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Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France$
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Kathleen Wellman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300178852

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300178852.001.0001

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The Women of the Court of Francis I

The Women of the Court of Francis I

Wives and Mistresses, Sister and Mother

(p.111) 3 The Women of the Court of Francis I
Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France

Kathleen Wellman

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Francis I, a handsome, tall, and richly attired king who epitomized the French Renaissance, and who, coming to the throne as a young man, embodied hopes for a new reign with his vitality, which offered a striking contrast to the enfeebled Louis XII. Francis I claimed that “a court without women is like a year without spring” and that, without women, a court “more resembles the court of a satrap or a Turk than that of a great Christian king.” In his estimation, a cultured court required women. As such, the royal court, the venue in which the Renaissance emerged in France, was more hospitable to women than other new cultural sites, especially when the king promoted their participation.

Keywords:   satrap, Turk, Francis I, French Renaissance, Louis XII, cultured court, royal court

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