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Word versus Honor: The Case of Françoise de Rohan vs. Jacques de Savoie

McIlvenna, Una (2012) Word versus Honor: The Case of Françoise de Rohan vs. Jacques de Savoie. Journal of Early Modern History, 16 (4-5). pp. 315-334. ISSN 1385-3783. E-ISSN 1570-0658. (doi:10.1163/15700658-12342322) (KAR id:54895)


This paper examines one of the most notorious scandals of sixteenth-century France. In 1557, Françoise de Rohan, a lady-in-waiting to Catherine de Medici, launched a legal battle to get the duke of Nemours, Jacques de Savoie, to recognize their orally-agreed marriage contract and formally recognize the child whom he had fathered with her. Central to Rohan’s case were not only the love-letters Nemours had written to her but also the eye-witness testimonies of her servants, who had overheard their marriage vows and had witnessed their love-making. Nemours’s only defense was his word of honor as a gentleman that no marriage had taken place. This paper situates the case of Rohan vs. Nemours within a transitory period in French society as oral and literate cultures competed for precedence, and asks what happens to the concept of honor when the spoken word is no longer to be trusted.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1163/15700658-12342322
Uncontrolled keywords: France; court; gossip; rumour; clandestine marriage; Françoise de Rohan; Jacques de Savoie; Catherine de Medici;
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DC France
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ1236 Women and the state. Women's rights. Women's political activity
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ21 Sexual behavior and attitudes
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Una McIlvenna
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2016 13:12 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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