The Low Countries in the Sixteenth Century: Erasmus, Religion and Politics, Trade and Finance, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Low Countries in the Sixteenth Century

Erasmus, Religion and Politics, Trade and Finance, 1st Edition

By James D. Tracy


360 pages

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Hardback: 9780860789550
pub: 2005-03-10
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In the 16th century, the population of the Low Countries (modern Belgium and The Netherlands), the most urbanized and best educated in Transalpine Europe, provided not just a ready audience for ideas of religious reform, but a sophisticated political framework for the airing of the great debates of the age - not to mention ground-breaking innovations in trade and finance. The present volume reproduces fourteen essays in which James Tracy studies each of these different aspects of Low Countries culture. Part I focuses on the educational and religious reform proposals of a native son, Erasmus of Rotterdam; Part II looks at the conflicts of the Reformation era, mainly from the perspective of the province of Holland; and Part III examines economic and fiscal development in light of the ongoing tug-of-war between government centralization and the defense of local privilege.


'Erasmus remains one of the great voices for the ideals of humanism in sixteenth century Europe, and James Tracy represents one of our best contemporary scholars on the subject.' History

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I Erasmus: Erasmus becomes a German; Against the barbarians: the young Erasmus and his humanist contemporaries; Erasmus and the Arians: remarks on the Consensus Ecclesiae; Two Erasmuses, two Luthers: Erasmus' strategy in defense of De libero arbitrio; Erasmus among the post-modernists: Dissimulatio, bonae litterae, and docta pietas revisited. Part II Religion and Politics in the Low Countries: Heresy law and centralization under Mary of Hungary: conflict between the Council of Holland and the central government of the enforcement of Charles V's placards; A premature counter-reformation: the Dirkist government of Amsterdam, 1538-78; With and without the counter-reformation: the Catholic Church in the Spanish Netherlands and the Dutch Republic, 1580-1650; Lords, peasants, and the introduction of Calvinist preaching in Holland's Noorder-Kwartier. Part III Finance And Trade: Netherlands Perspectives: Habsburg grain policy and Amsterdam politics: the career of sheriff Willem Dirkszoon Baerdes, 1542-66; The taxation system of the County of Holland during the reigns of Charles V and Philip II, 1519-66; Herring wars: The Habsburg Netherlands and the struggle for the control of the North Sea, ca. 1520-60; Asian despotism? Mughal government as seen from the Dutch East India Company factory in Surat; Charles V, his bankers, and their demands. Index.

About the Author

James D. Tracy is Professor in the Department of History, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General