Francis I

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Apr 26, 1984 - History - 480 pages
Francis I, king of France from 1515 to 1547, has not always been treated by posterity with the seriousness he deserves. The French historian Jules Michelet (b. 1798?d. 1874), who has exerted a long-standing influence on popular notions of the past among his countrymen, dismissed him as a ?fine talker? who allowed himself to be ruled by women, principally his mother and sister. As a child of the French Revolution, Michelet despised Francis for not having assumed leadership of the Protestant revolt against the Roman Catholic Church. Francis has also been largely eclipsed by the brilliance of the Sun King, Louis XIV. But all this has now changed. Since the 1950s there has been a revival of interest in the Renaissance and the Reformation. Francis was a central figure in both. As king, he laid the foundations of the ?absolute? monarchy that was to flourish in the next century under Louis XIV. Though not entirely successful in his long struggle with the Holy Roman emperor Charles V, Francis successfully resisted his claim to the duchy of Burgundy, which, if conceded, would have dismantled the kingdom of France. Faced by the challenge of the Protestant Reformation that shattered the religious unity of his kingdom, Francis took the fateful decision to uphold the Catholic faith. He also supported some of the earliest French expeditions to the New World. On the cultural level, his legacy was second to none. Presiding over the most magnificent court north of the Alps, in which women assumed a more significant presence than in the past, he built numerous châteaus, patronized some of the most illustrious artists of his day, built up a superb library, and paved the way for the prestigious Collège de France in Paris?not a bad record for a ruler once dismissed as a lightweight.
 

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Contents

Childhood and youth
1
King of France
13
Marignano1515
33
The Concordat of Bologna
51
The uneasy peace 151620
66
The king and his court
83
The loss of Milan 15202
105
Penury and reform
117
The hollow peace 15304
221
Domestic problems 15304
237
Patron of the arts andfather of letters
253
Triumph and stalemate 153 57
274
Fruitless entente 153 842
289
The kingdoms wealth
305
France overseas
326
The last war 15426
362

Humanism and heresy
132
Treason
146
Pavia 15235
160
The regency of Louise of Savoy 15256
176
The kings return 15 268
192
From Cognac to Cambrai 15269
206
Reform and resistance
377
The growth of persecution
390
The triumph of faction
408
Epilogue
426
Index
449
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