Talk:St. Bartholomew's Day massacre

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Misc Cleanup[edit]

Hmm, just read parts of this article. The bias is clearly discernable and I am concerned about the factual veracity of the article. I am currently studying this period and shall endeavour in the next few weeks to correct this article, though I do not have the time to do so now. There are some serious and fundamental mistakes in this article, so be warned. PaulHardwick 17:20, 20 February 2006 (GMT)

I've done a minimal amount of tidying up and formatting, but this anonymous contribution really needs the attention of somebody who knows about 16th century France. --rbrwr

In particular, the section =Background to the massacres= is so dense as to be hard to follow, even for those of us with a clue. It might be worth reworking this in close cooordination with French Wars of Religion. Perhaps some of this material belongs there rather than here; in any case, it does not look to me like these two highly related articles have been coordinated. -- Jmabel 02:20, 5 May 2004 (UTC)

Vasari's mural?[edit]

I'd like to see a picture of Vasari's mural. I've looked but haven't been able to find one. If somebody has one, could it be added to the article? Alister Namarra 09:21, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

You can view one of them at the Polish Wikipedia version of this article. Just click "Polski" in the left-hand links. --Folantin 19:22, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Western Watchman[edit]

What is Western Watchman? Without context, the quotation in the lead sits a bit awkwardly. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:29, August 9, 2005 (UTC)

Western Watchman is a Catholic newspaper, as far as I can see.

NPOV Section[edit]

Some anon with a penchant for writing history keeps putting this fantasy in the article that I've never seen in my life. I've reverted him 3 times already, but fear I may break the 3RR if I continue, so I've marked it for NPOV-ing. It has the gall to describe the Huguenots as avaricious, hardly the case at all, they were a rag tag army fighting to preserve a cause they believed in, composed largely of paysannes, not something they would do for greed like the Queen Mother's. The anon's edits even resort to outright fabrications, apparently the overall intent is to create an apology for the actions of the papal party. If any source anywhere can be found for a Huguenot Massacre in 1569, he'll have to show it. Codex Sinaiticus 00:47, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

On August 24, 1569, the Huguenot general, Gabriel de Montgomery, enjoyed victory over the royal forces led by General Terride at the Battle of Orthez in French Navarre. The surrender of the Catholic nobility was predicated upon a promise by the Huguenots that their lives would be spared. In spite of that pledge, the Huguenots had the Catholics massacred in cold blood on St. Bartholomew's Day, August 24, 1569. This is far from a “resort to outright fabrications” but rather is a recourse to the facts of history. No historian, however partisan, denies the event I just described. That an inchoate individual is unaware of these events is of no consequence to the legitimacy of the entry to Wikipedia. Neither do I have a penchant for writing history, rather I desire to separate history from histrionics and prevent history from being re-written to exclude certain inconvenient facts not favorable to ones diatribe. It is essential to have the reader aware of the fact that on St. Bartholomew's Day 1569, Hugenot forces massacred, in cold blood, Catholics who had been promised safety by the Huguenots. This is why the date became relevant and is the reason why St. Bartholomew's Day 1572, three years later, came to be. Not including it is like harping on the fact that the United States declared War on Japan without mentioning Pearl Harbor. Likewise, the additions to the article do not say that the Huguenots were avaricious, just that the nobility, who had ulterior motives for joining the Hugenots, were avaricious. Kindly read more carefully. Mezeray's quote describes how the Huguenot's were perceived by 16th century Frenchman as wealthy. Coligny, a Huguenot himself, lived in Paris is a fabulous mansion and Pardaillan, a Huguenot, dined with Catherine de' Medici which is how she heard of the threats the Huguenot's had made. Captain Piles, another Huguenot, was of the opinion that "even if the Admiral [Coligny] lost an arm there would be numberless others who would take so many lives that the rivers of the kingdom would run with blood". The threats of the Huguenots and Catherine de' Medici’s son's consternation impelled Catherine to try to avert this civil war by organizing an immediate suppression of the Huguenot leadership. Since as many as half of the nobility identified themselves as Huguenots, and since they lived in mansions and dined with the crown, it is historically untenable to describe them as rag tag. Untenable is being kind since Coligny was the king’s advisor. History loves an underdog, but the Huguenots defy that appellation, popular misconceptions notwithstanding. Naturally, it is unfair to ascribe avarice to all Huguenots, but the nobility certainly were greedy and it is transparent that greed was their motivation. As stated, historians estimate that upwards of 50% of the nobility of France had become Huguenots in the sixteenth century for political and financial gain - a chance to overthrow the crown and enrich themselves. Certainly not the "rag tag" mishigosh as they have been described. The nobility did not become Huguenots for philosophical or theological reasons - this much is true. A modern day parallel might be to say George Bush became an Evangelical Christian to gain power, although the comparison would be invidious. I respectfully submit that this side of the story needs to be told lest readers perceive the Huguenots to be akin to helpless underdogs who were ultimately extinguished by a paroxysm of papal power. Lastly, if anything, my editing of this page is doing a favor to Wikipedia and helping Wikipedia avoid copyright issues. Wikipedia requires that contributions be original, which mine is, and not the work of someone else who holds copy rights. What I found this morning, however, was plagiarism on a grand scale as the one-sided version of this story is repeated verbatim on umpteen websites. Here are just a few websites where the cookie-cutter, lopsided version of the history of St. Bartholomew's Day is presented: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] I think everyone gets the point which is that the original version is often passed off as the complete history of St. Bartholomew's Day and it is not even original to Wikipedia nor any particular contributor of Wikipedia. At first I was sensitive to the fact that this might be your authorship and that it was offensive that I tamper with it. No one likes anyone else to gainsay his work. But I can not see the legitimacy of defending someone's cut-and-paste work from elsewhere into Wikipedia and then denouncing an attempt at lucidity and clarification of the facts and background. I sincerely believe I am helping Wikipedia deliver a thoughtful and balanced work to the public instead of a canned polemical version of history available verbatim countless places on the internet. Lastly, I am a Ph.D. and a J.D. who specializes in intellectual property so I mention the copyright issue with some appreciation for the topic. As for the massacre of 1569, I direct you to Belloc who documents that it was Joan of Navarre's (who was virulently anti-Catholic) Huguenot general who captured the Catholics who he then assured safety, only to kill them in cold blood St. Bartholomew's Day 1569. How The Reformation Happened by H. Belloc p. 118. (1992 edition); Jacques-Auguste de Thous “The History of the Bloody Massacres of the Protestants in France in the year of our Lord, 1572” (London 1674); “The French Religious Wars, 1562-1598 (Essential Histories)” by Robert J. Knecht; “The French Wars of Religion, 1562-1629 (New Approaches to European History)” by Mack P. Holt, William Beik. Hope this helps.

Well most of that sounds like your POV at best; but what about a source for a massacre by Huguenots in 1569? I don't see how anything like that could have escaped my attention - so I'd like to see a source please. Codex Sinaiticus 02:36, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Boy, you're a wordy fellow, anon. There are some interesting points in the text you've added, that I won't deny, but some of it is going to have to be sourced. (For example, the Catholic Encyclopedia doesn't mention this 1569 massacre, and you'd think they of all people would.) Additionally, the entire paragraph reeks with an overwrought need to sell itself. If the facts are easily verified, the conclusions should be easily available. Conclusions that don't proceed directly from verifiable facts are suspect, which causes problems for a project such as Wikipedia. I can agree that there is a lot more to be said about Catholic-Protestant antagonism and even class warfare issues, but they belong more in the realm of historical analysis, and much of what you've included is the sort of thing that we could more easily include if we were quoting a respected historian, e.g. "Sumner says that most of the massacres in 1572 were carried out by the common man ..." As it is, I'm afraid almost all of what you've written is an inappropriate addition. --Dhartung | Talk 03:02, 3 September 2005 (UTC).
Your concerns about copyright issues are probably unfounded. Several of the web sources you are citing are copied from Wikipedia, not the other way around. I've patched the article in little pieces here and there, together with others, for over three years, and so I know that there if there is "mass plagiarism", it is not from our direction that it has been done - but it is a good thing to be concerned about, and to check. It will do the article much good to have more citations, and I appreciate the balance you are attempting to bring, although it causes me to think that my education on the subject is apparently more lacking than I had realized. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 04:43, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Anon, please sign your edits to Talk pages. It would help if you would register a username, too. First, regarding the sites where you found copies of this article (note: I fixed the formatting so they are clickable), see Wikipedia:Mirrors_and_forks; you should learn a little bit about how the GFDL license works and affects your contributions. I am not, by the way, amused at being called a "Huguenot"; my religion and ethnic background are of no consequence to my role as an editor here. Please keep that in mind. --Dhartung | Talk 08:25, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Coligny most certainly did not "live in Paris in a fabulous mansion" as anon above has alleged... He was staying in a hostel temporarily at the time of the wedding festivities... His ancestral home, where he seldom was because of military campaigns, was in Chatillon sur Loing, and the Catholic mob had already disfigured it pretty badly with vandalisms prior to this. By the Queen Mum's favourites' party, Coligny was a very hated man. Codex Sinaiticus 14:29, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

History begs to differ. Coligny did in fact have a mansion in Paris very near the Louvre. It was in this home that he was killed. Recall that Coligny was advisor to Charles IX since Charles took the throne when he was only 10. Naturally, if you are advisor to the King of France, you would probably need to live in Paris. I say ‘probably’ to be kind, since your assertion that he did not have a mansion is incorrect. Indeed, there are even paintings of his mansion. See Jean du -Bouchet, Preuves de lhisto-ire ginalogique de lillustre maison de Coligny (Paris 1661). Coligny, being a wealthy Huguenot noble, had several magnificent homes, one of which was in Paris wherein he died. Kind thanks to Dhartung for fixing my links.

  • Anon dude, Coligny wasn't at home, he was shot on the street (Rue des Poulies) while walking from the Louvre to his lodging on Rue de Béthisy. The lodging belonged to the Du Bourg family, and was no mansion. It is now 144 Rue de Rivoli, famous for their "de Coligny slept here" sign. It's here that he was martyred at sword point, his corpse tossed from a second story window. I've read many accounts including those of eye witnesses, where in the world are you coming from? Codex Sinaiticus 22:53, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

I am sorry, but you are you are still confused, perhaps partly my fault. Coligny was attacked twice. Indeed, the first was not in his home. He survived the first attack on the 22nd of August after which he actually spoke with Charles IX who came to him to offer sympathy and resolve to find the assailant(s). The second attack came as he was recovering at his home. The home you see in Paris today is not what was standing there in 1572, tourist placard notwithstanding. It is now 144 Rue de Rivoli but that is of no relevance. Ultimately, this point is moot since the article does not assert the nature of Coligny's domicile.

Well I can assert the nature of Coligny's domicile. He was renting temporarily at the Inn of Ponthieu, that belonged to the Chancellor of France, Antoine Dubourg. It was no mansion, it was a small guest-house; it was more recently the "Cafe Coligny", and I had thought it was still there today... Codex Sinaiticus 02:52, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

  • Also, Coligny did not stay at court but came into Paris specially by invitation for the wedding, and only lingered because he felt some concession was about to be made by the King for the sake of his co-religionists, in exchange for support in the (Spanish) Low Countries. He knew full well that Catherine was ill disposition toward him made it dangerous for him to be in Paris, and said as much. Codex Sinaiticus 23:19, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

POV pushing[edit]

Dear anon, the material has been included in a neutralized form. Read it through and discuss it here if you think that it hasn't been treated fairly. However, if you simply re-insert the material instead of discussing why the edits you have ignored are inadequate, the action will not be well-regarded and it will be reverted. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 18:56, 3 September 2005 (UTC).

Sounds like a fair proposal, and you sound like a fair person, however just by your mere jumbling of the data, however innocently, you have introduced no less than a dozen historical errors into the text, as opposed my contribution which, although admittedly firm, was accurate (previous groundless accusations of falsification by another person notwithstanding). I will enumerate the shortcomings of your version soon, however I would ask that you appreciate the labour of historians who sometimes need a tome to refute a sentence or two. For example, someone simply asserts "Coligny did not live in a Parisian mansion" and then adds that the idea itself is preposterous. To refute that level of ignorance (not to mention hubris) requires effort, even if making the spurious allegation took but five seconds. I am sure you see this point. If it is any solace to you, I am not a Roman Catholic, nonetheless I am trying to provide a tonic to the very slanted apology for Huguenotism and spoof of the whole factual record that I found here yesterday.

Jumbling of data is a fair description - sorry about that. My intention was to stop the silly reverts. They cannot succeed, they mar the articles, and they engender bad will. It doesn't matter to me what your religious views are. But regardless, you do see that the material as written presented opinions as though they were simply facts, don't you? The account doesn't have to be written as either pro- or anti-Huguenot. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 00:44, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

It's hard to believe that the repeated use of the word "avarice" and its variants is compatible with an evenhanded article. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:33, September 4, 2005 (UTC)


Protection does not mean that the version locked in place is "approved". The purpose of protection is the same as the merged version was, to prevent revert wars and to encourage a good-faith effort at collaboration. Please enumerate the historical errors that have been introduced by the jumbled version, and let's work on getting the page unprotected as quickly as we can.

Incidentally, I looked back in the history and realized that I was not involved in this article earlier after all, but another, related article. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 00:56, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I just read the whole article for suggested changes.

1. "Background" - forty Huguenots were killed because they refused to kneel in front of the host (the eucharist </wiki/Eucharist>) during a Catholic street procession.

Could you add the words "as they emerged from the Sermon" following the word "killed"?

2. Anything about 1569 should be put chronologically into the "background" section, not "massacres".

3. Huguenot forces committed random massacres of Catholics, destroyed churches, shrines and private houses. That's a fairly rash accusation, the exact reverse of the one we usually hear. Probably fair to say there was a bit of give-and-take on both sides. Coligny even during times of peace, was known to hang a few ruffians who were disturbing the peace in Huguenot-controlled countryside. This statement should be qualified with "allegedly" before comitted, if it is to be kept at all (more historical verification will be needed)

4. In the phrase, "Huguenots had the Catholics massacred", it could be changed to "Montgomery had the Catholic nobility [or Guises, even] massacred"... Similarly, "he supposes that the killing was supposed to be limited to the nobility attending the wedding, who had been responsible for the first massacre of Catholics in 1569" I'm sure he didn't blame the ones in Paris for the battle in Navarre 1569, perhaps it should read, "he supposes that the killing was supposed to be limited to the nobility attending the wedding, in revenge for the massacre of Catholic nobility in 1569.

By the way, I checked and am now convinced that the battle took place in Navarre on St Bartholemews Day 1569, but still haven't seen anything yet to confirm that "massacre" is even the fitting term for it... If you have a short quote from your source, I'd love to see it... Codex Sinaiticus 01:23, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I'll implement 1 and 2, but I'm especially waiting for Anon to chime in. It's not my place to arbitrate changes; but rather, to encourage collaboration. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 01:52, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
By the way, I do think that the description of anti-Catholic violence (" ... destroyed churches, shrines and private houses") is true to the facts as I've learned them; nor do I think that there was as much of the same on the other side, except for massacres, of which there seems to have been enough to go around for everyone. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 02:05, 4 September 2005 (UTC)


I'm lifting protection from this page. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 12:41, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

War in the article[edit]

Recent edits have been extremely partisan. I tried to find a middle ground on a couple of points, but mostly I'm not jumping in here. I would suggest that rather than having the article veer back and forth wildly between "Catholic" and "Protestant" versions of history, people would do well to enumerate points of disagreement and seek mutually agreeable language and well-cited sources.

I have to say, I don't like seeing unexplained removal of well-cited material. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:29, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

yeah I'm not really sure about the section concerning who was responsible for the murderer...that could definitely use some development vlad


I thought that more should be written on the influence on the Guises so i've changed a few things in the backgrdound and massacre section. I tried to keep as much of the original as possible. Think that more could be done on the proposed invasion of the Netherlands but I don't have the motivation to do that right now....I'll put down the reference for the Duc de Guise quote in a few days its in my notes and i'll need to trawl through the books my notes were based on to find the exact reference. Hope u like it....Vlad

I found it as soon as I looked in Holt...oh and I remembered Teligny was Coligny's brother in law not son-in-law Vlad

Sorry, that edit had too much questionable stuff in it, got several dates wrong, botched the link and the date to Saint Germain, and of all the books I've had, I don't recall seeing that the Duc of Guise personally murdered M. l'Amiral, by all accounts the dirty deed was performed by a certain Besme... ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 01:31, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

If you tell me what u thought was questionable i'll get back to u on that..... For the murder of Coligny again see Holt who attributes the killing to Guise (pg 85). The stuff on the Guise involvement in the massacre can be found in Sutherland's 'The massacre of St Bartholomew and the European conflict, 1559-1572'.....oh and i think that the quote from the Duc de Guise should be kept. But the main point was to show the influence of the Guise faction, and to show that the killing of Coligny possibly had more to it then a conspiracy by Catherine de Medici. Vlad

A few more things just struck me. I think that the stuff about Teligny and Protestant force just outside Paris should be kept. I think that this was a big factor in the decision to murder Charles.....if u don't believe this i can give you references. Also it might be worth mentioning the interview at Bayonne in 1565 between Catherine and Phillip II- this is often taken as evidence of a long term desire on Catherine's part to destroy Protestantism....Vlad

The decision to murder Charles whom? Do you mean Gaspard? You might want to get your facts a little more down pat. There is no reliable mention of a protestant army lurking outside Paris when the massacres went down. There was a body of Huguenots in the city for the wedding, they were mostly armed with swords, they were attacked with firearms, and after that only a very few escaped the city to tell the tale, by putting on the white scarf... ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 14:42, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Sorry...I meant Coligny I was thinking about Charles ordering the murder. 4000 protestants outside Paris led by Teligny brother in law of Coligny.....again the source is Mack Holt's 'The French Wars of Religion' if u want though I can name other sources thats just the only one i have to hand. Out of interest what books have u read? Vlad

1994 film of La Reine Margot[edit]

Someone keeps reverting the description of the 1994 film of La Reine Margot as "bawdy". Have you seen it? Heck, they even cast Asia Argento in this thing. It's basically a lowbrow romp, full or erotic energy, almost bordering on soft porn. (By the way, the men all have kinda grunger hairstyles, the fashion of the moment it was made, having nothing to do with the era in which it was set.) The massacre itself is shocking, but this is another example of introducing a lowbrow approach into costume drama. - Jmabel | Talk 21:52, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

I thought the description as bawdy was pushing it a bit, myself. Yes, there was a fair amount of nudity in the film, but that's hardly uncommon in French, or any continental film. It's only really prudish America that steers so clear of it. It is more of a period romance set in a very specific context than anything though. Perhaps a description along these lines would be more appropriate? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 20 April 2006.

Fine, just so long as we are clear that it was in strong contrast to the traditions of costume drama in this respect; pretty much all of the critics at the time remarked upon that. - Jmabel | Talk 21:42, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
The image of a gorgeous young French actress revealing her assets on the pretext of the demands of a French king in an historical 'costume drama' is an unforgettable and almost unparalleled moment in the history of the moving image. Oh sorry, I'm getting mixed up with Les Rois Maudits. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:21, 30 December 2006 (UTC).
As I recall, the film showed Marguerite and her maid picking up random men on the street and engaging in public fornication. I don't think that scene was even in the Dumas novel on which the movie was based. And yes, I would characterize it as bawdy. Margot had herself painted nude as Venus, but she was cultured and knew Greek. She and her lover were models for the romantic nineteenth century Mathilde in Stendhal's Le Rouge et le Noir. (talk) 19:20, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Number of deaths disputed[edit]

The number of deaths is not so high (70.000). A number more realistic is 20.000 . —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 6 May 2006.

Where are we digging up this outdated argument that states Catherine de Medici, contrary to every policy she had supported up to this point, suddenly became a Walshingham. Someone messed with her plans by trying to kill Navarre and the surgical killings of the next night were attempts at saving the court from the inevitable fallout. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 9 June 2006.

Catherine the Monster[edit]

I've tried to soften the edges on the slant about Catherine de Medici's intentions several times now, but the paragraph keeps getting switched back. I saw that someone in the discussion page mentioned Mack P. Holt, the author through whom I found persuasive arguments to suggest that the Queen Mother did not mean for the Massacres to happen initially, but continue to see unwavering insistences that the earthly editor of this page can read a dead woman's mind. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ignatius Hero (talkcontribs)

One of the basic problems this article continues to have is archaic, flowery language (deriving from a pre-20th century source), and there's entirely too much psychologizing, partly as a result. I think if we could clean up and simplify the language it wouldn't sound so biased. At any rate, please review WP:CITE for citation styles, but if you have an URL, just drop it into the text between two brackets like [], and someone else can improve the formatting later. --Dhartung | Talk 08:35, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Whilst it is facinating to know what our american friends have studied at university, may I suggest we place the article in its proper context, Europe? Western wathcman is insignificant outside the US. It reeks of american religious conflict.

I assure you, Western Watchman is of only small significance in the U.S., either. - Jmabel | Talk 03:13, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I agree that Catherine's roll in the instigation of the riots comes across quite biased. One example:

"On the evening of August 23, Catherine went to see the king to discuss the crisis. Though no details of the meeting survive, it is obvious that Charles IX and his mother took the decision to eliminate the Protestant leaders, with the exception of the princes of the blood, Henri of Navarre and the Prince of Condé."

Very little in history so obvious, especially given that, as the paragraph itself states, no details of the meeting survive. 04:17, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

NPOV plus French article proposal[edit]

I think this article has one or two problems with NPOV. I feel there's a certain "but the Huguenots were asking for it" slant in several places. It also seems to be drawn from some very old sources of dubious impartiality. I propose incorporating some material from the French language Wikipedia article which, though not extensive, at least quotes the opinions of modern French historians from the past decade or so. The de Thou stuff is available elsewhere on the Web, so maybe just a link?--Folantin 18:22, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

The French addition/alteration would read something like this:


Historians are divided over the causes and the responsibility for the massacre:

  • According to Denis Crouzet, Charles IX feared a protestant uprising, and chose to strangle it at birth in order to protect his own power. The decision was therefore his own, and not Catherine de' Medici's.
  • The traditional interpretation, maintained by Janine Garrisson, makes Catherine de' Medici and her Catholic advisers the principal culprits. They forced the hand of a hesitant and weak-willed king.
  • According to Jean-Louis Bourgeon, it was the violently anti-Huguenot city of Paris which was really responsible. He stresses that the city was on the verge of revolt. The Guises, who were highly popular, exploited this situation to put pressure on the king and the queen mother. Charles IX was thus forced to head off the potential riot, which was the work of the Guises, the bourgeois militia and the common people.

--Folantin 18:47, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

I endorse this wording. As you noticed, there has been a significant effort by one editor to ensure a certain point of view about the massacres. --Dhartung | Talk 20:34, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

OK. I inserted the French info as an "Interpretation" section. I made some fairly drastic cuts elsewhere too, including the de Thou material, which is available elsewhere on the Web, I think. Maybe I'll add an external link to it. But, as it stood, I thought the article gave excessive prominence to just one historian. It would be fine to have de Thou's opinion given alongside the views of other observers from the time, just like the French Wikipedia article gives a variety of modern interpretations without coming down in favour of any particular one. Most of the other stuff seemed of dubious relevance, or biased, too. If someone wants to present an historical overview of interpretations down the centuries, then fine, but who really cares what the "Western Watchman" (whatever that is) of 1912 thought? Let's keep this article in focus.--Folantin 09:04, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I've replaced a great deal of this article with translations from the French version, which seems more scholarly and up-to-date. I have kept some of the original material (you can see the joins at places and the style of the article needs some work plus more wikification). I hope this will be generally acceptable. I think the French article is less controversial - after all, there's only one comment on its talk page!--Folantin 12:01, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Was Walsingham a victim?[edit]

There is an obvious contradiction - this page claims Sir Walsingham (Elizabeth I's ambassador to France) was a victim of the massacre (August 1572). The page on Walsingham, however, states he died in 1590. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

This seems to be a relic of the 1911 Encyclopedia text that is the original basis of the article, with its overbearing language. It says the massacres "put his life in jeopardy". The available sources indicate that he was ambassador to France, and along with Sir Phillip Sidney was present during the events; some say his residence became a refuge or headquarters for Protestants. --Dhartung | Talk 05:56, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

I just cut the whole of the passage someone added about Walsingham. It made no sense. Also, there was rather too much savagery/barbarity/horror in the article, so I cut that down. "Show, don't tell" is the best policy (cf. the Holocaust) --Folantin 07:55, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

The Walsingham bit was added relatively recently, and I ended deleting the exact same text on the 18th. I can't even figure out how it got back in there, unless it had been added in twice. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 14:38, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

St Adrian's Day Massacre?[edit]

As the initial 'St. Bartholomew's Day massacre' went on for more than one further whole day ([10]), is its customary title not therefore something of a misnomer? And why the derisory lower-case 'm' for 'massacre,' for that matter!? And the singular:'Day'!?

"St. Bartholomew's Day massacre" is the name used by all mainstream anglophone historians, so that's the name this page uses. The lower-case "m" is per Wikipedia naming policy. --Folantin 09:57, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Such blinkered appeals to precedent = precisely what St Bartholomew's Day victim Ramus sacrificed his life to exposing - why ' massacre' and not ' day,' as 'per Wikipedia naming policy?' Also, the 'mainstream anglophone' rendering of ' Massacre de la Saint-Barthélemy ' is clearly a loose translation, as ' la ' => feminine. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 13:31, 30 December 2006 (UTC).

Yes, of course you're a martyr for the truth just like Ramus, aren't you? After all, he was murdered in an argument over minuscule and majuscule letters. Such intolerance has no place in today's world. And the massacres really took place in St Louis, Missouri, as every schoolboy knows. Now be a good troll and stop wasting my time (don't think we can't get the picture by reading your user talk pages). --Folantin 13:52, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia's minuscule 'm,' with the other things mentioned, trivialises the Massacre, intentionally or otherwise. It is many of the the unbanned Wiki editors who are reading more like facetious trolls, these days, and my talk pages which shed light on systematic Wiki mismanagement. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:26, 30 December 2006 (UTC).

Does anyone know just when anglophone historians started using "St. Bartholomew's Day massacre" rather than "the Massacre of St Bartholomew"? Some of the older books on my shelf by G. M. Trevelyan and Hugh Trevor-Roper use the earlier term as late as the 1960s and there's also a debate over just what the title of the Doctor Who story The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve a) means and b) is meant to mean. Timrollpickering 21:36, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Henry IV[edit]

I'm currently studying the Reformation in Europe and opened this article to get some more background. Unfortunately I didn't get further than the statement that one of the causes was the proposed marriage of Marguerite de Valois to "Protestant" Henry IV. How on earth can he be described as Protestant when England didn't split from the Catholic Church until Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon decades later (even that wasn't reformation in the sense used for the rest of Europe). Given that errant nonsense, I'm afraid I didn't read any further because I didn't have any faith that the rest would be any more accurate!

TigergillTigergill 21:13, 10 April 2007 (UTC) Should have looked at the link then it would have been obvious that the article was talking about Henry IV of France and not Henry IV of England whose son married Katharine de Valois!

TigergillTigergill 21:17, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Change it please[edit]

It's written that the attempted murder occurred on August 23rd. This is wrong. I should be August 22nd. I cannot change it. Calle Widmann 16:39, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Done. Well spotted. qp10qp 20:33, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Catholic Encyclopedia?[edit]

Is this a non-biased source? Especially when its being used to explain the 'Papal Reaction'. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:40:37, August 19, 2007 (UTC)

I think it is particularly suitable for the Papal Reaction section. First off, it is not an “Encyclopedia” in the sense of Britannica. Much of what it contains in original research. Second, the Roman Catholic Church was there, has access to the records in its own libraries, and has nothing vested in looking good or bad in the eyes of late medieval (Renaissance?) history. For example, check out the conclusion on Leo X in the Catholic Encyclopedia [11]: “The only possible verdict on the pontificate of Leo X is that it was unfortunate for the Church. Sigismondo Tizio, whose devotion to the Holy See is undoubted, writes truthfully: 'In the general opinion it was injurious to the Church that her Head should delight in plays, music, the chase and nonsense, instead of paying serious attention to the needs of his flock and mourning over their misfortunes'. Von Reumont says pertinently–'Leo X is in great measure to blame for the fact that faith in the integrity and merit of the papacy, in its moral and regenerating powers, and even in its good intentions, should have sunk so low that men could declare extinct the old true spirit of the Church.'”LCP 22:28, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Is Voltaire a suitable NPOV reference?[edit]

Is Voltaire a suitable NPOV reference in “Papa reactions to the massacre”? I am not saying he isn’t as I am not familiar with his credibility regarding his histories. However, he is notoriously anti-Roman Catholic (and that is perhaps an understatement). Isn’t quoting Voltare a but like quoting Christopher Hitchens about Mother Theresa? Does anyone else verify his claim about the inscription?LCP 22:12, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

As an observer of this latest dispute (who helped to neutralise this article to some extent by translating the bulk of it from French WP), I'd say neither Voltaire nor the 1913(?) Catholic Encyclopaedia should be used as sources for this subject. They both fail NPOV (plus they're rather out of date). --Folantin 22:24, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
If you have better, NPOV sources, that would be great. For now, I'll repeat what I stated above:
I think [the Catholic Encyclopedia] is particularly suitable for the Papal Reaction section. First off, it is not an “Encyclopedia” in the sense of Britannica. Much of what it contains in original research. Second, the Roman Catholic Church was there, has access to the records in its own libraries, and has nothing vesting in looking good or bad in the eyes of late medieval (Renaissance?) history. For example, check out the conclusion on Leo X in the Catholic Encyclopedia [12]: “The only possible verdict on the pontificate of Leo X is that it was unfortunate for the Church. Sigismondo Tizio, whose devotion to the Holy See is undoubted, writes truthfully: "In the general opinion it was injurious to the Church that her Head should delight in plays, music, the chase and nonsense, instead of paying serious attention to the needs of his flock and mourning over their misfortunes". Von Reumont says pertinently–"Leo X is in great measure to blame for the fact that faith in the integrity and merit of the papacy, in its moral and regenerating powers, and even in its good intentions, should have sunk so low that men could declare extinct the old true spirit of the Church.”LCP 22:29, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

No, the Catholic Encyclopedia is a partisan source. It wears its POV on its sleeve. It's online anyway, so if anyone wants to know what it says about the massacre, they can go and read it there - there's no need to reproduce it here. It's also hardly cutting-edge scholarship and I've seen several instances where users have tried to insert seriously obsolete information from the CE into Wikipedia. We are trying to build a new, up-to-date encyclopaedia here and we have a policy on POV. That's why I would avoid the use of the 1913 CE, Voltaire, Ian Paisley or Hillaire Belloc as sources on an article on this subject. --Folantin 07:30, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

I demonstrated that the Catholic Encyclopedia is capable of unbiased criticism of a bad Pope. You responded with generalized platitudes to my evidence. That is not cogent. You haven’t proven anything about Voltaire or the Catholic Encyclopedia. Habeas corpus, baby.
Regarding your platitudes, I don't agree that older is necessarily bad. Have new documents about the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre surfaced since 1913? In terms of credibility, how about the fact that what Belloc said about the growth of Islam is coming to pass EXACTLY as he predicted almost 100 years ago? That seems to give him a lot of credibility. What have you published? Regardless, if you have access to better scholarship, go for it dude, create some new sections. Or, are you suggesting that nothing is better than older just becuase older is older--becuase that is what you seem to be saying.LCP 17:15, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the personal attacks. I translated material from the French article on the basis that it had more up-to-date scholarship than the mess that was here before (i.e. it was from the 1990s). I should have gone further and replaced the entire article with the French version.
There's a fairly obvious piece of physical evidence on the page which gives a good indication of the pope's attitude towards the massacre. I'm talking about the murals he commissioned from Vasari depicting the scene. They are still in the Sala Regia, as far as I know. If he was that horrified by the event, he had a strange taste in wall decoration.
No doubt I will now be accused of being anti-Catholic, in spite of the fact that I found and added the Holy Roman Emperor's reaction to the massacre as "shameful". I'm neither Catholic, Huguenot nor "Voltairian". I just want articles on historical subjects to be as accurate as possible. I suspect you want other things of this encyclopaedia. --Folantin 17:43, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
You said that you suspect I “want other things of this encyclopedia”. That is a strong and offensive claim. Did you perhaps say that because I said, “if you have access to better scholarship, go for it dude, create some new sections.” Or were you just lashing out because you did not like that I said your statement lacked a substance and cogent argument? Or were you offended that I asked you what gave you higher credentials than Belloc or the Catholic Encyclopedia? I think both the statement and question were fair. Your argument was composed of only generalized platitudes and you are putting yourself above published scholars of great repute.
Regardless, perhaps I wasn’t clear enough when I said, “if you have access to better scholarship, go for it dude, create some new sections.” So let me try again: If the French article is supported by better scholarship, I wish you would translate the entire thing. If you don’t like the Catholic Encyclopedia, bring in a better source. If you can translate French that well (and I have no doubts you can), that is a wonderful accomplishment for which I have the deepest respect. I also respect the fact that you want historical subjects to be as accurate as possible. I feel the same way, which is why I have repeatedly suggested you bring in better scholarship (if you have any) and why I challenged your generalized attack on the Catholic Encyclopedia--which I have demonstrated, using concrete evidence--is reliable.
Regarding your observations about the mural, you are interpreting the meaning of the evidence. That is original research. Perhaps the Pope left the mural up as a reminder of the shame of the event. That is an equally plausible explanation, yes? So, why don’t we leave our own personal speculations out of the matter.
You accused me of attacking you personally. That is a serious charge. Please, show me where I did that.
LCP 18:15, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
The incivility of your tone is plain to see, "dude". You're hardly in a position to go on about my scholarship when the extent of your research is quoting some material from an obsolete online encyclopaedia. Belloc and the 1913 CE? I don't think you'd get away with using them as authorities in a course in Early Modern History. Your argument, such as it is, seems to be that because the CE was critical of one pope for being too fond of secular pursuits, it must be accurate about everything else. Verus in uno, verus in omnibus. By the same logic, Voltaire is a reliable NPOV source, since he was right about some things. Therefore the question you've asked at the top of this section has been answered. I will conduct further research and in the mean time I will reduce the "papal reaction" section to the facts in reliable modern sources: the Pope ordered a medal to be struck and commissioned Vasari to paint a mural celebrating the massacre. --Folantin 18:59, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Vindictive editing, huh? Nice form. Are you sure you want to do that? It wouldn't be a great statement to your objectivity. Regardless, thanks for going on record with that. By the way, you brought up Belloc, not me. I also never said that Voltaire’s histories are unreliable. I started the thread by asking that question. And the first thing I ever said to you was, "If you have better, NPOV sources, that would be great." BTW, you still haven’t told us why you have more credibility that either Belloc or the CE.
Maybe you didn't notice, I am not teaching "a course in Early Modern History" and this is not "a course in Early Modern History". But perhaps you think this is a course and that you are M. Le Professeur? I might as well say, "I don't think you'd get away with your 'arguments' in a Logic 101 course." That my argument has only one data point (at this time) does not mean that I intended “Verus in uno, verus in omnibus". I have had no need to bring in other data points as you have not brought in even a single counter example. And even if it did argue "Verus in uno, verus in omnibus", that would still be better than any "argument" you have made to this point. I can find many more data points, but your “argument” did not and does not have even a single data point in its support. You ‘argument’ consists of nothing but the assertion of your own personal opinions and presumptive authority. Finally, in case you missed what I said the first, second, and third time, here it is again: "If you have better, NPOV sources, that would be great." Until that time, however, you have no grounds from which to change the current content. And when (if) you do, do you know what I predict you'll find? You find that the upshot of the section is exactly the same as it is now.LCP 19:43, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Whatever. Go and read some Wikipedia policies then take a course in logic. If you have any further problems, take this to WP:ANI. I haven't come across anything resembling the Catholic Encyclopedia's acccount of papal reactions in non-partisan sources. I will simply proceed as planned to ensure this article meets minimal NPOV requirements. --Folantin 08:55, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Yawn...we have been over this before, perhaps even on this article. The Catholic Encyclopedia is not reliable source for anything except the opinion of the Catholic Encyclopedia, and should never be used when modern, up-to-date and unbiased references can be found instead. This is obvious, I should hope. I've read their thing on Martin Luther...hilarious. Better humour value than Conservapedia, some of it. Moreschi Talk 14:01, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Never mind, I've added some modern sources. Incidentally, in the bibliography for its article the 1913 CE claims it used Henry White's The Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, preceded by a History of the Religious Wars in the Reign of Charles IX (1868) as a source. On p.478 White writes of the pope's reaction:

Four months after the massacre, when humaner feelings might have been supposed to have resumed their sway, [the pope] listened complacently to the sermon of a French priest, the learned but cankered Muretus, who spoke of “that day so full of happiness and joy when the Most Holy Father went in solemn state to render thanks to God and Saint Louis…That night, the stars shone with greater lustre, the Seine rolled her waters more proudly to cast into the sea the corpses of those unholy men”; and so on in a strain of rhapsody unendurable to modern ears.

Funnily enough, no mention of this appears in the CE entry. (NB: I'm not suggesting we should use White instead of the recent sources I've proviided). --Folantin 14:28, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the reforming and the up to date references, Folantin. Much better results. Trencacloscas 04:25, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Literary Works[edit]

I was surprised that the article did not mention Eugene Sue. The third volume of THE MYSTERIES OF A PEOPLE carries a section devoted to this massacre. Sue subscribes more or less to the "blame Catherine" framework. But whether Sue is right or wrong historically, it seemed odd to mention Alexander Dumas and leave Sue out. They were both masters at constructing dramas which drew upon history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:15, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Criticism of the Roman Catholic Church[edit]

There's a section in the afore-mentioned article about this massacre. In that article, there is a user trying to insert a citation that says that 30,000 Protestants were killed during this massacre. I came to look at this article, and unless I'm missing something, it (and the sources used for this article) make the estimate only about 5000. Since there is a rather sizable discrepancy, I figured I'd ask here. Am I reading this article wrong or what? Farsight001 (talk) 01:18, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

OR removed[edit]

I have removed yosser's passage [13] as an WP:OR WP:SYNTHESIS, often expressed in very POV language. There is something wrong with the McGrath cite, as though many people have written books with this title, he does not appear to be one of them, though he has written books with similar ones. He is not a historian of 16th century France, and knowing Yosser's way with quotations, I very much doubt the quote appeared in the context of 16th century France, let alone the massacre. That this and the other quoted passages justify "Such intense feelings arose mainly from three sources" is purest OR. The passage is highly misleading in discussing the distinctiveness of the French events, as what McGrath chooses to call "the Church's and the state's obsession with religious 'unity'" was shared by all Europeans at the time, from Ivan the Terrible & the Russian Orthodox hierarchy to Elizabeth I and the Church of England, not to mention Calvin in Geneva. While Holt emphasizes, perhaps more than other historians, the religious origins of the massacre, he actually spends much more of his chapter on the massacres discussing their origins in the military & political context in the civil wears, and wisely does not attempt to distinguish between these two contributing factors to say which was more important. Johnbod (talk) 14:51, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

REPLY- (1) In this article, we are not out to establish the WP:TRUTH but rather to present all significant POVs in a NPOV manner without giving undue weight to minority opinions.
(2) There is nothing wrong with the accuracy of the McGrath cite. I have the book in front of me! Also, as you are fully aware from another forum, the full quote from McGrath is: "An imperialist approach, which declares that there is only one empirical church which deserves to be treated as the true church, with all others being fraudulent, or at best approximations to the real thing. This position was characteristic of Roman Catholicism prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962 - 5), which took the momentous step of recognising other churches as separated Christian brothers and sisters". Somehow, I think that the 16th century is prior to the Second Vatican Council, and is therefore useful to describe the characteristic Catholic mindset. (In this particular instance French distinctiveness is not an issue). The views of Ivan the Terrible & the Russian Orthodox hierarchy, Elizabeth I and the Church of England, and Calvin are completely irrelevant. They didn't shape the mindset of those that participated in the Massacre!!
(3) Holt is not the main historian claiming the culpability of the French RC Church. He was used in support of Barbara B. Diefendorf, a historian he borrows from. Yozzer66 (talk) 19:47, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Johnbod. The section on the "Role of the French Roman Catholic Church" reads likes a polemical essay. It's all too obviously trying to Make a Point. Also, although they contain much valuable new information, some of the additions of the past few days have shot the chronology of the article to pieces. I'm thinking of the sections "A new direction in Huguenot thought" and "Huguenot intervention in the Netherlands". Before these sections, we are in Paris on the eve of the wedding in August. Then we jump back to the 1560s, then to the aftermath of the massacre, then back to May 1572, before finally returning to the assassination of Coligny in August. There must be a better way of organising this. --Folantin (talk) 20:57, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Folantin, I agree about some of the recent changes that have messed up the chronology. (Not guilty!) I don't agree about the section the 'role of the French RC Church'. To do justice to this recent development in the serious study of the Massacre, I feel it is appropriate to present the case substantially as it is. Of course, it is trying to make a point. Our job is to present all all significant POVs in a NPOV manner without giving undue weight to minority opinions. Thus, if other credible sources can be found that challenge this new direction amongst some reputable historians then let's add them to the section (rather than delete material from the article's outline of the Diefendorf thesis). Yozzer66 (talk) 21:16, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
On the chronology, perhaps the way forward is to split the first para at "To cement..." into bits on the Peace (1570) and the marriage (1572). Then go: Peace, new direction, marriage, Netherlands, tense city, assassination attempt, probably putting all this into 2 sections - pre-1572 and 1572, or 3 sections, with one for the attempted assassination too. Does that seem sensible? Holt has material on some Yozzer-style best-sellers in the years just before the massacre, which moves the "new direction" closer in time to 1572. Of course I agree with you on the latest insertions. Does McGrath actually mention the StBM anywhere near the quoted passage? If so, how near? If he does not, as the reference to Vatican II (rarely brought into discussions on this subject) suggests, it is pure WP:SYNTHESIS. The objections above still apply to much of the revised version of the passage. I have no objection to the bits on Vigor & other local causes, but generalized comments about RCC attitudes are also WP:SYNTH, and don't explain why similar massacres failed to occur elsewhere. There is enough specific material available from specialist historians on 16th century France. For the same reasons I have removed " 25,000 massacred in Paris alone,[1] [2]
  1. ^ Partner, P. (1999), Two Thousand Years: The Second Millennium, Granada Media (Andre Deutsch), Britain, ISBN 0-233-99666-4 hardback, pp. ;
  2. ^ Upshall, M. (ed.) (1990), The Hutchinson Paperback Encyclopedia, Arrow Books, London, ISBN 0-09-978200-6 paperback;

, as the sources just aren't good enough, and this figure is massively out of line with all the modern specialists. Johnbod (talk) 00:59, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I have taken out some blatant opinionising by Yozzer in the new section which seems designed to make his point, borne out by no historian, that the Catholic Church was responsible for the massacre. He has also selected a series of particularly polemical quotes and strung them together at length in a way that unbalanced the over-all picture presented by the authors. I have tried to correct this. The spiel at the head of the section about how horrible the massacre was, had nothing to do with the section at all. The section title was also POV slanted by intrinsically seeking to place responsibility on the "French Roman Catholic Church", which, as far as I can see no legitimate historian has thought of blaming the massacre on. Since Huguenots and Catholics were BOTH responsible for intolerance and the rise in religious tensions (Huguenot coup attempts, armed insurrection, desecration of churches, killing of monks) a more neutral section title has been substituted. Xandar 02:46, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
That section header was mine in fact, relacing Yozzer's "Culpability of the French Catholic church"! I still think it is ok to have a section on the "role of the French RCC" that concentrates on the local situation with preachers etc; all the stuff about the background of struggle between the two groups should be dealt with in the background scetion, & largely is. I still object to the McGrath quote, "synthetically" placed here I'm fairly sure, and the misleading idea that a readiness to take objections to "heresy" or other religious views to violent levels was uniquely Catholic, or French Catholic, at this period, which is of course exactly what Yozzer is trying to insert. The same goes for the role of the monarch in combatting "heresy" - see the coronation festivities of Elizabeth I, where she was left in no doubt this was considered her main role by the great & the good of London. Johnbod (talk) 03:02, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I can find no reference whatsoever in McGrath to the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre and this is not the place to discuss the merits or demerits of Vatican II. "I still think it is ok to have a section on the 'role of the French RCC' that concentrates on the local situation with preachers etc". Yes. It's obvious that the primary culprits for the massacre are the French court and/or leading Catholic nobles (who probably wanted a few targeted assassinations rather than a general bloodbath) and the mobs of Paris and other cities. A section on the role of the French RCC would be about how far various preachers whipped up the perpetrators with anti-Protestant rhetoric. --Folantin (talk) 10:25, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Any thoughts on my suggestion re the chronology issue? Johnbod (talk) 10:33, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
The Netherlands stuff should probably go into "The attempted assassination" section, because it explains why two of the potential culprits might have a motive for killing Coligny. "A new direction in Hugunenot thought" is so general it might be better in the article on the French wars of religion. I'm not sure it's entirely relevant here. There is no indication that the Huguenots were planning to overthrow the monarchy at this point in time. After all, Coligny was friends with Charles IX, whose sister was just about to marry Henry of Navarre (a Huguenot king). Maybe it should go in the "Reactions" section - this would certainly be appropriate for the paragraph beginning "Nevertheless, it was only in the aftermath of the Massacre...".--Folantin (talk) 10:47, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
The point is that very many Catholics thought they were, or might be, from Catherine downwards - many Protestants thought the same of the Guises, who had a claim to the throne, which had no Valois heir after Charles' brothers (nor did one ever arrive). Charles was so weak a personality that a pre-emptive race to seize his throne did not seem far-fetched. The Guises were of course themselves taken out a king or two later. Johnbod (talk) 13:23, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not seeing a source which says that Huguenot ideas regarding monarchy were particularly a factor in the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre. This isn't about the Wars of Religion as a whole. --Folantin (talk) 13:27, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
It's in Holt, but maybe needs bringing out more in the article. Genuine, if apparently misguided, Catholic fears of a coup are central to the massacre. Johnbod (talk) 14:01, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) Sure, but from reading round (esp. Diefendorf), the trigger for the massacre really was the bungled assassination of Coligny. That was what prompted fears of Huguenot revenge, including a possible coup against the king. The massacre was an attempt to pre-empt reprisals. It was a panic measure which had very little to do attitudes with Protestant political theory. Likewise, fears over the Valois succession are way too early in 1572. The king was alive and he had two living brothers. They were all still young and there was no reason to believe that at least one of them would not produce an heir. The problems over the succession only really come to a head with the death of the Duke of Anjou in 1584.--Folantin (talk) 14:10, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

The fears were very likely part of the reason for the bungled assassination (depending I suppose on who one thinks might have ordered it), and though that was the trigger for the wider massacre, the fears were a significant part of the "background" to that, which is the section it is in. Also of course they were central to the general Catholic reaction and justification afterwards, when a planned Huguenot coup was taken as fact. If we had more details of what the Catholic preachers were saying (beforehand), I think we would find the threat of a Protestant coup one of their themes. Anyway, I'll see what I can reference on this. Johnbod (talk) 14:24, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
"The fears were very likely part of the reason for the bungled assassination". I certainly don't see this and I don't see any historians making this claim either. The most likely culprits were the Guises, acting out of personal revenge. The Huguenot leaders were in Paris to marry one of their own into the French royal family. How is that anti-monarchical? The fear of the coup (which historians have surmised as a cause of the massacre) only arose because of the botched assassination. --Folantin (talk) 14:30, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
It's not that simple, the Protestants were heavily armed and encroaching on power. The situation was NOT stable, but one where a highly unstable balance of power existed, when nobody knew who would come out on top. It wasn't just a case of "nasty Catholics broke an idyllic peace." The Protestants had shown a willingness to go for a coup in the past, and their ideology remained one of take-over rather than coexistence. (cf Scotland). And most historians cite the prime mover in the assassination as Catherine, not the Guises (although they were pleased to go along with it). The Guises and Catherine were at odds. Catherine's consistent policy was accommodation of the Huguenots, so why did she turn on Coligny? The only reason was a real fear of a takeover. Xandar 11:42, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
"And most historians cite the prime mover in the assassination as Catherine". No they don't any more (see Diefendorf p.93ff. for one example), for precisely the reasons you've given. Catherine was interested in maintaining peace and security in France. The assassination of Coligny would have meant renewed civil war. "Nasty Catholics broke an idyllic peace". Nobody said it was an "idyllic" peace, but it was a peace and the responsibility for destroying clearly belongs to a faction among the Catholics. --Folantin (talk) 12:03, 5 February 2009 (UTC)


Please try to keep this article in focus. This is not the place for a complete account of the French wars of religion. We already have a general article on that. Also, please keep in mind that this is not a platform for sectarian soapboxing, Protestant, Catholic or other. Thanks.--Folantin (talk) 16:13, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I was adding a piece to the introductory section, to set the events in larger context of the Wars. However if others think this unnecessary, that's okay. I do think that somewhere it needs to be set clearly that the Government regime in France from 1560 was far from staunchly Catholic and "Imperialist" as it has sometimes been presented in the article. In fact the preferred policy from 1562 was for toleration and accomodation with Protestants. The government also often helped Protestamts abroad, in Germany and Holland. It could be argued that the massacre, far from being the fault of a rigidly oppressive Catholic state, resulted from the uncertainty and fear on both sides resulting from an uncertain and vascillating Government policy. Xandar 00:48, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
The "imperialist Catholic" stuff has been removed. Both sides had reached a kind of accommodation with the Peace of Saint Germain-en-laye in 1570. Some Catholics then destroyed that peace with the botched assassination and the subsequent massacre. The article should tell us who they were and why they acted (without offering justifications). --Folantin (talk) 09:21, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Again. See my comments above. This is an enormous oversimplification. It was certainly not a case of "Some Catholics then destroyed that peace". The "peace" was in fact a weapons-drawn standoff, with no-one sure who would strike first or come out on top. Xandar 11:46, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Other problems[edit]

  • "Some blame the complete esteem with which the sovereign's office was held, justified by prominent French Roman Catholic theologians (e.g. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet), and that the special powers of French Kings 'were accompanied by explicit responsibilities, the foremost of which was combating heresy'" (referenced to Holt). I can only view the 2005 edition, which also contains these words, but it's clear that they refer to the Wars of Religion in general not the massacre in particular. There is also no reference to Bossuet, who was active a hundred years after these events. --Folantin (talk) 16:37, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Bossuet is relevant because he was a summariser and populariser of Catholic ideas that had been in common currency for generations. As John Plamenatz wrote Bossuet wasn't particularly original. He was a "discriminating, intelligent borrower" (p.187, 'Man & Society: A Critical Examination of Some Important Social & Political Theories From Machiavelli To Marx', 1986 ed., Longman).
Bossuet is relevant to Louis XIV and (maybe) the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. For obvious reasons, he had no influence on theological or political ideas in the 16th century. Moreoever, Holt does not refer to him. --Folantin (talk) 13:33, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
  • "Diefendorf says that when the head of the murdered Coligny was shown to the Paris mob by a member of the nobility, with the claim that it was the King’s will, the die was cast." I cannot find this in Diefendorf. --Folantin (talk) 16:46, 4 February 2009
Look harder!Yozzer66 (talk) 13:14, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Nope, I've looked. You give me the exact page reference for that. --Folantin (talk) 13:33, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
A much more important problem with this article, and others like it, is how they are hijacked by incredibly biased, self-appointed Roman Catholic apologists. Surely there are Wikipedians out there without an axe to grind and something to contribute! Yozzer66 (talk) 13:14, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
No, the problem is that two users, one pro- and one anti-Catholic, have arrived here to continue their fight over Criticism of the Catholic Church. Rather than promoting neutrality, this has led to a battlefield. The upside is a third user, Johnbod, has actually added some valuable content. --Folantin (talk) 13:33, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Anti-Catholic? Despite Holt's descriptions of the violence being rooted in Catholic culture, I searched out the H.G. Koenigsberger's quotation which strove to offer the world a more universal lesson: that ALL sectarian passions are dangerous and morally abhorrent. Also, before I took the trouble to look up the John Paul II's statement on the Massacre, the article read "On August 23, 1997, Pope John Paul II issued a statement from Paris that some[who?] consider to be an apology for the Massacre, and some[who?] do not.[citation needed]." Weasel words? I thought so!
That said, in deference to the historical academy, I have consistently objected to four strategies employed by pro-Catholic bigots - (1) Minimising the numbers killed in the slaughter and deliberately underestimating the seismic effect it had on Europe; (2) Inventing, or over-emphasising, any rationality behind the slaughter; that the Huguenot minority were a permanent threat, violent, unpleasant, dogmatic, uncooperative and, in some way, deserving of killing; (3) Downplaying the culpability of the French RC Church; (4) Portraying the repulsion that followed the aftermath of the Massacre as part of some grand anti-Catholic conspiracy.
Finally, I didn't arrive here to continue my fight over Criticism of the Catholic Church. The consensus from that debate on that additional material should be added to this article. It has both surprised and disappointed me that many of the issues that appear resolved have exploded again. Yozzer66 (talk) 23:41, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Yozzer, you appear to have certain beliefs about the evil of the Catholic Church that you want to promote on Wikipedia. Anyone who disagrees with your view is a "pro catholic bigot". But WP articles are not here for you to post excoriating denunciations of Catholicism or any other belief system. They are supposed to provide information on what really happened or upon respected academic opinion on an issue. If you want to say that the "French Roman catholic Church" ran the Bartholomew massacre you have to provide solid academic support, not just patch together the most emotive quotes you can find as colour for your own synthesis. The claim that the Catholic Church as a body was responsible for the massacre would have to contain some proof that the organisation planned, orchestrated or organised the masasacre. That is entirely lacking. Your only solid point is that one one Wild-cat preacher said that if the King wanted Coligny killed, he should be supported. That has been stretched as far as it will go. Xandar 22:18, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Just some quick points - firstly, again WP:NPA! Secondly there was concensus that the detailed material did not belong in the other article, not that it did belong here. Most of the same objections were raised over there. I thought we had settled the numbers - the referencing now is such that this should not be an issue. If you can find a modern specialist supporting higher numbers please let us know. Without wanting to open new areas of disagreement, I'm very dubious it had a "seismic effect" in the rest of Europe - notably Elizabeth of England both agreed not to support the Huguenots shortly afterwards, and for some years continued to discuss marriage with some of those implicated. Rather oddly, historians don't seem to feel their involvement was much of an issue in the marriage question. Johnbod (talk) 23:16, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

"Kill them all"[edit]

I've removed: "According to an unsubstantiated tradition, he angrily exclaimed: "Well then, so be it! Kill them! But kill them all! Don't leave a single one alive to reproach me!"[citation needed]" - which I'd been trying to source; it appears in every "traditional" account, but no modern specialist one & I've finally worked out why. It comes from the "Discours du Henri III" (ie Anjou), supposedly a "confession" made to his doctor in Poland (see Catholic Encyclopedia), which has been recognised as a fake since 1877 see note 18. Needless to say, it still appears in a host of less high-quality modern sources. Pity, as the Anjou account is a cracking read. Johnbod (talk) 17:50, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Too bad, because se non è vero, è ben trovato and ought to be part of everyone's "culture générale"! Couldn' t it be snuck back in as an acknowledged urban legend? (talk) 02:27, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

debat-ponsan: morning outside louvre[edit]

The painting of Catherine at the gates of Louvre is shown 'mirrorwise', as we say in Danish: laterally reversed. I cannot change it - wil somebody? It IS in fact a better motive when shown the right way. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:56, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

"Christian terrorism"[edit]

None of the references given for this category use the phrase "Christian terrorism". Remember, Remember doesn't refer to the SBDM as "terrorism, nor does "The Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence" (whatever that is). Not one discusses the application of the concept "terrorism" to the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre in any kind of detail. This is undue weight and original research (synthesis). I see no evidence that specialists in Reformation or 16th-century French history employ the term "terrorism" which is generally regarded as an anachronism for anything before the French Revolution. --Folantin (talk) 11:49, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Yep -- completely agree. In addition, it's anachronistic to apply a contemporary term to the religious persecutions carried out during the Wars of Religion. This massacre was neither an incidence of "Christian terrorism" nor a "terrorist attack", and we cannot put it in such categories unless scholarly consensus is to do so. Even if one scholar were to have used the term, that still is not consensus; you need a much broader base of scholarly opinion to establish membership in the category. Applying the term "terrorism" to pre-modern events is misleading at best. Antandrus (talk) 16:08, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Agree - I edited the text originally added to one line "A number of writers see the massacre as an example of Christian terrorism.[77][78][79][80][81]" but I don't feel strongly about that staying. I also note Johnbod's Law. It has popped up at Spanish Inquisition too. Last time I looked everything else in the category was modern. Johnbod (talk) 23:21, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Hey, "Johnbod's Law", I like it. You'll struggle to find a worse example than this one [14] with its 16 references in the first line. Since none of the references given refer to the "Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre" as "Christian terrorism" I'm going to remove that sentence. It seems like the term has more to do with contemporary US political debates than anything else. --Folantin (talk) 09:15, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Petergof is spectacular - I note the rest of the article has no inline refs at all! Johnbod (talk) 13:41, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

Gregory XIII’s Second Thoughts?[edit]

Someone has removed the sentence placed on this page concerning Maurevert’s visit to Rome in November of 1572, and Gregory XIII’s displeasure at his being brought to the Vatican, tagging it as dubious. I am surprised by this. The author cited, Henri Daniel-Rops, was certainly a reputable historian--one of the “immortals” of the French Academy, actually! The story in question is also accepted as fact by a number of other major French historians, including Philippe Erlanger ([1962], p. 119, n. 2), while most recently, Arlette Jouanna ([2007], p. 203) writes concerning Gregory XIII and the papal curia after September 1572 “[t]his joy [i.e. over the killing of Huguenot leaders and the breaking up of the supposed plot] was tempered little by little with disquiet, in the measure that the atrocities committed became better known,” although she does not mention the particular incident. I have not yet found one argument by a major historian against its authenticity, although I have only been able to consult a few short articles by Robert Kingdon dealing the Gregory XIII and massacre, and not his monograph.

The ultimate source for the story seems to be a document in the French National Library. It is a diplomatic report on an interview of the French ambassador with Emperor Maximilian II within several months of the event, in which the emperor brings up information he has received about the said visit. So far as I have been able to figure out the document is unpublished, but its contents are described De la Ferrière’s edition of the Letters of Catherine de Medici, Vol. 4, cxvi. Also, Ludwig von Pastor cites a published memoir of a sometime Spanish papal courtier that he found Gregory XIII in tears over the reports about the massacre. When he tried to cheer him up by insisting that the news was very positive Gregory XIII didn’t disagree, but said he was weeping over the sin of Charles IX.

To my mind, none of this contradicts the “official” public joy of the papacy over the events of St. Bartholomew. After all, it did seem to save France from a Protestant coup. As we now know the supposed coup was a figment, but that was not at all certain at the time, as many historians have pointed out. Plus, it seemed to bring the prospect for a French policy more closely aligned with the papacy and Spain against the Turks, etc., etc. It also seems to be character for Gregory, since according to biographers he was given both to passionate outbursts, but also vacillations in his opinions.

If no one dissuades me in the next few months I intend to restore the original wording in the reactions section, revising a bit to make it more precise. It is short, does not unbalance the entry, and helps the reader see the complexity of the whole sad incident as an event of European-wide importance. It does occur to me that it might fit even better on the Gregory XIII page. I will wait a couple months before doing anything, so that others may respond and advise.

--Paul Pamphnutius (talk) 19:31, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

This must have been quite a while ago - I don't remember anything on this in the article. If it is adequately referenced, but all means re-add it. Johnbod (talk) 22:12, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

O.K., I have done so, as I proposed! --Paul Pamphnutius (talk) 16:22, 3 August 2010 (UTC)


Comments like "Please read WP:NPOV" are not really helpful amongst experienced editors. If you're having difficulty seeing why the quote as offered is inappropriate, please ask and I will elaborate. NickCT (talk) 15:40, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

From your edit summaries I had no idea you were an "experienced editor"; nonetheless I suggest you reread the policy. Obviously I can't see why you think it is inappropriate, so please explain on the article talk page as I suggested. I hope you have also read the article beyond the lead; that might help. Johnbod (talk) 15:42, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Oh well. I guess someone who has difficulty not editting as an IP might not recognize "experience". But.... abandoning petty snipes for a few seconds, the issue is that this material shouldn't be offered as a direct quote. Additionally the "Catholicism was a bloody and treacherous religion" is surely unecessarily contentious language. How about to this rephrase.
Two quick additional points,
1) If you want to move this to the talk page feel free, but I think we are the Most Interested People.
2) If you don't like my suggested rewrite, please offer another that eliminates the contentious language.
Many thanks, NickCT (talk) 16:11, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • There is no need for this weaselly and unreferenced rewrite. Chadwick's POV is if anything pro-Catholic, and his statement is not I think controversial. The massacre was a highly "contentious" issue & it is wrong to pretend it was not. Johnbod (talk) 16:19, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Johnbod. The quotations are from experts on the subject. Plus "it has been considered one the century's worst religious massacres" misrepresents the quoted source which says it was the worst of the century's religious massacres, not one of the worst. "Catholicism was a bloody and treacherous religion" is not presented as objective fact but as the general opinion of Protestants in response to the massacre. --Folantin (talk) 16:33, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Look.... guys. I hate to point out the painfully obvious here, but using language like "Catholicism is a bloody and treacherous religion" clearly represents contentious language that is going to raise neutrality concerns. Additionally, directly quoting a source in the lede in this manner is highly unusual, unecessary, and unencyclopedic.
@Johnbod re "wrong to pretend it was not" - How is my suggested rewrite pretending the massacre was not contentious?
@Folantin re "misrepresents the quoted source " - Ummm... How? Look, we all know that "the worst" is going be a subjective label. It would be wrong to explicity state that "it was the worst", so the best and most accurate language we can use is "it has been considered the worst". NickCT (talk) 17:02, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
No, we have simply quoted the opinion of experts in quotation marks. The rewrites are your opinion. --Folantin (talk) 17:13, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong or unusual about using quotes in the lead; it is in fact especially useful for statements that might otherwise be challenged. For example the lead of the recently promoted FA Royal Gold Cup has three quotes in the lead. Can you point to any references that would contradict Chadwick's statement? As I said above, I don't in fact think it is at all controversial. The Catholic Black Legend is a fact of which Catholics are probably more aware than anyone else. Johnbod (talk) 17:27, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Ok let's compromise. Retain the quotes but attribute them (i.e. according to such-and-such). Putting them in as an extension of the text already in the lede seems v. strange. NickCT (talk) 21:21, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Hugenot army and war plan?[edit]

The odd mention of an armed force of 4,000 Hugenots mustered under Téligny piqued my curiosity. A little research reveals an apparently well-documented statement that Coligny had raised a Hugenot army in July-August 1572 (numbers above 10,000 are quoted), a large part of which he had encamped outside Paris, and which he was going to lead against the Netherlands on 25th August.

If true, this places the events in a distinctly different context. The information seems to have been assembled by Nicola Mary Sutherland The Massacre of St. Bartholomew and the European conflict, 1559-1572, though it's only on Snippet View on Google Books. [15]

That Coligny was doing any of this is implicitly contradicted by Holt French Wars of Religion, p. 81, a more recent source, [16] though he proceeds to introduce Coligny's army with no explanation on page 84. AJN (talk) 00:20, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

"Infobox civilian attack"[edit]

i'm amazed this hasn't come up before, but someone tried to add it. It seems to me altogether too crude to summarize the article adequately, given the complexities we all know, so I removed it. Johnbod (talk) 23:44, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Move to St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre[edit]

Hard to believe that but the page is in the wrong place. This article refers to a single event known as the (specific) St Bartholomew's Day Massacre, not one (particular) St Bartholomew's Day massacre out of many. "The massacre on St Bartholomew's Day" would be correct, but this phrasing isn't.

That's just simple WP:ENGLISH grammar, but—for the process hounds—yes, the correct grammar is also substantially the more COMMON in actual use. Google Scholar's searches can't parse by capitalization as far as I know but scanning the first few pages of results shows the correct capitalization is similarly generally favored in scholarly sources as well. (Keeping or not keeping the period is a WP:ENGVAR issue as far as I know, but it's more commonly written with the period in this instance, anyway.)

Let's fix this. — LlywelynII 13:15, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

  • Oppose Looking at your searches and others, I'm not seeing a preponderence of "M"s. "SBDM" is much more common than "MofSBD", but the M is capitalized or not about 50% of the time. Indeed, "no one's brought this up before", and I'm inclined to leave it. Johnbod (talk) 13:27, 27 December 2015 (UTC)