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The Swiss and their Neighbours, 1460-1560Between Accommodation and Aggression$
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Tom Scott

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198725275

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198725275.001.0001

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The Dufour Affair

The Dufour Affair

(p.89) 18 The Dufour Affair
The Swiss and their Neighbours, 1460-1560

Tom Scott

Oxford University Press

In 1508 a Savoy official Jean Dufour produced a forged will purporting to have been drawn up by Duke Charles I in 1489, which assigned staggering sums to Bern and Fribourg as a reward for their help against the marquis of Saluzzo in 1486. Why Dufour waited so long to reveal his forgery and what his motives were remain unclear, but the effect was dramatic. Although there were sceptical voices in Bern, both city councils hurried to accept the supposed legacy. In 1511 Dufour produced a second testament, promising 400,000 fl to all the cantons, and a third raised the sum to 800,000 fl. Though these sums were later reduced, they caused Savoy severe financial embarrassment. Of equal significance, however, were the close links revealed with the two cities, where Dufour acquired citizenship, pensions, and handsome lodgings. The duchy of Savoy was relegated to a client of Bern and Fribourg.

Keywords:   Dufour, three forged wills, Bern, Fribourg, colossal payments, reduced by mediation, Savoy’s financial ruin, Savoy as client of Bern and Fribourg

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