Dynasty and Piety – a presentation event at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp

Last month the curator of the Rubenshuis in Antwerp generously allowed Luc Duerloo to use the workshop of the painter as the venue for a presentation event for his new book Dynasty and Piety: Archduke Albert (1598-1621) and Habsburg Political Culture in an Age of Religious Wars. Professor Geoffrey Parker introduced the book to the audience, and then there was time for a glass of bubbly!

Dynasty and Piety is the outcome of more than a decade of research by the author. Through an investigation of Albert’s reign, the book offers a new and fuller understanding of international events of the time, and the Habsburg role in them.

Drawing on a wide range of archival and visual material, the resulting study of Habsburg political culture demonstrates the large degree of autonomy enjoyed by the archducal regime, which allowed Albert and his entourage to exert a decisive influence on several crucial events: preparing the ground for the Anglo-Spanish peace of 1604 by the immediate recognition of King James, clearing the way for the Twelve Years’ Truce by conditionally accepting the independence of the United Provinces, reasserting Habsburg influence in the Rhineland by the armed intervention of 1614 and devising the terms of the Oñate Treaty of 1617. In doing so the book shows how they sought to initiate a realistic policy of consolidation benefiting the Spanish Monarchy and the House of Habsburg.

Whilst previous work on the subject has tended to concentrate on either the relationship between Spain and the Netherlands or between Spain and the Empire, this book offers a far deeper and much more nuanced insight in how the House of Habsburg functioned as a dynasty during these critical years of increasing religious tensions. Based on extensive research in the archives left by the archducal regime and its diplomatic partners or rivals, it bridges the gap between the reigns of Philip II and Philip IV and puts research into the period onto a fascinating new basis.

About the Author: Luc Duerloo is professor of early modern political history at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. He has published on the Habsburgs, the politics of piety and the Belgian nobility.

The picture shows Geoffrey Parker (seated), with Count John de Marnix de Sainte Aldegonde and Luc Duerloo, just before the event took place.

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