English 233: Introduction to Western Humanities
- Baroque & Enlightenment
- Religious wars
- in the wake of the Protestant
Readings in Matthew and Platt, The Western
Humanities, 2nd Ed.:
"Warfare as a Response to Religious Dissent,
1520-1603" (pp. 337-338).
- How did the settlement reached in the Peace of
Augsburg (1555) "contain the seeds of
"Absolutism, Monarchy, and the Balance of
Power" (p. 353-359).
- Make it a point to note how frequently and
variously religious considerations entered into
the civil disturbances that wracked France and
England during the Seventeenth Century.
The 20th-century German playwright Bertolt
Brecht once remarked that "the Thirty Years War
pulled the teeth of the Protestant Reformation in
- In the brief account (p. 358) of this
protracted series of wars, you will of course
want to be alert to the various ways in which religious
causes (the advancement or roll-back of
Protestantism) were relied upon in mobilizing
leaders and populations to join in the conflict
in specific situations.
- But you will also want to be looking for factors
other than religion at work in addition
to or even under the pretext of religious crusade
- The chief decision-makers in France
during the period of the Thirty Years War
were a pair of Roman Catholic
prelates - Cardinal Richlieu and
Cardinal Mazarin. Would you
say they were motivated primarily by
religious convictions, or by other
considerations, in their
decisions? What do you see as
the ranking of their priorities?
- Finally, you will want to ask yourself a pair of
questions that is not dealt with in the narrative
you will be reading:
- (a) How might religious people of
different persuasions have made sense of
the results of various battles and of the
terms of the final
- (b) what sorts of facts might have led
some minds to conclude that the
determining factors in the conflict had
nothing to do with divine interventions
or Providence but were to be understood
as strictly human and
material? That is, what might
have prompted some analysts to conclude
that the the military and political
outcomes of the conflict, along the way
and overall, were adequately and most
intelligibly to be explained stricltly on
the level of events.
In reflecting on the motives of the French king
Louis XIV in the conduct of his many wars
(pp. 358-59), would you say that religion or some
other factors were paramount in Louis' decisions about
when to go to war and what to agree to in peace treaties?
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