John Charles Dawson.

Toulouse in the renaissance; the Floral games; university and student life: Etienne Dolet (1532-1534) online

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OCT 09 1993

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Facsimile of folio 8 r" of the Livre Rouge (Vol. 1.); date 1550. Bibliotheque des Jeux

Floraux de Toulouse.











Copyright, 1921

Printed from type. Published May, 1921






In the spring of 1919 I was stationed at Toulouse as the Amer-
ican Dean of twelve hundred American soldier students in the
University. While performing my duties in connection with the
Army Educational Corps, I became interested in all phases of Tou-
louse life, and especially in the Academy of the Floral Games. This
interest was heightened by my close personal friendship with Mon-
sieur Joseph Anglade, professeur d'fitudes Meridionales in the
University and Mainteneur of the Floral Games. Through Pro-
fessor Anglade, I had the privilege of visiting several times the
Hotel d'Assezat, home of the Academy of the Floral Games, and of
attending the annual meeting of the Academy of the 1-3 of May.
After becoming personally acquainted with the Mainteneurs and
learning the history of that ancient body, it occurred to me that
some phase of the history of the Floral Games would make a good
subject for investigation. When the American Mission, which
visited France in the summer of 1919 to aid in promoting a more
cordial understanding between the two countries, came to Toulouse,
I discussed the matter with Professor H. A. Todd, of Columbia
University, who was a member of the Mission. Professor Todd
not only gave me encouragement, but approached the Mainteneurs
on the subject. The latter readily gave assent and offered to aid in
every way possible. They suggested that a study be made of the
society in the period of the Renaissance; and in order to facilitate
the work, Monsieur Frangois de Gelis, historiographer of the Floral
Games, proffered the loan of a manuscript copy of the Livre Rouge,
the secretary's record from 1513-1641.

In the summer of 1920, I came to Columbia University and
began an intensive investigation of the Floral Games. Since certain
features of the history of this society in the period of the Renais-
sance had already been presented by M. de Gelis in his scholarly
Historic critique des Jeux Floraux (1912), I felt that my efforts
should be confined in the main to supplementing his work. For this

viii Preface

reason, after giving a brief survey of its earlier history, I have
attempted to deal with the transformation of the mediaeval society
into the College of the Art and Science of Rhetoric at the beginning
of the sixteenth century, and to point out the strong influence of the
Rhetoricians of the north on the reorganized body, as well as the
influence later of the general ideas of the Renaissance and of the
Pleiade. In treating the poets, I have endeavored to show the nature
in general of their poetry, and have selected for fuller study certain
of the contemporaries of the Pleiade poets. The influence of Du
Bellay and Ronsard was felt very early at Toulouse, but it was not
until the seventeenth century that the substance and spirit of the
poems for which prizes were awarded underwent strongly the influ-
ence of the Pleiade. Although the poems for which prizes were
awarded were composed very largely throughout the sixteenth cen-
tury according to tradition and the conventions imposed by the
society, many of the poets became successful followers of the
Pleiade, and among them perhaps the most elegant imitator was
Pierre de Brach, of Bordeaux, contemporary and friend of Mon-
taigne. Several poets of wide reputation, who made distinctly valu-
able contributions to the poetry of France in the sixteenth century,
began their poetic careers at Toulouse, and are to be counted as
direct products of the influence of the Floral Games. Robert Gar-
nier, the dramatist, was twice a winner of floral prizes and published
his first volume of poetry while a student at Toulouse. Du Bartas
was a student in the university and won a prize in the Floral Games ;
it is probable that he composed his Judith at Toulouse. Guy du
Faur, sieur de Pibrac, author of the Quatrains, while he never con-
tested for a prize, was a Mainteneur of the Floral Games, and
underwent the influence of his Toulouse environment. While for
the most part only a follower, Brach contributed to the poetic ideas
of his times by composing a series of sonnets as a vehicle for satire.
Throughout the century a large proportion of the competing poets
of the Floral Games were students of the university, who after their
departure from Toulouse, doubtless spread abroad throughout
France the interest in poetry which they had acquired. I believe
that I am the first to develop the connection between the Rhetori-
cians and the Floral Games, to point out that the influence of the

Preface ix

Pleiade was felt at Toulouse as early as 1551, and to indicate that
Guillaume Saluste, who won a prize in 1565, is to be identified as
Du Bartas, the celebrated author of La Semaine.

Although my first intention was to study the Floral Games
only, I perceived while perusing the pages of the Lvure Rouge that
many of the young poets were students in the university. As a
result of the interest stimulated by this discovery, I have devoted
Part II of my study to university and student life at Toulouse in
the sixteenth century. After a preliminary sketch of the founding
of the university and its history during the mediaeval period, I have
attempted in broad outline to picture university life in the sixteenth
century, portraying especially the intellectual and political struggles
of the first half of the century, particularly of the decade from 1530
to 1540, the clashes between the humanists and reactionaries, the
earlier phases of the Reformation, the bitter rivalry for precedence
on the part of the capitouls, the seneschalty and the parlement; the
struggles of the prof essors and students to retain their ancient privi-
leges; the reorganization of the student fraternities or "nations,"
and the role played by them in the stirring drama of the Renais-
sance. In dealing with the second half of the century, I have
attempted to outline the course of events leading up to the Protestant
Conspiracy of 1562, and finally to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.
In both of these tragic events the students had a conspicuous part,
especially in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, which, at Toulouse,
was in the main conducted by students. Many names celebrated
in French literature and history are connected with Toulouse in the
sixteenth century, among them Jean de Pins, Guillaume Bude,
Michel de 1'Hospital, fitienne Dolet, Jean Voulte, fitienne Pasquier,
de Thou, Henri de Mesmes, Jean de Boysson, Cujas, Rabelais,
Margaret of Navarre, Jean de Coras, Arnauld Ferrier, and many

While investigating university and student life, I naturally
became interested in fitienne Dolet, who was a student of law at
Toulouse from 1532 to 1534, and in the latter year a contestant
in the Floral Games. After reading the works of the several
biographers of Dolet, I was aware that his career at Toulouse had
not been clearly understood and it was evident that confusion existed

x Preface

as to the proper sequence of events narrated concerning him. For
this reason I have devoted Part III to a fresh study of that part of
his life. I have attempted to arrange the events of his career in
their natural and logical sequence, and to give to the material a new
interpretation. While I am offering no new facts concerning Dolet
himself, I have introduced new material relating to the life at
Toulouse during the period of his stay there, and have been able to
show clearly the reasons for his final expulsion from Toulouse and
the bearing that his life there had on his after career. I have also
shown very conclusively why Dolet did not win a prize in the Floral
Games in the contest which he entered at the annual meeting of
May, 1534, presenting to the judges ten Latin poems. During the
earlier period of this literary society, known as the period of the
Gay Science, one of the inviolable rules governing the contests had
been that the poems for which prizes were to be awarded should be
written in langue d'oc, the language native to Toulouse. When the
Gay Science was transformed into the College of the Art and
Science of Rhetoric, at the beginning of the sixteenth century,
French was substituted for the native tongue as the language in
which the competing poets should compose their works. Every
winning poem transcribed on the pages of the Livre Rouge is in
French. However superior Dolet's Latin poems may have been,
he could not win a prize because he did not conform to one of the
most important rules laid down for the guidance of the aspiring
poets. Dolet's bitterness towards Gracien du Pont, lieutenant of
the seneschalty, is to be explained in part by the fact that Gracien
du Pont was a mainteneur of the Floral Games, and therefore one
of the judges of the contest. Dolet entered the faculty of law at
Toulouse in 1532. As a freshman or bejaune he underwent the
usual period of probation, at the end of which he was "purged of
infection " and became a fully recognized student or " antique." He
was at once elected as "orator" of the student fraternity or
"Nation" of France, delivering, in October, 1533, the "oration"
on behalf of his "nation" at the first general assembly of the
"nations" in the Estudes. Upon this occasion he clashed with
Pierre Pinache, "orator" of the Gascon nation. In January, 1534,
Dolet was elected head or Prior of the Nation of France. His

Preface xi

election was followed, probably a week after on the occasion of his
"Triomphe," by a second "oration," in which he dealt unsparingly
with his enemy, Pierre Pinache, and the Gascons. One of the first
qualifications demanded of a Prior was that he should be able to
manipulate skilfully the two-handed sword and to defend his fellow
"nationnaires" against all comers. That the students at Toulouse
were adepts in wielding the sword is noted by Rabelais in his book.
In 1531 the parlement had passed a decree abolishing the "nations,"
but the fraternities had failed to disband. In the spring of 1534
efforts were made to disperse the " nations " by arresting the ring-
leaders. The arrests were made early in April by order of Gracien
du Pont, lieutenant of the seneschalty. Pinache was in part at least
responsible for Dolet's arrest. Upon the intervention of Jean de
Boysson, professor of law, and Jean de Pins, bishop of Rieux, Dolet
was released, by order of the parlement. He entered the contest of
the Floral Games in May and failed to win a prize. Humiliated at
his arrest and chagrined over his failure in the Floral Games, he
turned the shafts of his pen against Gracien du Pont, who a few
months previously had published a scurrilous book on women. Pur-
sued by his enemies. Dolet fled to the country where he remained in
hiding until the close of the university session in June, when a
decree of expulsion was passed against him. Accompanied by
Simon Finet, he made his way on foot to Lyons, where some time
later he had an encounter with an artist by the name of Compaing
and killed his adversary with a sword. The death of Compaing led
to Dolet's imprisonment in Lyons and his final execution at the stake
in the Place Maubert at Paris. In depicting Dolet's career at Tou-
louse, I have endeavored to portray the general situation of the
times both in the university and the town and to point out their in-
fluence upon the fortunes of the young humanist. The scholastic
session of 1533-34 was one of the most turbulent in the history of
the university, caused by the shifting intellectual and political inter-
ests of the earlier renaissance. The struggles between the humanists
and reactionaries had become more acute owing to the visit of King
Francis I to Toulouse in August, 1533. The hostility between
Dolet and Pinache was due partly because they were " orators " of
rival " nations," in part to the strong sectional feeling existing be-

xii Preface

tween the students of the north and the south, and also to the fact
that as a "Grammarian" Pinache was opposed to the humanists, of
whom Dolet was one of the most aggressive leaders. Two of
Dolet's most bitter enemies were Pinache and a certain Maurus,
both of whom were Grammarians. At the founding of the Uni-
versity of Toulouse in 1229, a provision had been made that two
of the teachers should be professors of grammar. A separate
faculty of grammar arose. Grammar was the "art of explaining
poets and historians, the art of correct speaking and writing," and
included the study of Donatus and Priscian, together with many of
the foremost classical authors. By the end of the middle ages, the
study of grammar had become vitiated, and the reading of the
ancient authors came to be confined to the elementary reading books
Cato, Aesopus and Avianus. The Cato was a collection of maxims
and proverbs. The other two, as is obvious, were collections of
fables. The Grammarians had a monopoly of teaching the classics
at Toulouse. It is readily seen that there would be bitter enmity
between these representatives of the perverted study of the classics,
and the humanists, who stood for the restoration of the study of
the best classical authors. In the fall of 1533 the struggles of both
professors and students to defend their privileges became acute, the
former to preserve their ancient right of exemption from taxation,
the latter to retain their " nations." The troubles of the professors
came to a crisis in November when they declared a " cessatio " or
strike, refusing for a time to deliver their lectures. Student affairs
culminated the following spring in the arrest of the leaders of the
" nations." The efforts of the capitouls or aldermen to cling to their
ancient authority and the struggle of the seneschalty against the
growing power of the parlement were a disturbing element and had
their influence both on the life of the university and also on the
Floral Games, as is shown by the pages of the Livre Rouge. In the
beginning, the discipline of the students had been intrusted by the
Pope to his representatives at Toulouse. With the growth in
authority of the king of France, the students had gradually come
under the direct control of the seneschal and his officers. Dating
from the third quarter of the fifteenth century, the parlement had
begun to have a hand in the discipline of the students, and that its

Preface xiii

authority had become very strong in the period under discussion is
evidenced by the increasing number of decrees passed by the parle-
ment regulating student life. The struggle for precedence at Tou-
louse between the seneschalty and the parlement increased in bitter-
ness until the middle of the sixteenth century, when the latter gained
a footing in the Palais de Justice. From that moment the prestige
and authority of the seneschalty steadily declined. Dolet had been
arrested by the officers of the seneschalty and set free by the parle-
ment. While his attacks on Gracien du Pont doubtless had some
influence on his flight and expulsion, the main explanation of his
misfortune is to be found in the rivalry between these two bodies.
His expulsion put him under a cloud, and it was the skill he had
acquired at Toulouse in the use of the sword which enabled him
later to kill his adversary, Compaing. Thus I have attempted to
point out the direct bearing of Dolet's student life upon his mar-
tyrdom and to show that his career as a humanist was only in part
responsible for his tragic fate. The charge of heresy served merely
as a pretext to procure his execution.

Part I of this study, dealing with the Floral Games, has been ac-
cepted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of
doctor of philosophy in Columbia University. Owing to the exces-
sive cost of printing which prevails at present, I have limited this
publication to Part I, but expect later to publish the work in its
entirety. In addition, I am expecting to make a study of the Floral
Games in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In writing this book I have had the advice and assistance of
Professors J. L. Gerig and H. A. Todd, who have specialized in the
fields represented in the work of investigation. Professor Gerig's
broad knowledge of the sixteenth century and Professor Todd's
rare scholarship in Provengal language and literature have been of
inestimable value to me in the preparation of the work. Professor
Raymond Weeks, a specialist in Old and Modern French literature,
has offered valuable suggestions, and has furnished me with several
notes. He carefully scrutinized each chapter in manuscript. To
all of these professors I wish to acknowledge a deep debt of grati-
tude. They have been unusually sympathetic and have given me
every encouragement in the prosecution of the task. I am espe-

xiv Preface

cially grateful to Professor Anglade and to M. de Gelis, as well as
to the other Mainteneurs of the Floral Games. Miss I. G. Mudge,
reference librarian of the Columbia University Library, deserves
thanks for her untiring interest in the progress of the work, and
has been of great assistance in the assembling of books bearing on
the subjects of the several chapters.

Columbia University,
May, 1921.


(Les Jeux Floraux.}

FOUNDED three hundred years before the French Academy, the
society of the Floral Games of Toulouse is the oldest of the
modern academies of France, forming a connecting link with the
middle ages and the Troubadours. The purpose of the founders of
this literary association, which in the beginning was known as the
Gay Science, was to foster lyric poetry, in the native language,
the langue d'oc or Provengal (in its later development called some-
what infelicitously by Raynouard and his followers the langue
rontane). The old Provengal Poetry had reached its height in
the twelfth century, and the decline of the Troubadours and their
poetry came early in the thirteenth century with the crusade against
the Albigenses, when the Troubadours were scattered far and wide,
the nobility wiped out or ruined, and the splendid civilization of
south France broken up. However, the poetic tradition lingered,
and the popularity of poetry and its appeal to all classes of people
was still very strong in the fourteenth century. 1 Before its decline,
the Troubadour poetry had been essentially aristocratic, intended

1 Guilhem Molinier, in announcing to the public of his day the " promul-
gation " of the Leys d' Amors (Laws of Poetry; the poet was known as the
Fin Amanf), a combined "Rhetoric" and "Art of Poetry," or code of laws,
drawn up for the guidance of young poets of the Floral Games, sent out a letter
in verse, which is evidence of the wide appeal which poetry still possessed in
the fourteenth century:

" Als excellens e redoptatz

Reys, princeps, dux, marques e comtes,

Dalfis, admiratz e vescomtes,

Doctors, maestres, cavayers,

Licentiatz e bacheliers,

Baros, nautz, justiciers, borgues,

Aptes escudiers e cortes,

Avinens mercadiers e gays,

Francs menestrals sobtils. . . ."

Las Leys d' Amors (tome i, p. 39),
edited by Joseph Anglade, Toulouse, Privat, 1919.


2 Toulouse 'in the Renaissance

for the nobility and for the courts, appealing to the middle classes
but rarely, and to the common people not at all. 2 Distinctly a
product of the feudal society of southern France, the Troubadour
poetry was produced for the entertainment of the nobles in manor-
house and chateau. The nobles themselves, even kings and princes,
pursued the art of poetry and became patrons and protectors of the
Troubadours. With the passing of the poets, the last princely pro-
tectors of the Troubadours had disappeared. It is significant that
only one of the seven founders of the Gay Science (Gay a Sciensa)
was of the nobility. 8 With one exception these men belonged to the
bonne bourgeoisie of the times. The rise of the middle class dates
from the thirteenth century. While the influence of the impover-
ished nobility was waning, the bourgeoisie, engaging in successful
trade and commercial enterprises, became enriched, and its influence
increased in proportion to its economic independence. Along with
the acquisition of wealth came the temptation to imitate the nobility
by becoming protectors of poetry ; and while the term " Trouba-
dour," as applied to themselves by the seven founders of the Gay
Science, may not be strictly correct, they were at any rate the patrons
and protectors of the Troubadours and the mainteneurs of the beau
langage rowan. 4 So far as is known, only one of the Seven was a
poet, the dantoiseau Bernard de Panassac, two of whose poems have
survived, one addressed to the Virgin, the other a profane chanson. 5
In response to the appeal of the VII Troubadours, poets from
various places assembled in Toulouse, bringing with them their
poems. They were " right honorably " received by the VII Trouba-
dours and the capitouls or aldermen of the city. The exercises occu-

1 H. J. Chaytor : The Troubadours, p. 10. Cambridge University Press, 1912.

3 The only noble among the founders of the Floral Games was Bernard de
Panassac, seigneur of Arrouede, who was a routier (brigand) of the most
dangerous type. About the beginning of the year 1336, he was accused of having
contributed, along with other Gascon lords, to the assassination of Geraud
d'Aguin, dantoiseau. Panassac's chateau of Arrouede srved as a refuge for
murderers who had been banished, not only from the seneschalty of Toulouse,
but from the whole kingdom of France.

4 F. de Gelis : Histoire critique des Jeux Floraux, Toulouse, Privat, 1912,
P- 13-

Joseph Anglade: Les Origines du Gai Savoir, Recueil de I'Academie des
Jeux Floraux, 1919, p. 183. Also, his edition of the Leys d'Amors, Toulouse,
Privat, 1920, t. iv, p. 19.

The Floral Games of Toulouse 3

pied three days, and on the last day, May 3, 1324, the prize, a
Golden Violet ( Violeta del aur) , was awarded to the poet Arnaud
Vidal, of Castelnaudary, for a chanson in honor of the Virgin :

Mayres de Dieu, verges pura,
Vas vos me vir de cor pur,
Ab esperanza segura, etc.*

During the mediaeval period, the society of the Floral Games
was known as the Consistory of the Gay Science (Gaya Sciensa:
otherwise called Gay Saber). Early in the sixteenth century the
Consistory became the College of Rhetoric (College de I' Art et Sci-
ence de Rhetorique) , and French took the place of the langue d'oc as
the language of the competing poets. In 1694, letters patent granted
by the King, Louis XIV, converted the society into an institution of
state under the name of " Academy of the Floral Games of Tou-
louse " (Acadcmie des Jeux Floraux}. Since the end of the fif-
teenth century the society had been popularly known under the title
Jeux Floraux? apparently an effect of the influence of the Renais-
sance a reminiscence of the ancient Floral Games at Rome.


On Tuesday after All Saints' Day of the year 1323, the " right
gay company of the VII Troubadours of Toulouse," as they had
styled themselves,

La Sobregaya Companhia
Dels .VII. Trobadors de Tolosa,

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

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