Civil wars and aristocratic propaganda in France and Moldavia during the sixteenth century: a comparative approach


Project abstract 

This project approaches a topic at the border between political history and cultural history: namely, the problem of political propaganda carried out by aristocratic factions within a civil war context, exploring its forms, the circumstances it manifested itself, the motivations of the main authors and beneficiaries, and the doctrines this propaganda gave voice to. The outbreak of a civil war was always accompanied by attempts at justification, found in the propaganda of the parts in conflict, and this propaganda provides a revealing picture of an epoch’s political culture. The aristocracy was, almost always, the leading element (and the most visible) in the civil wars from the chosen period, but, culturally attached to a political model which valued first and foremost the preservation of existing order, was also the most eager to justify its disruptive actions.
The chosen period, the sixteenth century, is one where political propaganda becomes particularly active, due to the printing press making possible the spread of ideas at an unprecedented scale. But the sixteenth century is also the period when the most profound religious shift in European history, the Reformation, takes place, which stimulated a radical reexamination of existing traditions, with a deeply transformative effect upon European political theories.
The chosen geographical area is France, which had been the scene, between 1562 and 1598 of one of the most violent religious civil wars of that era, and Moldavia, which did not go through similar religious struggles, but where we witness a powerful deterioration of the political stability, especially after 1538.


The objective of the project is to provide a historical and doctrinal perspective on one of the primary sources most neglected in the history of sixteenth-century French political thought, that of the aristocratic manifestos, proclamations and letters as vehicles of ideology. The study of these sources will complement the existing historiography on the political literature and popular propaganda during the French Wars of Religion and will lead to the emergence of a more complete picture of the ideological struggles and of the circulation of ideas during the respective period. The project will also make original contributions to the study of conflict and ideology in sixteenth-century Moldavia by breaking new theoretical and methodological ground, through a comparative analysis of the continental dimension of sixteenth-century civil war and the intercultural nature of Christian political thought.

The Project team

  • CS III dr. Andrei Constantin SĂLĂVĂSTRU [Project manager]
  • Lect. dr. Ioan-Augustin GURIȚĂ
  • CS III dr. Sorin GRIGORUȚĂ

Dissemination of scientific results:

► Scientific articles

1. Sacred Covenant and Huguenot Ideology of Resistance: The Biblical Image of the Contractual Monarchy in Vindiciae, Contra Tyrannos (, Religions | Free Full-Text |

► Conferences and scientific events

1. Salavastru Andrei Constantin, „The Doctrine of Lawful Rebellion in the Princely Proclamations of the French Wars of Religion”, The Renaissance Society of America Virtual 2021, 13-15 aprilie, 20-22 aprilie 2021 (online event).
2. Salavastru Andrei Constantin, „Calvinist Notions of Resistance and Huguenot Noble Propaganda during the First Decade of the French Wars of Religion”, Tenth Annual Reforc Conference on Early Modern Christianity 6-8 May 2021 (hybrid event)

Funding authority: Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) (


Project code: PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2019-0499

Contract nr.  TE 57/2020

Time frame: 15.09.2020 – 14.09.2022

Approved budget: 389.900,00 lei

Project Manager: CS III dr. Andrei Constantin SĂLĂVĂSTRU