Monday, 25 August 2014

Poitiers, France (Part Two).


Text and Illustrations from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.



The Church of Notre-Dame La Grande,
Poitiers, France.
Photo: 3 October 2007.
Source: Own work.
Author: Gibert Bochenek, Gilbertus
(Wikimedia Commons)



Français: Retable baroque de la chapelle des jésuites de Poitiers, au collège Henri IV.
Tableau de Louis Finson, statues de Gervais de la Barre.
English: Baroque Retable (Framed Altarpiece) in the Chapel of the Jesuits of Poitiers,
at the Henry IV College, Poitiers, France.
Photo: 2 October 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: Danielclauzier.
(Wikimedia Commons)


In 1569, Poitiers was defended by Gui de Daillon, Comte du Lude, against Gaspard de Coligny, who, after an unsuccessful bombardment, and seven weeks, retired from a siege he had laid to the town.

The type of political organisation existing in Poitiers, during the Late-Medieval or Early-Modern period, can be glimpsed through a speech given on 14 July 1595, by Maurice Roatin, the town's Mayor. He compared it to the Roman State, which combined three types of government: Monarchy (rule by one person); Aristocracy (rule by a few); and Democracy (rule by the many).

He said the Roman Consulate corresponded to Poitiers' Mayor, the Roman Senate to the town's Peers and échevins, and the Democratic element in Rome corresponded to the fact that most important matters "can not be decided except by the advice of the Mois et Cent" (Broad Council).

The Mayor appears to have been an advocate of a mixed Constitution; not all Frenchmen in 1595 would have agreed with him, at least in public; many spoke in favour of Absolute Monarchy. The Democratic element was not as strong as the Mayor's words may seem to imply: In fact, Poitiers was similar to other French Cities, Paris, Nantes, Marseille, Limoges, La Rochelle, Dijon, in that the town's governing body (corps de ville) was "highly exclusive and oligarchical": A small number of professional and family groups controlled most of the City Offices. In Poitiers, many of these positions were granted for the lifetime of the Office Holder.



Français: Vue panoramique de la nef de la cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Poitiers.
English: The Nave, Poitiers Cathedral,
Poitiers, France.
Photo: 9 April 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: TCJ.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The City Government, in Poitiers, based its claims to legitimacy on the theory of government, where the Mayor and échevins held jurisdiction of the City's affairs in fief from the King: That is, they swore allegiance and promised support for him, and, in return, he granted them Local Authority. This gave them the advantage of being able to claim that any townsperson, who challenged their authority, was being disloyal to the King.

Every year, the Mayor and the twenty-four échevins would swear an Oath of Allegiance "between the hands" of the King or his representative, usually the Lieutenant-Général or the sénéchaussée. For example, in 1567, when Maixent Poitevin was Mayor, King Henry III of France came for a visit, and, although some townspeople grumbled about the licentious behaviour of his entourage, Henry smoothed things over with a warm speech acknowledging their allegiance and thanking them for it.

In this era, the Mayor of Poitiers was preceded by Sergeants, wherever he went, consulted Deliberative Bodies, carried out their decisions, "heard Civil and Criminal Suits in first instance", tried to ensure that the food supply would be adequate, visited markets.



Français: Poitiers Cathédrale (Saint Pierre).
English: Saint Peter's Cathedral,
Poitiers, France.
Photo: July 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: Ganeshub.
(Wikimedia Commons)


In the 16th-Century, Poitiers impressed visitors because of its large size and important features, including "Royal Courts, University, prolific printing shops, wealthy Religious Institutions, Cathedral, numerous Parishes, markets, impressive domestic architecture, extensive fortifications, and Castle."

16th-Century Poitiers is closely associated with the life of François Rabelais and with the Community of Bitards.

In the 17th-Century, the town saw less activity during the Renaissance. Few changes were made in the urban landscape, except for laying way for the rue de la Tranchée. Bridges were built, where the inhabitants had used gués (fords). A few hôtels particuliers were built at that time, such as the hôtels Jean Baucé, Fumé and Berthelot. Poets Joachim du Bellay and Pierre Ronsard met at the University of Poitiers, before leaving for Paris.

During the 17th-Century, many people emigrated from Poitiers and the Poitou to the French settlements in the New World, and, thus, many Acadians or Cajuns, living in North America, today, can trace ancestry back to this region.



Français: Bourdon de la tour nord de la cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Poitiers.
English: The Bell-Tower, Poitiers Cathedral, Poitiers, France.
[Note: The Bourdon is the heaviest of the Bells that belong to a musical instrument,
especially a Chime or a Carillon, and produces its lowest tone.]
Photo: 28 January 2014.
Source: Own work.
Author: Danielclauzier.
(Wikimedia Commons)


During the 18th-Century, the town's activity mainly depended on its administrative functions as a Regional Centre. Poitiers served as the Seat for the Regional Administration of Royal Justice, the évêché, the Monasteries and the intendance of the Généralité du Poitou.

The Vicomte de Blossac, intendant of Poitou from 1750 to 1784, had a French garden landscaped in Poitiers. He also had Aliénor d'Aquitaine's ancient wall razed and modern boulevards were built in its place.

During the 19th-Century, many Army Bases were built in Poitiers, because of its central and strategic location. Poitiers became a Garrison Town, despite its distance from France's borders.


PART THREE FOLLOWS.


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