Abstract

The propaganda campaign launched in response to the assassination of the Duc and Cardinal de Guise on the orders of Henri III in December 1588 was the largest waged in the history of sixteenth-century France. Yet, it has never been the subject of systematic investigation. This article aims to fill this historiographical lacuna by presenting a broad survey of the principal arguments and techniques employed both by the Royalists, who sought to justify the act, and the Leaguers who exploited the event to radicalize Catholic opinion against Henri III. It finds that while the King was partly unwilling and partly unable to engage in any serious attempt to influence public opinion, the League exploited the media to defend the Guises as Catholic martyrs and to discredit the King as a criminal and irreligious tyrant.

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