The Princely Courts of Europe 1500-1750

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9781841880976: The Princely Courts of Europe 1500-1750

In the period between the Renaissance and the French Revolution, the court was paramount in European political and cultural life. It was not only the princes' place of residence, it functioned as the seat of government, the stage for factional and dynastic rivalries, and often as a major source of artistic patronage. Take a tour of twelve of the great European courts. Learn how these households were run, how the architecture of their palaces and gardens were adapted to the routines of courtly life, what role the courts played in the princes' relations with the wider community of the realm, and how magnificence and ritual were deployed to political ends. It's a lavish introduction to a vanished world.

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Court life throughout the golden age of Europe's ancien régime is invariably imagined as a world of decadent absolutist authority, a closed inner circle from which sovereigns such as James I and Louis XIV exercised complete control over their kingdoms. In his splendid collection The Princely Courts of Europe: 1500-1750, historian John Adamson brings together a fine group of essays on 12 of the greatest courts in Europe of the period, which offers a far more complicated picture of court life.

As Adamson argues in his concise introduction, "the court was never a single entity, nor did it offer a single route to patronage or power. In reality, the separate households of the ruler's consort, his heir, even those of powerful ministers, could operate to qualify or sometimes eclipse the authority of the ruler." Subsequent chapters by experts on the courts of the Spanish Habsburgs, the Valois, the Tudors and Stuarts, the House of Orange, Rome, the Hohenzollerns, and the Medici offer fascinating insights into the rituals, etiquette, politics, architecture, art, and daily life of the various courts. At the center of these courts lie some of the greatest and most infamous of all European monarchs, including Henry VIII, Charles V, Louis XIV, and Peter the Great. What really impresses about The Princely Courts of Europe is its eye for the artistic nature of court life. Lavish color illustrations throughout offer an insight into the visually arresting splendor of court life of the period. It is also admirable in offering interesting insights into the courts of Sweden and Russia, but where are the Ottoman Turks? --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

John Adamson is a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, and has written extensively on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century political and cultural history. He is a winner of the Royal Historical Society's Alexander Prize and the University of Cambridge's Seeley Medal for History

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Adamson, John (ed)
Published by Cassell, London, U.K. (2000)
ISBN 10: 1841880973 ISBN 13: 9781841880976
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