Professor Mark Greengrass

Photo of Mark Greengrass


Professor Emeritus of Early Modern History
MA DPhil FRHistS FSA Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques
Early Modern Europe ; History of France in the 16th and 17th Centuries


Mark Greengrass studied at Oxford University where he took his MA and DPhil degrees. He came to Sheffield in 1973, becoming Reader in 1994 and Professor of Early-Modern History in 1997. He was Professeur associé at the University of Pau in 1985-6, Professeur invité at the University of Paris-1 in 1999 and the University of Tours (François Rabelais) in 2001, Directeur d’études at the Ecole des Hautes-Etudes (Paris) in 1993 and 2001, and Visiting Fellow at Trinity College, Oxford in 1998. He was Invited Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Indiana in 2005. Since retirement from his post at the University of Sheffield in 2009, he taught for a year at the University of Paris-1 and then spent a year and a half at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau where he was Senior External Research Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS). He has also been Honorary Fellow at the Department of History, University of Warwick (2011-2013) and Gustave Gimon Visiting Fellow at Stanford University (2013). He has published widely on the political culture of early-modern France, on the Protestant Reformation and its impact, and on religious violence. He has also directed important online editorial projects, including the Hartlib Papers Online and the British Academy John Foxe Project. His most recent publications include Governing Passions: Peace and Reform in The French Kingdom, 1576-1585 (Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2007); and edited collections (with Lorna Hughes) on The Virtual Representation of the Past (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008) and (with Scott Dixon and Dagmar Freist) Living with Religious Diversity in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009). Christendom Destroyed – A History of Europe (1517-1648), volume 5 of the Penguin History of Europe Series, edited by David Cannadine, (London: Penguin: New York, Viking, 2014) will be coming out in a Chinese translation shortly.


The focus of Mark Greengrass’ current research is on opinion and communication in Renaissance France. He is currently working on the important collection of papers of François Rasse Desneux, a sixteenth-century surgeon in Paris. He is contributing to research projects on the large collection of correspondence of Bertrand Simiane de Gordes, lieutenant du roi in Dauphiné during the wars of religion. He is also working on Protestant historiography during the wars of religion, particularly in connection with Launcelot Voisin, sieur de La Popelinière. He is continuing to edit the diary of Samuel Hartlib (the Ephemerides) which he hopes to complete in 2018. He is also inventorying the surviving correspondence of Henri de Montmorency-Damville, on whom he is planning to publish a major study in 2019. He is a participant in various early-modern research groups, including the Centre Roland Mousnier (Université de Paris-IV), the Early-Modern Research Forum (University of Warwick, where he is an honorary research fellow), the Early Modern New Networks group (Queen Mary University of London), the University of Sheffield Francis Willughby Project, and the Gossip and Nonsense: Excessive Language in the French Renaissance Research Group (Kings College London and University of Exeter).

Research Supervision

Mark Critchlow - League Memories: Recollections of Catholic Political Engagement in late Sixteenth-Century Paris. Successfully completed his PhD thesis in 2015.

Further information on research opportunities within the department.


Full list of publications by Mark Greengrass.



Mark Greengrass Governing Passions book cover
Governing Passions: Peace and Reform in The French Kingdom, 1576-1585 (Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2007)

  • Brings together literary, political-thought, and historical understandings of the period for the first time.
  • Presents a new appraisal of the crucial and little-understood reign of Henri III - indicating how the French kingdom might have emerged very differently in the early seventeenth century.
  • First ever extensive analysis of the important debates at the Estates General of Blois (1576-7) and the Assembly of Notables at Saint-Germain-en-Laye of 1583-4.



Mark Greengrass The Vitrual Representation of the Past book cover
[edited, with Lorna Hughes] The Virtual Representation of the Past (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008)

This unique book critically evaluates the virtual representation of the past through digital media. A distinguished team of leading experts in the field approach digital research in history and archaeology from contrasting viewpoints, including philosophical, methodological and technical. They illustrate the challenges involved in representing the past digitally by focusing on specific cases of a particular historical period, place or technical problem.



Living with Religious Diversity in Early Modern Europe book cover
Living with Religious Diversity in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009)

Current scholarship continues to emphasise both the importance and the sheer diversity of religious beliefs within early modern societies. Furthermore, it continues to show that, despite the wishes of secular and religious leaders, confessional uniformity was in many cases impossible to enforce. As the essays in this collection make clear, many people in Reformation Europe were forced to confront the reality of divided religious loyalties, and this raised issues such as the means of accommodating religious minorities who refused to conform and the methods of living in communion with those of different faiths.



Christendom Destroyed Cover
Christendom Destroyed - Europe 1517-1648 (London: Penguin: New York, Viking, 2014)

This addition to the landmark Penguin History of Europe series is a fascinating study of 16th and 17th century Europe and the fundamental changes which led to the collapse of Christendom and established the geographical and political frameworks of Western Europe as we know it.

From peasants to princes, no one was untouched by the spiritual and intellectual upheaval of this era. Martin Luther's challenge to church authority forced Christians to examine their beliefs in ways that shook the foundations of their religion. The subsequent divisions, fed by dynastic rivalries and military changes, fundamentally altered the relations between ruler and ruled. Geographical and scientific discoveries challenged the unity of Christendom as a belief-community. Europe, with all its divisions, emerged instead as a geographical projection. It was reflected in the mirror of America, and refracted by the eclipse of Crusade in ambiguous relationships with the Ottomans and Orthodox Christianity. Chronicling these dramatic changes, Thomas More, Shakespeare, Montaigne and Cervantes created works which continue to resonate with us. Christendom Destroyed is a rich tapestry that fosters a deeper understanding of Europe's identity today.

Public Engagement

The Hartlib Papers

Now available online. A complete electronic edition, with full-text transcription and facsimile images, of all 25,000 seventeenth-century manuscripts of the `intelligencer´ and man of science, Samuel Hartlib.

The John Foxe Project

Now available online. A complete electronic variorum edition of John Foxe’s book of martyrs, with full commentary, biogrphical notes, interpretative essays, and reproductions of the woodcuts.

In the Media

To follow.

Professional Roles

Ordre des Palmes Académiques de la République Française - Member

Royal Historical Society - Fellow

Society of Antiquaries - Fellow

Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland - Fellow

Member of the Editorial Boards of Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte (2000-), Renaissance Studies (2005-), the Bulletin de la société de l’histoire du protestantisme français, and Church History and Religious Culture (formerly Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis) (2007-). In the past he has served as external examiner at the universities of Glasgow, Leicester, Nottingham, the Open University and St Andrews. He has been an invited member of doctoral thesis juries in the universities of Tours, Rennes, Montpellier, Paris-I, Paris-IV, Paris-XIII. He was Associate Director of the AHRC Research Methods Network in ICT Programme (to 2008) and a member of Panel 62 (History) for the Research Evaluation Exercise of 2008. He is a member of the Committee of the Society for the Study of French History (SSFH) of which he was the President in 2008-2011.