The German scholar Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486–1535) is portrayed as an opponent of witch beliefs and witch trials. However, the evidence for this image is less convincing than once thought. Agrippa’s involvement in a witch trial in the city of Metz was dictated by his position as a legal advisor to the magistrate and perhaps also inspired by personal animosity towards the local inquisitor, Nicolas Savin. The favorable views of women Agrippa allegedly expressed in De nobilitate et praecellentia foemeneï sexus do not imply that he opposed witch trials.
Taking its cue from the language and plot of book 2, canto 8, of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, this article considers Guyon’s faint and Arthur’s battle with Pyrochles and Cymochles in the light of the soteriological debate surrounding predestination in England, which began as early as the 1570s and increasingly claimed the nation’s attention into the 1590s and beyond.
The sixteenth-century Florida borderlands provide a unique setting for evaluating gender and its meanings to colonizers of the Americas. Despite being explored by European conquistadors much earlier than other Western locales, the peninsula and its hinterlands generated few riches and served as the site for no substantial settlements until the late eighteenth century. This situation differed significantly from settlements in Mexico, Peru, New England, or Virginia, the centerpieces of most studies evaluating gender in the New World.
Camilla Peretti (1519–1605), sister of Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585– 90), was one of an influential group of Roman noblewomen who supported the Counter Reformation through their patronage of architecture. Peretti’s projects included collaboration with her brother to develop the sprawling Villa Montalto complex on the Esquiline Hill and renovation of the ancient church of S. Susanna al Quirinale, where she commissioned a chapel dedicated to St. Lawrence and built a convent for a group of radically reformed Cistercian nuns.
Edward Coke is well known for his unhistorical approach to the common law and the ensuing myth of the ancient constitution. He is o!en taken as representative of common lawyers, an important group in the intellectual life of early modern England. This article expands upon J. G. A. Pocock’s seminal work in the field, demonstrating that Coke’s historical views are not a Jacobean development or a response to external circumstances. His views had been held, and propagated, since the early stages of his career as a lawyer and were shared by other lawyers.
Whenever she was in the presence of her husband, the newlywed Laura Coccapani was plagued by extraordinary woes, which witnesses attributed to demons. Conventional wisdom held that certain spells could cause people to be repulsed by their spouses, and many believed Valerio Trionfanti, a Franciscan with whom Coccapani once had a lengthy but unconsummated affair, had cast a spell.
This article concerns the letters of Mary Tudor Brandon, known as Mary the French queen, who defied her brother Henry VIII by secretly marrying her second husband, the Duke of Suffolk. Mary’s use of the epistolary genre to persuade Henry to accede to the match was born not merely out of necessity, but out of her awareness that letters were a powerful political tool that women could employ to further their ambitions.
In 1598, the year that Duke Cesare d’Este (1562–1628) lost Ferrara to papal forces and moved the capital of his duchy to Modena, the papal Inquisition in Modena was elevated from vicariate to full inquisitorial status. Despite initial clashes with the duke, the tribunal began not only to prosecute heretics and blasphemers, but also professing Jews. Such a policy towards infidels by an organization appointed to inquire into heresy (inquisitio haereticae pravitatis) seems unusual. How did the papal Inquisition come to assume authority and prosecute Jews in early modern Italy?
In sixteenth-century England, two discourses of divine promises existed side by side. First, Protestants and Catholics both upheld oaths as binding promises, undergirded by the sanctity of God and his holy name. Second, Protestants attacked monastic vows, claiming that these divine promises could and should be broken. Protestants did not want their challenge of monastic vows to subvert the sanctity of oaths.