Remembering the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

I will be offering my course, HIST 414 European Wars of Religion, 1520s-1660s, at Northern Illinois University beginning next Monday.

Just in time for the beginning of the semester, today is the anniversary of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris on 24 August 1572, one of the most shocking atrocities of the French Wars of Religion (1559-1629).

As I prepare my classes this week, I am reminded of the other major historical commemorations that intersect with my course on the European Wars of Religion. 

Last year was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s challenge to papal authority and his publication of the Ninety-Five Theses (1517). Reformation historians in Germany and around the world held numerous conferences, workshops, lectures, and services throughout 2017 in celebration or commemoration of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Scholars, clergy, and journalists published many articles and books reflecting on Martin Luther’s life and the historical significance of the Lutheran movement. I previously posted on the 2017 commemorations on this website.

This year is the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) in May 1618. While there have already been some commemorations and publications, responses to this major historical event seem more muted.

In remembrance of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, here (below) is a lecture by Professor Barbara B. Diefendorf (Boston University), a leading specialist on the massacre and the French Wars of Religion, that was videotaped in 2006:

For those readers wanting to find out more about the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, see the following works:

Crouzet, Denis. La nuit de la Saint-Barthélemy: un rêve perdu de la Renaissance. Paris]: Fayard, 1994.

——. Les guerriers de Dieu. 2 vols. Seyssel: Champ Vallon, 1990.

Diefendorf, Barbara B. Beneath the Cross: Catholics and Huguenots in Sixteenth-Century Paris. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

——. Blood Wedding: The Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in History and Memory. Boston, MA: Boston University, 2006.

——. The Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre: A Brief History with Documents. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

Jouanna, Arlette. The Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre: The Mysteries of a Crime of State. Trans. Joseph Bergin. Oxford: Manchester University Press, 2016.


This entry was posted in European History, European Wars of Religion, French History, French Wars of Religion, History in the Media, History of Violence, Paris History, Reformation History, Religious History, Religious Politics, Religious Violence, Warfare in the Early Modern World. Bookmark the permalink.

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