Volume 127, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



Conflicts over precedence were a disruptive but integral part of European diplomacy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This article will explain both the insolubility and the importance of such conflicts, by analyzing the actual arguments made by French and Spanish publicists between 1564 and 1610 who argued for the supremacy of their own king. This analysis shows that national concepts of kingship were central to their reasoning: they identified the most characteristic features of their own brand of kingship and presented these as the criteria by which to construct international hierarchy. This meant first that no consensus was possible, either on the international order itself, or on the criteria to be used; and second, that not only princes, but also diplomats, lawyers, and historians were deeply involved in these conflicts.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Diplomacy; France; hierarchy; precedence; Spain
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