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Coordinates: 47° 34' 0" N, 7° 36' 0" E

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Cabriere [Cabriera]

Provence, France

Coordinates: 43° 38' 60 N, 6° 22' 0 E

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Chiavenna (Clavenna) [Clauenna]


Coordinates: 46° 19' 0" N, 9° 24' 0" E

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Cosenza [Consentia]

Calabria, Italy

Coordinates: 39° 18' 0" N, 16° 15' 0" E

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Guardia Piemontese

Calabria, Italy

Coordinates: 39° 28' 0" N, 16° 0' 0" E

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Mérindol (Merindol)

[Merindolum; Merindoll]

Luberon, Provence, France

Coordinates: 343° 45' 0" N, 5° 12' 0" E

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Montalto [Montalte]

Cosenza, Calabria, Italy

Coordinates: 39° 24' 0" N, 16° 9' 0" E

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San Sisto dei Valdesi [S. Sixtus]

Cosenza, Campagnia, Italy

Coordinates: 39° 23' 0" N, 16° 8' 0" E

966 [942]

K. Hen. 8. A Table of the Italian Martirs. Christians in Calabria killed like Calues.
Persecutors.Martyrs.The Causes.
taken out of the house, and
1600. o-so being layd vpon the but-
ther, alsochers stall, like the shepe in
condemned.the Shambles, wyth one
bloudy knife, were all kil-
At Cala-led in order. A Spectacle
bria.most tragicall, for all poste-
An. 1560.ritie to remember, and al-
most incredible to beleeue.
Wherefore for the more credite of the matter, least we
shall seeme eyther light of creadite, to beleeue that is
Persecutors.Martyrs.The Causes.
not true, or rashly to committe to penne, thynges
wythout due proofe and authoritie, wee haue heere
annexed a peece of an Epistle, wrytten by mayster
Symon Florillus preacher of Goddes woorde at the
Citie Clauenna, among the Rhetians, vnto a cer-
taine friende of his, named Guliel. Gratalorus an
Italian, and Doctoure of Phisicke, in the Vniuer-
sitie of Basill, whyche Gratalorus translated the
same into the Latine tounge, and it is to be founde
in the 11. booke of Pantal. pa. 337. the English wher-
of is thys as followeth.
The ende of a certaine letter of master Symon Florellus, wrytten in Italian, concerning a lamentable slaughter of 88. Christian Saintes, in the parties of Calabria. 
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At the end of the table of Italian martyrs, Foxe turns to a summary account of the gathering persecution of the Waldensian (Fr: Vaudois; It: Valdesi) communities on either side of the Alps. This enables him to create a powerful interlinked narrative, bringing together the targeted elimination of two Waldensian rural communities in Provence in 1545-6 with the parallel campaign in 1560-1 in Calabria. Foxe's objective was, at least in part, to demonstrate that there was an underlying pattern to these events and their chronology. They both involved the state-sponsored terror of innocent individuals and communities. This enabled him to ignore conveniently the difficult question as to whether those being persecuted in Calabria were (in the strict sense that Foxe understood it) protestants. It also enabled him to stretch the otherwise rather strict conventions about the proofs of the status of martyrdom, necessarily based upon individual proof-statements of faith, to encompass the possibility of group martyrdom. 'Divers that suffered in the kingdome of Naples' 'Lxxxviij Martyrs in one day, with one butcherlye knife, slayne like shepe' was a more spectacular kind of bloodshed that Foxe had documented hitherto in his narrative ([1570], p. 1073).

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The Waldensian presence in the kingdom of Naples had existed from the thirteenth of Montalto - San-Sisto, San-Vincenzo, Argentina, etc - were largely founded by them, encouraged by the local nobility. Girolamo Zanchi, a sixteenth-century contemporary in a position to know, spoke of their being around 4,000 Calbrian Waldensians, although some contemporaries put the estimate even higher. The progressive acceptance of reformed doctrines and ecclesiology from 1532 made them much more a subject of likely persecution. When the latter eventually started, it owed a good deal to support within the Neapolitan Hispanic state, working in collaboration with the nobility and senior clergy. The marquis Salvador Spinelli was signor of La Guardia and San-Sisto and it was his decision (at the instigation of his chaplain, Anania) to denounce his Waldensian inhabitants to Cardinal Ghislieri (later Pope Pius V) that was became crucial to the launching of the persecution in 1560, in which contemporaries estimate that around 2,000 individuals were executed. Foxe's estimates of the massacre were cautiously based on the evidence which he had to hand, and heavily under-estimated the extent of the loss of life. For further details, see Crespin/Benoit, 3, p. 34-64; Lombard; Galiffe; Amabile, vol 1, pp. 235-

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Further information about what happened in the persecution of the Waldensians of Calabria, and particularly about the continuing brutality and repression of the following year, 1561, which would be even more severe than that mentioned by Foxe in 1560, continued to emerge in the 1560s and 1570s. Crespin's later editors referred to Job Fincelius [Fincel], Traité des merveilles de notre temps which was well informed and graphic on the subject. André Hondorf, Calendarium historiarum oder der Heilige Märtyrer istorien (Frankfurt-am-Main, 1575) also contributed some further information by which protestant Europe could gradually piece together what had happened. By the time of the last edition to which he was able to contribute, Foxe had seemingly no further energies for pursuing the fate of martyrs whose Protestantism might, if investigated more closely, not have withstood the scrutiny.

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Foxe was very aware of the weakness of his sources for what were, even in 1570, comparatively recent developments in the horn of Italy, culminating in 1560. Once more Foxe relies exclusively on the treatment of the subject in Pantaleon, 11 (p. 337-339 - the end folios of this work being paginated rather than foliated), although there was more material theoretically available to him in Crespin's 1564 edition (Crespin [1564], p. 969 et seq;, further amplified in Crespin [1570], fol 544A et seq.). Crespin, in this instance, was particularly well informed because of the existence of the Italian church in Geneva and its growing links with the Waldensians in Piedmont and elsewhere in the Italian peninsula. Crespin graphically presents the persecution in Calabria through the eyes of those missionaries sent from Geneva as schoolmasters and preachers to minister to them. Because Foxe did not draw on this material, he therefore did not include the rich letters from prison of Giovanni Luigi Pasquale [Fr: Paschal/Pascal], firstly at Fuscaldo, and then at Cosenze and finally in Naples and Rome that Crespin had printed in his edition of 1564 (Crespin [1564], p. 969; Crespin [1570], fols 544). Instead, he concentrated on two pieces of evidence that had been furnished already by Pantaleon.

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MarginaliaNewes out of Italy. anno. 1560.AS concerning newes, I haue nothing to wryte 

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The first piece of evidence was an extract from a letter written by Simon Fiorello ('Simon Florellus'), an evangelical preacher at Chiavegna ('Citie Clauenna') to Guilelmus Gratalorus, an Italian professor of medicine at the University of Basel. Fiorello was a native of Caserte who had gained a doctorate in 1553. Taking up exile in Geneva for his protestant views, he became the first catéchiste of the Italian Genevan church in 1556 before becoming a minister at Chiavegna (or possibly Tirano). See J.-B. G. Galiffe, Le refuge italien de Genève aux XVI et XVIIe siècles (Geneva and Paris: H. Georg and G. Fischbacher, 1881), p. 162. Pantaleon had presumably had the letter from Gratalorus, his colleague in Basel, and printed the extract (fol. 337A). The letter mentions the publication of an account of the Calabrian repression in Rome and Venice. This was the pamphlet, written by the Genevan pastor from Naples, Scipio Lentulo, who was preaching in the Grisons and Vaudois valleys in 1559-60 and in active contact with protestant elements in the Italian peninsula at that time. For an edition of the pamphlet, see T. Gay (ed.), Scipio Lentolo. Historia delle grandi e crudeli persecutioni fatte ai tempi nostri (Torre Pellice, 1906).

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, but onely, that I sende you a Copie of certaine letters imprinted eyther at Rome, or at Venice, concerning the Martyrdome or persecution in two seuerall Townes of Calabria, eyghte Italyan myles from the borders of Consentia 
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Consentia - Cosenza.

: the one called Sainte Sixtus 
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Sainte Sixte - 'San-Sisto'

wythin two miles of Montalte 
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'Montalte' - Montalto

, vnder the Seigniorie of the Duke of Mantalte: the other called Guardia, situate vppon the Sea coaste, and 12. miles from S. Sixtus: the which two Townes are vtterly destroyed, and eight hundred of the inhabitantes there (or as some wryte from the Citie of Rome) no lesse then a full thousande. Hee that wrote the letter, was seruaunt to Ascanius Caracciolus. 
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'Ascanius Caracciolus' - Galeas Caracciolo, marquis de Vico, the pre-eminent figure and patron of the Italian church in Geneva.

The countrey and people there I well knew, to take the first Original of their good doctrine, & honest life, frō the Val dēses. For before my departure frō Geneua at their request, I sent them two Schoolemaisters, and two preachers. The last yeare the two preachers were Martyred: MarginaliaIoan. Aloisius Paschalis, Iames Bouell, preachers and Martirs.the one at Rome, named Ioannes Aloisus Paschalis, a Citizen of Cunium: he other at Messina, named Iames Bouel, both of Piedmont: This yeare the residue of that godly fellowshippe were Martyred, in the same place. I trust thys good seede sowen in Italie, will bringe foorthe good and plentifull fruite.

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Now foloweth the copie of the letters sent from Montalt, a towne in Calabria 8. miles distant from Consentia, bearing Date the 11. of Iune. 1560. The wryter of the which letters, as ye may perceiue, was one of them which call themselues Catholickes, and followers of the Pope. The woordes of the letter bee these, as heere vnder followeth.

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Heere foloweth the Copie of a letter sent from Montalte in Calabria, by a Romanist, to a certayne frend of his in Rome, containing newes of the persecution of Christes people in Calabria, by the newe Pope Pius the fourth. 
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The second piece of evidence is a copy and translation of a letter sent from Montalto to Rome containing news of the persecutions in Calabria. Like Pantaleon, where he found the source text, he did not know to whom it was addressed, or from whom it had come, but he followed him in dating it to 11 June 1560. In reality, the letter was from Acanio Caraccioli, the nephew of the marquis di Buccianico, signor di Montaltro (mentioned by Foxe in his text as 'Buccianus'), one of the agents of the viceroy of Naples, writing to the duke of Urbino. Pantaleon had mistranscribed the date (it was in fact a year later - 1561) and had been printed in Rome, where the progress of the repression in Naples was followed with intense interest by those close to the new pontiff, Pope Pius IV. The letter is reproduced in Giovanni Pietro Vieusseux (ed.), Archivio Storico Italiano vol 9 ('Narrazioni e documenti sulla storia del regno di Napoli dall'anno 1522 al 1667, raccolti e ordinati... da Francesco Palermo') (Florence, 1846), p. 193.

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MarginaliaHorrible persecution on Calabria. an. 1560.HEtherto, most noble Lord, haue I certified you, what here daily hath bene done about these hereticks Now commeth next to signifie vnto your Lordshippe, the horrible iudgement begon thys present day, being the eleuenth of Iune, to bee executed very earely in the mornyng againste the Lutheranes. Whyche when I thynke vppon, I verelye quake and tremble. And truely, the manner of theyr putting to deathe, was to be compared to the slaughter of calues and sheepe. MarginaliaThe Christians killed like Calues. For they being al thrust vp in one house together as in a sheepefolde, the executioner commeth in, and amongest them taketh one and blindfeldeth him wyth a muffler about his eyes, & so leadeth him forth to a larger place near adioyning, where he commaundeth him to kneele downe, whych being so done, he cutteth his throte, & leauing him half dead, and taking his butchers knife and muffler all of gore bloud (which the Italians call Benda) commeth againe to the rest, & so leading one after an other, he dispatcheth them all, which were to the number of 88. Marginalia88. Martirs. This spectacle, to behold howe doleful and horrible it was, I leaue to your Lordshippes iudgement: for to wryte of it, I my selfe cannot but weepe. Neither was there any of the beholders there present, whiche seeing one to die, coulde abide to beholde the death of an other. But certesse so humbly and paciently they went to death, as is almost vncreadible to beleeue. Some of them as they were in dyinge, affirmed that they beleeued euen as wee doe. Notwithstanding, as the most part of them died in the same theyr obstinate opinions. All the aged persones wente to deathe more cheerfully, the younger were more timerous. I tremble and shake euen to remember how the executioner held his bloudie knife betweene his teethe, with the bloudy muffler in his hande, and his armes all in goare bloude vp to the elbowes, going to the folde, and taking euery one of them, one after an other, by the hande, and so dispatching them all, no otherwise then doeth abutcher kill his calues and sheepe.

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It is moreouer appoynted (and the cartes be come all readie) that all those so put to death, shoulde be quartered, and so to bee conueied in the cartes to the hether most parts of Calabria, where they shalbe hanged vppon poles in the high waies, and other places, euen to the confines of the same country. Vnlesse the Popes holines & the Lord Viceroy of Neaples shall geue in commandement to the Lord Marques of Buccianus, gouernour of the sayde prouince, to stay his hand, and go no further, he wil procede with the racke and torture, examining al other, and so encrease the nūber in such sorte, that he will nie dispatch them all.

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This day it is also determined that an hūdreth of the more ancient women, should appeare to be examined and racked, and after to be put to death, that the mixture may be perfect, for so many menne, so manye women. And thus haue you that I can say of this iustice. Nowe it is aboute two of the clocke in the afternoone: Shortly we shall heare what some of them sayde, when they went to execution. There be certaine of them so obstinate, that they will not looke vppon the crucifixe, nor be confessed to the priest, and they shall be burned aliue.

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The heretickes that be apprehended and condemned, are to the number of 1600. but as yet no more but these foresayd 88. are already executed. This people haue theyr originall of the valley named Angronia, neare to Subaudia, and in Calabria, are called Vltramontani. In the kingdome of Neaples there are 4 other places of the same people, of whome whether they liue well or no, as yet wee knowe not: For they are but simple people, ignoraunt, wythout learning, woode gatherers, and husbandmen: but as I heare, much deuout and religious, geuing themselues to die for religions sake. From Montealto, the 11. of Iune. And thus much wryteth this Romanist.

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☞ Here moreouer is to be noted, that the foresaid Marques Buccianus aboue specified, hadde a sonne or brother, vnto whome the sayde new Pope (Pius the fourth belike) is reported to haue promised a Cardinalshippe at Rome, if all the Lutherans were extirped and roted out in that prouince. And like inough that the same was the cause of thys butcherly persecution and effusion of Christen bloud, in the said countrey of Calabria, beyond Neaples in Italy.

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Besides these godly Italian Martyrs, in thys Table aboue contained, many other also haue suffred in the same countrey of Italie, of whome some before haue bene specified: some peraduenture omitted. But many moe there be, whose names we know not, wherof assoone as knowledge may be geuē vnto vs, we purpose God willing, to impart the same (louing reader) vnto thee.

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☞ Now in the meane time  

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Merindol and Cabriers

From the first edition of his martyrology in 1563, Foxe had included an extensive account of the Mérindol and Cabrières affair (1563, pp. 632-652). He had foreshadowed it much earlier in the book (p.46), providing a graphic preview of the affair. It would be his first attempt to deal with mass martyrdom. In that preview, he spoke of 800 people slain in the elimination of these two communities, 40 of them women. He reported that 25 people had died smoke inhalation and fire, locked in a barn that was set alight. He briefly alluded to the young man who was tied to an olive tree and tortured to death. When he returned to deal with the affair properly, it was to juxtapose the evidence for the 'cruelty' of the individual persecutors (on the one hand) with the determination and constancy of the persecuted. His insertion of this piece of text (more or less unchanged) after the narrative of the Calabrian Vaudois was undertaken for a specific purpose. He did not want to interrupt the formal table of French martyrs with too extensive a narrative excursion. Equally, he relished the opportunity to highlight material which demonstrated (as he saw it) 'the furious crueltie' of the French king in an incident which had reverberated widely around western Europe. By placing the narrative adjacent to that of the Waldensians in Calabria he intimated that there was continuity and an underlying pattern to the persecution of the (largely rural) Vaudois. By juxtaposing these two narratives, Foxe was also able somewhat to obscure the more difficult questions about Waldensian beliefs prior to the reformation, and the extent to which they accorded with magisterial Protestantism, as Foxe would have understood it.

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Foxe was all too aware that there was a considerable literature available on the massacres of the Waldensians of Provence in 1545 and 1546. He explicitly notes that he cannot present all the primary material, or even recount the history at full length because of its bulk. That said, however, he devotes over 25 pages to it, treating it in a major and exemplary fashion. There were already other narratives available of the persecution of the Waldensians in Provence. Jean Crespin had included an abbreviated account of the affair in the initial edition of his martyrology in 1554 (Crespin [1554], pp. 656-666). Elements from this had been incorporated into Sleidan's Commentaries, first published in 1555, and translated into English in 1560 as A famouse cronicle of oure time… As Foxe said, much earlier in the 1563 edition (p.46) this was the account that he would rely on for his primary narrative of this affair. But Crespin already knew in 1554 that there was more to be said about the affair - as he said his account had been inserted then 'pour en toucher comme en passant ce qui est à present le plus necessaire pour l'instruction des fideles, jusqu'à ce que plus amplement toute l'histoire en soit redigee par escrit, comme elle en soit rédigée par escrit, comme elle est tres digne'. Geneva's contacts with the Vaudois communities in Provence had been somewhat strengthened in the aftermath of the persecution by exiles from the region, especially after 1550 - see G. Audisio, 'The first Provençal Refugees in Geneva (1545-1571)' French History 19 (2005), 385-400. It was no doubt on the basis of their information that Crespin was able to publish his extensively documented Histoire memorable de la persecution & saccagement du people de Mérindol et Cabrières in 1556. This was the account that became integrated into later editions of Crespin in extenso (Crespin [1560], fols 88A-117A; Crespin/Benoit, 1, pp. 381-419), and also into Pantaleon, lib. 5 (fols 111-145). It concentrates our attention on the persecution which began with the legal decision of 18 November 1540 pronouncing the destruction of the village of Mérindol, which reached its claim in 1545-6. In reality, however, the efforts of the ecclesiastical authorities to eliminate the Provençal Vaudois had begun at least a decade earlier. For background accounts to the Vaudois in Provence, see G. Audisio, Les Vaudois du Luberon. Une minorité en Provence (1460-1560) (Mérindol, 1984) ; G. Audisio, Procès-verbal d'un massacre. Les vaudois du Luberon (avril 1545) (Aix-en-Provence, 1992); G. Audisio, Les 'Vaudois': naissance, vie et mort d'une dissidence (xiie-xvie siècle) 2 vols (Turin: Albert Meynier Editore, 1989). Marc Venard, Réforme protestante, Réforme catholique dans la province d'Avignon au XVIe siècle (Paris, 1993). On the massacre itself, see P. Gaffarel, 'Les massacres de Cabrières et de Mérindol en 1545' Revue Historique 101 (1911), 241-64.

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Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

it foloweth (according to my promise made before) next after this lamētable slaughter of Calabria, here to insert also the tragical persecution & horrible murder of the faithfull flocke of Christe inhabiting in Merindole in Fraunce, and in other townes adiacēt neere vnto the same, in the time of Franciscus. 1. the french king. The furious crueltie of whiche miserable persecution, although it can not be set foorth too muth at large, yet because we wil not weary too much the reader, with the ful length therof, we haue so contracted the same, especially the principal effect therof we haue comprehended in such sorte, that as we on the one part haue auoided prolixitie: so on the other we haue omitted nothing, which might seme vnworthy to be forgotten. The story here foloweth.

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A notable historie of the persecution and destruction of the people of Merindol and Cabriers, the countrey of Prouince: where, not a fewe persons, but whole Villages and Towneships with the most part of all the foresayde countrey, both men, women, and children, were put to all kind of cruelty, & suffered martyrdome, for the profession of the gospell.

MarginaliaThe lamentable story of Merindoll.THey that write of the beginning of this people, say that about CC. yeres ago, they came out of the Country of Piedmont, to inhabite Prouince, in certaine Villages,

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