Europe and the Wars of Religion (1500-1700) (24 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)
Taught by Govind Sreenivasan
Ph.D., Harvard University The period covered in this course (1500-1700) was a very turbulent time. There was a great deal of political instability combined with power struggles between political leaders within a country, various countries, and religious institutions. Throughout the time the various political leaders tried to consolidate their power and expand their territories and influence. At the same time the church was trying to consolidate its authority and power.
With everyone trying to consolidate and centralize their power there came times when their goals were in direct opposition to each other. When a political authority and a church authority considered themselves both to be the ultimate authority in a matter or over an area there was sure to be conflict. When a persecuted minority saw opportunity to become recognized and fit into society they had to take those opportunities.
This course focuses on five primary conflicts that came out of these clashes between different political and religious interests. The five conflicts are the French Wars of Religion, the Revolt of the Netherlands, the Thirty Years War, the English Civil War, and the Glorious Revolution. An example of how these conflicts were tied to politics and power struggles is a situation where the "official" religion of the country is whatever religion the king practiced and any other religion was persecuted or at most barely tolerated. This was a very common situation of the time period. Sometimes a king would die and a child would be placed on the throne. This situation presented the opportunity for the minority religion to influence the child and so find a place of acceptance in society. Of course, the established religion had an interest in maintaining its position.
To understand the internal strife and wars of the time period without looking at the religious factors is to understand a single element that does not present a complete picture. This was a time period when the church was often more powerful than the ruler in many matters and so to understand the period requires an understanding of the effect of religion and the religious wars on society. This is a highly recommended course and Professor Sreenivasan does an excellent job of bringing a complex political quagmire into clear focus so all sides of the situation become understandable.
01-Ideologies of Political Obedience
02-The Ideology of Disobedience
03-Monarchy and Society in France
05-From Early War to the Catholic League
06-The Catholic League and Henry IV
07-The Spanish Monarchy
08-The Revolt of the Netherlands - Beginnings
09-The First Revolt of the Netherlands
10-The Rebellion Widens
11-Triumph of the Dutch Republic
12-The Art of War and the Logistics of Victory
13-The Politics of the Holy Roman Empire
14-Bohemian Revolt and Habsburg Victory
15-The March of the Swedes
16-The Intervention of France
18-Charles I and the English Civil War
19-Republic to Restoration (1647-1660)
20-Restoration to Glorious Revolution
21-Royal Power in 17th-Century France
23-Princes and Peasants
24-Conclusion The France of Louis XIV
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