Author Topic: Catherine de Medicis  (Read 50030 times)

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Mgmstl

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #60 on: August 26, 2005, 04:55:57 PM »
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Sorry sir, just trying to make the discussion more friendly. Never mind, Mr. Michael G. it won't happen again, how could I dare writing to you in such terms!


No, Michael will suffice, "Umi"

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Weren't they 70.000 (by protestant accounts)? Now they have grown up to 100.000?  


Those lower numbers come from the Vatican, of course we know how the Vatican loves to white wash itself and wash the shame & blood from it's hands.....as in the molestation scandal.

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Come on, you know exactly what I was refering to! Precisely to that, I wasn't saying you saw Hitler as Catherine or viceversa, but no, I don't think your comparison has valid standards. And that's for sure, Catherine was not born in Braunau...By the way, if my father was a merchant should I have to feel offended, like when I said, writing in a historical context, that protestants were heretics?


I validly claim that the events of Aug 24 1572 are comparable to those in Germany.  A government sponsored wholesale massacre of a group of people because of race or religion is tantamount to a genocide on the part of that government.  I could care less about references to her heretics coming from a 16th century perspective, which I find offensive,   I am talking from a 21st century perspective, much more enlightened, and one that doesn't believe in the divine right of monarchs.

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No fact in there, Mr. Michael G.. Reports are contradictory. Those which are favorable were written by her friends, those which accused her as the absolut perpetrator were written by her enemies... No points for any of us two in that issue I believe...



Most of the courts of Europe at the time were Catholic with the exception of England, so why wouldn't the account of the ambassadors be favorable?  You really don't expect me to believe that Catherine, with all of her years of political acumen and savvy, was so naieve that she had no idea that the ensuing massacre could happen Umi do you?    I think it is a credit to her that she could watch horrified from the windows of her palace, safe from the massacre...Oh that's right she would be safe, it was her massacre...

Offline Louis_Charles

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #61 on: August 26, 2005, 05:36:59 PM »
Michael,

I tend to agree with the thrust of your posts here. It is absurd to think that people only realized mass murder was wrong in the 20th century. Whether Catherine herself was directly responsible for the deaths (and are we really quibbling that 70,000 is appreciably less horrible than 100,000? Surely not.), she contributed to a climate in which it was permissible to do it. Exactly as Hitler did with Kristallnacht, in fact --- read Goebbals' diary. They enjoyed the results, even if in fact much of what happened was popular in nature. But the fact is that the Nazis allowed, even created, a climate in which Jews could be killed with impunity. The Huguenots were in the same boat.

That being said . . . if you meant to offend me as a practicing Catholic in 2005, you have succeeded.

Regards,

Simon
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Mgmstl

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #62 on: August 26, 2005, 05:55:12 PM »
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Michael,

I tend to agree with the thrust of your posts here. It is absurd to think that people only realized mass murder was wrong in the 20th century. Whether Catherine herself was directly responsible for the deaths (and are we really quibbling that 70,000 is appreciably less horrible than 100,000? Surely not.), she contributed to a climate in which it was permissible to do it. Exactly as Hitler did with Kristallnacht, in fact --- read Goebbals' diary. They enjoyed the results, even if in fact much of what happened was popular in nature. But the fact is that the Nazis allowed, even created, a climate in which Jews could be killed with impunity. The Huguenots were in the same boat.

That being said . . . if you meant to offend me as a practicing Catholic in 2005, you have succeeded.

Regards,

Simon



Simon,

I apologize for offending you, my intent was not condeming all Catholic for what Catherine did.  I just like to keep a balanced picture of the historical figures we are examining.

While it may seem that I am anti Catholic, that is not true, I distrust or dislike all organized religion, including the one I was raised in.

Again I apologize to you if I offended you.

Michael


Offline Louis_Charles

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #63 on: August 27, 2005, 12:56:00 AM »
Dear Michael,

I appreciate your sentiments, thank you. Given what has erupted over on the Alexandra's Medical History thread, it means a lot to me that we avoid conflict --- the discussions are too interesting to sacrifice!

Best regards,

Simon

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Offline Silja

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #64 on: August 28, 2005, 12:22:27 PM »
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Have you ever seen the movie "Judgement At Nuremburg"

I never knew it would come to that. YOU must believe it, YOU MUST believe it.  Tracy's reply was  "Herr Janning, it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent. "  Truer words were never spoken.
 
I feel there is no excuse for Catherine's involvement in this.




But there is a problem in comparing Catherine's case with that of the character in the movie.

Apparently - and I'm no expert on Catherine, and am thus relying on the comments made above by other posters here - it wasn't Catherine's plan to "sentence anyone to death", that is, to deliberately kill anyone she considered "innocent". If she decided to have the leaders killed - then from her perspective these weren't innocents at all. This doesn't excuse it from our perspective, and doesn't make it less horrific, but it nevertheless explains the deed (of having the leaders killed) within the political context.

Mgmstl

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #65 on: August 28, 2005, 01:03:10 PM »
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But there is a problem in comparing Catherine's case with that of the character in the movie.

Apparently - and I'm no expert on Catherine, and am thus relying on the comments made above by other posters here - it wasn't Catherine's plan to "sentence anyone to death", that is, to deliberately kill anyone she considered "innocent". If she decided to have the leaders killed - then from her perspective these weren't innocents at all. This doesn't excuse it from our perspective, and doesn't make it less horrific, but it nevertheless explains the deed (of having the leaders killed) within the political context.



I respectfully & totally disagree with you.  Umigon & others have stated earlier that Catherine stated she had no idea how the massacre would be spread and was horrified by it , supposedly.   My point is that the moment Catherine sanctioned a massacre, no matter how limited she intended it's scope to be,  she is responsible for it's outcome.    

This is one reason the Nuremburg trials reached the scope that they did, down to judges, and administrators.
This is one reason I made that comparison, for surely Catherine with her years of experience & her politica acumen knew that this could snowball out of control.
Silja, Catherine is responsible for all of the deaths during the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, personally, socially, & morally.  I really feel disgusted that people try to defend her actions.  

Offline Louis_Charles

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #66 on: August 28, 2005, 01:06:08 PM »
But a medieval/Renaissance concept of heresy doesn't allow for the kind of "innocent" bystanders that you have killed during the Massacre. The average Huguenot killed by the mob was as guilty of treason as Coligny in Catherine's eyes, if she was of standard 16th century belief. A heretic disputed the right of the state to control the religious beliefs of its' subjects. So I strongly doubt that Catherine shed many tears for those killed in the streets of Paris. In that sense, the comparison with the Janning character in Judgement is reasonably apt in terms of the principle by which he is condemned.
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Offline umigon

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #67 on: August 29, 2005, 08:17:05 AM »


Catherine wass not a religious fanatics, and that can't be denied even by her worst enemies. In fact, many of her advisors, including the most important one, Michel de L'Hospital, were Huguenots. She also chose teachers and wet nurses for her own children who were Huguenots or from a Huguenot background.


And now, just my opinion about all this discussion about the Saint Bartholomew and Catherine's character. For me, Catherine was as evil as every other 16th century monarch. Not best, not worst. I am talking about her personal character, because as a politician, from my point of view, she was much better than most of the contemporary monarchs. And about the Saint Bartholomew, it could have been a revenge... Well, from Guise's point of view it was. He wanted Coligny dead, as he had killed his father in 1563, and Coligny had escaped from Justice too many times. In fact, when the issue with Coligny had been done, Guise said: 'Now I am satisfied, I had my revenge'.  

I say it could also be a revenge of what had been known as the Saint Bartholomew massacre until that day. Three years later, on 24th August 1569, after the battle of Orthez, Montgomery had the royal soldiers imprisoned. They had given up their arms because Montgomery had promised them by a written act (!!!) that he would spare their lives. Well, he didn't, he just killed 5.000 people who were prisoners and whom he had promised to leave alive!
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #68 on: August 29, 2005, 08:28:46 AM »
I agree with umigon that, though I do not attempt to defend or justify the Bartholemew's Day Massacre and/or Catherine's role in it, she was no better or worse than any other 16th century monarch.
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Offline umigon

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #69 on: September 01, 2005, 02:36:15 PM »


Yesterday night, re-reading the book "Catherine de Médicis" by Jean Orieux, I found some other arguments that prove that Catherine just did what she had to do.

Coligny had been plotting against the entire Royal Family and his intentions were of murdering or imprissoning per life: Charles IX, Catherine, Henri d'Anjou, Hercule-François d'Alençon, Margot and... both Henri of Navarre and Condé, Huguenot princes!!! This info is not false, as it was denounced by Catherine's spies and, after Coligny's death, the documents that proved it were found on his hôtel.

The starting signal for the murders should have been the bells of a church that had to ring before its actual hour. Half an hour before this bells started to ring, Catherine sent a message aborting the murder mission. She was answered that the murders had already started 10 minutes before.

And about the total number of people killed in France from the 24th August 1572 until the end of November by the mob, not by any Catholic or HUguenot Prince, were of about 20-25.000, those are the people that were recorded for Queen Elizabeth Tudor and that number is the one that most people regard as valid nowadays. Besides that, only a 40% of the deceased were Huguenots, and many people killed their personal enemies or, like in a University, a professor killed another one to remplace him! So, a horrible and regretable act, but there are many exagerations in its story just to sully Catherine's name (I don't know if the word sully means what I want it to mean, hope you understand!)
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #70 on: September 01, 2005, 02:44:26 PM »
That's very interesting umigon - of course it is to be expected that in a situation like the Massacre people would be out to get their personal enemies, Catholic, Hugenot or whatever . . .
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Mgmstl

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #71 on: September 02, 2005, 10:21:44 AM »
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Yesterday night, re-reading the book "Catherine de Médicis" by Jean Orieux, I found some other arguments that prove that Catherine just did what she had to do.

Coligny had been plotting against the entire Royal Family and his intentions were of murdering or imprissoning per life: Charles IX, Catherine, Henri d'Anjou, Hercule-François d'Alençon, Margot and... both Henri of Navarre and Condé, Huguenot princes!!! This info is not false, as it was denounced by Catherine's spies and, after Coligny's death, the documents that proved it were found on his hôtel.

The starting signal for the murders should have been the bells of a church that had to ring before its actual hour. Half an hour before this bells started to ring, Catherine sent a message aborting the murder mission. She was answered that the murders had already started 10 minutes before.

And about the total number of people killed in France from the 24th August 1572 until the end of November by the mob, not by any Catholic or HUguenot Prince, were of about 20-25.000, those are the people that were recorded for Queen Elizabeth Tudor and that number is the one that most people regard as valid nowadays. Besides that, only a 40% of the deceased were Huguenots, and many people killed their personal enemies or, like in a University, a professor killed another one to remplace him! So, a horrible and regretable act, but there are many exagerations in its story just to sully Catherine's name (I don't know if the word sully means what I want it to mean, hope you understand!)



A horrible, regrettable act is how you refer to a WILLING massacre by a government of it's citizens????   That is a  disgrace.    Also the 25,000 estimate was the one sanctioned by Rome.  In the 20th century it would be referred to as a genocide.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Mgmstl »

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #72 on: September 02, 2005, 10:27:13 AM »
Michael, you are of course entitled to your opinion, but I would prefer if you do not label umigon's opinion a 'disgrace'. Something like 'I disagree' would have been more tactful.
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Offline bell_the_cat

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #73 on: September 02, 2005, 11:42:58 AM »
Here’s my take on Catharine and St Bartholemew. I can see how it’s a hot issue - it’s something people really care a lot about.

I was reading this quote from Macaulay about Elizabeth, and I think it applies to Catharine as well:

“she yet subjected that church (the catholics) to a persecution even more odious than the persecution with which her sister had harassed the Protestants. We say more odious. For Mary had at least the plea of fanaticism. If she burned the bodies of her subjects it was in order to rescue their souls. Elizabeth had no such pretext. In opinion she was little more than half a Protestant. There is an excuse, a wretched excuse for the massacres of Piedmont and the Autos da Fe of Spain. But what can be said in defence of a ruler who is at once indifferent and intolerant?”

This is what I find most despicable about Catharine’s part in the St Bartholemew massacres. It was a religious massacre sparked off by someone who actually didn’t care either way about protestant/ catholic. What she cared about was her own power and influence. I think she may not have intended the massacre to go as far as it did, but she wanted Coligny’s influence over her son removed and was prepared to “go the distance”. Whereas Elizabeth didn’t like some of the things she had to do to stay Queen (executing the Queen of Scots for example), I don’t think Catharine was capable of remorse. I think she was at heart a very selfish woman.

It has been argued in her defence that she was fighting for her children. But I think she was one of those colossally selfish people who are always asking what their children can do for them, and not what they can do for their children. Once Margot was no longer any use to her, she got brushed off.

In a way I can’t blame her for instinctively looking after number one. I think she learnt to be this way at a young age (she was orphaned as a baby) and later during a long marriage to a man who was in love with a much older woman. She knew the value of power and was prepared to do anything to keep it.

So I agree with Umigon that she was not religiously motivated, and that she possibly didn’t envisage the dimensions of the massacre. But that makes it even worse!


Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow. (Mark Twain)

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Catherine de Medicis
« Reply #74 on: September 02, 2005, 11:57:21 AM »
Thanks for contributing bell.  :)

I would call Catherine, Elizabeth and indeed Henri IV 'religious by political need' - they were not pious by nature, byt did what they thought neccessary regarding religion.
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."