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Journal > Volumes > 39 (2008) / 2 (Summer)
Noble Widows and Estate Management during the French Wars of Religion
Robert J. Kalas
Mount St. Mary's University

Recent studies of women and power in France during the sixteenth century have demonstrated that noblewomen wielded considerable political influence through patron-client relationships and through the management of their households, especially during the Wars of Religion. This article will examine the extent of noblewomen's influence and power during the religious wars by focusing on the activities of widows connected to the Selve family of Limousin. It will look at their estate management activities, arrangement of marriages, purchase of offices, and pursuit of legal claims on behalf of the family, based on documents contained in the Bibliotheque Nationale Fonds francais. These noblewomen exercised their autority in such a way that the financial well-being of the family was preserved and enhanced, and they should be recognized and acknowledged for their contributions during this chaotic period of French history as they worked not only to raise their families, but to advance the economic interests and social prestige of those families as well.

Pages: 357 - 370