Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis vol:122 issue:3 pages:318-332
This article reassesses the motivations of noblemen during the Dutch Revolt through a case study of the ‘treason of Rennenberg’. According to classic national historiography, on 3 March 1580, Georges of Lalaing, Count of Rennenberg betrayed his nation by surrendering the city of Groningen to Philip II. He did so because he was a Catholic and an egoistic opportunist, seeking money and offices from the King. This article, however, presents Rennenberg’s ‘treason’ as a reconciliation with his King and the outcome of nine months of negotiations. Hence, his decision to give up his rebellion is assessed within the broader models of early modern nobility and state building, patronage and particularism. This paper argues that if traditional stereotypes certainly fall short of explaining why Rennenberg became reconciled, the three lines of reasoning do so if considered separately. In a combined and contextualized analysis Rennenberg’s reconciliation is seen as one in which he saved Catholicism in Groningen but let it go in Friesland, in which he promised loyalty to the King without receiving his immediate military assistance, in which he won royal favours but saw other properties confiscated by the rebels, in which he acted in concert with some but not all of his kin and in which he ceded to local pressures as a provincial governor. Precisely for all these reasons, it took Rennenberg nine months to bargain.
Het verraad van Rennenberg – een katholieke graaf levert in 1580 Groningen over aan Filips II – behoorde lang tot de canon van de ‘vaderlandsche historie’. Dit artikel neemt de episode als vertrekpunt om stereotiepen over de adel tijdens de Nederlandse Opstand te ontkrachten en te ijveren voor een contextuele analyse van patronage, politiek en particularisme.