chapter  6
42 Pages

Calvin agonistes, 1545–55

To the native-Genevan Pierre Ameaux, in an outburst in 1546, Calvin was a 'nasty Picard'. As opposition, focused against Calvin, gained in coherence, it sought a leader, and found one in 1546 in a member of the Petit Conseil and former maker of playing cards, Pierre Ameaux, a voice of xenophobia against the 'Picard' Calvin. Ameaux had made his living from the kind of pastime of which the Calvinist ethos strongly disapproved - though local laws circumscribing his trade and putting him out of work were drawn up by the government before Calvin became established in the city. Conflict between Calvin and Ameaux and the forces and interests each represented was intensified, in Geneva's markedly inter-personal society, by Ameaux's resentment at Calvin's interference in his marital life: Calvin had tried to compel him to repair his failed marriage. So Calvin got his relentless way, in the total crushing of this opponent through a theatrical public humiliation.