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'And Ye Shall Hear Of Wars And Rumours Of Wars'. Rumour And The Revolt Of The Netherlands

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the theme of ‘rumour’ in three big cities, Antwerp, Ghent and Amsterdam, in the western commercial and urbanized ‘core-provinces’ during the first dozen years of the Revolt of the Netherlands. The main sources, partly overlapping in time, are Wouter Jacobsz’s diary (Amsterdam 1572–78) and two of the greatest chronicles of the Revolt, those by Godevaert van Haecht (Antwerp 1565–74) and Marcus van Vaernewijck (Ghent 1566–68). Reading Wouter’s diary is like being plunged into an oral world. The text makes it abundantly clear that ordinary people in Amsterdam, clerical or lay, who wished to be informed about the war had to rely almost completely on hearsay. Van Vaernewijck writes about an incident in Antwerp he regarded a ‘downright lie’; he nonetheless relates it so as to expose the vile mentality of those who had spread the rumour.

Keywords: Amsterdam; Antwerp; Ghent; Netherlands; Wouter Jacobsz



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