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Charles Quint face aux Reformes: Colloques international organise par le Centre d'histoire des Reformes et du protestantisme (11e colloque Jean Boisset), Montpellier, 8-9 juin 2001, Universite Paul Valery--Montpellier III.

Guy Le Thiec and Alain Tallon, eds. Charles Quint face aux Reformes: Colloques international organise par le Centre d'histoire des Reformes et du protestantisme (11e colloque Jean Boisset), Montpellier, 8-9 juin 2001, Universite Paul Valery--Montpellier III.

Colloques, Congres et Conferences sur la Renaissance 49. Paris: Honore Champion Editeur, 2005. 216 pp. index. illus. tbls. [euro]49. ISBN: 2-7453-1204-9.

Wim Blockmans and Nicolette Mout, eds. The World of Emperor Charles V. Proceedings of the Colloquium, Amsterdam, 4-6 October 2000. Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2004. viii + 364 pp. index. illus. tbls. [euro]49. ISBN: 90-6984-420-6.

The subject of both collections is the incredible career of Charles V, whose improbable and incoherent dynastic inheritance drew him into every possible political and religious situation between 1520 and 1556. The twenty-four essays show the expanding nature of the scholarship focused on the period, revealing considerable new research and also advancing innovative theories in economic, artistic, and literary interpretation.

Charles Quint face aux Reformes presents papers from a colloquium organized by the Centre d'histoire des Reformes et du protestantisme in 2001. The ten papers that follow Alain Tallon's comprehensive introduction reveal a wide range of research into religious belief, politics, and repression in the sixteenth century. "Guissepe Galasso, Valdes et Naples" relates the career of a Spanish mystic who took refuge in Naples after attracting the attention of the Inquisition in his native land. His followers, called spirituali, adhered to a humanist tradition that made them virtual Protestants. After his death, a storm of denunciation swept the movement away. Jean Carlos d'Amico examines the place of Charles V in Italian literature. As his position in Italy strengthened, the emperor ceased to be the vision of a barbaric Antichrist, and became instead a warrior against infidels and heretics. His failure to crush Luther and the lingering memory of the sack of Rome by the imperial army in 1527 kept hostility alive, but imperial success and the power of patronage quickly eroded it. D'Amico explores Charles's efforts to portray himself as the savior of Christendom and, thus, as a hero of saintly proportions in Italian letters. Gerard Chaix's article examines the image of the emperor in the empire as statism and humanism collided first with medieval tradition and then with the ardent followers of religious confessions. Symbols and political identities became confused as Charles tried to blend his self-proclaimed leadership of Christendom with his hopes for universal monarchy. The Titian portrait of 1547 captured that moment, and Chaix asks whether Charles wanted to be a medieval knight on crusade or a powerful monarch of more modern times.

Raphael Carrasco's essay investigates the relationship between Charles and the Spanish Inquisition that achieved its enduring form during his reign. Charles was attached to the advantages the institution had for his monarchy, for it alone cut across all traditional divisions and judicial standards. Carrasco furnishes tables and graphs to demonstrate the steady increase in power enjoyed by the Inquisition. In a related article, Vincent Parello discusses the fate of the Jewish converts under Charles V, for they too continued to be victims of the Inquisition during his reign. Parello argues that this attack had social and economic purposes, keeping Jewish converts from displaying wealth or holding public office.

Alexander Koller's article is based on close examination of the papers of the papal nuncios in the empire. It is interesting in demonstrating the divergent policies of pope, emperor, and imperial powers, and in suggesting how these effected permanent changes in the operations of public powers. Olivier Poncet's investigation of Charles and the episcopacy is also firmly based on documents that reveal how questions of appointment and investiture continued to plague relations with the papacy. His findings, which are supported by meticulous notes and excellent tables, show how the imperial chancellor Gattinara's hope that bishops would help to achieve unity in Charles's lands never materialized.

Hugo de Schepper expands the coverage to include the Netherlands, where the firm foundations of law and governance complicated and moderated suppression of heresy. Charles made persistent efforts to define heresy as treason, which had the consequence of encouraging judicial negligence among officials who abhorred the frightful penalties that were the consequence. Even the Privy Council, the creation of Charles V, actively issued pardons in matters of heresy to all save the Anabaptists. Aline Goosens also investigates Protestantism in the Netherlands and provides an excellent survey of attempts to define heresy and to crush it. Provincial authorities, wishing to avoid the ghastly executions, interfered in prosecutions, insisting that the issue of heresy defied precise definition. The presence of those who sought martyrdom complicated matters, adding those who desired the most awful death in an effort to, in their belief, gain instant access to heaven. The article also discusses the simultaneous growth of ideas of repression and toleration.

Arlette Jouanna's conclusion provides an interesting summary, reiterating how the diversity of topics and terms demands qualification and definition. She highlights the richness of research that is revealed in the notes, a striking feature of this text.

The fourteen papers in The World of Charles V are in French, German, Spanish, and English, and are often strikingly original in revealing regional visions of an international figure. No single theme draws the articles together and their unique characters make this a fascinating collection. The introduction itself points out new methods of studying Charles V, and the initial article by Mia Rodriguez-Salgado establishes the strength of the volume: deep and precise research using many new materials and advancing innovative ideas. The article deals with the convoluted justifications for war between the Hapsburg and Valois dynasties and explores a huge range of sources and ideas in surprisingly few pages; so too does James Tracy's exploration of fiscal affairs in Charles V's lands. Concentrating on the core provinces of the Netherlands, Naples, and Castile, Tracy evaluates the methods used by the emperor in cooperation with banks to fund his military enterprises. This is an excellent summary of his vast research into this topic. Peter Marzhal's study of the first regency of Isabella in Spain highlights the difficulties of ruling a huge empire in a time of limited communication. The success of the regency was based on Isabella's dedication and the cooperation of the Spanish. Jose Martinez Millan's contribution also examines the Spanish in imperial service, exploring the wealth of diverse spiritual ideas, some native and others that came with Charles, which existed early in the reign. As he reordered his government, that diversity was restrained, creating a facade of orthodoxy.

Three of the articles deal with the Italian lands ruled or influenced by Charles V. Giovanni Muto discusses the role of the viceroy in Naples in establishing a strong regime in the absence of the ruler, which was a great departure for the Neapolitans. Giorgio Chittolini presents information on the fiscal affairs of Milan under Charles V, demonstrating how the aristocracy came together to transfer the effect of increased taxation to the peasants of the contado. Arturo Pacini offers evidence of the power of Charles V over areas outside his direct control. His agents interfered so effectively in Genoa that it became a virtual dependency of the imperial government. This article is also interesting for his treatment of Italian historiography.

Two other studies consider the economic and fiscal affairs of the southern Netherlands and religious persecution in the same provinces. Erik Aerts examines the development of a more active money economy and increased trade in the provinces, and shows how Charles V's dedication to war impacted that system. He includes an interesting set of graphs and tables.

Aline Goosens's study of Calvinists who chose to die for their belief is a wonderful essay on a difficult topic. She examines the different types of martyrs, the legal traditions of the Netherlands in dealing with heresy, and the determination of Charles V to create an inquisition as part of his political objectives. The enterprise of repression is presented in the context of creating absolutism.

Petes Sahin-Tothe's article on the inclusion of Hungary in the Hapsburg dominions gives a totally different view of Charles V's regime. The contest between Hungarian aristocrats and Hapsburg ambitions following the Turkish victory at Mohacs resulted in incomplete assimilation. This fine article includes a synthesis of Hungarian sources not readily accessible to most historians.

The final section of the work includes three articles on the creation of Charles V's image through painting, sculpture, and written accounts. Ulrika Becker examines the two major portraits by Seisenegger and Titian, offers a careful analysis of the place of the two works within the context of German and Italian tradition, and includes excellent illustrations to support her views. The work of Uta Barbara Ullrich appraises the iconographic works used to celebrate Charles V's coronation in Bologna at the church of San Pertonio. Wishing to emphasize the importance of the coronation, Charles wanted a glorious ceremony and also permanent representations of the event in painting, words, and stone to serve as a reminder of his place and power. Allegories of his greatness and importance adorned the church facade and appear strikingly in the painting by Parmigianino that illustrates the cover of the study. Martina Fuchs's study continues that theme in considering the image of Charles V in subsequent generations. Idealized versions of his life appeared to support German themes and also the careers of individual princes who freely associated themselves with bygone imperial greatness. Alfredo Alvar concludes the book with a review of the commemorations of the reign held in Spain in recent years.


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Author:Steen, Charlie R.
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2006
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