9780802126634

Four Princes Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent and the Obsessions that Forged Modern Europe

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780802126634

  • ISBN10:

    0802126634

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2017-04-04
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

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Summary

In Europe, 1491 to 1500 was an exciting time to be alive. The entire continent was overshadowed by four rulers, all born within a ten-year period:

King Francis I of France, the most interesting of the quartet, bursting with energy and swagger, was a great patron of the arts and the personification of the Renaissance.

King Henry VIII of England—who was not born to be king but embraced the role with gusto—broke with the Roman Catholic Church, and made himself head of the Church of England.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, the most powerful man in the civilized world, obsessed with the religious disputes of Europe, was leader of the Spanish and then Roman Empire.

Suleiman the Magnificent, the richest of them all, stands apart as a Muslim, who brought the Ottoman Empire to its apogee of political, military, and economic power, as well as to the golden age of its artistic and architectural prowess.

Never before had humankind seen such giants coexisting. Against the rich background of the Renaissance, they laid the foundation for modern Europe. Individually, each man could hardly have been more different. Their mutual relations shifted constantly: often they were actively hostile and occasionally they were friendly. There was a healthy respect between them; never did one make the mistake of underestimating another. And together, they dominated the world stage.

Author Biography

John Julius Norwich, born in 1929, took a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. In 1952 he joined the Foreign Service serving at the embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and with the British Delegation to the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. His many publications include A History of Venice and a three-volume history of the Byzantine Empire called Byzantium. He is co-chairman of the World Monuments Fund, and he was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1993.

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