of the Three Bastards. once Catherine’s prospective husband. and arranged for their cousin to meet the Duke at his house. Catherine was fetched by Clement and hurried off to Rome.html page 10 . They shared a love of alcohol. the same bed. Lorenzino said he would give Alessandro the first try to pick her cherry.
) Negotiations moved quickly and a contract was drawn up which provided either Francis or Clement plenty of opportunity to break it. in fact.com/degenerate/index. Little Cosimo was ignored by Clement. the English. This left the Emperor’s nemesis and the chief bulwark against Imperial domination of Europe. himself a bastard. even for a decadent Pope of the Renaissance. Clement was powerless to dissolve the marriage with the Emperor’s army breathing down his neck) led to the founding of the Anglican Church and Henry’s excommunication. Francis relished the opportunity to renew his country’s claims on Italy and stick it to the Emperor at the same time. as means to an end. one last Medici male.Flowers of Evil W hether these prevailing themes of Catherine’s youth— murder. Uniting his house with what appeared to be the heiress of the Medici would be a master stroke. (There was. incidentally. possibly because he was from the long-ignored cadet branch of the family—or possibly because Cosimo was the only legitimate male and Clement.http://www. didn’t want to draw attention to his own sinful origins. The dominant powers in Europe besides the Spanish and Germans (united into a single entity by Emperor Charles V) were the Turks. Of the many blasphemies attributed to Pope Clement VII. the future Grand Duke Cosimo. Under the thumb of the Emperor. save when playing upon the pity of an audience with her story of woe—a story which.diacritica. Obviously. whether the immediate loss of her parents and abandonment to the care of nuns were to influence her characteristic indifference to human suffering. we can only speculate. whether being used as a tool of politics made her see people. intrigue. related to Catherine six generations back through Lorenzo il Magnifico’s greatgrandfather. never included any mention of her tragic childhood. Clement preferred the English. Two years Degenerate . Perhaps she felt indifferent to it. like Machiavelli’s Prince. an alliance with the Muslim Turk was out of the question.html page 11 . Catherine herself was not prone to introspection. France and King Francis I. he sought to escape by striking an alliance with another prince. indolence can never be one of them. suspicion and corruption—were to provide any kind of instruction to guide the acts which would earn her infamy. and the French. but the impatience of Henry VIII to dispose of his wife Catherine (a princess of Spain and the Emperor’s own aunt—obviously.
The court of Francis was also the first in France to embrace the superficial spirit of the Renaissance. Several other suitors made a pitch for Catherine’s hand (or. balls. In order to cozy up to the leading figures of the state. but none of these had the appeal of the French match. It’s hard to cry too much for a poor little rich girl. rather. as their sons. and agree to provide aid should the French seek to reenter Italian politics to exercise their claims on Milan and Genoa. In truth. and the wedding was still in both men’s interests. the hand of the niece of the Pope).diacritica. Catherine’s dowry was set at a mere 130. and feasts from the Mediterranean port to the banks of the Seine.http://www. and Parma. the groom 13 days older. he wedding of Henry de Valois and Catherine de Medici took place at Marseilles on 28 October. Henry brought a good deal of money and the prestige of the most decorated royal house in Europe to the table. It was as grand as a wedding of the son of the King of France could be.com/degenerate/index. followed by 34 days of parties. Her letters are filled with Catherine de Medici depicted someawkward phrases and misspellings. she was a tool of Papal intrigue without being consulted. Modena. particularly against the background of a world still suffocating in the skin of medieval privation. The Venetian Ambassador to France (typically an extremely wellinformed source) described her as “most unpopular” among her peers. The Pope was to hand over to Catherine and thus to France the cities of Pisa. Still. The ceremony was presided over by Pope Clement himself. assisted by the largest congregation of Cardinals to meet outside of Rome since the medieval councils organized to arbitrate questions of doctrine. 1533.html page 12 T . Most of her maids were of older and more ancient families. Catherine showed the stunted growth of a chute buried for ten years beneath the dogmatic manure of a convent. but the real prize was in a set of “secret protocols” annexed to the marriage contract. Livorno. and life was difficult for the daughter of merchants and bankers in a land where the descendants of feudal nobility still reigned. Francis’ second son.000 ducats.passed. Catherine settled into her home in the Louvre as winter set in. The Medici men rarely thought time after her marriage but before enough of their wives and daughters to give them the same education puberty. men and women alike learned to converse in Greek and Latin and surrounded themselves with poets like Ronsard and sculptors and painters fresh from an Italian education. Catherine’s isolation in these early years is important to keep in mind. Catherine was 14 years old. Catherine she was a tool of European diplomacy without her knowledge. including the King of Scotland. she was out of her league. considering the traits she would show when she experienced her first taste of power. now in the reign of Clement. She traded a train of nuns for a train of ladies-in-waiting. Reggio. Catherine was to marry Henry. The decline of the famous Medici was nowhere more evident than in the total ignorance of the little princess. In the life of Leo X. the Duke of Milan and the bastard son of Henry VIII. Degenerate . Pious professions of faith were no help in the fashionable world of Paris.
secretly cooking up poisons and unique delivery mechanisms (Alexandre Dumas in his novel Queen Margot dreamed up some of Catherine’s most infamous inventions. known in France the Dauphin. probably did too. within three years of her marriage. The Emperor knew better.http://www. and the next of many fortuitous quirks of fate would.diacritica.There’s no better tonic for dislike than a vulgar display of power. Catherine was not a suspect in his poisoning. She was reputed to keep a lab of Florentine chemists in the Louvre. Francis. The entire kingdom was shocked by the sudden end of the prince. popular folklore had it that one could still be infected deliberately by one’s enemies. On 12 August. and a child of the conniving Medici to boot.com/degenerate/index. Just about every prominent person who died in her turbulent life was alleged to be her victim. died after a brief illness. including a book whose pages contained a poison released by the moisture of the fingertips. accusations of poisonings were par for the course and the unfortunate count was drawn and quartered by a team of manure horses.html page 13 . But in the 16th century. it was not Catherine but the Emperor Charles who was accused. assassination was supposed to be as natural to her as stuffing a ballot box or charging usurious rates of interest. the grieving father. it was chiefly her background and birth that led to the aura of murder that surrounded her. Degenerate . but the fear of poison added dozens of undeserved notches to her belt. 1536. Perhaps it was the romantic spirit of the Renaissance which refused to hang over the coffin of the high-born and glorious tags so banal as “syphilis”. Though few of her contemporaries had a more blasphemous reputation. whose healthy constitution made the paranoid think of poison.) As a Florentine. any person of importance who died far from the field of battle was believed to be the victim of a cowardly assassination. who confessed under torture that he laced a vase of flowers from which the Dauphin drew an aromatic breath with arsenic powder. The Dauphin probably died of pleurisy. She would never escape suspicion in assassination again. Henry’s older brother and the heir apparent. make the unhappy bride one of the most powerful women in the world. But just as all monarchs knew that confessions made under torture were worthless but accepted it anyway. Though she and her husband were the chief beneficiaries of the death of her brother in-law. Some murders she undoubtedly had a hand in. A patsy was found in an Italian noble in Lyons named Count Montecuculli. Even when medicine advanced to the point where virii and disease became better understood. And wasn’t that Satanic book by Machiavelli dedicated to her father? In the case of the Dauphin.
html page 14 .http://www. None of the secret protocols in the contract had been fulfilled. she had given the kingdom no children. though.diacritica. troubled by the present. They had no trouble convincing King Francis of their wisdom. Nine years after the ceremony in Marseilles. was that she appeared to be barren as well. The court of France went through the customary period of mourning. Now that she was Dauphiness. nor would they ever be.000 ducats. All of that was over now. Catherine probably wasn’t too emotional over the death of her brother-in-law. The greatest danger. The only part of the contract which had been executed was the transfer of the bride’s dowry—a mere 130. and Francis agreed. People whispered in his ear that the heiress of the Medici fortune should have brought far more. it was around this time that she had her first consultation with Francis I. In vain she consulted the alchemists and sorcerers of the day (for barrenness was seen more as the domain of magicians than doctors).The Dustbowl obody celebrates the happy fate of finding a path to power when the sides of the road are littered with corpses. as many now took the subject of the poor match of the new Dauphin to private quarters. from an illustration found in a dictionary beside Nostradamus. She came from good enough stock that inbreeding wasn’t the cause. rather plain and ignorant daughter. Perceptions toward Catherine didn’t immediately change though. he was bitter about the marriage deal with the Pope. This left him with an unremarkable. For nine years. He made a dire prediction that the entry for “pompous” Catherine. who had been among the chief critics of her marriage to Henry.com/degenerate/index. could mistake for N Degenerate . High-born lords and ladies thought better of sharpening their wit against the merchant’s daughter. progeny for the House of Valois was more important than before.
He too agreed to put aside all talk of a separation. probably it was the only time he. Francis was deeply moved. this was completely out of the character hitherto shown by the young Dauphiness. Catherine herself would not fight annulment and would ask only to be allowed the freedom to retire to a convent of her choosing. Catherine adopted the pose of the loyal and agreeable supplicant. comes alive. In a remarkably audacious act. like a man. woman of her times to aspire to the ideal. to be sure. However. and the world would never hear of her again. for the first time. As the continuity of the monarchy was on the line.com/degenerate/index. and if her power waned. and few foreign princes would complain if the heir would divorce a Medici. This description perfectly fits that of the “man of action”—the highest echelon of creature in the Renaissance mind. She would suffer. she said she would step aside and allow the King to find a new wife for her husband. Catherine decided to head off the machinations of her in-laws by addressing the issue in the open. Degenerate . Never again would she lie down and let others determine her fate.http://www. Here. First she met in private with Henry. but not the last.diacritica. grabbed life by the mane and—in the context of the time. they were often more powerful than the most battle-wizened generals and the highest officers of government. Then. or anyone. Before this incident.html page 15 . there is no other way to say it—determined her path for herself. who “because he loved her” agreed to put off talk of divorce. Catherine would be the first. in a meeting with King Francis. but never in silence. the Catherine de Medici known to history. she would no longer be the victim of destiny but struggle to reclaim what she considered her right. the victim as well as the benefactor of a turbulent fate stepped forward. as we shall see. Women in the French court weren’t the simpering. she was merely a lost childbride in the French court. had seen this side of his daughter-in-law. and three of them would be kings. and prayed that God Almighty might give them the gift they both so longed for. The pretty quatrains of the bard weren’t reassuring enough when Catherine learned that her husband and father-in-law had been having discussions about the subject of the doomed marriage. This is the first time the real Catherine. Kings in France had dumped wives before.happy news: she would have many children. abused creatures some would like us to think.
Victoire and Jeanne The Royal Dead Pool Born 1543 1545 1547 1548 [died in 1550] 1550 1553 1553 1554 1556 [died a few weeks later] ing Francis died in March of 1547. 1543. they were complex relationships. rather than years. Many volumes have been written about Catherine’s relations with her children. Above Name all. All told. and though she wouldn’t do harm to her children Francis who robbed her of this.html page 16 . and to the man who had given her a reprieve from the social death sentence.” she could call it. “Keeping me from my Louis children. The nuances shall be dealt with each in turn. and many more could be compiled of just the adjectives. she wouldn’t be above proElizabeth voking war or eliminating others who tried to step Claude [female] between mother and son. To the rejoice of the kingdom. A contemporary and intimate in his court wrote that “women. Catherine’s ovaries were transformed after her meeting with the King and Dauphin from a barren desert into some of the most fertile land in France.diacritica.Mother to Half the World W hether it was the work of diviners and herbalists or some incredible feat of determination.http://www. Margherite [aka “Margot”] Hercules [later rechristened as Francis] twins. each slightly different than the other. Needless to say.” her enemies would say. “Keeping her from meddling in affairs of Alexander [later rechristened state. Soon she was slamming out children faster than Hammerin’ Hank could slam it in.” It’s true: sex was everywhere.com/degenerate/index. Catherine was concerned with her own power. killed him. and it’s hard to as Henry] argue with them. and it sounds quite Charles pious. It is always interesting to observe how a creature of bitter circumstance treats his or her own children. In the spirit of the Renaissance. she delivered an heir on 19 January. she gave a tribute by naming him Francis. a whole kingdom could be given away for a night K Degenerate . she gave birth to an astounding 10 children in 13 years.
one went first to the mistress.with a beautiful woman. The practice of sophisticated pandering reached comical proportions three centuries later. and outright pimping usurped what was considered to be a closed-off world of men. which was no great compliment. There were no less than four. He shook off his imposed isolation after his father’s death. now queen. who held most of the levers of power during his reign. there usually wasn’t a mark of shame about it. It often was. She was described as looking like her uncle Leo. often lighthearted personality. when the factions pimping these royal mistresses were known to everyone. The comparison with Catherine could not be more striking. It’s also true that very few of these women actually controlled their own destinies. Despite being of the older generation. In the reign of Francis. the two sacred duties of a king.http://www.com/degenerate/index. If one wanted a to procure an indirect favour from an important man. No one had ever called her “beautiful”. It was Diane. grave. The love of his life was Diane de Poitiers. crowned King Henry II. to the extent that it Degenerate . Her forehead seemed to expand (it was said that she lost her hair and took to wearing a wig in her thirties). Henry exhibited a colourful. Henry de Valois. a delicate. Along with showing an ambitious thirst to expand the boundaries of his kingdom against the Hapsburg Empire. all by women of different nationalities. When one considers that he sired 14 children in less than 20 years. which years and an extravagant palate would turn into gross obesity. from a painting commissioned she was still one of the most beautiful women in when she was about forty France. Diane. in the era of Madame Pompadour and Madame du Barry. it seems. one of the exceptions to the rule of Pygmalion. patronage. gallantry. From the time she was a child. nymph-like creature whose gentle features were inflected with strength by the reputation of the power she held. one wonders when he found time to govern at all. A great many were the Pygmalion-like creations of powerful factions at court who used these women to manipulate the King. Much of this was imposed from outside. did not have the King’s heart. as his father gave him little chance to experience either warfare or governing. had the reputation of a melancholy. no doubt she “trained” him in the responsibilities that Francis had no time to teach him. Catherine had been heavy-set. Diane de Poitiers. That Henry had a lighter side is proven by the remarkable United Nations of bastards he left behind. and age would accentuate the strangeness of her face. perhaps last to the wife.html page 17 . and lonely man. rather than add dignity.diacritica. Catherine. It’s true that many bright and dashing women found themselves in the role of mistress. was credited with taking the somber child and turning him into a powerful man. more than 20 years his senior. not Catherine. but the King himself.
The conflicts are too petty and obscure to be recounted in full. it appears that Catherine hatched a plot with the Duke whereby he. In any case. Though she often burned with jealousy. This is not to say that she never lashed out. Today. It was her first taste of real power. and was. most of which involved Henry’s continuation of his father’s wars against the Hapsburgs. Catherine indulged her tastes for the game of patronage. and had divided his powerful empire. Often she would find herself opposed by Diane. Certainly there was something about her mastery of this traffick of influence which hearkens back to a youth spent in the full flower of the world’s original political machines: Florence and the Papacy. in a moment of gaiety. With the avenues of power obstructed. she fed the war machine. Diane and Catherine were contrasts in every sense. The war was soon over with France generally considered to have a great if temporary advantage on her ancient enemy. As Procurer General of the Army. after all. Catherine publicly reacted to her husband’s often-flagrant infidelity with stoic dignity. and only obliquely affected her life or that of the kingdom.http://www. In Capone’s days they called it “Chicago tactics”: money and muscle. Her modus operandi consisted of the bribery. A dupe would be accused of having replaced the contents of the glass with quicklime.diacritica. one aristocratic and proud. She had little effect on the great issues of the day. and a sheltered one at that. from the cruelties of her male critics. From letters published after the death of all parties involved. the other without that one saving grace which would save her. blackmail and the intimidation characteristic of municipal politics both past and present.appears another face could fit between the eyebrow and hairline. The Emperor was as worn out by conflict as Francis was by women. she was but a girl.html page 18 . A strange incident involving the temporary exile of the Duke of Nemours speaks volumes about her reaction to anyone who blocked her from exercising the power of a Queen of France. the other relatively low-born and defensive. The French took on the Austrian half and won a group of small but strategically important cities on the Rhine. Catherine threw herself into the intrigues of the court. more often she would oppose a policy simply because it was endorsed by Diane. would throw a glass of water in Diane’s face. he had merely been a dupe himself for the jealous queen. That she was “schooled” by her famously manipulative relations in both places is doubtful. learning on the fly that merchants are usually not the most patriotic or generous citizens in times of war. brief. though eventually allowed to return.com/degenerate/index. Catherine’s time at the top was mostly concerned with supply convoys and the selling price of cattle. one charming as a Arthurian legend. The King himself took the field and shared all the hardships of war with his troops. as it has saved any beautiful woman past or present. when we like to think Degenerate . the traditional Spanish Kingdom plus the Netherlands going to his son Philip. The Duke was driven from court. despite being but a minor player in French politics. and the less impressive Austrian Empire to his brother Ferdinand. at least in part. which would permanently disfigure the King’s favourite and render her a prisoner to a world of veils and gauzy curtains for the rest of her life. The plot was discovered. Catherine was appointed Regent of the Kingdom in his absence. in any case.
she would rise to the top. but it’s definitive proof page 19 Degenerate .html . In an ideal situation. to balance them against two other powerful families at the French court. In these turbulent times. or rather all other concerns grew out of her obsession with personal power and her use of it to add lustre to her children. she would address her letters chiefly to Italy. Her relatives.com/degenerate/index. O ne of the other intriguing women of the era came into Catherine’s life at this time. the Montmorencys and the Bourbons. Countless letters were written to princes. and his second daughter Elizabeth a Protestant barely able to hold on to her throne. In times when her power at home was on the wane. formed one of the most powerful factions at the French court. a French princess whose family then ruled the Duchy of Lorraine. we call it “patronage”. a small buffer state dividing France and Germany.pure democracy is triumphant in the world. hoping the lustre of her name and her position as Dauphiness. For her own safety. and promoted her subordinates accordingly. Queen.diacritica. Catherine was tireless. Grown men wrote about the children’s “touching” affection for one another. They convinced Henry that the infant Dauphin and Mary should be married to join the crowns of France and Scotland together (and incidentally make their niece the most powerful queen in the world). they superseded all other concerns. Regent or Queen Mother will convince this or that ruler to hire one of her proteges into his service. it appeared that Scotland may indeed conquer England rather than the other way around. Mary Queen of Scots was the daughter of King James of Scotland (a one-time suitor for Catherine’s hand) and Mary of Guise. Though they had been granted naturalization as French subjects several generations back. Three concern the health of her children. 57 of her letters survive. the Guise. These were her only two passions—indeed. Henry’s sole son was a sickly boy. his first daughter Mary Tudor an unstable neurotic. Catherine tried. letter writing was not necessary: she made the decisions on who ruled in France. and no one would be able to challenge her. the elder Mary ruled Scotland as Regent for her daughter. After the death of her husband. She was raised together with Catherine and Henry’s children and always given precedence over them as she was already crowned a queen. Diane of Poitiers). brought about by Henry VIII’s obsession with spawning a male heir. She would use this “policy of balance” her whole life. The Guise were Germans by blood. For the six years before she became queen. It worked for a time. The two six year olds were thus engaged (it is a sign of the openness of the King’s affection that the marriage contract was witnessed by. At all other times. With the Guise ascendent in the claustrophobic world of French politics. they were still popularly considered foreigners. delaying fortune’s dawn and doing her best to undermine those she yesterday promoted.http://www. The rest are concerned with dispensing patronage and power. As a patron. among others. it was agreed that Mary Queen of Scots should be brought up in France. with the meagre influence she held.
which would hold internationally for a few years while each state in Europe was dealing with “the Great European Convulsion” brought about by Protestantism). a small state on the border between France and Spain. as has often been alleged. Catherine never learned this lesson. and for Catherine it ultimately was. She lived a short and unhappy life. He and his family were an important faction at court as “Princes of the Blood” (nobles with “royal blood”. Henry’s mother was the steely Queen of Navarre. The first of Catherine’s children to rule was her eldest daughter Elizabeth. a pupil of Machiavelli. but it was probably a keepsake because of its dedication to her father. even more pitiful than the Duchy of Lorraine. It ended badly. but outside of the official royal family.) After Catherine’s own children. this time taking on Austria and Spain together. To seal the peace treaty (the Peace of Westphalia. took the crown when he married her. even from the safe distance of Madrid. lest they rise with spite and seek revenge. despite the fact that she had previously been engaged to his own son. One other child was raised with Catherine’s children—Henry de Navarre. The Bourbon’s were descended from the younger son of a previous king. Grown tired of waiting on Elizabeth of England’s non-answers to his wedding proposals. Henry II renewed war with the Hapsburgs. Degenerate . it was agreed that Elizabeth should marry King Philip II of Spain. She had a copy of The Prince in her private library. On the advice of the Guise and ignoring the warnings of the Montmorencys. Machiavelli explicitly condemns a policy of balancing opposing forces against each other as dangerous. Her husband. Antoine’s son was the next in line to the throne.html page 20 .that Catherine was not. but most of her Italian possessions were lost. Her nervous disposition was characteristic of most of Catherine’s children. France survived with the towns on the Rhine won in Henry’s first war. the ambitious Antoine of Bourbon.diacritica. In later days. Machiavelli’s belief was that rivals who are down must be made to never walk again. married to a tyrannical windbag. Philip agreed to take Catherine’s Elizabeth instead. it was said that her hands would tremble when reading letters written in her mother’s hand. the infant heir of the House of Bourbon. cutting a faction down to size meant a renewal of a chronic and destructive civil war.http://www.com/degenerate/index.
The Renaissance Faire second marriage was planned to seal the peace. No king of the Renaissance could hold a wedding without making it a grand fete. Count Montgomery. fainted. hand-to-hand combat and jousting were planned with magnificent lists made up of some of the most notable personages of the day.diacritica. the Dauphin. Henry broke a lance with the groom. Henry regained consciousness and had the strength to forgive the terrified Montgomery. The spectators ran to the scene and lifted the King’s helmet to find an enormous wound pouring blood down his neck. Henry rode against the Duke of Guise. Archery. It was a manly scene with plenty of backslapping by the victor and self-deprecating remarks by the loser. The King was visibly annoyed. and the groom and his wife begged Henry not to ride again. On the first pass. The ceremony was held in France in 1559. Upon sight of this horror. and demanded another pass. who was wandering around the Louvre moaning his terror at following his father.http://www. The broken segment pushed aside the visor of Henry’s helmet and drove into his right eye. Marguerite (not to be confused with the daughter he and Catherine named after her). But he wanted a shot at the man who had defeated many of the famous participants. On his second joust. prompting many other prominent lords to join in. A Degenerate . This time. On his first joust. Henry had been stabbed in the face in a joust against his father when he was still a teen. Surgeons took a four inch splinter from the King’s head. Montgomery nearly knocked the King out of his saddle.html page 21 . A great piece of flesh was torn loose. Catherine was at her husband’s side when he died. The King himself took part in the jousting. for he pushed himself further than any other. a Scot in the King’s service. By now the hour was getting late. the Duke of Savoy. between the Duke of Savoy and Henry’s sister.com/degenerate/index. Francis. He had to be carried together with his father up to their rooms. and Henry was humiliated. he broke the Count’s lance. and Henry’s sporting tendency as well as a desire to live up to the reputation of his father prompted him to add to the festivities the games of a medieval tournament. He then tried to comfort his son. That he wished to show himself above like incidents of his youth is undeniable.
Degenerate . was driven from the kingdom and had all evidence of their relationship taken from her. had been sent back to Scotland when she wouldn’t shut up about how proud she was to have a royal bastard sucking on her placenta. one of Mary Queen of Scots’ ladiesin waiting who bore the King a son. special companies of the King’s bodyguard disseminated from the capital on a special mission from the Queen-turnedQueen Mother. also mother of a royal bastard. Catherine could not have hoped to have any impact on contemporary legends of her husband’s infidelity. A sympathetic interpretation is that she had taken care not to let the King’s memory among posterity fall into ill-repute. but otherwise left her unmolested—the loss of her influence was penalty enough.diacritica. for the most part. well known (his daughter by Diane had been married to the eldest of the Montmorencys in a grand ceremony). Diane lost none of her dignity and shortly thereafter withdrew from court (an act that none of the many tragedies in Catherine’s life would prompt her to emulate). Lady Fleming. Years later she would complain to the pope of continuing persecution from French agents.http://www. The King’s other mistresses were not so lucky. Catherine had prevented her old rival Diane from visiting the King on his deathbed.html page 22 . a cynical reading is that she had taken care to hoard all pity shown to his aggrieved loved ones for herself.com/degenerate/index. French troops in Mary of Guise’s service searched her apartments for incriminating materials and tore her small estate to pieces. A Savoyard lady. As Henry’s bastards were.Immediately thereafter.
stupid.The Crack of the Masses egardless of how many whores he bagged. whose invention of movable type allowed bibles to be translated and printed for the first time in native languages (itself once considered a heretical Henry II: Not Homosexual act). especially Catherine’s two uncles. their coronation oaths. and died in circumstances one would expect to find in News of the Weird. Henry abolished this practice. Henry’s life then mirrored his death: foolish. More than any other man. Emperor Charles V spent most of his life vainly striking at the spectre of Protestantism—a trend bolstered. The persecution and extermination of heresy was the duty of anyone who aspired to the title “Defender of the Faith”. King Francis I had been aware of at least one of his frailties and tried to keep his inclination for extravagance from putting his people into the poorhouse. The introduction of rela- R Degenerate . First and foremost. He made four keys to the royal treasury. France was broke. French kings pledged to exterminate heresy in the sacre. Heresy involves a dispute over doctrine.” Taxes had been increased more than 50%. the reader will remember. the one who could claim credit for the sudden explosion of reform from so many different quarters was Gutenberg. critics of the Church and men who led truly holy lives could publish their thoughts and circulate them widely. Henry left behind a mediocre legacy.html page 23 . One thing in which he was the equal of his contemporaries. at least among that segment of the population which could read. Moreover. though. stubborn and absurd. Also. He spent freely enough on himself. but the national debt was still some forty million francs—three times the annual revenues. was his manner of keeping uniformity in the practice of the Christian faith. but showered his friends in gold. keeping one and giving the rest to men who would render scrupulous accounts.http://www. He passed most of his days in the dark obscurity beneath the towering shadow of a larger-than-life father.com/degenerate/index.diacritica. Rare among absolute monarchs. Bodin wrote in his Republic that “Francis did not give away as much money in his reign of 32 years as his successor did in two. Protestantism was characterized by an uncompromising zeal to reform the Catholic Church itself. Henry appeared to have contracted what some shrewd philosophers of kingship would call “Flatterer’s Disease”. by the unholy if not blasphemous lives of the popes.
for fair fights and foul. were hardly the type to turn the other cheek. Both were driven out of the city. One of the Protestant Calvin. the king who had Huguenot churches in France followed a model drafted in encouraged the study of Greek and Hebrew and his own hand from Geneva. began to raise hell in German Country. Twelve years later. in the Kingdom as a whole. defending some. were called. reasons founded on the word of God”. gious liberty is shown by an incident in the city of Under Henry II. He set up special bers of the local Calvinist church protested in public that courts for punishing heresy. The printing press was a new weapon. and throughout the civil wars through which France was to pass. were often disBeaugency notary and signed a statement withdrawing gusted by Protestants and rarely passed up the his comment.tively cheap and easy-to produce books made the world a smaller place. In regions they controlled. confusing those who just wanted to get home and draw their weekly bath. for that matter. Outraged.diacritica. and his followers sought shelter The true stand of Calvin and the Huguenots toward reliunder the scorched earth.com/degenerate/index.http://www. the persecution of heresy Beaugency during the reign of Francis I. One of the membecame even more zealous. Placards were printed in the hundreds and posted throughout the kingdom. They saw evil in a state of permanent co-existence between the two branches of the faith. as the French Calvinists many other Huguenots.html page 24 . The perjurer. He did not act in a void: the common peoShown the error of his ways. he appeared before a ple. besides being one of the leading theologians of the placards actually found its way to King Francis’ millennium. tence. bedroom door. and other Protestants. the Rector of the University of Paris bravely delivered an oration defending the new teachings. Ulrich Zwingli. they showed all of the intolerance and bigotry of their orthodox countrymen. Inquisitions but known colloquially as “the He was taken aside by Huguenot churchmen and Burning Chambers” for their most typical seninformed that this position was contrary to Scripture. spread widely and by 1521 the former was condemned as a heretic by the Sorbonne. was also a master of political organization. dipped their own hands in blood often enough to be considered the persecuting Catholics’ equal. Missionaries and pastors had his own clashes with the Church lashed out. They did not oppose the suppression of heresy in principle. were trained in Switzerland and sent back to France to disCalvin was driven out of the provinces and into seminate their message and attack Catholicism at its roots. As this pretty story about man’s progress against the forces of ignorance and darkness relates to France: toward the beginning of Francis I’s reign. but disputed that it was they and not the Catholics who were the true heretics. the same invention which allows us to read the magnificent novels of Dostoyevsky also circulates the middle-aged colon-coughs of John Updike. slandering others. The Watchers of the Watchdogs Degenerate . Their writings. and confirming that the punishment of opportunity to burn a house down with a whole heresy was the duty of state officials because of “strong congregation inside. Martin Luther and his lesser-known but no-less-important contemporary. Luther. ideas could spread by more than voice and quill alone. John Calvin. thanks to Gutenberg. Calvin. similar to the Spanish the magistrates of the state had no right to punish heresy. later perished on the stake. Switzerland. The paper had actually been written by a student. like so The Huguenots. Of course.
some pockets of Protestantism were able to flourish. was the ringleader of the so-called “Conspiracy of Amboise” which sought the dislodging of the Guise through force of arms. she’s cursed for believing in neither. I discovshare of power should have gone to Antoine de ered this illustration of gambling Bourbon. placated by his ates one and all). in particular. as Regent of between nuns and friars (degenerthe Kingdom. Believing they would have an ally in the dispossessed Queen Mother. in her base analysis of the world. But in time Calvin’s missionaries roused the languorous curiosity of the nobility.http://www. or at least those due a widow and Queen Mother of a kingdom. the Bourbons and their retainers were so amazed at her nervousness over their agitation for a greater share in government that they abandoned their plan and each in turn found an excuse to leave court. Catherine was almost irrelevant during the first years of her son Francis’ reign. but because people were. Though she was given all outward signs of respect. the first Prince of the Blood. who rise above the strife of the times. once imprisoned as a forger. She knew a few. malcontents among the lesser nobility were not. but for how he could serve her. Guess what Brother resuscitate his family from the brink of bankruptcy and rejuHornio’s punishment is? venate them into their former grandeur (a few Bourbon princes had treacherously sided with the Emperor. it’s true. Some even thought Catherine herself was a Huguenot. and how he could impair her enemies. most of the Protestants were members of the small bourgeoisie class. instruments of the royal prerogative.html page 25 . Degenerate .diacritica. A scoundrel named La Renaudie. playing a rudiappointment as governor of the provinces of Gascony and mentary game of “Rock Paper Guienne. a tion in the 16th century. Records indicate that a great number were also nominally members of the Catholic clergy. Younger members of the Houses of Bourbon and Montmorency. from which he drew a large income sufficient to Scissors”.At first. she was scalded “under the mocking fire of the Calvinist press”—but by the neo-Catholic press. But this is explained not by any sympathy for the Reformed cause. for the most part. too. merchants and traders more educated than the peasants but barred access to the vistas of power by common birth. Later she would be cursed by the Protestants and Catholics together as the chief bulwark of the Church or the chief ally of reform. A man was judged not by his beliefs or even his character. Through their protection of individuals and control in regions they governed. (As Balzac put it. Other discontent Bourbons took their case to Catherine. and were only now recovering from the subsequent punishment by which they lost five hundred years’ worth of filthy lucre). Bourbon was. She implored them not to cause trouble.com/degenerate/index. The Guise took control of the young king and their niece. As the King was so young. to the detriment of While researching clerical corrupthe other factions. showed a strong preference for the creed. If the grand nobility were willing to bide their time.) By historians.
her power only grew. The second effect. She agreed to consult with the disaffected nobles at court. but it had two effects. The Guise got wind of the affair while the conspirators were still massing near Amboise.diacritica. and attracted some prominent members of the provincial nobility as well as common Huguenots. from whence they would march on Paris. and the policy which was carried out so far as the state could interfere in matters of conscience. This “decriminalizaDegenerate . Catherine’s advice. for the first time. From the time the Duke of Guise and his brother. and was. It was not endorsed by the dissident Bourbons. as the Guise were still at court but were seen working with the Queen Mother to effect a reconciliation between the King’s faithful subjects and the heretics. signed by the largely irrelevant King Francis. most of them hanged. The conspirators were surrounded and captured. and the cautious support of the growing Huguenot party. it is possible that she may have gone the way of other Queen Mothers: building palaces. blamed on the Guise). while they were not strong enough to drive Catholicism underground. Through cleavage such as this do ambitious men (and women) capitalize. they asked Catherine for her help. Most ambassadors were confused. asked her to intervene to diffuse the Conspiracy of Amboise. and Calvin went so far to dissociate himself from the conspiracy that he preached a sermon against it. the Cardinal of Lorraine. The Conspiracy of Amboise was a farce. nder Catherine’s guidance. new dispatches and edicts began to circulate from the epicenter of the Royal Court. was that worship in private houses should neither be punished nor sanctioned. was that it brought Catherine back into the picture as a player in France. Now. Catherine grasped into the cavity with both hands. the enemies of the Guise at court realized they had two possible allies: popular discontent over financial mismanagement and the growing tax burden (which dated back to Henry but could be. For the first time. She too had seen the power of the Huguenots.The conspiracy was very real. She found out that. For twenty seven years she had done little but obtain pensions for broom-pushers and soldiers whose skill was exceeded by their longevity. Fearing the extent of the conspiracy. Repression was spoken of as a “failed medicine. never again would she willingly let go. she stepped forward to the cadaver of France.http://www. diverse in every way but suffering from the same problems over religion. parallels were drawn to the other kingdoms of Europe.” which had not cured the patient and now threatened his life. and made an effort to learn more about their actual strength by enticing some of their most prominent clergymen to meet with her secretly. they did have enough power to seriously disrupt the kingdom. far more important for our purposes. With a rare worldliness which eluded most Protestants and Catholics of the time.com/degenerate/index. They offered no great assistance in cleaning up the mess but publicly condemned those who would resort to arms to settle a political squabble.html page 26 U . endowing hospitals and blessing convents. Had she not been invoked.
This was entirely insufficient to the Bourbon faction at court (not in the least because the Guise were still in power). The Prince’s guilt was in any case undeniable.http://www. who had assured him of a safe conduct. he was placed under arrest by order of King Francis. Lured to court with his brothers.tion” of heresy did not extend to public preaching. Popular discontent. She was settling for the appearance of reconciliation and mediation between the two faiths because this policy guaranteed her a role in government. The Prince of Condé—kid brother of Antoine.diacritica. which was still outlawed. but their protests came to nothing. and pronounced his sentence—death by beheading.com/degenerate/index. was still widespread. though she had no desire of allowing the Bourbons to claim the role that the ancient customs of the kingdom granted them. and. Once the heat let up the Guise tried to relegate Catherine back into the figurehead role she had played during the early years of Francis II’s reign. Degenerate . King of Navarre—was implicated in a scheme similar to the Conspiracy of Amboise. if she was incapable of showing love to anyone outside of her family (and this being a perverted love at that). by Catholics and Protestants alike.html page 27 . She played the Bourbons against the Guise. she considered the gallant if somewhat goofy Condé one of her favourites at court. The opportunity came when the party Catherine used as their counterweight—the Bourbons—suffered a tremendous scandal. under the direction of the Guise. They in turn blamed Catherine. Nor does it appear that Catherine was concerned with true reconciliation. She had little to gain by the Prince’s arrest. The royal council pronounced him guilty after a cursory examination of the paper evidence. Condé blamed his brothers.
the Guise. or at least something like it. Pushed together since they were children. Mary Queen of Scots. Ambassadors struggled to try to explain his Forrest Gump-like intelligence. He had a chronic respiration problem which troubled Catherine so much that she repeatedly importuned his governess to have him blow his nose hourly to relieve his congestion.com/degenerate/index. Doctors diagnosed the problem as an abscess in his inner ear. They had no children. now Duchess of Lorraine. Elizabeth. 1560. and He who had pierced the father’s eye. when it came.Generation Gap he Prince of Condé’s death. on account of a medical condition referred to then as “undescended testicles”.” Francis was a sickly boy.html page 28 . After the death of Henry at the Renaissance Fair. doted on like small T Degenerate . the late Francis.http://www. Mary and Francis appeared to share a genuine love. was far less distinguished than the noble punishment of losing one’s noggin. He was misshapen. he was a pallid little troll. leaving everything to her uncles. grew up together in a royal nursery. He had come down with what was thought to be a cold. there is a definite line which separate the oldest from the youngest. but were unable to prescribe a remedy for it. and Claude. At any rate it was still far off. He died on 5 December. T hough her children were born in the sudden burst described earlier. Compared to his bride. now Queen of Spain.diacritica. struck off the ear of the son. He was released from custody with a pardon after one of those strokes of fate which serve as the climax of extremely gullible novels. together with Mary Queen of Scots. with a frail physique and minuscule stature. Mary and Francis retired to play with their dolls and Easy-Bake Ovens. Let John Calvin describe it: “Did you ever read or hear of anything more timely than the death of the little King? There was no remedy for the worst evils when God suddenly revealed himself from Heaven. Ten days later he was still in bed and had taken a turn for the worst. said to be crippled from birth owing to the potions Catherine’s alchemists prescribed to cause her barren womb to become fertile. the doomed prince had not even reached puberty.
Their return to power was funded by the King of Spain but assisted most of all by Catherine herself. he was a sock-puppet. but they were not out. his oppressed subjects would blame those around him—men such as the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine. an evil. their dissent was mollified. but were powerless to resist it. Though Charles. at this tender age. The nobility intended to back the Bourbons. Charles would be unable to shake his mother’s influence when he was much older. simply outplayed them. She was playing a trick popular among marketers by making Degenerate . Even a terrible king. Having them driven from court as most wished would leave her dependent entirely upon the Bourbons. She thanked him personally and with several letters. they seemed to come from a later generation. was but a boy of ten when his older brother died. Catherine saw to it that the boys. Catherine. the Princes of the Blood. nasty son-of-a-whore. Despite the fact that the ancient laws regarding the governing of the kingdom in a King’s minority were still not being obeyed. one has to understand the unifying power of the person of the King to comprehend how important a gesture this was. Marguerite and Hercules were only slightly younger than the first three.princes by a household of strangers. To ensure that no faction co-opted Charles as the Guise had taken possession of Francis’ soul. Catherine moved her bed into his room and didn’t move it out until he was well into manhood. Catherine outmaneuvered them when she convened an Estates General to raise taxes from the clergy and the Third Estate. The two had placed entirely too much faith in the constitution of a sickly monarch. cynical politics. but thanks to one of her new friends. in brutal. now King Charles IX.http://www. In a country still decentralized by strong local sympathies.diacritica. Admiral Coligny. to the extent that their reliance on Catherine formed a kind of dangerous addiction. the body ratified her illegal appointment as Regent and placed a vote of confidence in the new regime. Elizabeth remained Catherine’s confidant until her death. a role which Claude.com/degenerate/index. swearing to stand by his side for the rest of her life. were weaned on an overpowering dose of mother’s milk. her presence was preserved by an intricate network of spies who repeated to her everything the King said and everything said to him. owing to her Guise in-laws. could naturally not assume. at least. would rarely be derided. the Bourbons. he Guise may have been down. failed to take command of the situation. They were aware that she was undermining their rule. He announced that he wanted his beloved mother to head the Regency to rule the country until he reached his majority.html page 29 T . Charles. Henry. After she stopped sleeping with him. instead.
The Venetian Ambassador wrote. the Constable. The Guise. much different than that of Elizabeth of England. Her real opinion on the dispute and the two parties is revealed in one of her letters to her daughter Elizabeth: “Everything that is done on one side or the other is nothing but the desire to rule and to take from me under cover and colour of religion the power Degenerate . but in the power of their foreign patrons and the numbers of troops they could put in the field. through generational strife the Guise had succeeded in splitting the forces opposing them. obliquely.herself indispensable and creating a need for her services where there was none. against his nephews.html page 30 . of course. In the Montmorency family. “I do not believe that Her Majesty understands what the word ‘dogma’ means.http://www. had learned their lesson from their mishandling of the situation with Mary and Francis and would not rest on the Queen Mother’s favour. To Huguenots she railed against the Cardinal of Lorraine and. Both showed a cool pragmatism in religious affairs. their most distinguished member.” She once gave a handsome prayerbook to her son Charles. commander of the Royal Infantry. made a conscious decision early on to throw her lot with the heretics in the interest of order. However. while it is clear that Elizabeth made an informed decision. to destroy them. The disastrous outcome of Catherine’s maneuvering proves again the wisdom of Machiavelli. Catherine. was a convinced Huguenot. The Sage of Florence would have advised her. to answer their injuries to her person with a final death blow. Despite the fact that she allowed Huguenots to live in her household. appearing as impartial as possible.diacritica. only to be told that it was a collection of Huguenot psalms. sided with the Catholics as well. and for the opinion that Catherine could not have read the book dedicated to her father. The Huguenots around the King were human beings reduced to numerical integers—a banking instinct adapted to humans. Thus. Admiral Coligny and Captain-General d’Andelot. comparing them to a disease which has built up a resistance to the cure (meaning. To the King of Spain and other powerful Catholics she called the Huguenots “vermin”. and decidedly turned the focus from their own ambitions to a purely religious conflict. once the Guise were down. though the militancy of the orthodox parties in both their states made them appear to be lost to the heretic parties at the very start. however. Their younger brother. they succeeded in fragmenting the opposing party. to their credit. Elizabeth. this meant directly to the heretics. in fact. Catherine never thought of the Catholic and Huguenot parties in terms of their beliefs. Catherine attempted to stand between the two powers. reacted to this new and powerful alignment by swinging to support the weaker party. Catherine’s view of matters of faith wasn’t. the Prince of Condé. Of the three Bourbon brothers.com/degenerate/index. the Church he served in. threats and finally an appeal to religious feeling. the eldest (Antoine of Navarre and the Cardinal of Bourbon) joined the Guise in arguing for a more strenuous persecution of heresy. as she never truly understood what it meant. she had no sympathy with their cause. As the conflict was no longer between the powerful houses of nobility. terror). Through money.
But confessions of faith and obedience aside.com/degenerate/index.diacritica.html page 31 . it was also probably true.http://www. a modern Freudian would call it. Degenerate .that I possess.” Paranoid egotism.
compared to one death among the Duke’s party—it’s fair to say that either the Duke drew his sword first or that a Protestant makes a lousy fighter. The Duke sent agents to the secret church (whose location everyone well knew) and demanded they come to his lodging and explain their shabby treatment of his family’s representative. the Guise passed through the city of Vassy. The Cardinal told Duke Christopher that he agreed with many of Martin Luther’s arguments. their mother had sent a bishop to Vassy to preach to the largely Protestant citizens and convince them to return to the fold of the Universal Church. This incident. The Huguenots had driven the bishop away. supported by their new allies. though he would only with time be able to express this publicly.html page 32 . for possibly the only time. The Guise faction. With this on his mind. They told him that the Huguenots were holding a service at that very moment. now felt themselves powerful enough to force the issue. based on what would happen next.diacritica. which. called by the Huguenots the Massacre of Vassy. had nothing to do with it. a Protestant but also a loyal ally of the Kings of France in the wars against the Hapsburgs. Duke of Würtemberg. The two sides give a wildly varying account of what happened next. save for that the first time one of the great nobles of court had T Degenerate . Returning from Würtemberg.com/degenerate/index.http://www. to side with them—the true defenders of the throne—from those who preached chaos and anarchy. The Duke and Cardinal together went to Germany to visit Christopher. Catherine. Based upon the results—45 dead on the Protestant side. was not remarkable. he gathered together and published under the title Treachery. if trouble should start. Duke Christopher took notes on the meeting. Both brothers swore to the Duke that they had nothing to do with the persecution of Protestants (a baldfaced lie) and encouraged him. Quite recently.The First Huguenot War he First Huguenot War—the first of so many that the French typically group them together under the social-historical term “the Wars of Religion”—was a long time in coming and merciless when spark hit powder. the Duke of Guise stopped in the city where he was met by a delegation of aggrieved Catholics.
Thanks to the extraordinarily slow journey of a captain of the artillery who. who degenerated from fighting for God and the Gospels to sack. only now it was done by professional soldiers. and other cities.html page 33 . seized as if by fever. they must be prepared. He was instructed to seize Orleans. it was France’s turn. Massacres and riots were an almost weekly occurrence. but the Duke of Guise’s involvement drew the Catholics to call him a savior and the Protestants to take up arms to defend themselves from further provocations. She sent several letters to the Prince of Condé. the mother. though he was commander of the French Navy. from his mother. though. On the other hand. she said that lest all be lost. as they put it. A generation before. the Admiral beat the Catholics to Orleans and made it his base of operations. “safekeeping”. and the realm”—objects which. the Huguenots convinced Queen Elizabeth of England to get involved. savage civil war had turned German against German to the horror of all patriots of that nation.personally drawn blood in the religious conflict. in tears. came amidst their Degenerate . As she had long ago decided to never let the King remain for a few days out of her sight. where the opposing armies avoid each other and take advantage instead to loot civilians and kill those of the opposite party. Guise was in firm control of the capital. she agreed to return to Paris with them.diacritica. rape. she landed several thousand troops at Havre de Grace and gave money to pay for German mercenaries. Most of the killing was done as it had been done before—massacres of the defenseless. made his name commanding men on firm ground). A troop of guards came to take the boy-king back to Paris with them for. Soon the Guises’ men were upon the royal palace and dragged the King. Soldiers actually fought very little in the First Huguenot War. fearing a fair fight (and an even chance of death) in favour of easy blood and lucrative rewards. a kind of Balkan war. Catherine was at a royal palace at Fontainebleu with the King and the royal household. As the Duke continued on to Paris. and now raised the second pillar of his plan for a coup d’etat. begging him to “save the children. As time went on. to be contemporary.http://www. the Huguenots suffered early losses. as to retreat to Huguenot territory would declare her too openly for their side. Rouen. contaminated the armed forces. In terms of the actual combat that took place. it was said. Paris was lost to Catherine and the Huguenots. The real Huguenot victory in the north. Rouen was stormed. now. of the suspected and the innocent. Catherine had plenty of time to withdraw with Coligny. To Admiral Coligny (who. who was marching hard for Orleans. Needless to say. perhaps encapsulated her philosophy. It was. They surrendered Tours after a short siege and the Prince of Condé’s army was routed on it’s way to relieve it. if ranked in that order.com/degenerate/index. She hesitated. at least not against other soldiers. pillage and all forms of sacrilege. was either a Huguenot or an old fool. the savagery of the population.
Now the Catholics fell disorganized and the Admiral. so he could massage his ego with the flattery of being addressed as a king. Unfortunately. like those of most everyone around him. then retracted his retraction. the Prince of Condé. The Prince of Condé led the first charge upon the center.http://www. in every sense. believing the King of Spain would give him an appendage to tiny Navarre to make it worth his attention. the Guise. Toward the end of his life he vacillated wildly. This young man’s lands had been confiscated and were now owned by the Marshal himself. Then he flirted with the Catholics again.defeat at Rouen. unable to the last to make up his mind. There followed the strange spectacle whereby Coligny took prisoner his own uncle. Admiral Coligny led the next wave. though. both sides were actually stronger now than they were before. the Huguenots and Catholics massed their troops at Dreux for the first (and last) grand confrontation of the war. most of all. The sides were more or less equally matched. One of the six Marshals of France. Drawing his pistol. One night at camp. For all of his life Antoine had been a pathetic figure. the Constable de Montmorency. his captor recognized him as one of the men who had been behind the persecutions. rallying his cavalry. until he was Degenerate . driving on the left flank which was completely shattered. mortal wound. It’s said that Antoine died neither Catholic nor Protestant. apprehended a day and a half later not a hundred meters from the crime scene.html page 34 . Admiral Coligny was immediately suspected by the Catholic party and. After the battle he joined the Catholic army besieging Orleans. one Huguenot and the other a Catholic. The Swiss infantry in the Catholic army fell apart. their capture now left the much abler Coligny and Guise in command.diacritica. he was shot in the back by a Huguenot nobleman who pretended conversion and joined the army the week before. saying that the Admiral paid him a hundred francs to kill the Duke. He died the next day. The death of Guise himself. then retracted it. The Catholics had about six thousand more troops. and forces commanded by the Duke of Guise sprang upon them. the Huguenots withdrew with the advantage and left the battle. fought with one another for possession of the dying man’s soul. was captured. surrounded by neither guards nor adherents. he exacted his vengeance on the spot. when two surgeons. Not long after. and so on. but he hadn’t a tenth of Catherine’s self-determination. first supporting the Catholics. His motives. much less that of his great enemies-turned-allies. The Constable and Condé were of the highest rank but not the best generals. it was. a true stalemate. were self-aggrandizing. He resolutely denied it. As night fell. In terms of command. renewed the struggle. He gave a detailed confession. In battle the King of Navarre suffered a freak. Jeanne de Navarre. by the Duke’s family. driving them from the field and capturing his old enemy. The assassin himself was caught after getting lost in the woods. de Saint-André.com/degenerate/index. There’s a ring of truth to the account of his final moments. having lost the patient. then marrying the leading Huguenot in the country. Though the Catholics had held the field. but the Huguenots had twice as many cavalry as their opponents. was not long in coming. The Huguenot troops were disorganized however.
Degenerate . 1563. a treaty was speedily hashed out. Relishing her role as a peacemaker. the war officially ended on 19 March. All of the greatest fighting men of the Catholic cause were out of the way—the Constable captured and Marshal de Saint-André and the Duke of Guise dead. There’s no evidence to draw her to the crime. The Huguenots enjoyed a return to the policy of toleration. but Catherine. though. Coligny may have been suspected. alternately accusing and retracting the entire time.http://www.com/degenerate/index. more than anyone.diacritica.html page 35 .drawn and quartered. nor does it seem likely that she would have had the means to undertake it. benefitted from this delightful neutralization of her greatest enemy who threatened once more to take her power away. She reacted nimbly to the change in fortunes.
Perhaps she was trying to live up to the name of Medici. with more ease than she had before. who with the death of Antoine and his older brother a Cardinal. a great builder in his own right. was due to rule as Regent. Catherine at this point gave up all hope of returning France to a stable financial footing. yet not a single one was ever finished in her lifetime.html page 36 . In all. Francis I. Though all documents were now signed with his name. and began to indulge her taste for building grand palaces which would soon appear as the manifestation of a kind of mania. none were ever completed in her very long lifetime.com/degenerate/index.The Queen and the Enchanter atherine still had to deal with the Prince of Condé. Catherine still called the shots. and as reliant on Catherine as ever before. but solely as residences for herself. Balzac. 1563. He was still a boy. apparently used to dealing with creditors. After being released from a rather luxurious imprisonment. officially ending the Regency. were for public or even ecclesiastical use. Charles IX shows off the “Valois Birdlegs” shortly One theory to explain Catherine’s leaving these buildafter coming into his majority ings unfinished has to do with a subject it is hardly possi- C Degenerate . but so did caprice: she would invariably order the foundation stones of another before the first was finished. she would have been better off just paying a few painters and poets. emotionally a cripple. The civil war could hardly have improved the finances of the kingdom. if so. Catherine undertook to build nine more. said in her favour that she had erected “noble buildings in spite of a lack of money”. The catastrophic state of the kingdom’s finances actually had a good deal to do with her mania for erecting noble buildings—none of which. Things had been this way since her husband was crowned. it should be noted.http://www. Financial shortfalls halted production. Catherine preempted his maneuvers by having her son officially come into his majority before the Parlement of Rouen on 17 August.diacritica. he set out to claim his prize. More loans were taken out at steadily increasing rates of interest. had left to Henry and his progeny nine enormous. She bought millions in jewels for gifts and for gowns. in his polemical work defending Catherine de Medici. stately palaces throughout the kingdom.
Nostradamus had recently published his quatrains. she hired an Italian who claimed that for very little money he could kill the Prince of Condé and other Huguenot leaders by means of sorcery. were very often accused of staging orgies in their secret churches. of sharing wives and even children for sexual favours. Huguenots. for instance.” Degenerate . Nostradamus allegedly told her that she would die when she completed her palaces. Nostradamus was no Rasputin. That a superstitious queen believed him shouldn’t surprise us. at least..) It is probable that his reference to the “Three Kings” of Catherine didn’t refer to Francis. During the Third Huguenot War. Surely. and Catherine employed many other seers and hucksters. talismans. It was a boyishly stupid thing that Henry. but to the Magi. given the sickly and unstable nature of her three surviving sons. That he predicted a “fourth Henry” is an invention of Dumas in his novel Queen Margot (that Nostradamus “found” this discovery in four H-like indentations in a lamb’s brain in Dumas’ novel should tell us all we need to know). including Nostradamus. Admiral Coligny and d’Andelot and conducted mysterious rites with an astrolabe and slight alterations to the statues’ movable joints. Charles and Henry at all.ble to speak plainly about. claiming that the House of Valois would soon be extinct. seemed to learn from. black magic and legions of men hired to read her destiny in the stars. more than one court gadfly suggests that as the reason she never finished them. it took a mother’s blindness to find mystery in this prediction.com/degenerate/index. that Charlton Heston can find Saddam Hussein in the “blue turbaned anti-Christ” should. We should be less amazed that a figure of the 16th century put such stock in a bad poet with the tendency to couch his quatrains in vagaries than that the people of the 21st century continue to believe his “predictions” of natural disasters and upheavals that never come. Yet the evidence for Catherine’s interest in black magic is indisputable. He constructed three life-size statues resembling Condé. On the eve of the Second Huguenot War. Many were nothing more than spinners of invisible thread who ran away with their pay. the polemical writers of the day wouldn’t blush to throw all sorts of allegations against their enemies.diacritica. he publicly admonished his mother for her continued patronage of magicians “who got a great deal of money out of her and didn’t do anything.http://www. which he had earlier shown to the Queen. King Charles and his brother Henry signed a contract with an alchemist who promised that within six months he would reveal the secret of the transmutation of base metals into gold..html page 37 . Later historians have been very careful to consider Catherine’s involvement in witchcraft—after all. It involves augurs. (Then again. Many of the charms given to her by astrologers and necromancers survived well past the French Revolution. maybe not. Years later when he became King.
actually. it is entirely possible to see in Catherine the good mother shepherding her son through the shark-infested water of a violent kingdom. King Charles IX’s fourteenth year. the Duke of Alva. Her middle son. The King of Spain. Her youngest daughter. Philip himself did not attend. had no stated purpose. in the south of France in 1564. Catherine truly believed that by moves such as this. After that year.html page 38 . but sent his wife. The whole conference. and any attempt to portray Catherine as a selfless servant to her children and the state becomes intrinsically fraudulent. Henry.The Price of Love U p until 1564. would not stop rhapsodizing—positively rhapsodizing—about how fond she was of Philip.diacritica. that he was the secular world’s foremost Catholic gave him a religious pretext toward that end). So much the pragmatist in other matters. she wished to marry to the Prince of Portugal. she wished to marry to the eldest daughter by Philip’s first marriage. Catherine. and that there was no other issue to talk about. The conference. From beginning to end. on the other hand. was interested in only one thing—the destruction of the Huguenots (well.com/degenerate/index. which was born purely of Catherine’s initiative. he was interested only in the destabilization of France. and it became a popular myth among both Huguenots and Catholics that all sorts of evil was planned there. she would sooner they be spineless mediocrities than glorious Sun Kings who would have no need of her guidance. whose domain would be protected by Philip. and was represented by his able lieutenant. she might gain for her family the unity of the states of France and Spain. Marguerite (affectionately known as Margot). Degenerate . And in order to continue guiding the ship of France well into her children’s majority. Catherine’s daughter Elizabeth. This becomes clear after her infamous meeting with emissaries of the King of Spain. the alibi falls apart. able to coolly dissect the pyres of religion and see the base motivations which fed the embers. Alva repeated his master’s wish that France should return to the policy of Henry II’s Burning Chambers. she would tear down the state itself. had been called so that she might pursue significant matches for her children. held in and near Bayonne. apparently.http://www. of course. and how she would like their families to be closer than ever before. For though she aspired for greatness for her children.
At this point. apparently Catherine agreed to revoke the Edict of Pacification which had granted Huguenots liberties of worship and conscience. but more than anything he was a normal man who thought this behavior by the Queen Mother—proposing this extraordinary conference dedicated to nothing but fanciful delusions of making her children rulers of the world by marriage—was positively batty. Yet Philip had decidedly less enthusiasm than his subordinate for the promises of the Queen Mother.html page 39 . “Everything is settled. She would demand from Philip the marriages she claimed Alva had promised at Bayonne before she would return to persecution. Degenerate . he prepared to leave Bayonne. His letters to Philip. that she intended to reanimate the Burning Chambers. she did convince the Huguenots. to return to a policy of persecution (which would invariably lead to a resumption of civil war).com/degenerate/index. which had previously been pessimistic and full of rancor. he didn’t believe her. Catherine took him aside. just to ensure advantageous marriages for her children. Just then.http://www.” From later correspondence. as she had done before. at a time when peace was rejuvenating the kingdom and a degree of genuine tolerance was taking root. After days of pointless conversation and evasive answers. suddenly brightened.diacritica. As we have seen. she only meant to mislead Philip. The way in which the deal fell apart is not nearly as important as the terms of the deal struck in the first place. With the Guise faction decimated by the loss of their leader. Catherine introduced the most implacable enemy of heretics outside of Rome into her balancing act. Catherine was willing. We acquired everything we wanted. But by her mysterious movements at Bayonne. Possibly.Alva would later make a name for himself as the Hangman of the Netherlands for his work there killing heretics. he was a capable general.
he wasn’t the best general.http://www. but in splitting his house and taking the field for his religion against his own family. Admiral Coligny was not a man who gloried in the lopsided victory. Thus the first two Protestant objectives failed before the war began. always looking for dynastic advantage. True. who was better in snatching victory out of defeat. Catherine tried to micromanage the affairs of the army until the Duke of Nemours—Catherine’s old conspirator Degenerate . And again. Alone among the vain military leaders of his day. to Paris. to grab important cities and hold them as guarantees after the peace.html page 40 . despite the logical mind of the Admiral working on their behalf. he cut a violent swash across the center of the country. The royal generals were bitterly opposed to each other. The same could not be said for those who succeeded him. It wasn’t helped when Catherine. At the head of 5. each claiming some degree of precedence to receive general command of the Catholic army. since Henry hadn’t the faintest idea how to lace up his boots. They had four goals: to seize the person of the King.000 horse. the leading cities of the kingdom remained in royal hands. Through her son. protected by the Royal infantry. their head. for in the Battle of St. no one could question his motives. like the Battle of Dreux. and to end the financial mismanagement and plundering of the Kingdom. named her second son Henry. Catherine was notified by one of her spies in the Prince of Condé’s bodyguard. The cumulative conflict of the Second Huguenot War was. Unfortunately. In truth. a virtual stalemate. The world has probably never known another leader. Squabbles soon broke out over who should advise him. however. Denis the Constable de Montmorency was mortally wounded.The Second Huguenot War T hat the Huguenot plan was essentially a reaction. Surprise would be essential to the whole undertaking’s success. She fled with the King. then a boy of sixteen. Their rising was set for the eve of St.com/degenerate/index. the only victory was in the quality of the casualties. is proved by their inability to achieve a single one of their prewar objectives. 28 September 1567. Michael’s Day. to cut the royal infantry to pieces so it might not be used as an instrument of oppression at war’s conclusion. but the crown’s inability to come up with money and poor leadership canceled out this advantage.diacritica.
html page 41 .com/degenerate/index. a reaction to the Queen Mother’s coldbloodedness and her willingness to kill her subjects to obtain a good marriage for her son. It gave Huguenots roughly the same liberties as they had before.http://www. All of the dissension gave the Huguenots the opportunity to reinforce their ranks with volunteers from their base in the south of the country. threatening to push Catherine aside. She had no role in the peace deal. Degenerate . Another peace treaty was signed. A new generation of leaders—the children of those slain in the first war and the second—were coming of age with new ideas on how to govern.in the plot to disfigure her husband’s mistress—threatened mutiny. The whole war had really been nothing more than a tantrum.diacritica. Yet the Admiral was as short of money as the Catholics were of humility.
As a contemporary of his cousins. As the Venetian Senate wanted firm guarantees for another loan to France.Politique Incorrect T he Second Huguenot War was a skirmish.” The Politiques were. or the genuine conviction of Protestants and Catholics. she offered them the pick of the crown jewels. The party which had pressed for peace was now strong enough to operate in the open. nationalists. It’s quite clear. to the extent that toward the end of her life her son issued orders that she should not be allowed anywhere near the vaults in which they were stored. The state was rotting. Lost amidst blueprints and back issues of Ladies Home Journal. that the precarious financial position of France (and most of Europe. they adopted Montmorency’s credo that “One year of civil war does more harm to the Catholic religion in France than ten years with the heretics. Now in his majority and at the head of the ancient House of Montmorency. Catherine roused herself to the only remedy she would ever find. however. As bills came due she would pawn as many emeralds. not through religion but through corrup- Degenerate . There are some familiar names among them—most of all Montmorency. Montmorency had never favoured war but as the son of the commander of the Catholic army. the most famous is his promise of “a chicken in every pot”. The arrears of the kingdom were now so grave that the Swiss infantry who had fought on the Catholic side five years before complained that they had not yet been paid.http://www. married to Henry II and Diane de Poitiers’ bastard daughter. One can’t underestimate the factional strife which accompanies new ideas. he stood in the lead of a group of moderate Catholics who opposed war and heightened persecution. It is no mistake that of all the quotations we have recorded from the mouth of Henry IV. one of the six Marshals of France and the son of the late Constable. With bad blood on all sides. who saw outside powers on all sides sewing discord for their own gain. who would do so much to heal the wounds of the Wars of Religion. the peasants broke what feeble amends they had made with their neighbours and dipped their hands in massacre and misery again.diacritica. for that matter) did nothing to elevate man’s mind to matters beside the salvation of his neighbour’s soul. loosely speaking. rubies and diamonds as she could.com/degenerate/index. Coligny and d’Andelot.html page 42 . he made a show of filial loyalty and fought on his side. Called the politiques. the peace treaty that ended it but a cease fire.
or that in her long life she saw most of her contemporaries die and their children inherit their title.com/degenerate/index. So it was hardly surprising for veterans of the French court to note that Catherine was once again spending a large amount of time with the Cardinal of Lorraine and his late brother’s son Henry. there was no other way to resuscitate the militant Catholic party and recreate her job mediating between parties. By their frank concern for economic situation. The Politiques saw little reason why the mother of a seventeen year old king should still be involved in the day-to-day affairs of state. as mother of the King. the young Duke of Guise. When one notes how easily she greased the wheels to return to war. and the results uncertain. one has to remember that. Moreover.tion. Would she die? The worse punishment she could expect for throwing another generation of France’s brightest at each other was what was already being taken away from her: Power. and were able to present a third alternative by rallying nationalist sentiment. (Because French nobles tended to name a son after his godfather— and the King of France was always godfather to their progeny—there is a great proliferation of Francises.html page 43 . they threatened to take over Catherine’s role as the peacemaker between both parties. and the Huguenots had made in implacable enemy of Catherine with their plot to seize the King at the start of the Second Huguenot War. the Protestants and Politiques agreed in their dislike of Catherine’s foreign proteges who were increasingly prominent among the ministers of state.) Henry of Guise blamed the Admiral for the assassination of his father. And as Catholics not without sympathy for the Protestants. This is no less confusing than the fact that three of Catherine’s four sons were known at different times as the Duke of Anjou. and burned with a desire for vengeance which at times bordered on frenzy. This clemency. and the continuing depletion of the radical Catholic party.diacritica. A Huguenot manifesto was more explicit in denouncing the enormous influence of “Strangers—more particularly. and the like.http://www. the Cardinal of Lorraine left and Catherine found herself drifting again. Henrys. Their members had never been among the most ardent supporters of persecution. is the reason why kings have been beheaded by truly civilized countries. but also Elizabeth of England and the Italian financiers who traded their bank accounts for positions of rapacious authority with the Queen Mother’s blessing.” With the Politiques dominating court. bloodshed and the plots of outsiders—chiefly the King of Spain. Degenerate . Italians. Though she had learned that war was dangerous. this immunity from the consequences of their own decisions. she couldn’t possibly suffer from it. the Politiques immediately seized the initiative. which was obviously bleak to everyone but the elite.
Despite having far less experience with women than the Prince. decapitated bodies. “We fought the first war like angels. He asked money from the Pope for the extermination of heresy in France. Cornered and with few allies. Catherine couldn’t have the gift of foresight to see that Philip’s strategy in the “Councils of Blood” then ruling the Netherlands would cause the most prosperous part of the Hapsburg domains to fight for independence.diacritica. O ne of the greatest Huguenot captains.Fishing for Corpses W hen the Second Huguenot War had ended. the Admiral told Condé that Catherine would never forgive or forget that they had tried to take the King away from her. At the King of Spain’s urging. and urgently sent messengers to the other Huguenot leaders.html . The Prince of Condé was the first to get wind of it. She conjured up a plan that she knew would gain her allies.com/degenerate/index. page 44 Degenerate . who had once managed to woo a rich widow and satiate his mistress while at the same time tending to his wife on her deathbed. he was willing to lend his not insignificant abilities to murder and conspire to the noteworthy goal of killing a third of the King’s subjects. No one in the militant Catholic party trusted her anymore. which involved executing all their leaders and mutilating their lifeless. With so many powerful men thinking aloud. though he still didn’t trust Catherine. or at least worked for: the King of Spain. She wrote him letters congratulating him on his brutal strategy for the Pacification of the Netherlands. the Admiral was right. He hastily sped to what had become and would remain the most defiant Huguenot stronghold in the country—the city of La Rochelle on the Atlantic seaboard—denouncing the planned extermination in yet another declaration of war. the second like men and the third like devils. the Cardinal of Lorraine returned to court and. But that would assume she actually cared about exterminating heresy. Catherine drew her claws. and not merely swinging the balance of power back into her favour by discrediting the Politiques. that’s really saying something.http://www. there’s no way the plot could remain a secret long.” Considering the agnostic horror of that first angelic war. de la Noue. Instead she appealed to the man they did trust. wrote in his memoirs.
or at least really bad poetry. the legitimate male heir that the Medici Popes had forgotten about. and Jeanne and d’Andelot’s deaths by poison would have accomplished that rather easily. In this case. winter had set in and both sides camped for the season about 15 kilometers apart in the province of Orleans. hardly had the period of mourning passed before she unabashedly began to make overtures to have the widower of her eldest daughter marry her youngest. Certain items of the inventory of Clement VII had gone missing. were in no mood to hurry up the war. was a frail girl not at all suited for the pressures placed upon her to act as a political intermediary. Jeanne. Chivalry. No quarter was given to prisoners.Private vengeance. greed. He and Catherine had quarreled about the family inheritance. The Third Huguenot War truly did go beyond the pale. first Prince of the Blood and titular commander of the Degenerate . gradually moving to full financial support of the Huguenots later in his life out of spite for his estranged cousin. But there is simply no evidence of the matter. His master. Elizabeth. and a desire to get even for past injustices combined to cause a social situation not unlike a bloodfeud in some remote. the Queen of Navarre and Coligny’s brother. barbaric corner of the world. But the pain of her heart would never dominate the perverse workings of her conniving mind. by her mother to her husband and vice versa.http://www. This had an untended side-effect when the treasure chest was opened before the Florentine Ambassador. The one time she definitely dipped her hands into assassination. and secondly because of the horrid financial situation. One has to conclude that the only times Catherine was implicated in the use of poisons was in the fantasies of her enemies.html page 45 . Catherine’s goal had been the liquidation of the Huguenot leadership. Their army ranged far and wide before the Catholic force had a chance to outfit. she decided on rather more brutal means than poison. The Huguenots took the early advantage this time. d’Andelot. Catherine once again opened the vault to Italian bankers. suffered a great loss when the Prince of Condé. Catherine’s daughter and Queen of Spain. and no advancing army would leave a civilian of the opposing faith unmolested. This was because the Politiques. The allegation that Catherine poisoned them is probably untrue. also died during the winter. was Catherine’s old cousin. the Florentine Ambassador was now looking at those necklaces and crusted broaches among the crown jewels of France.diacritica. he nevertheless became neutral in the conflict. Cosimo de Medici. Cosimo reneged on the assistance he had promised.com/degenerate/index. while fighting on the Catholic side. There’s little doubt that Catherine felt this loss and grieved deeply. A militant Catholic. By the time the Catholic army was able to take the field. The first notable death of the conflict wasn’t in France at all.
and at a decided disadvantage. Earlier he had been able to out-think his opponents on the Catholic side. hadn’t won a single battle since the reign of Francis I. it wasn’t as bad as it seemed at the time. while the Catholics weakened. Henry. The war aims of the Catholics. nor the best Huguenot.com/degenerate/index. who had been promoted due to the fact that no other commander was having any success. True. originally proposed by Catherine. The first was his son. should Catherine’s three sons not manage to make a son. It was two days before one of the Bourbon kinsmen was allowed to retrieve it. which is precisely what happened. His nephew. were so radical that she succeeded where all the Protestant rhetoriticians and diplomats of the world Degenerate . Nevertheless with a large part of his army forcing the issue. and thus the head of Huguenots. Montcontour was the only decisive battle of the first three wars. while an able commander in his youth. The only worthwhile adversary he had faced had been the late Duke of Guise. The Huguenots were completely routed. The Cardinal of Lorraine was given a more macabre trophy. draped the dead Prince’s body over a mule. also named Henry. But Admiral Coligny’s prediction won out. Prince de Condé. was killed in a rearguard skirmish near Jarnac in the Spring of 1569. Henry. The southern gentry which made up the majority of the Huguenot cavalry was growing bored living off the land and avoiding the enemy. His place as titular head of the Huguenots was taken jointly by two young princes. heir to the throne of France.Protestant armies. oversexed teenager of little use in the field. The second and more important was the son of Antoine de Bourbon and the Queen of Navarre. and they had utterly destroyed the Huguenot infantry. and thus the first Prince of the Blood and.diacritica.http://www. He had been dismounted and was prepared to be taken prisoner for the second time in three wars when a captain in Catherine’s son Henry’s regiment rode over and shot him in the face. The Admiral was forced into battle earlier than it would have liked. and son of the eldest Bourbon. But the Catholics around the King were able to claim total victory. The Admiral had calculated that his position would grow stronger with time. Now the Catholic party had finally found the Admiral’s match in Tavannes. eventually.html page 46 . Henry. had been injured in the foot and sent his bloody boot as a present. Henry de Navarre was then still a debauched. whose black character was even then being noted. Duke of Guise. then dumped it in the streets of a nearby city. The real command of the army was where it had always been with Admiral Coligny. but he had a certain verve to him that many would miss. his uncle the Constable de Montmorency. Condé wasn’t the best soldier. he pulled up and faced off with Tavannes at the small village of Montcontour. But he was the fusion of two crucial elements—son of the Queen of Navarre. Hundreds of standards were given to the King. for their prized cavalry escaped largely intact.
The most important conversion of the Third Huguenot War. Finally. The Protestants were to retain four strong towns (chief among them La Rochelle. Tavannes would soon show that his adeptness at holding a position on the battlefield surpassed his meagre ability to hold fast to his principles. Coligny’s reinforced infantry beat back the charge of the much larger Catholic army.had failed. issued on 8 August. The “volunteers” under Sir Henry Champernowne who rode into the Huguenot camp after Montcontour had her tacit sanction. Now a Marshal of France and a fixture of court life. Tavannes had the bad habit of talking too loud and his change of heart was soon known to everyone. came out decisively for the Huguenots in huge levies of troops. It is perfectly well known that they only want to forment these civil wars so that each party will destroy the other and leave them superior to all. the most important French port for trade with the Americas) as a guarantee against further breaches of peace by the Catholic party. he rallied the cavalry and began a 1. Now the Prince of Orange. The treaty that ended the Third Huguenot War—the first with conclusive battles. With the army reeling from the devastation of Montcontour. And Elizabeth. which was decisive in pushing for peace. 1570.http://www. Not even the dreaded Philip of Spain had been able to terrorize the Protestant rulers of Europe into an informal alliance. Before a meeting with the King and in the presence of the Spanish Ambassador he recited the Politique credo chapter and verse: “These Spaniards would do better to govern their own house and not mix in the government of other kingdoms.200 mile drive in a circular route throughout the whole of France.html page 47 . Queen of England. but official support was usually covert and often miserly. who had previously supported both sides according to their leaders’ temporary interests. more than making up for the infantry lost at Montcontour. was the loss of Tavannes from the militant Catholic to the Politique cause. inflicting such enormous loses that Cossé had no choice but to withdraw. and these vermin will always be the enemies of France.diacritica. Because the Huguenots are still are brothers. The punitive laws which had been passed during wartime—including the deprivation of rights to anyone who rose in arms and the confiscation of their estates—were withdrawn and all Degenerate . the Huguenots lived off the land and from pillage. The Politiques were all but victorious when Coligny. crossed the border to Normandy and fought openly on the Huguenot side. For my part I’d rather see a hundred white cloaks [the Huguenot uniform] than a single red cross [the Spanish insignia] in Paris. strengthened by reinforcements and foreign assistance. the inept Marshal Cossé. though she still kept her support discreet.com/degenerate/index.-Germain. subsidized the Huguenots with artillery and money.” But if the Huguenots relied upon this defection from the extreme Catholic party. Linking up with greater forces as he went. The German Protestants. To be sure. evading the Catholic army under Catherine’s favourite general. though they canceled each other out—was called the Edict of St. after several months Cossé drew the Huguenots to battle near Arnay le Duc. the ablest of the Dutch rebels to escape Philip’s persecution. volunteers from one state would invariably fight in another’s struggle. began a campaign which has been compared with Hannibal’s march.
especially not with the Politique party in control.com/degenerate/index.http://www. The Queen Mother was diametrically opposed to the peace. Degenerate .html page 48 . That Coligny had been away from court and had a distorted view of reality from his contacts and relations there was obvious.Huguenots were acknowledged as loyal subjects of the Crown. but with her children now growing to maturity.-Germain ended the period of religious strife. most fair-minded men at the time believed the Edict of St. Coligny certainly believed so.diacritica. but would not forget those who dared to stand between herself and her son. The rights of worship and conscience spelled out in the Edict of Pacification were restored. While the road to a united kingdom would be rocky. nobody thought she would remain the dominating influence in government. similar to the manner in which the Emperors had finally “agreed to disagree” with their Lutheran subjects in Germany. Catherine was relegated to the background for awhile.
when he was not away with the Huguenot army. Her fortune and influence were based upon the family she had created to make up for the one taken away from her at such an early age.diacritica. not insignificant. religion and sedition. where the four male puppies sharpened their claws on each other’s pelts. Neither had the peculiar neurotic temperament that characterized Catherine’s sons. It was a turbulent house.” Margot’s inde- T Degenerate . Charles hated Henry for his growing fame as the head of the army. which were. the orphaned King of Navarre.html page 49 . appeared to get along with all three to a greater or lesser extent. Henry and Hercules (because of the inherent silliness of his name—so silly he was renamed Francis after the death of his elder brother of the same name—we’re going to refer to Herc’ as the Duke of Alençon. but hated Henry with an even greater passion. even after he no longer held that title) together with Henry. and he was always the most stubborn. “I raised the King of Navarre among my own children. The King of Navarre. Margot provides numerous insights into the workings of this dysfunctional family which would otherwise be written off as rumour and gossip. Charles. Alençon apparently got along with Charles.The Road to St. Bartholomew he Virgin Mary and Frau Hitler aside. There was a dangerous sibling rivalry between them which would later blow up and mix with the Huguenot wars into a dangerous cocktail of politics. though his trust in Henry was never great and his affection for Charles and Alençon would wane. and also because Henry was obviously his mother’s favourite. All three shared some common traits. Catherine de Medici could make a fair claim to being the most famous mother in history. of course. For Catherine raised all of her sons (but. Her youngest daughter. Catherine raised Margot. Catherine once said. The two often came to blows.com/degenerate/index. Margot and Henry of Navarre were definitely the ugly puppies in the kennel. and to aspire to positions even greater than those they inherited. not her daughters) to crave ambition like oxygen. feminist historians may care to note. sometimes on the field of battle itself.http://www.
pendent nature clashed with her mother from the start. She appears to have genuinely cared for her brothers (the rumours of incest can be attributed to Protestant slander and the reputation for debauchery she would earn later in life), and often tried to undo the bloody hold her mother had over their minds. For Catherine, having brought up her sons to be utterly dependent upon her, was able to play them like violins. The younger Prince of Condé once said he heard her tell Alençon, “Tell your secrets only to me, because everyone else in the world will try to hurt you”—this when Alençon was but a six year old boy. Only Francis, brought up under the influence of his father, scraped the surface of a healthy emotional hygiene. It’s a damning indictment of Catherine’s upbringing of her sons when a teenager whose physical defect prevented him from reaching puberty was the most normal character in the family. Of the three surviving brothers, Charles appeared to be the most unstable. He was the most violent of the three, prone to absolutely uncontrollable bouts of rage. Charles had an unnatural fascination with death; mixed his volatile temperament, it could take the form of an insatiable bloodlust. He was an inveterate sportsman like his father, going out every day to hunt in the royal grounds (he had little to do in the Louvre anyway, since his mother was running the government). Once he set his pack of trained dogs on a cow and laughed with a frenzied glee as they tore it to pieces. On another occasion, he drew his sword and hacked a family of deer who had wandered into his nets until all that remained was a mess of bloody fur. It is to Charles’ credit that he recognized this dark side of his personality and tried to control it—after all, self-discipline isn’t usually among the characteristics of a man born an absolute monarch. Though fond of wine, he became a tea-tottler later in his life after realizing that alcohol only exacerbated his mean streak. Margot was one of the few people Charles felt he could trust. All of his advisors had been appointed by his mother and reported his every act and utterance back to her. Charles was aware of his servility to Catherine; possibly it was the impotence she imposed on him that made him such a headcase. As Catherine became more politically irrelevant, she spent more and more time in Charles’ chamber. He was the one trump card she had left, and the control over her children the only factor keeping her, in her warped view of things, from oblivion. So it was hardly surprising that when Margot came between them, Catherine was prepared to do the worst to get her out of the picture. For a Princess of France, that meant banishment. Catherine renewed her machinations to get her married to the Prince of Portugal, practically begging Philip of Spain to consent to the match. Philip was unmoved. The Spanish ambassador (who had instructions to draw out the negotiations) noted that Margot seemed to have something tying her to court. In private to Degenerate - http://www.diacritica.com/degenerate/index.html page 50
Catherine, he named names. Margot had allegedly been having an affair with the young Duke of Guise. Though she denied in her memoirs feeling anything for him, the modesty of old age may have caused her to rethink how much love was really invested in a private caress. Catherine, eager to use anything to undermine her daughter in the battle for the King’s mind, sat awake for hours working on his nerves. Finally, at five in the morning, Charles and his mother burst into Margot’s chamber. When she denied the affair, Catherine slapped her. From stories that later made the rounds, Margot slapped her back. Charles, now roused into one of his furies, “lay his hands” on her, which we can take to mean, in the polite language of court etiquette, that he beat the living fuck out of her. In truth, Catherine probably wouldn’t have minded a little competition to force the King of Spain’s hand, but that there was substance to the affair with the Duke of Guise, and that Margot was once again standing in the way of her plans, was unforgivable. When he later went out hunting with the Duke of Guise, Charles alluded to the fact that they were all alone and that it would be quite easy to shoot him on the spot if he so wished. Guise withdrew from court the next day; within a few weeks, his uncle, the Cardinal of Lorraine, announced the boy’s engagement to a rich widow. In the meantime, the Politiques had gotten wind of the marriage negotiations with Philip of Spain, and proposed a match between the old playmates, Marguerite and Henry of Navarre, which would seal the Edict of St.Germain and solidify the peace by uniting the Catholic royal family with the titular head of the Huguenots. The Politique leader, Marshal Montmorency, was then enjoying great popular acclaim. He had taken control of the expenses of the kingdom and, through a war on corruption, actually turned the perpetual budget deficits into surpluses, which he used to get some of the crown jewels out of pawn in Italy and pay down the exorbitant loans run up by the Queen Mother. In the Spring of 1572, the engagement between Marguerite and Henry was announced. Catherine couldn’t do anything to thwart it, despite her obsession with obtaining grand matches for her children. (It is interesting to note that none of her elaborate marriage plans worked out. Charles married a younger daughter of the Emperor, and Henry married a local girl without consulting his mother. The marriages of her older children had been arranged by her husband.) The marriage plans were well underway when Charles actually began to show some initiative in declaring independence from his domineering mother. He had earlier tried to emancipate himself by getting involved in an intrigue in Italy with her estranged cousin, Duke Cosimo of Florence. There was some rivalry between Cosimo and another Italian ruler. The Pope had gotten involved, which caused the Emperor to get involved on the other side. Charles proposed to form a great alliance of the Pope, Florence and the rebellious estates of the Netherlands with himself at its head. The Duke’s advisors didn’t take it very seriously. After they deduced that the offer came from the King alone, the Duke answered that perhaps Charles should consult about this with his mother. Now Charles turned sole attention to the Netherlands. Emperor Degenerate - http://www.diacritica.com/degenerate/index.html page 51
Charles V, when dividing his domains, gave the Dutch estates of his combined empire to Spain and his son Philip, rather than, as reason would suggest, to Germany and his brother, the Emperor Ferdinand. The Empire had reached a kind of modus vivendi regarding religion; even the Emperor Charles, militant Catholic that he was, realized that the days of a single church had passed. Furthermore, he had spent a considerable period among the Dutch and knew the people, their pride, and the desire of their elite that, above all, nothing should stand in the way of the trade and manufacturing that made the Netherlands so prosperous. Philip, raised a Spaniard, had none of that understanding,. His “Councils of Blood” had exported the Inquisition to the Low Countries and Spaniards occupied all important posts in the country. Independent of his mother, King Charles entered into secret negotiations with the chief antagonist to the Spaniards, the Prince of Orange. He wanted to declare war on Spain, help the Dutch achieve independence, draw closer to the English (who had also been supporting the Dutch rebels) and exact a little profit in the bargain. To these base goals Admiral Coligny added the rejuvenation of his own country. At the King’s invitation, the Admiral returned to court and together they talked about the feasibility of declaring war on Spain. Coligny, speaking as the military leader of the Huguenots, said that he had never heard such a fine plan, and promised that every member of his faith would jump at the chance to express their loyalty to the Crown by volunteering to fight that ancient enemy of France. The appearance of Coligny at court caused quite a stir. The Guise demanded justice for the assassination of the Duke of Guise during the First Huguenot War; his son and successor as duke begged the King for the chance to duel the man he believed behind his father’s murder. The King demanded he obey his earlier pledges; his mother had even given the Admiral the Kiss of Peace. It didn’t matter anyway, because Charles had found in the Admiral the most gifted general of his generation and—more importantly—the one man who could stand up to his mother. Catherine knew what was going on from the day Coligny returned to court. She beseeched her son not to fight Spain. Charles, for the first and possibly only time in his life, showed some backbone. He demanded to know how she knew what was said in his private conversations. He told her that he trusted Coligny more than any man. With this state of affairs and her daughter Marguerite, who so many times acted as Charles’ conscience, about to become Queen of Navarre, Catherine decided on drastic measures, once again praying upon the fact that she could ride the tiger of terror back into power.
Degenerate - http://www.diacritica.com/degenerate/index.html
http://www.html page 53 . “Discord bound by this bond. remained calm as the Huguenots up from the provinces spent a good deal of money on lodgings and goods during the lavish proceedings. The people of Paris. his lust for vengeance against the supposed murderer of the father he had barely known. but that was before the latter had dared to step between mother and son. the royal family heard the Catholic mass. Charles had a medal struck in commemoration of the event. with time. The Queen Mother had helped to restrain the Guise from seeking vengeance against Coligny. through his left forearm. On this day. while they talked of war and hunting. on the other. The Admiral was struck by pistol shot. by the physics of Lee Harvey Oswald. so militantly Catholic. the Cardinal of Bourbon.” Four days after the ceremony. And so she determined to rub him out. officiated by the King of Navarre’s sole surviving elder. Coligny had been his partner for the past few months. a shot rang out from the barred window of a house. E Degenerate . The ceremony was the usual stunning affair. which smashed his right forefinger and passed. Charles stomped on his racket like a Bugs Bunny cartoon and cried. life was returning to normal. With the Admiral in the picture. As Coligny left the tennis court for his family’s old apartments in Paris. On one side it read. After the ceremony while the men of Navarre’s party discreetly stepped out.St. The Admiral had his wits about him enough to point to the window from where the shot came. she could massage Montmorency or Guise into giving her a share of power.com/degenerate/index. Bartholomew’s Night very notable Huguenot in France came to Paris on 18 August 1572 to celebrate the marriage of Henry. and Marguerite de Valois. the Admiral watched a match with a retinue of men as the King dusted off the Duke of Guise. and substituted his mania for hunting into a more benevolent kind of sport: tennis. “I bring you peace”. she stoked young Henry de Guise’s hate. his orders came from the Duke of Guise and Catherine de Medici. There was little question of manipulating the Admiral. as she had managed the Prince of Condé and Antoine de Bourbon a generation before.diacritica. “Will I never have peace?” The failed assassin was a fellow named Maurevel. King of Navarre. The King had been unwell. Catherine was sure that. When told of the incident.
The planning of the assassination shows Catherine to be either a rank amateur or a crafty genius. The trail of the crime was picked up immediately by the King’s investigators and led straight to the Duke of Guise. The house that the shot came from was leased to the Duke’s former tutor. The assassin had been introduced to the housekeeper by du Chailly, a wellknown servitor of the Guise. The assassin, Maurevel, escaped on a waiting horse, but everyone knew him too. He had attempted to assassinate the Admiral during the third war. Finding him too heavily guarded, Maurevel killed his aide, de Mouy, instead. For that he was decorated by the Parlement of Paris a hero, and for the pension he drew was popularly derided as “the King’s Killer”. Either Catherine had no idea how to go about covering her tracks or—more likely—she intended Guise to take the fall all along. She had been working under the assumption, of course, that the assassin would succeed. Now she was sent into a scramble. The Admiral was wounded, but still alive and after some recuperation, expected to live. He was too wise not to see the logic behind the attack; with his new influence with Charles, Catherine wouldn’t just be pushed into the background, but probably packed away to some convent in the country. With the deprivation of her most treasured asset on the line, Catherine reacted in characteristic fashion, with an act so terrible it stunned the entire world.
hree meetings were held the night following the attack on the Admiral. The leading Huguenots lingering in Paris after the wedding beseeched Coligny to leave the city, if not declare a resumption of war for this violation of the King’s guarantee of safety. Charles had earlier sent word to Coligny that an investigation was underway, and that the preliminary evidence led to the Duke of Guise. Coligny advised his uppity subordinates to wait with him. The surgeon said that to move at this point would lead to a great loss of blood and probably death. The King and Queen of Navarre—not exactly passionately in love—slept in adjoining rooms. Into Henry’s room came the troupe of malcontents who had earlier been rebuffed by Coligny. Navarre bowed before the advice of the Admiral who had, after all, far more prestige and experience. In another part of the Louvre, shut off from the apartments of the newlyweds, another meeting was being held toward a very different end. This ad hoc council was called by Catherine and the Duke of Guise together with a singular purpose. To save themselves from disgrace, they wanted to massacre every single Protestant in France. They were joined by a motley council, only one of whom (Marshal Tavannes) had any real standing. He was also the only full-blooded Frenchman in attendance. In light of the Huguenot and Politique belief that the Queen Mother was allowing Italians page 54
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to ruin the kingdom, it is enlightening to note the birth of each of the eight people in attendance that night. Four—the Duke of Nevers, the Marshals de Retz and Birague, and Catherine herself—were Italians, and the former three owed their riches and influence to her. Tavannes was French. The other three—Charles, his brother Henry, and the Duke of Guise—all had Italian mothers. This would be insignificant, had it not been noted by everyone vaguely aware of the composition of the council which decided such a climactic end to the Huguenot menace, particularly when these men searched to discover what the real goal of it was. Only Charles’ brother Henry and the Duke of Guise could be considered militant Catholics. It took seven hours to wear down Charles. They told him Protestants planned to enter the Louvre and kill the entire royal family, driving Catholicism out of his realm. It’s doubtful Charles believed this. In the end, he lay his authority behind the most vile act to be done in his kingdom in a hundred years, betraying his new friends and abandoning his plan for personal independence, because he bent, as he had always done before, to the will and arguments of his mother. Thus the most violent single episode of persecution in France, named the Massacre of St.One of the few refugees to survive St.-Bartholomew’s Bartholomew’s Day for the unfortunate saint Night was none other than Count Montgomery, the Scot whose feast day it began on, happened not even who had killed King Henry II in a freak jousting accident for the rigid but pure motivations of religion, but so many years before. Absolved of any blame by Henry on so an aging mother could retain control over her his deathbed, Montgomery later converted to overgrown sons and wipe out those who were tryProtestantism and was one of Coligny’s most able coming to undermine it. manders. Nervous after the attempt to murder his mentor, The massacre began with its most important he had wisely withdrawn from the city and was warned by target. The Duke of Guise and his bodyguards a wounded Huguenot who swam the Seine to warn him waited in the courtyard of the Admiral’s apartwith his dying breath. A price was put on his head, and ments while three assassins entered and broke bounty hunters chased him all the way to England. down the door, killing anyone who tried to stop Catherine repeatedly requested his extradition. Queen them. A few moments later, they called down to Elizabeth replied, “Tell the Queen Mother that I will not act the courtyard that they had killed Coligny. Guise as France’s executioner.” Catherine seized her prize a few replied that they should throw the body through years later when Montgomery was captured after leading the window so everyone could be sure. Wiping the a failed insurrection in Normandy. No one was surprised blood from his face of the corpse, he was conwhen he was sentenced to death. vinced. His bodyguards severed the Admiral’s Waiting on the scaffold, Montgomery was informed that head. Sometime during the night, the Admiral’s by royal edict, his property would be confiscated and his body was grabbed by a mob, mutilated, and children deprived of their titles. The Scottish captain told dragged through the streets. his executioners, “Tell my children that if they have not the The Duke of Guise had a busy night. Not yet ability to restore what was taken away, then I damn them distinguished for a single thing, he made his repufrom the grave.” Compare/contrast the character of two tation that night as the commander of the slaughlives intertwined. ter of the defenseless. He rushed back to the palace to lead the guard in killing the rest of the Huguenot leadership lodged there. The King’s guard and the Swiss mercenaries ran through the halls of the Louvre, chasing unarmed men and run-
The Strange Life of Count Montgomery
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ning them through with swords, pikes—even clubbing them to death with bedposts. A Huguenot captain burst into Queen Margot’s bedroom, screaming “Navarre! Navarre!” Earlier that night, her sister Claude had begged Margot to stay with her, believing that the marauders would run through Margot and her new husband without prejudice. Catherine scolded them both and told Margot to go to bed. When Margot hesitated, her mother slapped her and pushed her physically out of the room. Now she was horrified as the captain, half-dead but determined to warn Henry de Navarre of the danger to his life, broke through her door and collapsed into her bed. Covered in blood, she recovered her senses and upbraided the guards who chased after the fugitive. Angered but conditioned to bow before royalty, they muttered profane apologies and left the room. Margot managed to hide the fugitive, tending to his wounds, until he was able to escape a few days later. By morning there was a pile of corpses stacked outside King Charles’ door. The Seine was choked through with thousands more. After finishing up in the Louvre, Guise, Tavannes and the only other prince connected with the event, the Duke of Montpensier, ran through the streets, ringing the tocsin and calling on the Parisians to cleanse the land of heretics. The mob sprang upon them with a ghastly ferocity. A bookseller was barbecued on a pile of his own wares. Old men were thrown out of bed and kicked to death. Diarists recorded scenes of unspeakable cruelty, of infanticide by soldiers whose victims were so young and unaware of their destiny that they played with the beards of their executioners like toys, and boys of ten dragging an infant by its bedclothes to drown in the river. The net was almost completely sealed—amazing by the standards of the time, almost no one was able to escape Paris.
rom Paris the fever spread. Meux, Troyes, Orleans, and many other cities answered the call to purge the body of the kingdom of its toxins by gleefully massacring their own brothers. For quite often they were brothers; sometimes the victims were even Catholics. Numerous lawsuits were settled on that night, as were personal grudges, matters of honour and envy. There was no official count on the death toll in Paris or elsewhere, but historians have estimated ten to a hundred thousand perished. It is revealing to note, however, that no province governed by a Politique took part in the Massacre of St.-Bartholomew. The Marshal Montmorency himself was a target, but had by chance left Paris after the wedding for his ancestral estate in Chantilly. His survival, of course, meant a resumption of war. His younger brother Damville, Governor of Languedoc, was known as a supporter of his father’s militant Catholicism as opposed to his brother’s moderation. In this case however, family ties were unbroken. He threatened to join the numerous Huguenots of his province after assassins were apprehended trying to gain admittance to his palace. A messenger bearing a letter from Catherine denying any knowledge of the plot was received by page 56
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Degenerate . As for Catherine’s activity on that night.html page 57 .http://www.diacritica. Dated from St. Albanians) who spoke no French and were led by a man reputed to be a giant. we have no witnesses. As a response to Catherine he wrote no letter. he had recruited as his bodyguard several Albanians (yes. While blood trickled beneath her bedroom door and stained the gutters of the city. recommending her chaplain to his service. Certainly she was not swinging a sword. Catherine apparently went about the business she did best. Neither could she in good faith say. “laughed heartily”.Bartholomew’s Day is a letter she wrote to the son of the Duke of Florence.-Bartholomew’s Night were King of Navarre and the Prince of Condé. We do have one indication of her mindset on the night when she plotted the mass-murder of an entire religion. Together they took mass in Notre-Dame the next morning. so he wrote to his master. but had the messenger witness his giant in the courtyard. they were allowed the chance to renounce their faith. when Henry de Navarre pronounced his support of the Holy Father as per ritual.com/degenerate/index. Catherine turned to the Spanish Ambassador at her side and. that she was “only responsible for the deaths of a few men”—a phrase that historians have rolled on their tongues with sweet sarcasm. Not trusting Catholics or Huguenots. beheading a calf with a single swing of his cutlass. They abjured in the presence of Charles and his mother. As princes of the blood. as she did on her deathbed.Damville sitting in a room with three trained wolves at his feet. The two Huguenots left standing in Paris after St.
good men.diacritica.-Bartholomew’s Day caused a nationwide crisis of conscience. which aesthetically speaking were almost as awful as their subject matter. He also ordered several murals to be painted depicting the massacre of the heretics. let us keep silent and let the crimes of our own nation be covered by darkness. not only his friends but also his father. Philip of Spain congratulated Charles on fulfilling his duty as the “Most Christian King”.http://www. publicly congratulated the King and Queen Mother for their vigilance. The Pope cried with joy and retired to St. To an historian like de Thou.-Bartholomew’s Day came swiftly. Emperor Maximilian wrote that “The King and his mother have done the most ill advised and evil thing in the world. His enthusiasm was tempered the fact that the Huguenot threat might no longer cripple his chief rival.” The murals. It was sickening. If de Thou’s recollection of his father is in any way ordinary. fearing that they might be next. Peter’s to sing a Te Deum to the glorious deed.The Aftermath T he initial reaction to St. this was a crime only slightly less grave than the murder of the innocent. wrote privately that the Vatican Degenerate .html page 58 .” Even the Papal Nuncio in the French court. in the place where Michelangelo’s glorious work ascended the heavens. St. many public endorsements of the Massacre were hollow. He indicted. by name. though the remnants could be seen until they were covered in the 1970s. were sanded off in the 18th century. despite the pontiff’s garrulous joy over the Massacre. where “for three centuries they insulted every pontiff who went to the Sistine Chapel. may future generations refuse to believe them. Within France itself. He ascribes to the men who defended such a deed the verses of Statius: May the memory of the crimes of that day perish.com/degenerate/index. God forgive those who are responsible. There were a few voices in the wilderness who stated publicly their private thoughts.” He elaborated on this later: “The King of France has committed an act which will stamp upon him a shame which cannot easily be wiped off. rather than ending the religious problem.
those who would fight would be called “Associated Catholics”. More capable military leaders grumbled.html page 59 T . Together with many Politiques (taking arms for the first time against fellow Catholics. a role as a force of reconciliation. the right to trial before their own judges. The Huguenots now held sixty fortified towns throughout France. exemption Degenerate . that the Massacre had been unleashed only to cover the role of the Queen Mother in the attempted assassination of the Admiral. Putting a lid on the unrest which followed St. Considering that she was also one who had pushed the conflict into open warfare as many times. The blockade of La Rochelle failed.com/degenerate/index.http://www. he protection of the Politique governors allowed most Huguenots to survive their planned extinction.Bartholomew’s Day. After struggling with the evidence. couldn’t obey this evil but wise dictum. after collapsing in council and endorsing the plan to murder the Huguenots. despite his prejudices.should expect France to be no more a good soldier in Christendom than before. Machiavelli’s ablest disciple and the man who galvanized the squabbling Italian states in the 19th century to form a united Italy. Some historians have seen in Catherine’s constant pursuit of peace an ennobling character. they rushed to the four cities allowed to them under the Edict of St. Catherine instead promoted her second son. for there is no sense in appearing foolish as well as odious.” Catherine’s method of governing.-Bartholomew’s Day doesn’t begin to exonerate her for planning the massacre in the first place. characterized by improvisation and sacrifice of long-term strategy to meet short-term goals.diacritica. Just a few months after cutting the flower of the Huguenot cause. But the duty of tearing down the defenses of La Rochelle wasn’t given to him. he was convinced. The Huguenot nobility of the south who had left Paris the day after the wedding rose in arms as well. while those who remained begrudgingly in royal service kept the name Politiques). Henry. but the only man who openly criticized the delegation of this responsibility to a young and inexperienced prince was the Duke of Nemours. Catherine sent out feelers for a peace treaty. the squabbling of the Catholic generals and supplies sent by sea from England. The fall of La Rochelle was deemed the most important goal of the new administration. once advised his king to “Undertake repressive acts energetically. fell back into complete submission before his mother. They would never trust the King of France’s kind words. Camilo di Cavour. Logically. even taking many towns and villages in offensives. shortly thereafter killed in the trenches. Germain and began a desperate fight for survival. Charles. Sancerre. the submission of the Huguenot strongholds should have been easy. it’s patently fraudulent to claim for her. They sent messengers who outlined the price of peace: repudiation of St. Montanban and La Rochelle locked their gates. For. or Catherine at all. as some have done. with Tavannes again on the Catholic side. due to the laziness or bad morale of underpaid royal troops.
-Bartholomew’s Day.http://www. Either. their own legal army. Catherine cried that the late Prince of Condé would never have made such outrageous demands. Degenerate .html page 60 . though without a unifying leader.com/degenerate/index.diacritica.from all tithes sent to the Catholic Church. and two cities in each province of the country where they currently held none. would Admiral Coligny. stronger than ever—was the outcome of the monumental blunder and crime of St. she may well have added. This state of affairs—with the Huguenots.
it would have been offensive to the pride of the mother and son to be defeated. in Poland. The Protestant delegates in the Diet at first refused to back a man the whole world suspected of being a ringleader in the most murderous page of the Counterreformation to date. The reason Catherine pressed for peace at this time had nothing to do with the catastrophic state of the kingdom. including A Degenerate . localized conflicts still raging. Eastern potentates like the Turkish Sultan—who had been a chief ally in Francis I’s day—also refused to back Henry’s candidacy. Equal rights were guaranteed to every member of the nobility which. In terms of politics and culture. Poland was not the monoreligious. Thus the French royal family poured a huge amount of money into the election.com/degenerate/index. however. Henry. the delegates did not accept the Valois king without strings. Henry was committed to bring all of his annual revenues as Duke of Anjou from France—about half a million francs—and add them to the budget of Poland.html page 61 . It was a backward country from the perspective of one who had grown up in an absolute monarchy. Conditional to his being accepted as King of Poland. The state debt would be paid off from his own money. The Poles had been elaborating a kind of political theory which was a precursor of the liberal movements of Western Europe a hundred and fifty years later. and the overall state of affairs resembled. as it had before. The Kingdom of Poland seemed like a sad consolation prize for a child of frustrated ambition. Though they succumbed.Kings. Once his name was submitted. it was one of the most advanced countries in the world. elected by the Diet to hold the crown until his death. The King of Poland was but a President-for-Life. Fugitives and Fugitive Kings sort of peace was agreed to. Catholic nation that it is today.http://www. but most of the country was still in arms. but because she had succeeded in her long dreamed of goal of getting a throne for her second son. to which she remained characteristically indifferent. a cease-fire rather than a cessation of hostilities. but prohibited from passing it on to his heirs. made up more than 10% of the population. In many ways it was.diacritica. The Diet also had a fair say in the governing of the kingdom. bribing the electors and the nation as a whole.
He did finally leave. As time went on. even changing the route of the entourage at the last moment to prevent their escape. he hadn’t distinguished himself in battle and showed a willingness to put off work and study in the pursuit of whores and pleasure. it became clear to ambassadors and others privy to the secret life of the Louvre that the King of Navarre was not staying with the royal family by choice. Up until St-Bartholomew’s Day. but the scales were removed from his eyes on St.http://www. it was the brother of the King of France—and not Henry himself—who the delegates wanted. and he had not much time to grow strong beneath. The death of the Admiral forced him into the forefront. Degenerate .back pay for the army which was in serious arrears. She kept them near her the entire time. Both he and his mother cried. the horror of St. In the end. despite Charles orders to go at once to claim his new crown.-Bartholomew’s Day. A great weight was placed on his shoulders.html page 62 . Henry had done nothing which would suggest a strength of character or conviction. Henry de Navarre had been a rather useless kid. as his mother had once been. He was bound to outfit a fleet on the Baltic Sea and pay a year’s salary for a troupe of 4. as he himself was once a dashing young prince and didn’t undervalue the virtues of sowing your oats. The transformation of this typical. as protector of the Huguenots. lamented that the boy had inherited all of his father’s foolishness and none of his mother’s moral strength.diacritica.000 French riflemen. To his credit. He awoke one morning to find the windows of his room barred and wasn’t allowed to leave the palace without an armed escort. The Queen Mother had been informed that Alençon and the King of Navarre planned to wait for an opportune moment to bolt from the royal procession and lead the continuing insurrection of Huguenots and Politiques in the south. Catherine was not so overcome with the departure of her favourite son. which is probably why someone with Henry’s morose character viewed the election more as an insult than flattery. that she overlooked the latest plot by her youngest son. His uncle. who she treated rather like a lover. The abjuration of his faith was seen by many at the time as the final sin of this worthless youth. Henry lingered in France for almost a year. from his own purse or that of his brother. the Cardinal de Bourbon. Named co-leader of the Huguenot armies with the Prince of Condé when the elder Condé had died. Admiral Coligny put up with it. who had long been planning a glorious future for himself independent of his brothers.-Bartholomew’s Day had a sobering effect on Henry. debauched prince of the Renaissance into didn’t happen overnight. Early on he found a ready co-conspirator in Alençon. in a long train of princes and clergy and a general feeling of despair for wearing such a lightweight crown. But renouncing his faith was for Henry de Navarre but a way to stall his enemies while he waited for a chance to escape.com/degenerate/index.
http://www.Henry lost faith in Alençon after the latter broke down in front of his mother and confessed one of their plans for escape. In February 1576.com/degenerate/index.diacritica. Degenerate . he finally succeeded in breaking free of his captors and made his way to join his supporters in the south.html page 63 .
a nagging illness Charles had contracted turned malignant. unlike Catherine and other queens before her... it’s likely she didn’t interpret the words as they were probably intended to be heard: as an expression of his greatest lament. His only son was Degenerate . one. had absolutely no role in court life) had given but a single child—a girl. the idea that Catherine had poisoned him with arsenic sprinkled on the pages of a book on falconing intended for the King of Navarre is but a legend.” She never saw his pathetic struggle to be free of her as anything more than a tantrum by an unruly little boy. Charles’ marriage to Elizabeth of Austria (who. Henry de Navarre was fond of telling the story that eight days after the massacre a flock of crows perched on the Louvre. which in turn led to a terrible rebellion in Languedoc led by his brother Damville. Considering how much he had come to loathe his submission to his overbearing mother. Later writers would diagnose Charles illness as tuberculosis.http://www. According to Catherine herself. Rather than squawking. Supposedly these voices tormented Charles every night until his death. she believed in the words of charmers. Bartholomew’s Day. True. was remorseful for consenting to the slaughter of his friends.html page 64 . did not). it was said that he suffered terrible remorse for his role in the Massacre of St. Fearing he had been poisoned. “My mother. who was not an evil man. they made sounds not unlike the horrid screams of the dying Huguenots. It is wishful thinking. as we shall see. his mother ordered the arrest of the Marshal Montmorency (who foolishly placed his faith in a safe conduct granted by the King).com/degenerate/index. for one would like to think that Charles.The Death of Charles IX N ostradamus’ prediction that the House of Valois would soon be extinct bothered Catherine more than she led on. his last words were. During his death agony. who did not long survive her father. again.diacritica. even though time would make a liar of the prophet as it has so many times since (he predicted that all of Catherine’s sons would rule France. As the winter of 1574 gave way to spring.
and respected. to the Chancellor. ironically by a Huguenot commoner. commanding them all to obey me as they did himself until your arrival and that he was sure you would want to have it so. presently King of Poland. to the Cardinal of Bourbon. The Polish Diet. in so many ways. meeting in emergency session. which made me almost die. Catherine’s letter to Warsaw announcing the death of her second son is remarkable for its coldbloodedness. to the secretary. her primary concern was for her own power to be acknowledged. frustrated man with a boy’s emotions. turned into an impotent. Charles’ terrible death agony is unmentioned. He couldn’t let me go. he begged that I should take administration of the kingdom and wanted me to do severe justice on the prisoners whom he knew were the cause of all the evil in the kingdom [she means the Montmorencys].” Truly there is no other way to convince the judges of later times of the character of this woman than to let her hang herself with her own words.. endorsed by leading authorities. Charles now handed over the kingdom to his brother—now Henry III.diacritica. Henry had no desire but to obey—of course!—his dead brother’s wishes and return to France at once. With a few of his French followers. which opens the letter. both the archers and the Swiss. At the death of her piteous second son. they had become yet more tools—precious tools. refused to allow him to go. to be sure. I sent you yesterday in great diligence a messenger to bring you piteous news for me who have seen so many of my children die. he fled his kingdom at midnight. which is entirely concerned with the emphasis that Charles’ last wish was for her to be restored to full power once again: My Son. who she had. to the captains of the guard. Often mothers tend to dotter over children born with fewer abilities than their more gifted siblings. I pray God to send me death before I see any more die. In place of grieving there is another recital straight from the self-pity hall of fame. he begged me that I should send in all haste to get you and meanwhile. And afterwards he said good-bye to me and begged me to embrace him.-Bartholomew’s Day) which would stain the reputation of King Henry III.html page 65 . but tools nonetheless. many could hardly conceal their glee at having so easily redressed what they had come to believe was a monumental mistake. because I thought I should become desperate to watch such a sight and see the love which he showed me at his end.. who she had so often acted against. King of France. before you arrived. Thus there followed the first of the many ignoble acts (if one doesn’t count the disrespect shown to the Prince of Condé’s corpse at Jarnac or his role planning St.com/degenerate/index. No man ever died in fuller possession of all his senses. While the Diet was in an uproar. followed by the main body. in talking to his brother.http://www. According to the traditions of France and the law which gave him his throne. In Catherine’s mind. For they expected a warDegenerate .illegitimate.
Only a personal loan from an Italian favourite allowed Catherine to pay for food for her ladies-in-waiting. out of fear of the Huguenot agents then levying troops in the German principalities. completely lost in a world without his mother. He had announced that he was sacking her agent. If Charles was the most unstable. as well as of the Emperor’s men who would be too happy to deliver the captive king back to his Polish subjects. Instead they were sent a slender. unpaid for months. This man had followed Catherine from Florence as a penniless fugitive at the time of her marriage.html page 66 .com/degenerate/index. was reputed to be. The finances had reached a new low. The religious problem doesn’t have to be mentioned. now the would not offer new loans at 15% interest. which was. She read these reports every morning before mass to keep him under control. from royal service. In this capacity he had supplied Catherine with daily reports of everything Charles had said or did. fond of dressing in furs and delicate outfits. he was Royal Chamberlain and obliged to always be in the same room as the King. despite having no military experience).http://www. the head of the French Army. Henry was the most bafflingly enigmatic of Catherine’s children. The third Henry of France returned to a kingdom in its most precarious state ever. He would spend days in a harem. Henry had already been making many decisions contrary to the wishes of his mother. somewhat capable of independent thought. then retire to a monastery in a hairshirt to repent and practice the habits of the monk. or anything anyone had said to him. Degenerate . she knew. He had to detour to Italy on his way back to France. It probably wasn’t over Charles.diacritica. as Henry. He met his mother at the French border and they cried together for some time. the Marshal de Retz. Already in his personality there was a profound split between religious pretense and extravagant debauchery. effeminate boy in his early 20s. The army. Under her patronage he made a fortune. fucking like a bunny on pillows sewn with cloth of gold.rior-king. and the letter quoted earlier was probably her attempt to preempt his changeable mind. Among his numerous high offices (including being a Marshal of France. revolted and began to rob and plunder the country they were in the field to protect. as the King of France was now the only monarch in Europe—the infidels of Constantinople included—who could not obtain a loan. Henry restored de Retz after hearing his mother’s pleas but never gave him the access that Charles did. The interest on the latest notes taken out by Catherine had grown to 10%.
Catherine would talk at length with him. Alençon would listen and agree. atherine’s next few years were preoccupied by the misadventures of her “unhappy boy. the Huguenots. He was mourned by few people. It became an opportunity and honour for a noble to march with Henry as it had been to hunt with Charles. Yet it couldn’t have escaped her that all of the older generation to which she belonged was dying off.” Henry’s treasonous younger brother.html page 67 . Alençon was morally and physically weak but shared with his brother an insatiable ambition and pronounced neurotic tendencies.com/degenerate/index. Of the great figures she sparred with. that he was ruining his reputation. he caught cold during the night and died shortly thereafter. But the minute he was out of his mother’s sight. The only way Catherine could keep him from doing something rash was finding out about it first and confronting him with the evidence. least of all Catherine. but an informal society of men who would don masks and robes and wander through the streets beating each other with knotted ropes. Now quite old. only the non-entities. with the participants beating the fuck out of each other and chanting the psalms of King David.http://www.diacritica. disgruntled nobles and. Flagellant marches had been outlawed by certain popes.Judas Wore a Feather Boa D etoured at Avignon on the way to Paris. bans were impossible to enforce. C Degenerate . but in the time of the Reformation. like the Dukes of Nevers and Montpensier and the Cardinal of Bourbon were still alive. as she had done when his co conspirator was Henry of Navarre. that Henry needed support with the kingdom so poor and torn asunder by strife. Henry indulged his taste for shows of religious piety by marching with an order called the Flagellants. most alarming of all. The reign of Henry III would be a struggle to retain her power and position against her old comrades’ sons and daughters. pointing out that all the accolades accumulated by Henry under Charles which would now naturally fall to him. One of the nobles who participated in the march at Avignon was the Cardinal of Lorraine. He probably meant it. The Flagellants weren’t a proper order of monks. he would begin plotting again with soldiers.
html page 68 . Alençon. who stayed behind at court for a time before joining her husband in Navarre. building an army of volunteers. The Duke of Guise was back after touring the Catholic provinces to great acclaim as the chief murderer of St. acting out of the instinct he would follow for the rest of his life. She recovered her senses and a few weeks later offered the Duke of Nevers a handsome reward if he would kidnap Alençon and bring him back to Paris. earning a heaping helping of Catherine’s scorn. not out of comfort but because of the Queen of Navarre’s influence with her brother. Catherine began a barrage of letter writing. He argued for killing the rebellious prince together with the rest.com/degenerate/index. For two weeks she kept up the chase.diacritica. Catherine. before Alençon finally stood his ground and received his mother and sister.Bartholomew and depose Catherine and Henry.-Bartholomew’s Day. she wasn’t a hippie. Catherine convinced him to allow her to first meet with his brother before he unleashed the royal army. Catherine told Henry. were astounded by his easy submission. was by concluding a comprehensive peace with the Huguenots. responded to his mother’s mission of peace by running away. No doubt Margot. The captain of the guard was on alert to stop Alençon from leaving the Louvre without an escort. agreeing to a six months’ truce. Again. it was rumoured that Henry would lock him in the Bastille. but only to an extent. the Iron Lady. trying through the written word to right the mind of her son. Worse for Catherine. Hundreds of Huguenots and Associated Catholics rallied to his side and he marched through the kingdom. He characteristically yielded to her arguments. but a renewal of the war would involve one of her sons against the other—a truly Degenerate . though apparently nothing came of it. yielded to their arguments and continued on the warpath.But his discontent was so vocal and tactless. In spite of the scrutiny. then allying with Spain to stamp out the remnants of the Huguenots. Alençon donned a disguise and was able to slip out of the castle and away from Paris on a waiting horse. grown cruel from warfare and exacting their pay from the countryside. surprising several towns. played an active role in mediation between the two brothers. Henry was infuriated by the audacity of his kid brother. written in several different hands which suggests her mouth was wearing out her secretaries. who had thought his flight was the harbinger of the final war to avenge St. She took Margot with her. his hatred for his brother (and the feeling had been long since reciprocated) so intense. She was out of sight for several days after Alençon’s escape. Alençon. her condition a mystery even to those who never left her side. They refused to lay down their arms. Still away from Paris. discontented noblemen and common criminals. Other Huguenot leaders. her absence at court confirmed her greatest fear that the moment she left the side of her sons. had a nervous breakdown. as soon as his mother left. a dangerous rival would take her place. Some of these letters were more than thirty pages long.http://www. This boiled over into rage when he heard that Alençon was raising an army of the discontent. The only way he would be able to rule.
I want you to send for Montmorency and say. And in saying this I beg that he may never find out that you have made sport of the way you’ve cheated him. You must win him over to your side and it’s no time to say. On Sundays he slept—most likely warming his scales on a hot rock.” Catherine and Henry had earlier planned to kill Marshal Montmorency. For Henry would often indulge in the humiliation of rivals..’. On Thursdays he rang up Navarre to join him in a general revolt. she has already defused the bomb by telling the old Duke that “in hopes of gaining you to his side. the “unhappy boy”. I didn’t put you in prison and if I could have set you free earlier without injuring the reputation and the memory of the late King my brother I would have done it. ‘I can’t put any constraint on myself nor dissimulate. the Huguenots. either by strangulation or through a staged escape attempt. But lethargy was as dangerous as action for a character like Alençon. Henry didn’t have the stomach for a comprehensive peace. as there was no money with which to bribe them. by giving them large tracts of land. the Italian city of Milan. On Wednesdays he petitioned the King of Spain for permission to marry his own niece (and Catherine’s granddaughter) and become King of Sicily in the bargain. On Mondays he wished to marry Elizabeth and make himself King of England. Her true feelings were buried deeply.. eternally. for Alençon was closer to her Degenerate .. Her letters spell out clearly what Henry should do to convince the Huguenots of his good faith: It seems to me that it is not enough to set the marshal free from prison. Alençon was. he [Alençon] will tell you a lot of lies. he was the strongest Politique and persuasive enough to cancel out the Duke of Guise.http://www.com/degenerate/index. she never revealed a dislike which the Guise or Montmorencys would leap upon to render a cleavage between the two surviving males of the House of Valois.’ etc etc..diacritica. In this she was successful. Though he provided her with ample reasons. as she had come to hate her daughter Margot. Alençon included. as I have done it now. Plot followed plot. On Tuesdays he burned to lead the Dutch revolution.. If she showed her exasperation. for my son is a habitual liar. but mollified the leaders of the rebellion.html page 69 . On Fridays he ordered the recruitment of soldiers to claim a long-lost French possession. His release from prison could only be seen in terms of her policy of balance. in such a stream that even Catherine stopped following them closely.nightmarish prospect.. ‘I set you free from prison believing in your fidelity and being sure that what you promise you will do. Catherine could never come to hate her son. To this end Catherine notes in a letter sent the next day that if Alençon tells the Duke of Montpensier that “you were in the habit of laughing at him and his son” in an attempt to win them over. On Saturdays he planned to upstage his brother and lead the persecution of the people he had been the protector of just a few months before. .
platter-like neckboard then in fashion among English women. punched him to the ground and had the room searched. the newly-decorated Duke d’Épernon. without accessories page 70 . Finally.http://www. They grew their hair long and pinned it up in buns. Henry woke up his mother (it was well past midnight) and stormed into his brother’s room after ordering the guards to break down the door. By the third year of his reign. He surrounded himself with a gang of unruly courtiers. Back in the lands granted to him after his last escape. Henry. Nobody liked them. which he ruled like the feudal lords of yore. which he used to climb out of the window. who he called his mignons. the Minions made up a whole new class. It bears no resemblance to the rather fantastic scene portrayed in the recent movie Elizabeth. Henry ordered his brother’s arrest. called truthful evidence of his brother’s treason. Huguenots. showing up at a ball in drag when he was 14 years old. had the Minions not orchestrated the whole thing. The ordeal of his arrest would have been understandable. The fresh wounds between Henry and Alençon were rubbed raw by his mignons. or Catherine herself. Henry dragged his brother out of bed. He returned from Poland determined to let his freak flag fly. who was subjected to the same scrutiny as her brother but managed to sneak a rope into the Louvre concealed inside a lute case. leading to several assassinations and duels between their followers.diacritica.html Costume of one of Henry III’s mignons.com/degenerate/index. lacy. Alençon went home frustrated. All young children were dressed as girls in those days. needless to say. Alençon assured everyone that he held no Degenerate . He was a caricature of his mother. While his mother flew into hysterics. Henry led the way. Henry on the contrary showed an early preference for dressing as a girl. Henry was given what his chief Minion. Transvestitism was more the fancy of his older brother. setting the fashion and spending far too much time on his wardrobe. He was aided by Margot. Guarded on all sides. elevated by Henry above the nobles and clergy. even laudatory. Alençon returned to his childhood hobby of planning an escape. Two of his favourite playmates he made dukes and soon they were more powerful than the Guise. and there’s no reason to believe that Catherine prolonged the period to make her sons more effeminate. though one must wonder if looking at one’s cartoon doesn’t inspire feelings of affection but of disgust. though she was willing to let them think she was. mostly from the inferior classes.in personality and appearance than any of her sons. Politiques. and had no intention of marrying Alençon or any other man. wore make-up and adopted the stiff. Alençon finally did pay a visit to England to ask for the hand of Elizabeth in marriage. The Minions dressed in an extremely feminine manner (even for an era when men wore tites). but what they lacked in pedigree they made up for in haughty arrogance and superior cosmetics. Finding a letter from the King of Navarre enquiring after his health. Elizabeth by this time was well into middle age. where Cate Blanchett walks in on the Duke of Anjou (as Alençon was then known) queening out in a dress and make-up amidst the writhing bodies of flabby French whores. bypassing his estates to visit his mother at court.
html page 71 .diacritica.com/degenerate/index. Degenerate .grudge against his brother but refused to return. He had finally made up his mind (for the moment) and decided to answer the rather vague appeal of the Dutch estates to come to their rescue.http://www.
For a time it appeared that Elizabeth of England might send more substantial help. and no other suitable allies were willing to risk more than a small allowance on securing their independence. Alençon’s success in the Netherlands would keep him from causing any more trouble at home. agreeing to demobilize his army (once Alençon left) and to replace all Spanish administrators with native Dutch. after all. Alençon’s army didn’t have a chance to drive the Spaniards out of the Netherlands altogether. but after so many excuses the rebels came to the conclusion that notwithstanding her varying financial assistance. The appeal for assistance from the Dutch—chiefly. Suffering under the Spaniards. and that’s precisely what happened. but once he was involved it was best to make sure he succeeded. the Prince of Orange—made no guarantees to Alençon. Catherine tried to dissuade her son from his adventures. joined in the fight. Bartholomew’s Day. they were fighting alone. and the explanation for what happened there depends on who you believe. Though it wasn’t kind. For a time Alençon’s expedition was successful.html page 72 . Without popular support and money.Superfreak lençon’s adventures in the Netherlands are rather convoluted. King Philip shrewdly granted the rights the estates enjoyed in his father’s day.diacritica. and even the predominantly Catholic estates. Alençon A Degenerate . it’s more plausible to believe the biased but overall convincing arguments put forward by the Dutch patriots and use their chronicles to guide our narration. who had previously disavowed themselves of the rebels. In response. Catherine wasn’t wrong when she called her son a liar. The Duke of Alva held back his troops and no major battles took place. who had wanted the same thing. The Prince of Orange gambled that appealing to the King of France’s quarrelsome kid brother would force the state to back him to the hilt.http://www. She had no trouble convincing King Henry to support his brother. they were desperate to somehow involve the King of France in their struggle but wary of what happened to the Polish. He seized the city of Cambrai after a brief battle.com/degenerate/index. It wasn’t the appearance of the disreputable French prince riding on a white horse that moved them. French influence in the Dutch estates had been non-existent since King Charles’ intrigues ended in the Massacre of St. Therefore. but the King of Spain’s ruthless exactions.
and a crown as Duke of Brabant.-Bartholomew’s Alençon’s advisors. neither man had a son. his shot almost ent for governing was minimal. the stunned regiment was given the choice to perish or surrender.diacritica. His mother’s spotted in the company of several rough fellows in the son to the end. the Prince offered Alençon the title of “prince and lord” of the Netherlands. When they reached the city center. Depressed and musing over the power as Philip had been. Alençon plotted to overthrow the streets of Paris. and so the “Catholics! Take arms and help us against the feud was ended. and with his mother and brother’s blessing.html page 73 . Two years later. Alençon himself refused to come back and the Prince of Orange’s own regiments were losing badly. popular acclaim. and convinced himself. they killed de Mouy. Though everyone feared for the alwaysbrandished their swords and screamed. career in the King’s service. he was ure were to fault for the failure itself. Alençon hesitated. de Mouy On 17 January. All over the Netherlands the farce was repeated. Unfortunately for Maurevel. he left his troops and wandered home to France. were unanimous on this issue: they took arms and attacked the French. It’s a wonder he didn’t starve to death as a highwayman.http://www. Alençon’s talfor though he fired at point blank range. ers asked for permission to march through the city One of the fallen assassin’s comrades got off a shot that of Bruges. that the witnesses to his failDuring the time of Alençon’s Dutch expedition. for a time. the The King’s Killer is Killed Degenerate . At the present.com/degenerate/index. 1583. fleeting nature of fame. Protestant and Catholic alike. his reputation even but dream of greater fortunes and piss away the among the Huguenots’ most ardent enemies sank. In Antwerp. but the Massacre of St. de Mouy. After a little bloodshed. Alva didn’t have long to wait. He made plans to journey incoggovern was nonexistent. but his friends reminded him that a Duke of the Netherlands trumped a King of Poland. ter in the Catholic estates and counted on his adversary’s stupidity to win the war for him. Henry had agents among nito to New France. With the agreement of the estates. the man who Dutch estates by inciting the dormant religious recognized him was de Mouy’s son. With merciful charity.became bored with life on garrison duty and little but the city of Cambrai to rule. as all scoundrels do. Before his employment as an there was no turning back now that titles and assassin. Just six months after crossing the border. under the logic that though the Coligny’s failed assassin. Philip hadn’t fulfilled his promises to withdraw from the Netherlands by quoting the handy excuse that French troops were still in Cambrai. none of the King’s generals wanted to follow the arcane rituals of deference to royal him in their regiments. about 500 of his followattacked him and his shot blew Maurevel’s head clean off. With a filial civil war. his inclination to missed Coligny entirely. vengeance seen earlier in the Duke of Guise. the burghers of Bruges took the soldiers’ weapons and ordered them to leave the city. shaky peace of France. Catherine and Henry gave him even more support this time. but once again the Duke of Alva sought sheland gave him a pension and. he had been little more than a bandit. ding the ill-starred Duke of Brabant did nothing But though he was safe from the law. He couldn’t argue with that logic. Alençon returned to the Netherlands. made him a name war. He was as outraged by the Dutch refusal siege of La Rochelle. but despite their gentle prodDay made it clear that he would suffer no repercussions. had a checkered previous Dutch expedition had been a fiasco. Alençon went looking for er murder of Coligny’s aide. Maurevel. heretics!” The citizens of Bruges. His earliheredity were involved. he returned to obscurity.
The Prince of Orange.http://www. as more than a half-dozen different witness at different times noted that her health seemed to suffer when her sons treated her as a mommy rather than Dick Morris. She had backed several intrigues directed at the prominent Minions. Once he had suggested to the royal council that the continuing budget shortfalls should be solved with new taxes. pretended to believe the explanation of the Valois quisling to keep the troops and supplies from the King of France coming. heard simultaneously in fifteen different cities. was difficult to undermine. answered that four provinces had already defied his authority and refused to send any taxes to Paris. The unhappy boy—now an unhappy duke—grew bored. like others before him. Her health was failing. Henry was as peculiar as ever. as both Alva and the Prince of Orange were hoping. and returned to France. though he was now more inclined to show off his piety at a special monastery he built and stocked with vegetarian monks mail-ordered from Marseilles. Alençon definitely lacked his mother’s finesse.Bartholomew’s Day. The lame call to revisit St. both as advisors and partners in debauchery. jumped up from his seat. showing that wonderful temperament which made his brother Charles such a party animal. the Prior of Champagne. he wouldn’t let Alençon have a say on anything from here on out. and exiled him from court. his strange behavior made it difficult for her to anticipate his next move. saying that he had sent the soldiers to each city in read aloud a proclamation of the Duke of Brabant’s gratitude to the Dutch people for giving him the honour of leading their cause.French killed one of the town’s leading citizens.diacritica. and the people retaliated by killing them all.com/degenerate/index. it was impossible for foreign ambassadors not to notice that Catherine was losing her power with age. shoved the Prior to the ground and grabbed at his sword to stab Degenerate . but Henry would agree that men who share eyeliner have a bond which holds up under such pressures. hough she continued to whisper sweet nothings in her beloved Henry’s ear. The two were probably not unrelated. How he spent his time away from them was even more incomprehensible to his mother.html page 74 T . In the game of civil war. He had finally dislodged her spy. he sent a few letters to Alva offering to sell Cambrai and the three other Dutch cities he still had troops in to the King of Spain for a small fortune. Obviously. In a last show of his base character. he had nothing to do with. From the harem to the hairshirt. Marshal de Retz. Now her gouty disposition was made more painful by her growing irrelevance in the King’s daily life. Henry had his own farcical. Alençonesque moments. A modest and soft-spoken man. but more importantly her son listened less and less to her advice. More than that. and that the people were too burdened to be expected to pay more. Henry. Alençon gave an incredibly goofy reply to the estates’ demand for an explanation. He still marched as a Flagellant. His reliance upon the Minions.
when interrogating Margot. Henry might have tapped a man to death. and I know it is not possible to have more pain and anxiety than I have had. “Get out of here. He gave away his brother Charles’ pack of prized hunting dogs and in their place filled the Louvre with small white poodles. He delighted in playing cup and ball. Her growing impotence was exacerbated by her tender feelings for Henry. his sword was stuck in his scabbard.” she wrote to an acquaintance. threw herself between the unfortunate Prior and her husband. It’s like dying by a slow fire.com/degenerate/index. she said. always her favourite child. and to know he is ill [Henry had a slight cold].” To a nobleman who ran off at the mouth about the virtues of the Associated Catholics. she describes her feelings for him. once veiled. The Prior had in the meantime gotten up to his knees and begged the King’s forgiveness for whatever he had done to offend him. Unfortunately. who had once been almost painfully polite (the legendary “Medici Charm”: a smile with a dagger behind the back).diacritica. He struggled with it for a minute before throwing it to the ground. At the time of Alençon’s escape.http://www. Even animal lovers and people who defended the King were embarrassed by the care he showered on the forty-plus poodles he packed together and brought with him when he left Paris.him. almost mistaking son for lover: “Believe me. for you will answer with your life. she had said. If not for that brave woman.” Degenerate . who happened to hear the uproar. The amount of attention and money showered on these creatures was astounding. and for an entire year he was never seen. Sick and more feeble politically than she had been at any time since Francis II. Their luggage took up three whole carriages. Without waiting for the knife. were now out in the open. without it. which made the distance he was keeping between them hurt all the more. Send me word every day how he is.” The threats. “Think well what you say. Catherine. a child’s game. or I will make you feel what it means to disobey the King and me. “it is a terrible pain to be far away from one loved as I love him.html page 75 . no longer minced words. Henry rolled up a sheaf of papers and began beating the Prior on the head like a dog. stomping on it and demanding his guards to give him a dagger. Henry’s gentle wife. Away from the King for a time. in study or deciding delicate matters of state.
Henry.com/degenerate/index. He had not. missions of peace and missions of war. 1584. As one might expect. With Alençon. Alençon was behind the last great troubles of her life and France. not withstanding the fact that it was otherwise)... the barren seed of her sons passed withfact that he ate their brains on a Friday: out comment or incident. nobody seems to have witnesses jumping from high places after chanting a spell thought anything strange about this family of four to give flight”. he observed the Lentan fast so June. “claimed diabolical aged to make a child.” the throne was Henry de Navarre. in ten years of marriage. A man who. boys who together could not manage to come up He confessed the crime. Though Henry III victims but his unfulfilled schemes. Whereas Catherine had boys gave him the power to change into a wolf. in which human form he would have eaten the flesh Catherine’s day probably had reason to suspect of the said boy. the said French succession did not allow for the rule of a defendant being then in the form of a man and not of a sovereign queen (though commentators in wolf. mandated 1575. would pass the hopes of “He had killed the boy with intent to eat him. the next in line to Friday. But her remaining years would be full of adventures and relentless activity. always trying to remain atop the waves. was on trial for the murder of four children. a woman of sixty-six years wasn’t expected to shoulder a heavy burden in the 16th century. The strain of heresy and the denial of certain basic rituals Tuberculosis ravaged his mind. which he the House of Valois. The young prince brought from the Netherlands an unreconciled bitterness and rancor. the only person who the special diet. By dynastic right. Though his mother never powers from an early age and was witnessed by several gave up hope of an heir.. Salic law which governed the would have done unless people had come along. Yet his nearly been exiled for her sterility as a young homicidal crime is only slightly more offensive than the princess.Long Live the King(s) s in our gentle age. her eclipse by younger and more powerful members of the court would have signalled a gentle launch into the seas of retirement. He died on 10 had digestive problems. it was noted. scrupulously he would often double over from the pain of Besides Catherine. and the first cells of the contagion which had killed Charles IX.html page 76 .http://www. Had Catherine lived in any other time. seemed to weep at the death of Alençon was The following is from the transcript of a trial in Grenoble.diacritica. then. little mourned and even less beloved.. leader of the A Wolfman Jacques Degenerate . and said that the flesh of little with a legitimate son. though the draof the faith made the Catholic populace of the 16th centumas of his death agony weren’t populated with his ry ostentatious in public show of them.
more powerful than ever atop the pyramid of the Holy League of the Holy Trinity. complete with illustrations of tortures and blasphemies supposed to have taken place. The League had been originally formed more than ten years previously. been receiving a pension from Philip for some years. the kingdom lost one of its greatest scoundrels. of course. New blasts of hot air filled the vacuum. Alençon’s death and the very real prospect of Henry de Navarre inheriting the throne of France brought the League back to life. on his mother’s advice. The Duke of Guise had. many of the Leaguers considered it a purely defensive body. Henry III was so alarmed by the League that he had. but the League organized them into a powerful. but emissaries from the King of Spain and the kinsman of the Guise. Nostradamus!). obedient force. This stymied the tide of Catholic resentment for awhile. The Guise bankrolled a series of lectures in public squares on the martyrdom of the English Catholics. Philip would pay for the activities of the League to the tune of 50. With the death of Alençon (take that. indisputably. His grandmother. As is always the case where religion becomes a reason to kill. During the subsequent events he would keep his foreign master Degenerate .000 francs a month. but private viewing continued in churches and the homes of the more prominent Leaguers. was Francis I’s sister. furthermore.html page 77 . Normally these militants would have looked to the Guise as their defenders anyway. therefore. in fact. moved quickly to co-opt it and declare himself as its head. a second son of Louis XII. the two branches of the kings descended from Hugh Capet. 1584. The brains behind it were well-known political intriguers. In return. They were terrified that Navarre would follow the path of Queen Elizabeth and outlaw the Catholic faith. the Leaguers would hand over to Philip title to the Kingdom of Navarre and the revolted Dutch city of Cambrai. The leading antagonist to Henry III was the greatest windbag of all: the Duke of Guise. The Holy League received its birth certificate at a meeting of its most prominent members in Joinville in December. knew the circumstances behind this meeting. militant Catholics. and acted always as a faithful agent of Spain.Huguenots. Though few people. the Duke of Lorraine about half that. These gruesome exhibitions were outlawed by the King. but it wouldn’t have succeeded had it not had the support of defiant. and no one at court. the Duke of Lorraine.com/degenerate/index. he brought together.http://www. they cast a harsh light on the motives of all those involved in this fraternal organization of faithful Catholics. The King of Navarre was descended on his father’s side from Robert de Bourbon.diacritica. and Lorraine would be given the cities won from the Hapsburgs back in Henry II’s time. For those in attendance included not only the entire Guise family along with the militant Catholic nobility. The problem was. that he was a heretic. in a conscious imitation of John Calvin’s secret network of churches.
had different desires than the abolition of heresy and a French throne for the foreigners in mind. the document declared that no Protestant could sit on the throne of France. and less than a year after the death of Alençon.-Bartholomew’s Day. those of the south being mostly of the Huguenot persuasion. Guise’s adherents seized Vitry. Therefore. He bypassed trying to intimidate the King with words and instead took to the field right away. as we shall see. There could be little doubt about Poultain’s credibility. along with the names of its leading adherents. He provided the government with detailed notes about the organization of the Holy League nationwide and in Paris. as the heir apparent (the priest would obviously die without an heir. Just four months after the meeting in Joinville. Henry III never acted on this information. where he was treated like a teen idol since his involvement on St. Before the ink was dry on their high-minded love note to the Huguenots. He printed a manifesto which was distributed all over France. Chalons and Rheims and immediately began a horrifying persecution of the Protestants. and carry out his demands with total fidelity. But it made clear he had much to lose by resisting. Henry sent her out to talk with the leading conspirators. where Catherine had foolishly appointed militant Catholics as governors in order to prevent the unlikely prospect of a British invasion (of the non-musical sort). The manifesto had good things to say about the Queen Mother. shampooed his poodles and never even considered a preemptive strike. one of the leading Leaguers of Paris who had confessed their plans the King and acted as a double-agent. and the “purity” of the north/south religious divide had been accentuated by the plundering and expulsions of the civil wars. Guise thought the League strong enough to show its hand. and invited the King to join them in their struggle to preserve French Catholicism. The King was well-informed about the growth and threatening menace of the League (which indirectly blamed him for not solving the religious problem long ago) by Poultain. But Henry sat on his hands.informed up-to-the-minute of his intentions. The League was taking up arms immediately. the Cardinal of Bourbon. He was out of his league (so to speak) with Philip.com/degenerate/index. played cup and ball. She and the Duke of Guise Degenerate . The League had considerable support in the north. and proclaimed Henry de Navarre’s elderly uncle. The dividing line for the nobility was the River Loire.html page 78 . most especially Paris. could take over). Along with the usual pledges to exterminate heresy. which claimed some fanciful descent from Charlemagne. and that their influence was spreading. at which time the Guise. who. possibly because of her avowed hatred for the Minions.http://www.diacritica. It ridiculed the Minions and demanded their arrest and prosecution for corruption. He told Henry that most of the police and magistrates of Paris were members of the League. But the cities were overwhelmingly in favour of Guise and his brethren.
Though he was amicable to her overtures. he was irrelevant. was to allow the League the time to seize more cities in the north. Catherine could be accused of many things in her life and is guilty of at least half of them. One might judge her reactions. With all this on his mind. To be sure. if that successor was not his son. This is what a lifetime of playing games with factions. blindly ignoring the long-term implications of their acts in favour of short-term gain. what point was there to preserving an authority which would in all likelihood be usurped? It was one of those rare moments when history takes on a palpable form. The Cardinal expected the other members of his family (besides Navarre. This last period of power was an aberration. Only the Cardinal came out for the League. Catherine had originally advised Henry to ally with the King of Navarre to defeat the League. then changed her mind. her sons on their last legs. They were pretty words.http://www.diacritica. The King of France could at any time have led an army into the field against rebels. From her perspective. unlike his nephew. rudderless when they were orphaned at such a young age. remained a militant Catholic to the end. however. Henry and Catherine were temporizing. The whole point of these negotiations. The Cardinal had never been a friend to the Huguenots and. the Cardinal told Catherine that every man is allowed one folly in his life. aggravated by the guilt he felt for leaving his nephews. yet one can’t deny that she usually saw things clearly. Catherine was secretly delighted to have a say in government once more. With the Cardinal of Bourbon there was less emotion but more sincerity. In a fight for the future. he often make valiant retorts. The House of Valois would be dead. Guise and Navarre were fighting for the future. but it was apparent that they weren’t going to smack the hornet’s nest without covering their faces. Navarre and Condé. even if it came from a crisis which threatened to multiply the sides in the civil war and devour the Crown in the conflict. executing honourable enemies and unleashing war—this is what it all came down to. one army against another. He and Catherine had known each other for close to forty years. the Cardinal of Bourbon wasn’t even a minor force in the League and peace wouldn’t hold without winning over the Duke of Guise. or his enemies went too far.both wept as they assured one another of their pure intentions. He would never settle the internal war raging inside him between the loyalties of family versus the loyalty of faith. And then what? Is there any more important obligation of a leader than to improve what is flawed and preserve what is good for his successor? And for a King. that he would die rather than suffer these injustices. and the only choice left to make was between which rebel disgusted her less. Henry was in a difficult position. from his perspective. would lose their Degenerate .com/degenerate/index. many. When everything was taken away from him. he was one of the only personalities of her youth left in the world. as we shall see. but just words. his Catholic kinsmen either remained with the King or joined Navarre. and this was his. balancing one force against another.html page 79 . of course) to rally to his side. like the Hand of God reaching out of the sky.
Associated Catholics and even some of the Duke of Guise’s followers would surely back Henry (one should say.diacritica.com/degenerate/index.) Compared to his predecessors. Elizabeth. and most violent of them all— Degenerate . without factions. The chroniclers and people who ascribe labels to such things had lost count of the number of wars over religion in France. From the toleration of the Edict of St. Huguenots woke up to find out they were no longer French subjects. From here on he took on the world with his bare hands. Henry III and the League were mobilized for war. Like his mother.Germain. Heresy was outlawed. There was also a large body of men without a leader. These men often sent deputations to court in the next few years to beg for instructions. Six months later. When Henry de Navarre heard the news of the King’s surrender to the League. It was perhaps the last time he would question fate. he wrote out an angry rebuttal and had it posted on the statue of Pasquino in Rome (The statue of Pasquino was the subject of a bizarre Roman festival. when the Pope Sixtus V excommunicated him for heresy. According to legend. Henry perhaps would be remembered with grudging respect had he carried out his hateful acts as energetically as Cavour advised. and all of France became the battlefield. nearly always they were turned away without an audience. his moustache had turned pure white. and declared war against Navarre. who simply considered themselves servants of the King as the feudal oath of their ancestors stipulated. uise refused to give up the fight without the King declaring himself for the principles in the League’s manifesto. and so they call this one—at ten years the longest. Catherine surrendered to all his demands in the infamous Treaty of Nemours. he sat for a long time in his chateau in Nerac. The Politiques. Sixtus admired Navarre’s pugnacious riposte. G y the summer of 1585. all preachers forced to leave immediately and all Huguenots must abjure or leave the kingdom within six months. The League was determined to carry the war out to its end. Like Catherine.html page 80 B .http://www. To call this a radical shift in policy would be an understatement. as the only two monarchs in Europe who deserved their crowns. He would later consider Navarre and another wily Protestant. his violent rhetoric would be enforced by action only half-way. during which it was dressed to form a likeness of a prominent public person and addressed with scandalous and often biting public statements. when he looked up. Henry went before the Parlement of Paris and announced that no Protestant could inherit the throne. his face buried in his hands. “would back even Henry”). who looked at each challenge as a personal affront. Therefore.nerve on sight of the monarch and beg forgiveness for taking arms against the King.
the three childhood playmates turned bitter enemies. At sixty-eight. and sought shelter on the Island of Guernsey. not to the headquarters of the League but to treat with the King of Navarre. robbed of their property or forcibly converted. This led to massive depopulation as there are no filing extensions when soldiers act as tax farmers. and so obese she could no longer mount a horse. the largest naval fleet ever to take the seas. exiled. she was crippled with gout. since she had no authority to act on behalf of the League. It’s difficult to nail down what the point of these talks were. a feeble soldier whose army was defeated. In Normandy. they now massed their forces on the River Loire. which it was able to do since Henry III’s feet were nailed to the floorboards. and she set off. Nevertheless she put up with all sorts of evasions and finally persuaded Navarre to sit down for several weeks of tense negotiations. were still powerful enough to attack the rebellious Netherlands. Catherine persuaded Henry to give mediation another chance. Though there was some consternation by Henry and Catherine that this might be used to support the League. even if they had already paid them. Towns where one side chased out another were expected to pay full taxes. colic and migraines.html page 81 . the dividing line between the two sides.com/degenerate/index. On many occasions she Degenerate .http://www. the League carried out the most violent persecution ever seen in France in the territories they controlled.”the War of the Three Henrys” after Guise. Crops failed after a record drought. after circling the British Isles and returning to the Continent. hardly a Huguenot was left. The only setback on the rebel side was in the area held by the Prince of Condé. Marshal Montmorency himself ably repelled royal incursions into Languedoc. Even after his Great 16th century painting Armada turned into a Great Joke. Navarre and the King. its remnants. of course. The kingdom’s credit was so bad that new loans were taken out at a whopping 50% interest. dissolved. Philip was bankrolling the League because the civil war prevented Musketfire at a pious march of Leaguers from a France from coming to England’s aid. Having important business at hand seemed to rejuvenate her. Guise and the League’s armies. Champagne. After Henry III’s capitulation. their spies in Spain told them that it was in fact to be used against England. were being paid by Spain. and Brittany. famine swept through the countryside and plague lurked in the bottom of wells. Philip’s real interest in backing the Holy League was shown when the whole of Europe was stirred by his outfitting of the Great Armada. The rearguard secure. Navarre secured the provinces of Gascony and Guienne as overall commander of the outlaws. The Treaty of Nemours and the long imprisonment of the Marshal Montmorency pushed many of the remaining Politiques into Navarre’s camp.diacritica. The war was accompanied by ravages absolutely biblical in nature. where 250 years later Victor Hugo spent his republican exile. Those who weren’t treated to summary justice were imprisoned.
forced at last to concoct some sort of strategy. surpassed the Admiral in obstinacy and ability and became her nemesis. He took leave of his mother.com/degenerate/index. One of his Minions.tried to convince Navarre to convert to Catholicism. The same was true if Joyeuse failed to defeat Navarre. Should the mercenaries break through. the Duke of Joyeuse. waiting.html page 82 . and went into the trenches. Degenerate .http://www. The League put a huge emphasis on stopping the German mercenaries at the border. to her surprise. leaving her once again Regent in his absence. There were many witty exchanges between Catherine and the man who. The King himself would remain behind both of them at the head of his best troops.diacritica. Guise and the League’s forces would meet the mercenaries at the border. The King. built upon marvelous blueprints but with faulty materials. as he was waiting for a large body of mercenaries to finish assembling in Germany and the Swiss cantons. the League would be defeated and the King would still be there to prevent them from going any further. but she was eventually forced to return home empty-handed. would be sent at the head of royal troops to fight the King of Navarre. Navarre was perfectly willing to play along.
diacritica. He had a certain talent for publicity.com/degenerate/index. and his legend grew. until one considers who it was said to. had previously broken the ban and was severely reproached.html page 83 . but it made the Duke of Guise’s fight with the mercenaries look all the more impressive.http://www. This diplomatic victory ripped the heart out of the mercenaries. leaving a few straggling refugees to carry Joyeuse’s corpse back to Paris. In the first clear-cut victory for the Huguenots in any of the wars. everything to do with Guise. pardoned him. His brother. the Duke of Guise had been barred from entering Paris. now he attacked in a night ambush and beat them back beyond the Rhine. Instead this essential pillar of his plan collapsed. For three years. the Duke of Mayenne. saying he had merely come to see his tailor and order new clothes (a lame excuse. The mercenary army was fractured when the Duke d’Epernon. but obviously it had to do with his massive popularity. who Guise now pounced on. Henry. The King retired to Paris to pout and play cup and ball. Good strategy. The Swiss contingent dropped their weapons and swore to never return to France except with the King’s permission. bad execution. convinced them not to fight.The King of Paris H ad the King sent Montpensier or Nevers instead of Joyeuse— a man totally without accolades in military matters—the chances are fair that his strategy would have worked. The presence of the army under the King prevented Navarre from going any further. He apologized. here was nothing now to prevent the hazard that had long been Catherine’s greatest fear. In truth it was nothing but a very minor skirmish which he was to capitalize on. making him once more look like a fool. They had earlier repelled him in a skirmish. The King said it was due to the unpredictable consequences an appearance by the head of the Holy League might provoke. It had nothing to do with religion. Navarre’s army totally annihilated the royal force.) In early Spring. the Duke of Guise appeared on the outskirts of T Degenerate . on orders from the King. 1588. in his sartorial splendour.
Thirty thousand people poured into the streets. cried aloud that Guise was a fool for walking defenseless into the home of the King he was insulting. Guise answered that certain men. Immediately after the Guise left. sometimes called his Minions. kissing the hem of his cloak and grasping to touch the man they adored more than anyone. Just then. argued against it. bowed and smiled his way out of the palace. if only the King would arrest them.html page 84 . Henry of Guise wasn’t as spineless as other notable personalities mentioned here. then turned back and denied that anyone had been slandering him.the city. Catherine. These men. Henry asked why the Duke had disobeyed his commands. Besides. and the King sat perturbed with two or three advisors. This was just for show. claiming he was fatigued from a long journey.000 were then in Paris awaiting his arrival. the King’s double-agent with the League. Like Catherine. but he couldn’t hide his nervousness as he passed the royal guard inside the Louvre. Pope Sixtus V. mostly Degenerate . a tiger in the lion’s den. Without dismounting his horse. He said he would make the leading Leaguers of Paris confess to the treachery being planned. he said. rode in a litter to the Louvre with Guise walking by her side. it brought to mind stories of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.com/degenerate/index. stepped forward. instead formed a militia of five companies who could be counted on to fight alongside the royal guards should conflict with Guise spiral out of control. and. the order to stay away from Paris wasn’t completely clear. Guise answered coolly that he had been slandered by certain men. when he read of this fateful meeting in the dispatches of the Papal Nuncio in France. She was pale and obviously nervous.diacritica. She asked straight away why he had disobeyed the King’s orders not to come. and he had no choice but to kneel before the King and defend his reputation.http://www. again ignoring Poultain. and that Henry was a coward for letting him go. who was stricken by her gout. the Duke went immediately to see Catherine. accompanied by a small entourage of nine bodyguards. Henry upbraided one of his advisors who delivered the ban (repeatedly) to the Duke of Guise. The King was inconsolable and was shaken from his stupor only when he heard the Duke of Guise enter the adjoining room. Catherine whispered something in her son’s ear. One suggested killing Guise immediately. fearing the wrath of the Parisians. but the others. Poultain. Catherine had sent a speedy messenger ahead. because for weeks his troops had been trickling into the city incognito. The Duke of Guise feared what she told him (and nobody ever found out what she did say). Henry. When he was recognized. had slandered him and he had come to seek justice and defend his honour. Jesus notwithstanding. Leaguers later estimated that about 2.
” the Spanish Ambassador painted the big picture: “The plans of the Guise will make it certain that the King of France will have his hands so tied before the Armada sails that it will be impossible for him even in words. their drums silent and their weapons dragging behind them in the traditional dejected march of prisoners of war. The rest marched. which had so delighted in the spectacle of drowning Huguenots. were barracked in the Cemetery of the Innocents that night. which was a few kilometers outside of Paris. to help the Queen of England. still Duke Degenerate . With arms being shipped into the city and the Duke of Guise acting like a general in the comfort of his apartments—and both of these occurring before the King sent his army into the city—it’s ludicrous to portray the Parisian mob.com/degenerate/index. though characteristically he only went half-way. In the tense. Reports of carriages carrying stones and secret caches of arms upset the King even more. and if the Italians around Catherine were despised. bareheaded. He ordered the army he had been leading behind Guise and Joyeuse. into the Louvre. He ordered the captured soldiers back to the Louvre. Sixty who had held off surrender were massacred. spaced at a distance of fifty meters from each other. the Swiss and Germans had for so long staffed the armies of the Catholics that the sight of such men probably wouldn’t have been unusual.transients and criminals. silent streets of the city galloped the Duke of Guise on horseback. Soon the barricades were complete. He beseeched the people not to use violence and to remain calm. By morning. Henry. The mysterious movements of the Swiss and Scottish Guards caused some panic among the Parisians. but now refused to believe it was actually happening. The King refused and Catherine made clear to each and every messenger that their commanders should not use violence. most of whom were avowed Leaguers.html page 85 . asking for permission to clear the streets before the barricades were completed. No sooner was this done than the Parisians began to erect barricades. as patsies to the King’s provocations. He had been planning for this moment from the very beginning. For several hours. still less by deeds. Some later interpretations suggest that the Parisians were reacting to the presence of the King’s troops—”foreigners in the capital”. The other four had gone over to the League. Messengers bearing letters from Catherine arrived to find Guise’s apartments in the city turned into a command headquarters. with soldiers coming with reports and departing with orders. then Duke of Anjou. They had little choice but to surrender. Writing to his master at the conclusion of what would be called “the Day of the Barricades.diacritica. Henry now began to take serious measures to counteract the conspiracy being formed. only one of the companies was left. He divided his troops into seven groups and sent six out from the Louvre to seize key bridges and other buildings from the city police. Yet the King’s bodyguard had long been made up for foreigners.” Sixteen years before. The King had been preparing for the worst. The King’s troops were isolated and surrounded at their posts. and the rumour that the King had executed 120 of their members was widely believed. and Henry. as one put it.http://www. the guards sent agitated messages to the King.
Degenerate .of Guise. Now the King of France faced the same fate.com/degenerate/index. at the hands of his old friend now popularly known as the “King of Paris”.http://www.diacritica.html page 86 . convinced King Charles IX in a secret meeting to unleash the radical Parisian mobs on their Huguenot enemies.
Mocked and scorned like no King before. It was. Her insular son had finally gotten serious about government. For the first time he showed his claws. and several other positions into one. Henry III retreated into his own confidence.http://www.Appointment for a Crucifixion atherine once more was given the unhappy job of finding out what it was that Guise wanted. On 8 September. Henry no longer felt so fenced in. He exploded with rage as Guise replaced the few royal loyalists remaining in the city administration of Paris with ardent Leaguers. though she hardly had a choice. not least of all because the Guise was under orders from the King of Spain to stall and allow the Armada time to get to England.html page 87 . the Lieutenant-General of the Infantry. to make peace. who pretended to know nothing about it. mounted a horse.diacritica. She tried again the next day. Gone were the Minions who hadn’t perished with Joyeuse. Just to get to Guise HQ. The Treaty of Nemours was reinforced. which was the final death knell to the Queen Mother’s influence. because the Duke of Guise refused to outline his demands. a nice tactic. The negotiations were long and took more than a month to complete. though there was nothing else behind it. and the rest of the men who were Catherine’s appointees. Just like that. Eventually Catherine granted the League everything they asked. either. leaving his mother. But he never backed up his words. Nothing came of that meeting. The King blamed his mother for caving. and sped off to Chartres. Guise turned on Catherine. To be honest. but that was all of the benefit. Catherine had to request permission from the city militia. The King had calmly walked out of the Louvre. once again. once again. it’s uncertain that even Guise knew for sure. ensuring that no decision could be made without his say. though it still took nearly two hours to get her litter carried across town. He probably didn’t expect his victory over the King to be so easy.com/degenerate/index. They opened the barricades for her. By his restless ambition he resembled one of her own sons. a messenger came in and whispered something in his ear. While she chatted amicably with Guise. In their place he brought in inexperienced men who belonged to no faction (one even had to ask which of the three men in the room was the King). 1588. Guise himself was given a new office which combined the duties of the Constable. and it’s true that for short periods after his father died he was raised with them. more than thirty years in control of France (or at least the loyal part C Degenerate . he purged his entire government.
Guise and his other brother.html page 88 A . had a terrible scene over a woman and the former’s pissing away of their family fortune. he King had the idea to rally popular support by calling for a meeting of the Estates General. he had bought so many of the King’s men that nothing was proposed without him knowing about it in advance. The Estates. instead of rallying behind the King. Now he sent word to the King to be on his guard around his brother’s associates. His nose was bleeding and he felt a sudden chill. his brother the Cardinal. proposed now to give Guise another title: “Chief Constable for War and for the Renewal of Religion”—king in all but name. the Cardinal de Guise. After Degenerate . and the Archbishop of Lyons. her son. Henry gave a flamboyant speech from the outset. Mayenne left for Lyons. After knocking one another to the ground.http://www. She had a terrible cough and was bedridden. It was two days before Christmas. They arrived at half past seven in the morning. though the people always insisted that only an Estates General—a kind of representative body made up of the three orders of the clergy. held in the royal palace in the city of Blois. But despite his efforts to rig the vote. The Duke himself took control of the nobility. They met irregularly.of it. as he himself boasted to the Spanish Ambassador. the French King’s power was absolute. were invited. Moreover. setting the Guise of the defensive. He never went anywhere without a strong bodyguard and. Unlike the English with the Parliament. As the meeting got underway. More than 90% of the Third Estate were Leaguers.com/degenerate/index. Her health took a turn for the worst. the nobility and the commoners—could grant taxes and arbitrate extraordinary disputes. and the election of representatives was normally gerrymandered in a way that rivaled even Florentine politics. He was barred from reentering the chateau. while the clergy elected his brother. and sent a lackey to fetch his silver snuffbox. T s the Estates. The Duke of Guise felt nauseous that morning. a few drops of blood fell onto the paper Guise was reading.diacritica. Catherine’s condition became worse. The terrible suspicion between Guise and the King was intensified by their supporters. and passed the snuffbox on through the guard. their closest advisor. The royal council was meeting. the Duke of Mayenne. as their president. though he often visited her. to which the Duke of Guise. refused to talk about matters of state and brushed off her advice. Guise controlled all three orders of the Estates. Guise felt himself invulnerable. who were constantly warning their masters of assassination plots. 1588. which was ever-shrinking) was over. dragged on.
Henry could not say that he took care of all his family’s outstanding business. but the hallway he was walking through turned into a gauntlet of hacking swords. her death passed almost without notice in light of the extraordinary events which followed the assassination of the Duke and Cardinal of Guise. the Cardinal of Bourbon and a dozen other Leaguers. the most extraordinary times were yet to come. The Archbishop and the Cardinal were arrested before they could escape. another that they were consumed by quicklime in the cellar of the chateau. as was the president of the Third Estate. She asked repeatedly what the noise was. if no other measure).” Two weeks later.diacritica. kneeled by her side and told his mother what he had done. but the one who knew best—the surgeon—said she concealed her alarm and merely said. At seventy-one years. atherine de Medici de Valois. One story had it that the bodies of the brothers’ Guise were sawed apart and cremated. 1589. he let too many fishes escape his nets.http://www. If the night of 23 December makes one think of Michael Corleone. “I hope it turns out for the best. he returned to the table. she was dead. Henry entered her bedroom. and in control of the state for thirty. Like mother like son. Guise managed to carry several men on his back like a wounded bull. Duchess of Urbino and Lady Protector of Cambrai (a title she inherited from Alençon). because if Henry hoped to cut the League down to size. this narration would be incomplete without mentioning the fate of the major personalities and the fate of the state of France. The assassination of the Guise Degenerate .com/degenerate/index. Though this ends her life. The Cardinal of Guise was told he was being released later that night. That night. Queen Mother of France. who was soon released from custody only to be taken prisoner by his nephew. Several other members of Guise’s family were also arrested. Many people put words into her mouth. suffering from the final illness of her life.html page 89 C . The melee had taken place in the room immediately above where Catherine lay. The first one drove his dagger into the Duke’s neck as another closed the door behind them. the King of Navarre. Despite being a fixture in public life for more than fifty years. Guise saw 45 noble gentlemen—parts of that section of the nobility allied to no faction but the Crown—waiting with swords drawn. died after an extended bout with pneumonia on 5 January. even breaking one of his attacker’s nose with the silver snuffbox.stoking up the fire. As he entered the antechamber where the King was waiting. For though she had lived a more extraordinary life than perhaps any other woman in history (by longevity. One of the secretaries tapped him on the shoulder and said the King wished to talk to him. she had outlived all of her contemporaries but the Cardinal of Bourbon.
He then granted his former cohorts permanent security in the Edict of Nantes. Henry was taken out by a zealous monk who had ingratiated his way into his army’s camp. and the Holy League. He was burned in effigy. Nine months after taking out two of the Guise and letting most of his followers go. earning a reputation as one of the most renowned generals in history. which was to extend for a year. deposed and condemned to death by the theologians of the Sorbonne. who had become a pathetic creature. which now declared war on the King. He had no choice but to sign a truce with Henry de Navarre. and besides that the founder of the Bourbon dynasty which once ruled France. Like Guise and the King. whose vengeance would not wait for the bull of excommunication to arrive from Rome. But he treated her with extraordinary kindness. half of Italy and a good deal of the world besides. Believing that the reunion of the kingdom and the end of the wars was more important than whether he took mass or not. a descendent of Catherine’s hated cousin. after all of his rivals were defeated. From fugitive degenerate to conquering prince. whose financial support contributed to Henry’s victory over the League and their Spanish allies. he did become a Catholic. But the greatest irony of all was the fate of the last of the Three Henrys. Henry IV too was felled by an assassin’s dagger—yet another fanatical Catholic who did not believe the former Huguenot chieftain had truly converted. Ironically enough. Degenerate . He was able to muster a troop of mercenaries from Germany and actually surrounded Paris.com/degenerate/index. Henry annulled his marriage to Margot. Navarre himself lay waste to the armies of the League. swore revenge and took over command of the Holy League.-Bartholomew’s Day. Navarre. At that moment. Duke Cosimo. which was the center of resistance against him. though voluntarily.unleashed the most intense hatred for any French King in history. boyhood friends who fought one great duel for the French throne. and still sits on the Spanish throne. Henry remained locked outside of Paris. also by the assassin’s dagger.html page 90 . the second Henry of the three fell.diacritica. but he was a prisoner of Navarre and died in captivity.http://www. it was on his own terms. As Henry IV. The Cardinal of Bourbon had been proclaimed King Charles X by the League. Not even the doomed Louis XVI suffered the insults directed at Henry III. inviting her back to court and restoring her fortune. Spain. the credit which he couldn’t acquire as King of France was now extended to him as various states of Europe hedged their bets between the King. The Duke of Guise’s estranged brother. and whose name would send a shiver up the spine of Catherine’s corpse: Clément. he became one of the most beloved kings in French history. unlike his knife-point conversion on St. Mayenne. he took France by force of arms and won its Henry de Navarre: Not an attractive man people over by his personality. penniless and disabused by everyone. He married a second time—to another Medici.
” finis Degenerate .diacritica.http://www. then as farce. first as tragedy. it was France that Karl Marx was describing when he coined the maxim that “History repeats itself.html page 91 .But of course.com/degenerate/index.
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