The Bible had been a fundamental source of legitimacy for the French monarchy, with biblical imagery wielded as a powerful propaganda weapon in the ideological warfare which the kings of France often had to wage. All Christian monarchies tried to build around themselves a sacral aura, but the French kings had soon set themselves apart: they were the “most Christian”, anointed with holy oil brought from heaven, endowed with the power of healing, and the eldest sons of the Church. Biblical text was called upon to support this image of the monarchy, as the kings of France were depicted as following in the footsteps of the virtuous kings of the Old Testament and possessing the necessary biblical virtues. However, the Bible could prove a double-edged sword which could be turned against the monarchy, as the ideological battles unleashed by the Reformation were to prove. In search for a justification for their resistance against the French Crown, in particular after 1572, the Huguenots polemicists looked to the Bible in order to find examples of limited monarchies and overthrown tyrants. In putting forward the template of a proto-constitutional monarchy, one of the notions advanced by the Huguenots was the Biblical covenant between God, kings and the people, which imposed limits and obligations on the kings. This paper aims to examine the occurrence of this image in Vindiciae
, contra tyrannos
(1579), one of the most important Huguenot political works advocating resistance against tyrannical kings, and the role it played in the construction of the Huguenot theory of resistance.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited