The city of Romans, in what was once the province of Dauphine in southern France, was the scene each year of a colourful and animated Mardi gras carnival. In 1580, however, the winter festivities degenerated into a bloody ambush. While costumed ...
craftsmen and peasants mimed and danced their uprising in the streets, and notables and bourgeoisie hurried from banquets to balls in their ostentatious finery, Jean Serve-Paumier, master craftsman, draper, and leader of the popular party was assassinated and his friends and supporters beaten and pursued by the hired mob of Judge Antoine Guerin, leader of the most reactionary and inflexible part of the ruling party. More than a cruel incident, this particular Carnival night marked the intersection of an urban movement and even larger rural stirrings. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie marshals a wealth of evidence and reveals the town of Romans as a microcosm of the political and religious antagonisms that were tearing through 16th-century France. First published in 1979.