The Historical Journal


The Saint Bartholomew's Massacres in the Provinces*

Philip Benedicta1

a1 University of Maryland


As the devil never leaves unbelieving heretics in repose, they conspired in such cities as Paris, Rouen, Orleans, Lyons, Toulouse and other large cities to surprise the catholic Christians and put them all to the sword. The king was apprised of this near the end of the year 1572, whereupon, considering well such a damnable enterprise, he sent orders to all the cities to inquire as to the truth of this endeavour…. When its truth was discovered, he ordered, so that the cost of the executions for which he otherwise would have had to pay might be avoided, that…[the huguenots] be put to death in all of the cities of France where they could be caught. [Explanation of the Saint Bartholomew's massacre provided by an anonymous catholic chronicler, 1581.]


* An earlier version of this article was presented to the Washington Renaissance Colloquium at the Folger Institute of Renaissance and Eighteenth-Century Studies. I would like to thank the members of the colloquium, and in addition Clive Holmes, T. K. Rabb and David Rosenberg for their valuable comments on the earlier draft.