Philippe de Mornay

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Philippe de Mornay Philippe Duplessis-Mornay.jpg
Philippe de Mornay

Philippe de Mornay (5 November 1549 11 November 1623), seigneur du Plessis Marly, usually known as Du-Plessis-Mornay or Mornay Du Plessis, was a French Protestant writer and member of the anti-monarchist Monarchomaques .

France Republic with majority of territory in Europe and numerous oversea territories around the world

France, officially the French Republic, is a sovereign state whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.0 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

The Monarchomachs were originally French Huguenot theorists who opposed monarchy at the end of the 16th century, known in particular for having theoretically justified tyrannicide. The term was originally a pejorative word coined in 1600 by the Scottish royalist and Catholic William Barclay (1548–1608) from the Greek μόναρχος and μάχομαι, meaning "those who fight against monarchs".



He was born in Buhy, now situated in Val-d'Oise. His mother had leanings toward Protestantism, but his father tried to counteract her influence by sending him to the Collège de Lisieux at Paris. On his father's death in 1559, however, the family formally adopted the reformed faith. Mornay studied law and jurisprudence at the University of Heidelberg in 1565 and the following year Hebrew and German at the University of Padua. During the French Wars of Religion in 1567, he joined the army of Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé, but a fall from his horse prevented him from taking an active part in the campaign. His career as Huguenot apologist began in 1571 with the work Dissertation sur l'Église visible, and, as a diplomat in 1572, he undertook a confidential mission for Admiral de Coligny to William the Silent, Prince of Orange.

Buhy Commune in Île-de-France, France

Buhy is a commune in the Val-d'Oise department in Île-de-France in northern France.

Val-dOise Department of France

Val-d'Oise is a French department, created in 1968 after the split of the Seine-et-Oise department and located in the Île-de-France region. In local slang, it is known as "quatre-vingt quinze" or "neuf cinq", after the first two digits of the department's postcode. It gets its name from the Oise River, a major tributary of the Seine, which crosses the region after having started in Belgium and flowed through north-eastern France. Charles de Gaulle Airport, France's main international airport is partially located in Roissy-en-France, a commune of Val d'Oise.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, as well as the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018. The city is a major railway, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, and is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, but the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015.

He escaped the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre by the aid of a Catholic friend, taking refuge in England. Returning to France towards the end of 1573, he participated during the next two years with various success in the campaigns of the future Henry IV of France, then only King of Navarre. He was taken prisoner by the Duke of Guise on 10 October 1575 was but ransomed for a small sum, which was paid by Charlotte Arbaleste, whom he married shortly afterwards at Sedan.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Henry IV of France first French monarch of the House of Bourbon

Henry IV, also known by the epithet Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.

Henry I, Duke of Guise Duke of Guise

Henry I, Prince of Joinville, Duke of Guise, Count of Eu, sometimes called Le Balafré (Scarface), was the eldest son of Francis, Duke of Guise, and Anna d'Este. His maternal grandparents were Ercole II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, and Renée of France. Through his maternal grandfather, he was a descendant of Lucrezia Borgia and Pope Alexander VI.

Mornay was gradually recognized as Henry's right-hand man, representing him in England from 1577 to 1578 and again in 1580, and in the Low Countries 1581-1582. With the death of the Duke of Alençon-Anjou in 1584, by which Henry was brought within sight of the throne of France, the period of Mornay's greatest political activity began, and after the death of Henry I, Prince of Condé, in 1588, his influence became so great that he was popularly styled the "Huguenot pope". He was present at the siege of Dieppe, fought at Ivry, and was at the siege of Rouen in 1591-92 until he sent on a mission to the court of Queen Elizabeth. Both he and his wife befriended English Protestants like Francis Walsingham, Mary Sidney, and her brother Philip Sydney.

Francis, Duke of Anjou duke

Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon was the youngest son of King Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici.

Battle of Ivry battle

The Battle of Ivry was fought on 14 March 1590, during the French Wars of Religion. The battle was a decisive victory for Henry IV of France, leading Huguenot and English forces against the Catholic League by the Duc de Mayenne and Spanish forces under the Count of Egmont. Henry's forces were victorious and he went on to lay siege to Paris.

Siege of Rouen 15th-century siege or Rouen, France

The Siege of Rouen was a major event in the Hundred Years' War, where English forces loyal to Henry V captured Rouen, the capital of Normandy, from the Norman French.

He was bitterly disappointed by Henry IV's abjuration of Protestantism in 1593 and gradually withdrew from the court, devoting himself to the Academy of Saumur, which had a distinguished history until its suppression by Louis XIV in 1683.

The Academy of Saumur was a Huguenot university at Saumur in western France. It existed from 1593, when it was founded by Philippe de Mornay, until shortly after 1683, when Louis XIV decided on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, ending the limited toleration of Protestantism in France.

Louis XIV of France King of France and Navarra, from 1643 to 1715

Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power.

His last years were saddened by the loss of his only son in 1605 and that of his devoted wife in 1606, but he spent them in perfecting the Huguenot organization. He was chosen a deputy in 1618 to represent the French Protestants at the Synod of Dort. He was prohibited from attending by Louis XIII but contributed materially to its deliberations by written communications. He lost the governorship of Saumur at the time of the Huguenot insurrection in 1621 as Saumur was captured by French royal forces, and died in retirement on his estate of La Forêt-sur-Sèvre, Deux-Sèvres.

Synod of Dort National Synod held in Dordrecht

The Synod of Dort was an international Synod held in Dordrecht in 1618–1619, by the Dutch Reformed Church, to settle a divisive controversy initiated by the rise of Arminianism. The first meeting was on 13 November 1618 and the final meeting, the 180th, was on 29 May 1619. Voting representatives from eight foreign Reformed churches were also invited. Dort was a contemporary English term for the town of Dordrecht.

Louis XIII of France King of France and Navarra 1610-1643

Louis XIII was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who was King of France from 1610 to 1643 and King of Navarre from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown.

Capture of Saumur Military investment during the Huguenot rebellions

The Capture of Saumur was the military investment of the Huguenot city of Saumur accomplished by the young French king Louis XIII in May 1621, following the outburst of the Huguenot rebellions. Although the Huguenot city was faithful to the king, Louis XIII nevertheless wished to affirm control over it. The Governor of the city Duplessy-Mornay was tricked out of his command of Saumur and the city was invested.


In 1598 he published a work on which he had long been engaged, entitled De L'institution, usage et doctrine du saint sacrement de l'eucharistie en l'église ancienne, containing about 5000 citations from the scriptures, fathers and schoolmen. Jacques Davy Du Perron, bishop of Évreux (who later became cardinal and archbishop of Sens), accused Mornay of misquoting at least 500, and a public disputation was held at Fontainebleau on 4 May 1600. Decision was awarded to Du Perron on nine points presented, when the disputation was interrupted by the illness of Mornay. The Duke of Sully reported that Mornay "had defended himself so poorly that he made some laugh, made others angry, and inspired pity in still others." [1] Mornay was also instrumental in the drafting of the Edict of Nantes (1598) which established political rights and some religious freedom for the Huguenots.

His principal works, in addition to those mentioned above, are Excellent discours de la vie et de la mort (London, 1577), a bridal present to Charlotte Arbaleste; Traité de l'Église où l'on traite des principales questions qui ont été mues sur ce point en nostre temps (London, 1578); Traité de la vérité de la religion chrétienne contre les athées, épicuriens, payens, juifs, mahométans et autres infidèles (Antwerp, 1581); Le mystère d'iniquité, c'est à dire, l'histoire de la papauté (Geneva, 1611). Two volumes of Mémoires, from 1572 to 1589, appeared at La Forêt (1624–1625), and a continuation in 2 vols. at Amsterdam (1652); a more complete but very inaccurate edition (Mémoires, correspondances, et vie) in 12 vols. was published at Paris in 1624-1625. He is also one—many consider the most likely—candidate for being author of the Vindiciae contra tyrannos (1579), a pamphlet advocating resistance to the French crown.


  1. Quoted and translated by Pitts 2009, p. 273.


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