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15 mai 2024, Oxford : Revisiting the Death of Charles IX and its Aftermath : Continuity and Change in French Politics, Society, and Culture, c. 1574-1584

Revisiting the Death of Charles IX and its Aftermath : Continuity and Change in French Politics, Society, and Culture, c. 1574-1584

An event organised by Christian Martens (Geneva / Warwick) and Ingrid De Smet (Warwick)
With a keynote address by Mark Greengrass (Sheffield)
May 15, 2024 / Oxford, Maison française d’Oxford / 9:30am-4:30pm

      After Queen Elizabeth II’s death, the United Kingdom crowned a new king and entered the New Carolean Age. Such renaming of the future is a practice typical of monarchies, as they break with the past and open up the present. Similarly, the death of Charles IX on May 30, 1574, unleashed a flurry of potential new avenues for action and discourse. The 450th anniversary of his passing offers us the opportunity to revisit that event’s significance. As king he disappointed all the parties involved in the French Wars of Religion. At the moment of his death, the political situation was uncertain and rumours swirled that he had been poisoned.

      Taken in isolation, the death of Charles IX forces us to reconsider what happened in the light of what could have been. It suggests a recasting of the event and of its influence on the next decade of the Wars of Religion. Was there any hope the heir, Henri, would not come back ? Did the king’s passing change the political calculus of the rebellious nobility ? How did the complex and ever-changing European geopolitical chessboard react to another French monarch dying so young ? Was the fated death of a hated king fêted by the Huguenots, or resented for its political consequences ? Was there hope for change or fear of a break ? To put it starkly, did the direction of history seem unsettled, or was the king’s agony another sign of French decadence ?

Program :
9:30AM Welcome coffee

10AM Introduction (Christian Martens)

10:15AM Penny Roberts (University of Warwick) : “‘In the shadow of his mother and his brother’ ? A reassessment of Charles IX’s reign c. 1568-74”

10:45AM Jérémie Ferrer-Bartomeu (Université catholique de Louvain / Université de Liège) : « Dans les plis du temps. Le coup de majesté d’une reine régente, 8 août 1574”

11:15AM Coffee break

11:30AM Keynote address

Mark Greengrass (University of Sheffield) : “La chronique d’une mort (à moitié) attendue. Le décès du roi Charles IX à travers la correspondance du lieutenant du roi en Dauphine, Bertrand Simiane de Gordes”

12:30PM Lunch break

1:30PM Sara Barker (University of Leeds) : “Pamphlet production and design in France, c.1574-c.1584”

2PM Luc Racaut (University of Newcastle) : "Charles IX’s desacralized body : cruentation, autopsy and othering in the religious wars"

2:30PM Coffee break

3PM James McNamara (University of Innsbruck) : "External perspectives on the death of Charles IX : William Camden’s Annales of Elizabeth I"

3:30PM Christian Martens : “François Hotman v. Charles IX : Narrating a Tumultuous Reign Between Polemics and Diplomacy”

4PM Conclusion (Ingrid De Smet)

4:30PM End of the day

Attendance :
Free, but prebooking is required.

Please contact :
Christian.Martens chez