Jacques Callot

Jacques Callot

Jacques Callot

Jacques Callot

Excerpt

NANCY, THE CAPITAL OF THE INDEPENDENT DUCHY of Lorraine, was a city of about seventy-five hundred inhabitants at the end of the sixteenth century. Exceptionally well fortified, it dominated a part of the frontier between the France of Henry IV and the Holy Roman Empire of the Hapsburgs. It had long repelled the domination of both. Nancy lies about 220 miles east of Paris and about 500 miles west of Vienna; Antwerp and other important Dutch and Flemish cities are about as near as Paris. The Rhine country, Strasbourg, Frankfort, Nuremberg and Munich, Basel and Zurich, Lyons and Geneva, are all within a radius of 125 to 250 miles from Nancy.

Lorraine had been a part of the empire of Lothaire, one of the grandsons of Charlemagne. This empire, Lothringen, comprised a long, irregular strip of territory, stretching from Friesland and Flanders along the Rhine through Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy, and Switzerland, continuing along the Rhône through Provence, and thence into Italy. In Callot's time, the Duchy of Lorraine had been in existence for about four centuries. Lying between Champagne and the Vosges and Ardennes Mountains, it was about 125 miles long and 100 miles wide. Along the trade routes radiating from Nancy north and south and the roadways leading from France eastward to the cities across the Rhine flowed significant cultural influences during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Southward traveled the men of the Low Countries on their way to Florence and Rome; northward came the messengers of the Renaissance. Thus, over the crossroads of Nancy, passed Flemish, French, German, and Italian artisans and artists.

The spirited Dukes of Lorraine felt that they were the equals of any king or emperor. Asserting their descent from Charlemagne, they also boasted of their ancestor, the great Duke René I. Le bon Roi René had been Duke of Lorraine, Anjou, and Provence, and also King of Naples, Sicily, and Jerusalem (!), a patron of the arts and a poet. Their ducal court was gay, and their retes were notable. In the interludes of peace, burghers and peasants prospered and were as proud as their rulers.

But the Duchy of Lorraine was frequently at the hazard of marching armies, whether friends or foes, and of their depredations as they foraged for food and bled the country.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.