Were the Actors of the French Wars of Religion Protagonists ?

By Jérémie Foa

This paper questions the main elements of the notion of “protagonism” in the light of the French wars of religion : there were, during this period (1562-1598), no revolutions strictly speaking, but it is possible to investigate the numerous critical situations, the seizure of cities and massacres, and the overblown testimonies, in order to examine the participation of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. The article queries what it was—for this is the problem—that prevented the people of the late-nineteenth century from fully making their mark on history and proudly embracing active participation in the multitudinous events of the wars of religion.

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