France - Famous Renaissance Men

SEE ALSO Renaissance Men | Famous Renaissance Women | The Renaissance I 15th Century Italy





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John Calvin
John Calvin
1508-1564

John Calvin

Known to many as “The Voice of the Reformation.”

John Calvin (1509-1564), French subject who became an early convert to the ideas of Martin Luther. As a “protestant” his life in Catholic France was difficult. Eventually he settled in Switzerland, becoming the theocratic dictator of the Geneva canton in 1541. Calvin’s harsh and restrictive social and religious laws are the foundation of the future Presbyterian branch of the Protestant church. His was a hard and unforgiving doctrine. More . . .


King Henry IV of France
Henry IV of France
1553-1610
King Henry IV

A man of enormous energy and sagacity, it was his dogged determination
that finally won him the crown.


Henry IV was the first Bourbon king of France. Prior to his ascension, the country was ravaged by eight civil wars, the Wars of Religion, as the French people grappled with the Protestant Reformation. Only his changing back and forth, from Protestant to Catholic, allowed him to survive these conflicts. He founded a new dynasty and unified the country. The Bourbons started out as Protestants, only converting to Catholicism to be accepted by the majority of French. Ironically, he fell victim to the very violence and religious passions he sought to quell, and was assassinated in 1610. More . . .


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