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