Talk:Catherine de' Medici

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Catherine de' Medici is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on October 7, 2009.
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March 31, 2008Peer reviewReviewed
April 14, 2008Featured article candidatePromoted
Current status: Featured article

Biography assessment rating commentEdit

WikiProject Biography Assessment

Basically a B class, needs an infobox and more references.

The article may be improved by following the WikiProject Biography 11 easy steps to producing at least a B article. -- Yamara 15:04, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Basically a Start Class. A good effort, but contains many historical inaccuracies or unsupported statements. Greater need of reliable sources. Why so much reliance on the Frieda biography? Frieda is not a professional historian, and her book, albeit popular is frankly little more reliable than Dumas. Nicholas.

```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nicholas515 (talkcontribs) 01:36, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

I have to agree that this reads well but the sourcing seems poor and popular rather than based on scholarly work. And I can't find the primary reference to Frieda (who does seem like the wrong book to be using? Surely there are better?) in the article. Actio (talk) 17:54, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

one thing missingEdit

I just want to say: incredible work on this subject. Im pretty sure this is the most detailed biography of all wikipedia biographies. I noticed one thing was missing - cultural depictions of Catherine De Medici. Was she part of any fiction? novels? films? etc. Would like to know that. (talk) 12:24, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Constantly! --PL (talk) 15:28, 7 June 2009 (UTC)


Just to weigh in on behalf of the Italians, I don't see why anyone other than the French should put an "s" at the end of her name. Her family name was Medici - one of the most famous and respected family names in Italian and world history. The prefix "de'" (an abbreviation for "dei") translates in English to "of the." She was literally "Catherine of the Medici" - In Italian "Caterina de' Medici." I understand that since this is the English language Wikipedia, we say Catherine instead of Caterina, but the last name should remain unchanged. Certainly, it makes sense to mention the French spelling and pronunciation in the article, since she was the Queen of France for many years, but to generally refer to her in this way is confusing and breaks the continuity with the rest of her famous family. It is true that there are many repetitions of first names in the Medici family tree, which can make historical analysis confusing. I agree that "Caterina Di Lorenzo de' Medici" is complex and not very practical. Her father's name was indeed Lorenzo, however, the more famous Lorenzo in her family was her great grandfather Lorenzo "Il Magnifico" (the magnificent.) Italians often use such "nicknames" to distinguish between members of the Medici family (and other historical figures). For example, the eldest Cosimo in the Medici family tree is referred to as Cosimo "Il Vecchio" (the elder), to differentiate him from later Cosimo's. Lorenzo "Il Magnifico" had a father Piero, who was known as "Il Gottoso," or "The gouty" because of his health problems. This differentiates him from Lorenzo's "the magnificent's" son Piero di Lorenzo. You can see how this can get really complicated after a while, with so many repeated names and nicknames (and various foreign spellings and pronunciations.) I think somewhere on Wikipedia there should be a Medici family tree with all of these names and the nicknames as well, but for individuals such as Catherine who stand out in their own right historically, I don't think there is any reason to complicate things. In the English speaking world, she's known and should remain known as Catherine de'Medici.

DonatelloNYC (talk) 03:07, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Original text from 1911 encyclopedia. Has been copyeditited, wikified, and revised somewhat for NPOV. It still needs a thorough review by someone with a background in the modern study of history. -- April

Any reason why the page title and article subject disagree in the final "s"? -- Tarquin

I don't know where that came from; but i fixed it. --mav
It definitely has an "s" in French. -- t
Ah. Well then its not so bad to have that transliteration in the text then -- although the family name itself is still Italian, no? --mav

Montrealais, do you really want to include regents as successors to monarchs? France has had female regents, but never a queen regnant. -- Someone else 04:03 Nov 17, 2002 (UTC)

By Wikipedia naming conventions, an article should be named by the most widely used name in the English language. "Catherine de' Medici" has about 8,000 hits on Google. "Caterina Di Lorenzo de' Medici" has no hits at all. I think this page (and the other Medicis) should be moved back to their English names. -- JeLuF 21:05, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)

See Talk:Lorenzo de' Medici and Talk:Medicis for some background to what's going on.

The problem is that due to reuse of first names, the family has: 2 Alesandro's, 5 Cosimo's, 3 Ferdinandinos, 6 Giovannis, 2 Giulianos, 2 Giulios, 5 Lorenzos, 2 Pieros, etc, etc. You get the idea. Over a third of these deserve pages, and as I started to add them, I started running into name conflicts when we were just calling them "X de' Medici".

I can see (and sympathize) your point about "Catherine de' Medici", but then instead of having one simple rule for almost all the Medici pages (which is that the page is under their full correct names, with redirects - which will become disambiguations in some cases - from the shorter names), we'd have all sorts of confusion.

Since any reference to "Catherine de' Medici" does wind up on the correct page, as do attempts to look her up, the fact that her data is under a name which is not the most common form seems to me a lesser evil that having all sorts of inconsistent namings for the pages of the family members. YMMV, but I don't think my changes are completely without reason.

Noel 21:57, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable. Will sleep about whether I like it ;-) -- JeLuF 22:18, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Thanks, appreciate it. BTW, I listed her name (at the top of her page) as "Caterina de' Medici, (French: Catherine de Médicis) (English: Catherine de' Medici)", putting her actual given name first, and then the variants in other languages. If you feel it would be more appropriate to invert that into "Catherine de' Medici, (Italian: Caterina de' Medici), (French: Catherine de Médicis)", I have no problem with that - there, I was just guessing as to what would be most appropriate, but the WikiNaming rule you point out might make sense there. Noel 22:40, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)

This page name is totally wrong! Nobody on the planet calls Catherine "Caterina di Lorenzo de' Medici." That is 1) Not used See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) 2) not in English, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English). I'm changing this page back


Well, I'm not going to get into a big fight over it. If other people want to know why Medici pages are named inconsistently, you can explain it to them.

I'll note that Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) does say "that does not conflict with the names of other people or things", and the short forms of many of the Medici names *do* conflict, which is what started all this.

I'll further note that the Medici page has her as "Caterina de' Medici", not "Catherine de' Medici", and *I* am not the person who did that.

Noel 23:48, 14 Aug 2003 (UTC)

The de' is difficult in all ways, mostly because of that little '

This is English wikipedia, thus English should be used. As she lived both in Italy and in France, thus the de' and de are basically both correct, but impossible to combine, it could be "of". I vote for Catherine of Medici. 07:01, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Ever since the time when she moved to France, she has always been called 'Catherine de Médicis' (pronounced 'Medi-cease'), and countless sites and institutions are so named and pronounced to this day. People asking in France for them under the name 'Catherine de' Medici' will simply not be understood! Please note also that her husband is referred to in the article under his French name 'Henri'. Consistency, please! --PL 08:25, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

DonatelloNYC (talk) 03:24, 31 January 2008 (UTC) If I might interrupt here - Catherine was famous as a member of the Medici family BEFORE she moved to France (bringing her court's Italian culinary skills with her). Users of Wikipedia in English are not "people asking in France" - we are English speakers who search for the names that we know. I do agree though regarding "Henri." It is important to be consistent. DonatelloNYC (talk) 03:24, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Some users of Wikipedia in English do actually visit France sometimes, you know -- and they need to be able to pronounce the name properly, since it's everywhere! Anyway, the article as it stands now does seem to get it all in perspective. --PL (talk) 10:10, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
If by 'Gallicised' you mean making the name look (and sound) French, I think you've got the pronounciation wrong. Spelt the way you suggest, and according to French pronounciation rules, it would be pronounced 'Medi-cee', with the emphasis on the last syllable and the final S not being heard. (English 'phonetics'.) LarRan 09:21, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
I assure you that 'Medi-cease' is the correct pronunciation. It you don't believe me, watch the French LCP channel on a Saturday night at 2100 local time during term time, when you will be regaled with an eminent literary discussion-programme entitled 'Bibliothèque Médicis' (pronounced 'Medi-cease'), which is televised from the Bibliothèque Médicis in Paris. I'm afraid that 'French pronunciation rules' don't always apply to proper names! --PL 14:59, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
But then, as far as 'French pronunciation rules' are concerned:
'bis' (= twice/Encore!) is pronounced 'beece'
'fils' (son) is pronounced 'feece'
'vis' (screw) is pronounced 'veece'
'lis' (lily) is pronounced 'leece'
'cis-' (on this side of) is pronounced 'cease' (or 'seize' before vowel) and (ahem)
'Médicis' is pronounced 'Medi-cease' (see any relevant dictionary, such as Harrap's Standard English and French Dictionary of 1934). --PL 08:57, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
We have to use one of the names she's called in English, which are "Catherine de' Medici" and "Catherine de Medici". The former is the title of the article and seems to me preferable. This is the style R. J. Knecht uses for his biography Catherine de' Medici, the best recent work I have come across on Catherine in English.
I'm slowly undertaking an improvement to this article and ironing out the Henry/Henri thing as I come to it. The best style, I think, is to use "Henry/Francis" for the major players and Henri/François for the lesser, according with Wikipedia article titles and most books in English. Contradiction is inevitable, and it exists in the scholarly sources also: the only way to achieve consistency would be to write all names in the French versions and change the names of hundreds of articles.qp10qp 09:36, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Why do we have to use one of the names she's called in English, which are "Catherine de' Medici" and "Catherine de Medici" -- when neither was her name at any time during her reign? As I have pointed out, 'de Médicis' was not just a different spelling, but a different name, and the only one by which she is known in France. Centuries of erroneous English references (including Britannica) shouldn't be informing the article. Have you bothered to refer to the French version of the article, every one of whose references is to 'Catherine de Médicis'? --PL 14:59, 22 August 2007 (UTC).
We have to use one of those names because those are the names she's called in the sources referenced. It would be original thought to use her name as it appears in French sources. Yes, of course, I have read the French version of the article (it was one of the first things I did); but it didn't occur to me to change her name in the English article as a result: why would it?qp10qp 18:40, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Or to paraphrase, we use the English-language names of things because this is the English-language Wikipedia; we don't ignore history and make up new names for things (people, places, whatever) or adopt foreign-language names when a standard English-language name is common, for a "best-of-all-possible-worlds" English Wikipedia, wherein everything is called what it "ought" to be called. For something with multiple names (or common misspellings) there need to be redirects for the less-preferred alternates.
And this issue is by no means unique to this article; if we start down the path of "fixing" names, then we would need to "fix" Erik the Red, Pliny the Elder, Julius Caesar, Jesus, MacBeth (the historical figure, not the play), Xerxes 1, etc., etc. Mangling foreign-language names has been a fine tradition for the last few millenia; while that's more or less stopped now, we're not going to reverse history here. Studerby 17:26, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Looking back at the above, it seems to me that Noel's solution might be the best one, combining as it does both source tradition and accuracy. --PL 08:57, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
It's still not clear to me why the "'" is used for the name of the page, but NOWHERE else in the article, even to explain the difference. This makes it look like an error. CFLeon (talk) 18:35, 23 February 2019 (UTC)


It is very unclear from this article who Catherine's children were and many of them aren't even mentioned (such as her first son, Francis II who was King of France). The Valois line of kings in the article seems to be the completely wrong timeframe as the last king listed is Charles VIII who died before Catherine was born.

I am going to add the box of Henry II's children from his article (they are Catherine's as well) and changing the Valois branch to the Valois-Angoulême branch list of Monarchs. Someone please correct me if there is a reason not to do this. -- Jdvelasc 22:07, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Maguerite de Valois and NostradamusEdit

I have removed the tendentious reference to Maguerite de Valois' Memoirs: they in fact contain only one sentence about the death of Henri II (quoted in translation in my edit review). Similarly the nonsense about Nostradamus: for June of 1559 (not '1555' -- sorry!) he had predicted only that 'France shall greatly grow, triumph, be magnified, and much more so its Monarch.' Quatrain I.35, often supposed to have predicted the death of the King (especially if mistranslated as per a few edits ago!), was not in fact linked to it for the first time in print until 1614, 55 years later! It is perfectly clear from their writings that neither Nostradamus nor his secretary, Chavigny, had any idea of the proposed link. Thus, I have removed the Nostradamus references as well, even though he certainly had links with the Queen (not mentioned in the article). Please see the relevant article. --PL (talk) 16:41, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

That's very helpful. If you see any other mistakes in the article (whether editors' fault or sources' fault), please could you remove them or mention them here. qp10qp (talk) 16:52, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
By the way, Nostradamus is now mentioned in a note—non credulously. qp10qp (talk) 00:04, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Making cutsEdit

I intend to cut the article down to a more reasonable length. Please don't be alarmed (I added the excess baggage myself in the first place): the material won't be wasted and will go into related articles, particularly those of the six kings (Francis I to Henry IV), in the future. qp10qp (talk) 17:03, 25 March 2008 (UTC) Bold text


The following links need a disambig:
blood feud
cardinal of lorraine
Randomblue (talk) 10:03, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

I fixed dauphin, blood feud, and Cardinal of Lorraine. Dauphine goes to the best page already, even though it is a disambiguation page of sorts, and I can't find any bare references to François. Yomanganitalk 10:30, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I replaced Catherine's birthtime which is accurate.The eleven o'clock birthtime is not correct. If you wish to remove it, go ahead, I wont make anymore reverts. By the way, that other editor was not a vandal. By the Gregorian calendar Catherine was born on 23 April 1519. Just as George Washington was born 11 February by the Old Style calendar but his birthday is celebrated on 22 February after Gregorian was finally adopted in Britain and the Colonies.jeanne (talk) 18:19, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry if I assumed vandalism, but, as I expect you know, there are constant sneaky changes to dates in articles by people who wish us harm. I have removed the date again because the source used contradicts it; as you know, if we change information without changing the source, we leave the new information referenced to the wrong source. It's the same with the birthtime information. On a broader point, most books do not get microscopic about date styles and exact birthtimes; my bigger reference here is the silent one: all the books that do not bother the reader with these things at all. In our much shorter article, it is all the more important that we don't overdo detail, which can break the rhythm of the prose. It is the same not only with with birthtimes and styles of dating, but with titles, ancestries, styles of address, etc. Some editors are determined that Wikipedia articles should contain ever more detailed information on such things, but to what end? qp10qp (talk) 23:23, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I do see your point, and you are correct about the 23 April birthdate. That was her actual rectified birthdate but as she was born when the Julian calendar was still firmly in use, her contemporary recorded birthdate was 13 April, so the article must state this, otherwise readers will become confused. Her exact birthtime would suffice for a 500 page biography but I can see how too much information becomes rather unwieldy for an encyclopedia article. Sorry if I intruded on the article, I just felt that Catherine was one of history's more important personages and impulsively added her birthtime. Thank you for your patience and explanation.jeanne (talk) 13:56, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
It's not that you intruded, because we are all writing this encyclopedia. But in a fully referenced article, new information needs referencing to scholarly sources and tying in with existing information and references. I don't agree about the need to explain date style discrepancies, since the sources used do not bother to do that but simply give the reconstituted date. qp10qp (talk) 14:15, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Are you sure? It seems to be historically much more normal to give actual dates as known at the time! --PL (talk) 15:48, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

British dating should be usedEdit

Since Catherine de Medici was European, I feel that the British system of dating should be employed in the article rather than the American. Does anyone agree with me ?--jeanne (talk) 06:22, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Wrong illustrationEdit

The so-called "Portrait of Catherine de Medici as a child, by an unknown artist" is not Catherine de Médicis (by the way, the dress and hair style are absolutely not the ones of Catherine's youth). It's a well known portrait of her daughter-in-law, Marie Stuart, Queen of Scots, duh. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

You're quite right. I don't know why someone added it. I'll remove it.qp10qp (talk) 22:12, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Wrong page # in footnote(s)Edit

Footnote # 26 claims that information regarding the doctor Jean Fernel and his advice can be found on page 68 of the Frieda book. This is incorrect. I have been able to access page 68 through googlebooks, and that page says nothing about doctor Fernel.

It is more likely that the information may appear on page 58, but I cannot see that page to confirm. A similar problem probably exists with footenote # 25, which cites page 67 of the same book. Ed8r (talk) 19:24, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

No, these page numbers are correct (I made the citations myself and have just checked them). I expect you are either looking at another edition with different pagination, or that the page numbers on Google Books are slightly out, as sometimes happens. qp10qp (talk) 01:54, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
But part of my point is that this information does not appear on the page with that number (not a google page, but the number "printed" as part of the page itself). Page 68 of the book shown by googlebooks is about Francis' death. Ed8r (talk) 23:36, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
OK, well in that case it must be a different edition. I promise you that the information I cited is on the pages given. I have a copy of the book. qp10qp (talk) 02:27, 21 August 2009 (UTC)Ed8r (talk) 15:25, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, thanks for confirming that.Ed8r (talk) 15:26, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

What is it for?Edit

What is the " ' " in " Catherine de' Medici"? There is no such thing in French (which is my native language). (talk) 23:00, 7 October 2009 (UTC) Vincent

It's Italian. Brutannica (talk) 01:43, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Ohhh! Thx. (talk) 21:19, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Catherine was a commoner?!Edit

According to the article:

...when in early 1531 Francis I of France proposed his second son, Henry, Duke of Orléans. Clement jumped at the offer. Henry was a prize catch for Catherine, who despite her wealth was a commoner.

Her father was a duke and her mother was a countess. How could she be a commoner?!

Top.Squark (talk) 17:59, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that it is her parentage that made her noble. I think she belonged to real nobility after succeeding to the County of Auvergne. Users who significantly contributed to this article should be able to answer your question. Surtsicna (talk) 18:20, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Isn't such parentage sufficient to make one noble? Top.Squark (talk) 19:58, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
Not always. For example, in the UK, commoners are all people who are neither sovereign nor peers. So, the children of the King (Queen) of the United Kingdom are born commoners, except for the eldest son who is born Duke of Cornwall. Queen Elizabeth II's youngest son was a commoner until 1999, when he was given the title of Earl of Wessex. Elizabeth herself was a commoner until she became sovereign, because she held no title in her own right. Her daughter Anne is still technically a commoner. If children of a king can be commoners, then I understand that children of a duke can be commoners as well. Surtsicna (talk) 10:51, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
The form in the UK isn't the same as the one on the continent and the British monarchs' children are Princes and Princesses so they are not commoners. On continental Europe almost any families that bears a title for many generation are nobility; some noblity become so powerful and influencial through marriage that they become royalty like the Ernestine Saxon dukes and princes of Anhalt. Catherine's father was a duke but her paternal ancestors beyond that are titleless bankers and statemen, so she wouldn't have the long royal and noble lineage of other noblewomen. Her mother was of noble roots but her father wasn't.--Queen Elizabeth II's Little Spy (talk) 00:04, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, in fact Mary, Queen of Scots often sneered at Catherine's commoner status, referring to her as a banker's daughter.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 06:41, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Queen Elizabeth II's Little Spy, the titles of prince and princess of the United Kingdom are not titles of peerage. Those titles are courtesy titles. The eldest son is the only child of a British monarch who is not born a commoner because he is born as Duke of Cornwall. All the others are commoners. Even the queen consort is a commoner, unless she holds a peerage title in her own right (e.g. Anne Boleyn). Surtsicna (talk) 09:38, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
You're referring to the British system of titles and nobility. It doesn't make sense when you put in the prospective of Catherine who was from Italy. I don't really know how Italian titles work but they were mostly granted by either the HR emperor or the Pope and hereditary there after either in male or female lines. Any British can recieved a peerage title from the monarch; almost everyone of the illegitimate sons of Charles I had peerage titles so they were royals not commoners. Yet they would not have been illegiable to marry any courtesy title princess and archduchess of their days because they were bastard sons. --Queen Elizabeth II's Little Spy (talk) 18:21, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
There is more than one meaning of the word "commoner." There is a technical one, as in "eligible to serve in the House of Commons before 1999," but there's also another, more common everyday meaning by which Queens consort and royal princes are not considered commoners. john k (talk) 13:47, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
The sentence discussed here seems to use the technical meaning of the word "commoner". Surtsicna (talk) 14:09, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm puzzled as to why a sentence about an Italian aristocrat who became queen of France would use a technical English definition of "commoner". john k (talk) 05:16, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Obviously the meaning "one who is neither duke/count/baron nor sovereign is a commoner", whether only British or not, is the one used in the sentence: "Henry was a prize catch for Catherine, who despite her wealth was a commoner." I don't know how else to explain why a legitimate daughter of a duke and a countess was a commoner. According to the "more common everyday meaning", Catherine was not a commoner. Am I missing something? Surtsicna (talk) 08:04, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
The sentence which describes Catherine as a commoner is sourced to a good ref, therefore it is being used correctly in the article and should stay.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 08:49, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
That hardly makes much sense, in that in that case, most queens of France were "commoners," including Archduchesses of Austria and so forth. At any rate, obviously the sense in which Catherine was a commoner is that the Medici, despite any recently acquired noble titles, were a nouveau riche family, having begun their rise in the wool trade and then made most of their money in banking, rather than one coming from the old territorial nobility (as the Este, for instance, had), or even the old money urban patriciate. It has nothing in particular to do with English definitions of nobility. john k (talk) 12:33, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Anne Boleyn was a commoner despite her father's elevation to the peerage. Catherine was not considered royal by any of her contemporaries.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 12:44, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Certainly not royal, but arguably noble or aristocratic, which are often used as antonyms for "commoner." john k (talk) 01:35, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps the article should just describe her as a non-royal rather than use the word commoner. It could instead read: "Despite her wealth, Catherine was not royal". That would be accurate as well as non-polemic. Comments?--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 06:25, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
But arguably she was a commoner. Her family, as I said before, was not from the old medieval territorial nobility, nor even from the old late medieval urban patriciate. The Medici arose out of the guilds, and made their money in banking. Lorenzo's title as duke of Urbino was totally dubious, as well, and was not actually hereditary, since the Della Rovere returned after his death. She was arguably noble or aristocratic, but only arguably so. I'm not sure about the best solution, but I think "commoner" is probably closer to being right than merely "non-royal". Perhaps we should describe the Medici as "nouveau riche" instead. john k (talk) 17:20, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
"...Medici - as their name suggested - having originally been doctors or apothecaries, descendants of a charcoal burner who had moved into Florence from the Mugello." -- The House of Medici, Hibbert, p30. --Kansas Bear (talk) 17:52, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
We can all agree that she was noble on her maternal side; however, the Medicis were certainly not of the nobility as they began as tradesmen.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 20:58, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
I added a paragrapher earlier in the article, explaining Catherine's family background in short. Hopefully, this would allow the reader to understand her categorization as a "commoner" better.Top.Squark (talk) 11:12, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Actually, the reference to her as a commoner struck this reader as extremely confusing. She was a noblewoman and our common understanding (sorry) of commoner is nonaristocratic, at least in the US, where we have no actual royalty or aristocracy, only people with money. Using this term seems to do little to educate the reader without far better clarification. No offense meant, but what does it add? Actio (talk) 18:01, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

Antoine de Bourbon's right to regencyEdit

According to the article

When Catherine had realized Francis was going to die, she made a pact with Antoine de Bourbon by which he would renounce his right to the regency of the future king, Charles IX, in return for the release of his brother Condé.

Whence did he get this right in the first place?

Top.Squark (talk) 19:15, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

As first prince of the blood. Should probably say "claim to the regency" rather than "right". john k (talk) 12:38, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

France assisting England against Spain?Edit

According to the article

The monarchy had lost control of the country, and was in no position to assist England in the face of the coming Spanish attack.

Why should it have assisted England? Was it bound to by some treaty?

Top.Squark (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:57, 8 November 2009 (UTC).

No treaty, but Spanish control of England would have been an awful result for France. john k (talk) 12:38, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
It would have been the end of France as a nation and kingdom.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 12:41, 2 July 2010 (UTC)


As Catherine died seven years after the Gregorian Calendar came into use, which was her actual birthdate? Was it 13 April by the old Julian Calendar or rectified to the new Gregorian Calendar making 3 April her contemporary date of birth?--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 10:41, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Where did I say she was ugly?Edit

I have been editing at Wikipedia long enough to know that ugly is a peacock word, just as not destined to be a beauty is a peacock phrase. Have it your way then; after all, peacocks are lovely birds.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 17:54, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm not short, I'm just "decidedly lacking in height". It was a long-winded synonym for "ugly" that lacked the pithiness of the original. Neither was peacocky though - if you're starting to think that all adjectives are peacockry then you've been editing for too long. Yomanganitalk 18:31, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
No, I've probably been living too long. As I said before, go ahead and keep it the way it is. I don't have a problem with the phrase.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 18:36, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
This is too funny... -- Jack1755 (talk) 19:05, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
"Not destined to be a beauty" kills several birds with one stone, including peacocks. qp10qp (talk) 23:30, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Not destined to be a beauty, decidedly lacking in beauty, whatever; just as long as she's not described as a 16th century Sharon Stone-(Oh, Happy Birthday, Sharon!).--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 07:54, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

New section on the culinary legend.Edit

Please note that I have added a section regarding the legend that Catherine de' Medici spread a long grocery list of items as well as the forks to eat them with to this very excellent article - because, although it may seem odd to take up space REFUTING falsehoods, it seems very important to do so on Wikipedia.

Although this is my first attempt at a Wikipedia entry, I do so as a longstanding contributor to the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, which in collaboration with the British Library, has instigated an effort to get scholars adding to the food-related content, particularly as regards women.

Catherine's culinary legend is a controversial issue, ostensibly because it's been repeated so many times that people believe it to be gospel truth. The reasons why this should happen are a subject that I will eventually dwell on in book length form but have developed in articles that include:

"Catherine de'Medici's Fork," in The Proceedings to the 2005 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery: Food and Authenticity (Totnes, Devon, 2006).

"The Sexual Politics of Cutlery", in Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500--2005, catalog to the exhibition held at the Smithsonian /Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, held May 6--Oct 29, 2006 and published by Assouline in 2006.

The intent of this added section is to clarify more recent research on the subject, rather than to "out" those who continue to misguidedly believe in it. Therefore, I have refrained from citing references about those who continue to reprise it. There are many, stretched across many places. However, to justify this claim please refer to my review (titled "Myths of taste) of Sandra M. Gilbert's The Culinary Imagination in the Times Literary Supplement of 19 and 26 December 2014 , p. 14.

I kindly invite any queries on this addition.

I also would love to add to the "patron of the arts" section as well as the source list with a few of the things that Catherine most definitely did do and own. She absolutely owned forks, as shown by the published inventory of the objects left in her Parisian residence. She also owned a first edition of Scappi's Opera of 1570, which I've held in my hands in its sumptuous crimson velvet cover embroidered with her coat-of-arms. This copy, in fact, provided the Scappi illustrations that appear in my first book, Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver: Stories of Dinner as a Work of Art (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002).

Although alluded to, and referenced re: Yate's still important book, The Valois Tapestries, the "magnificences" orchestrated by Catherine constitute a significant contribution to the arts of entertaining. Sir Roy Strong's work on this subject has hugely enriched our understanding of these events and inspired much new research in its stead.

If I "pass muster" I would like to gently embellish the current "patron of the arts" article to reflect these areas of research.

Do, however, please send along any comments or concerns -- Carolin C. Young CarolinCYoung (talk) 23:50, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

Hi, Carolin. I believe this was a useful section to add (I said this already when it was in your sandbox). It is negative rather than positive, but widespread mistaken opinions do have to be discussed, and shown with references to be mistaken, as you are doing. If you have also further material to add on Catherine as a patron of the arts, I think you should go ahead when you're ready. Andrew Dalby 09:40, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

In popular cultureEdit

A scene in D. W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916): Catherine leaving the Louvre to inspect the bodies of Huguenots in the palace courtyard – probably inspired by a detail from François Dubois' The Saint Bartholemew's Day Massacre (after 1576) and Édouard Debat-Ponsan's similar One Morning Outside the Gates of the Louvre (1880).




Television episodes and seriesEdit


  1. ^ "Civilization VI: Catherine de' Medici Leads France". 26 July 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Vive la France: Catherine de Medici leads the French in 'Civilization VI'". Digital Trends. 26 July 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  3. ^ "About Reign (2013)". The CW.

Featured article issueEdit

I was reading through and noticed a portion of the article had fully typed citation numbers in the text. I removed the [1] and [2] and marked that portion with citation needed templates as some of it was marked as quotes. I'm not familiar enough with this subject to tackle the issue. Lizabetha (talk) 18:41, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

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Removal of citations to Frieda's bookEdit

It seems that all of the citations to Leonie Frieda's biography were removed with this edit on 23 January 2020 by User:Kansas Bear with the edit summary: "removed Leonie Frieda, former model not an historian". When the article was accepted as a featured article in 2008, I found 73 search hits with "Frieda". Before this particular edit there were still 73 hits, but after the edit there were none. Unfortunately, the removal of so many citations, while well-intentioned, has left a lot of unsourced information and even quotes without citations. Frieda's book was widely reviewed, and many reviewers commented that it was well researched, although it is true, she is not an academic historian. As it is now, it is difficult to determine what came from her book and what did not. Possibly the citations to Frieda's book should be restored, so the information can be challenged and checked on a case by case basis. Perhaps citations to better sources can be found, and the information will not have to be removed. An alternative might be to remove all of the information based on her book along with the citations, but this might be very disruptive to the continuity of the article. Just removing the citations alone doesn't seem satisfactory to me. --Robert.Allen (talk) 10:38, 5 July 2020 (UTC)

I am not stalking you. I edited this article in 2017, long before you removed Frieda's book as a reference, but it is true I did not notice you had removed over 70 citations from this article until after you removed her book as a reference from Diane de France, which I was working on at the time. Your personal attacks on me do not address the legitimate issue which I raise here. You see my comments as harrassment, but perhaps that is because I do not agree with your edit. You state her book is unreliable because she is a former model, but present no evidence that the book itself is actually unreliable, i.e., has numerous errors of fact or makes false claims. Can you cite a reliable source that claims that? I've seen several reviews that were positive and praised the book for being well researched. I have not located one that says it is poorly researched. The book has an excellent index, several pages of notes, and an extensive bibliography, which includes archival sources and in which she also cites the biography by Knecht, which is the other most commonly cited source here. (I count about 70 mentions of it here). I searched academic journals in JSTOR with "leonie frieda" OR "frieda leonie" and got seven hits. I had access to three of these articles, all of which used her book as a source of factual information. One of these was in Italian, another in German. This shows she is an internationally recognized historian. -Robert.Allen (talk) 21:07, 5 July 2020 (UTC)

To an observer this does feel unnecessarily personal, both about the editors and about the author. A person can have two careers. Reviews in academic periodicals should demonstrate whether this author's books are useful to historians or not, so let's see what those reviews say. If it can be shown from the reviews that the books are solidly based in research, then there's no need to remove references to them systematically. If it can't be shown that the books are solidly based in research, then it would be appropriate to replace them with better references.

Many of the edited footnotes in the diff provided by Robert.Allen are cases where a reference to Frieda was accompanied by a reference to another secondary source. That would be OK, once it's agreed that Frieda is less reliable than other sources. Some of them, however, were references to Frieda alone, and relate to a precise quotation from a primary source. Here's one example:

[before]when Catherine was born, her parents were "as pleased as if it had been a boy".<ref>Goro Gheri, 15 April 1519, quoted by Frieda, 14.</ref>
[after]when Catherine was born, her parents were "as pleased as if it had been a boy".

Here's another, in which the translation in the the text was accompanied by a quotation of the original French in the footnote:

[before]King Francis lamented, "The girl has come to me stark naked."<ref>"''J'ai reçu la fille toute nue.''" Frieda, 54.</ref>
[after]King Francis lamented, "The girl has come to me stark naked."

It seems to me that those are bad cases. We had telling quotations, important not just for Catherine de' Medici but also for understanding contemporary attitudes to sexuality, with some clue to the primary source and with a citation of a secondary source. Now we have quotations without any source at all, so the next reader ought to add a "Citation needed" template. Well, even if Frieda is unreliable, when I come across a "Better source needed" template and start looking for a differrent source to support those quotations I could at least have begun with Frieda. Now, with the footnote replaced by a "Citation needed" template, I can't. Andrew Dalby 14:17, 8 July 2020 (UTC)

In the second of those cases, it looks to me as if Frieda might even be the primary source for this form of the quotation, which, if really so, is a blot on her reputation as a historian. The form that is far more commonly seen is much blunter: "J'ai eu la fille toute nue". Google searching told me this, but I don't claim to know what the original form was, and I haven't discovered by Web searching what the primary source may have been. Andrew Dalby 15:05, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
She is not the primary source. Fieda's version of the quote was given in 1956 by Salmon (see here), who Frieda includes in her bibliography, although a later paper from 1963. Frieda does not provide a footnote. Knecht Catherine de' Medici 1998, p. 28 (paperback) gives the translation as: "The girl has been given to me stark naked." This is very similar to Frieda's translation. He does not provide the French but cites Cloulas 1979, p. 57. I don't have Cloulas' book, and I did not find a preview online. Perhaps this quote is based on a manuscript letter, which could be difficult to read, so there could be different versions of it floating around. Or Cloulas could have used Salmon. Google Books also found it in a 1939 English book here. Frieda does cite Cloulas' book in several notes. --Robert.Allen (talk) 17:44, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
I got a Kindle copy of Cloulas. He gives "J'ai eu la fille toute nue." He does not appear to have an index, notes, or bibliography, and does not cite a source. --Robert.Allen (talk) 19:01, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
It's annoying, isn't it? But thank you for making clear that Frieda did not invent this version. No blot, then. Andrew Dalby 19:43, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
@Kansas Bear: seems to have gone away for a bit. I usually admire this user's work, but I don't think this edit was one of the best. I see you have put Frieda back in the bibliography. If no one else comments, for or against Frieda, we should eventually try to get those footnote references back in. Andrew Dalby 13:07, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
I really appreciate your help and feedback. All the information is in the history for this article, but unfortunately because the edit was allowed to stand for so long, it will be a bit time-consuming to do the work of restoring the citations. I would hope that this issue was not the only reason Kansas Bear decided to go away. Hopefully, it is only temporary. For now, I plan to continue to look into the story of Diane de France and perhaps add to it and may do some more editing here to the parts of this article that are relevant to that story. --Robert.Allen (talk) 18:05, 9 July 2020 (UTC)
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