Audio: St Bartholomew’s Day 1572: A Sixteenth-Century Massacre

St-Bartholomews-Day-MassacreIn 1572 the French Reformed Church was nearly destroyed within the space of a week in an orgy of murder. This massacre was the result of some cold-blooded political and religious calculations and a growing distrust of and hatred toward French Reformed Christians (Huguenots). It is reasonably clear that about 2,000 Huguenots were murdered in Paris but the bloodshed did not end there. It spread to the countryside and at contemporary scholars estimate that 10,000 Huguenots were murdered in the following days. Older accounts put the number much higher. The violence was so awful that the use of the word massacre, meaning the indiscriminate murder on a large scale, entered English usage.

Here is an interview with three eminent British Reformation historians: Diarmaid MacCulloch, Mark Greengrass, and Penny Roberts about the massacre and the factors that led to it:

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  1. If one wants to understand who Cranmer was as a reformer and what made him tic, read Diarmaid MacCulloch’s excellent biography on the unlikely arch-bishop/reformer.

  2. Very interesting. I could listen to this kind of history discussion for a long while…

  3. Dr. Clark, do you know the source of this interview?

    The interviewer is Melvyn Bragg, well-known British broadcaster, author, and member of Parliament. His voice is one of the finest, most expressive, and most distinctive in the history of broadcasting. Bragg’s eight-part DVD series “The Adventure of English: The Life Story of a Remarkable Language” is outstanding. An excellent accompanying book is also available, but you don’t want to miss Bragg’s unmatched skills as a presenter. It’s a pity that in the USA we don’t have a comparable public figure of such spirited erudition

    As to the interview, the British have always done this sort of thing better than anyone else. ‘Nuff said.

  4. Philistines Anonymous.

    Any recommendations for a basic history of France for a techno-nerd whose last history course was U.S. history in high school (ca. 1967)? (Latin and French footnotes ok.)

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