Exhibition poster (192Kb)
Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a friar and Professor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg, Germany. While undertaking scriptural studies, Luther arrived at an essential tenet: the Bible alone was the source to salvation and true Christianity. Luther rejected the authority of the Pope, and thought that people should go to the church and pray, directly to God or Christ, and not to anyone who claimed special powers or holiness. On 31st October 1517, All Saints' Day eve, an occasion that attracted many pilgrims to the city, Luther is said to have nailed 95 theses to the church door. These disputations, in Latin, were a provocative attack on indulgences, which he saw as a money-making scheme by the Church. Initially posted to generate scholarly debate, the theses marked a beginning on the Reformation timeline. Importantly, it was not only the theses that sparked the revolution; the time was ripe for action.
Luther was a preacher with a prolific publication output. He utilised the relatively new technology of printing to disseminate his works, many slender tracts (flugschrift) and sermons written in German, to a wider audience. Supporters helped, including Philip Melanchthon and Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony. And of course there were his opponents such as Johannes Cochlaeus, who wrote the first biography on him, and Emperor Charles V. The Papal authorities saw Luther as a 'notorious heretic', and he was excommunicated at the Diet of Worms in 1521.
This exhibition, 500 Years On. Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, is a celebratory one that not only acknowledges Luther's provocative action back in October 1517, but also the result, the spread of Reform that followed across Europe. The major players in this drama included Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, John Knox, and Henry VIII, who was instrumental in starting the English Reformation. There was also the inevitable back-lash, those involved in the 'Catholic' Counter Reformation. On-going Catholic and Protestant differences resulted in the wholesale persecution of various sects, the English Civil War, and internal religious and social strife throughout many European countries.
The exhibition presents an overview of what was a massive revolution that occurred in Europe, and Luther's legacy continues to impact on the world today. The books on display are from Special Collections, University of Otago, the Hewitson Library, Knox College, and a private collection. Notable items include Hartmann Schedel's famed Nuremberg Chronicle, printed in 1493; a late 15th century medieval Book of Hours; a sheet of the German Bible, printed in 1483, an early guidebook to Rome (1515), and most notably, a rare Latin Bible (1481) that contains fragments of indulgences printed by William Caxton. Luther's own work features, including his Deuteronomy (1525), his Works (1550), and a facsimile of his Bible, Die Propheten Alle Deutsch . Works by Johannes Cochlaeus, Erasmus, and Philip Melancthon, Luther's friend and colleague, also feature. Also on display are colourful facsimile leaflets (flugblatt) from the period. They include Weiditz's 'Käsebauer und Käsefrau' [Cheesemaker and his wife] (1521) and Erhard Schön's 'Der Teufel mit der Sackpfeife' [The Devil playing the Bagpipe], 1535.
The medieval Western world was a religious one. Most people attended church, went on pilgrimages, prayed and took part in religious processions. A strong piety existed, with the ever-present need to ask for God's blessing and protection. This image is from Schedel's famous Nuremberg Chronicle and was based on a Ptolemaic map of 1482. This 'Second Age of the World' contains Asia, Europe and Africa and places such as the Canaries (Isles of the Blessed), Scotia (Scotland), Scythia, and Hibernia (Ireland). It reinforced to readers the biblical tradition that all humankind was descended from Noah's three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Despite Schedel's attempt to dispel superstitious myths, the weird and wonderful remained: the 'naked and hairy men who linger in rivers' and 'Apothami, who spend time in the water and are half man, half horse'. A huge success in its time, the Chronicle today bears witness to the intellectual climate in Europe about 1500.
[Hartmann Schedel, [Nuremberg Chronicle], Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 1493, de Beer Ge 1493 S.
Bilder des Todes
War, famine, disease, and violence prevailed in Europe. Death danced across the European stage and the German artist Hans Holbein the Younger (c.1497-1543) captured a visual truism: Death accosts all manner of people; no one escapes his grasp. Many folk prayed and undertook activities that they hoped would lead to an improved life on earth and, God willing (divine judgment), gain entrance into Heaven. Here is Holbein's 'Der Münch' (The Monk): the holy man tries to 'do a runner', but Death catches him by the cowl.
Hans Holbein, Bilder des Todes, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, , Brasch Collection NE1150.5 HP94 A4 1917.
Book of Hours
Although there was growing criticism of the Church in the 15th century, the Pope's authority was still recognized. Up to that period, the Papal Court had improved its standing somewhat, especially through the efforts of Popes Nicholas V (1447-55), and Pius II (1458-64). A cornerstone of religious practice was the Book of Hours, a devotional work that almost every 'good' house owned. Apart from texts, prayers, and psalms, these works contained a Calendar that listed important religious events such as the Easter Cycle, celebratory Saints days, and holy days (holidays), often in red. One entry for July in this late 15th century French manuscript is the 'red-letter' day of 'Marie Magdalene', usually observed on the 22nd of that month.
___, Book of Hours, ___, c. late 15th century, de Beer M.S. 02.
The standard version of the Bible in medieval Europe was the Latin version of the Old and New Testament translated by St Jerome (AD 347-420), and known as the Vulgate. It was this version that Johannes Gutenberg first printed in Mainz, Germany, c.1455. Prior to Luther's own translation, there were some seventeen versions in High and Low German available to readers. One well-known 'High German' edition was the one completed by Anton Koberger, entrepreneurial printer and god-father to artist Albrecht Dürer, in 1483. The plague of locusts is but one of the many remarkable woodcut illustrations in the book.
___, [German Bible], Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 1483, de Beer Ge 1483 B.
Opusculum de Mirabilibus Novae et Veteris Urbis Romae
In 1417, delegates at the Council of Constance (1414-18) elected Martin V as Pope, effectively ending the Great Schism (1378-1417). This unification not only re-confirmed Rome (and the Vatican) as the Papal centre, but it prompted a revitalisation: Nicholas V (1447-55), the first Renaissance pope, planned a new basilica and palace; Sixtus IV (1471-84) and Alexander VI (1492-1503) contributed to the rebuild and revival of Rome. After election, each new pope would go to St Peter's for crowning; the Basilica was traditionally the burial site of Peter, the first Pope. This woodcut by painter and printmaker Urs Graf (c. 1494- 1528), cut in 1512, depicts Apostles Peter and Paul: St Peter carries the keys of the kingdom of heaven (as noted in Matthew 16:18); St Paul a long sword.
Francesco Albertini, Opusculum de Mirabilibus Novae et Veteris Urbis Romae, [Basel]: Thomas Wolfe, 1519, de Beer Swb 1519 A.
Biblia Latina (Commentaries)
Indulgences offered remission of the penalty for sins, which otherwise had to be endured in Purgatory. While a legitimate part of the Church's infrastructure, an 'indulgence industry' developed, with many abusing the system by selling off indulgences to raise funds for expensive projects like the Crusades or building cathedrals. Indeed, Archbishop Albert of Mainz (1490-1545) instructed his indulgence peddlers to travel as wide as possible, and gave advice on how to make the indulgence – often a piece of parchment festooned with seals – to look attractive. In the gutter of this Commentary on the Bible is the remaining fragment of an indulgence, printed by William Caxton in Westminster sometime after 9 August 1480. Used as a sewing guard, it is a supreme example of recycling.
Nicolai de Lyra, Biblia Latina (Commentaries), Venice: Johannes Herbort de Seligenstadt, et al., 31st July 1481, Shoults Itc 1481 B v. 3.
Indulgentie Ecclesiar[um] Urbis Rome
In 1500, Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503), declared a Jubilee (a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon), which resulted in thousands of pilgrims flocking to Rome. No doubt some well-prepared travellers had copies of Indulgentie Ecclesiar[um] Urbis Rome in their pockets; a useful and early guidebook. This later printing of 1515 contains a description of the seven major churches in Rome and notable relics and granted indulgences. It is bound with Mirabilia Urbis Rome, a work that deals with ancient and Christian miracles in Rome. When Martin Luther travelled to Rome in 1511, he carried his own Mirabilia with him.
___, Indulgentie Ecclesiar[um] Urbis Rome, Rome: M. Silber, December, 1515, de Beer Itb 1515 M.
In the 13th century, theologians began in earnest to write Correctories to the text of Jerome's Vulgate Bible (c. 4th cent), which had become corrupted over time through transcription and individual interpretation. Dominican friar and Hebrew scholar, Jacobus Magdalius (d. 1520), had his 'version' published in Cologne in 1508. This rare item is open to Magdalius's corrections of the Book of Psalms – a topic that Luther lectured on in Wittenberg from 1513 to 1515. The words 'Hieronymus' and 'Hiero' appear often as Magdalius refers to Jerome and his Vulgate. Perhaps Luther made use of this printed edition to inform his lectures and interpretations of the Psalms.
[Jacobus Magdalius of Gouda, ed.], Correctori[um] Biblie, Cologne: Heinrich Quentel, 1508, de Beer Gb 1508 M.
Prima[-secvnda] pars Chronici Carionis Latine Expositi et Avcti Multis...
Wittenberg University was founded in 1502 and a printing press was established at the same time to supply students and lecturers with scholarly texts. When Luther arrived in Wittenberg to teach theology in 1508, the printer in residence was Johannes Rhau-Grunenberg. Before 1517, and the advent of Luther's 95 theses, an average of eight books was published in Wittenberg per year. After 1517, in the next three decades, over 91 books were published per year – three million individual copies – one in three of which were penned by Luther himself. Within 40 years, Wittenberg became 'Germany's largest publishing centre' (Pettegree, 2015). This volume by Philip Melanchthon, Luther's friend and colleague, was printed by Rhau-Grunenberg's son, George.
Philip Melanchthon, Prima[-secvnda] pars Chronici Carionis Latine Expositi et Avcti Multis..., [Wittenberg: George Rhau], 1562, .
Town of Wittenberg, 1546
Several places in modern day Wittenberg have become UNESCO World Heritage sites because of their association with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.
___, Town of Wittenberg, 1546, ___, 1546, Wikipedia online image.
Was die Evangelisch Messe [sic] sei Grundliche unnd Christenliche Anzeigung
Would the Protestant Reformation have been as successful and widespread without the technology of printing? Probably not. Luther believed printing was 'heaven sent' to 'spread God's word and banish error' (Pettegree, 2015). He certainly put it to good use. In the decade after 1517, in a battle of the doctrines, Protestant and Catholic, about 7,000,000 pamphlets were printed. Luther was the author of a quarter of them. Each pamphlet was reprinted multiple times in various parts of Germany. The word spread quickly and Luther made sure to write in German to reach a larger audience. In fact, printing in the vernacular, as opposed to Latin, became more commonplace as this German-language volume by Catholic preacher and Reformation opponent, Johann Faber (d. 1558) of Heilbronn, attests.
Johan Fabri of Heilbronn, Was die Evangelisch Messe [sic] sei Grundliche unnd Christenliche Anzeigung, [Dillingen: Sebald Mayer], 1557, de Beer Gb 1557 F.
'Jan Hus' from [Herōologia Anglica]
Religious reformer Jan Hus (c. 1370-1415) was born in Bohemia (Czech Republic) and studied in Prague. He was ordained as a priest in 1402 and became preacher at the Bethlehem Chapel. Hus admitted that he initially took up the priesthood to achieve a certain standard of living and reputation; however, he began to denounce the church's practices of 'fleecing the faithful' (Fudge, 2010). Hus closely followed, and was influenced by, the polemical writings of John Wycliffe. He refused to submit to papal authority. In 1412, he exiled himself, during which time he wrote 15 books and continued to oppose Church and Pope. In 1415, at the Council of Constance in Germany, Hus was charged with heresy, and on 6th July, was stripped naked and his hair cut. After which, his soul was condemned to Hell and he was burned at the stake.
[James Stewart], 'Jan Hus' from [Herōologia Anglica], [Arnhem: Printed by Jan Jansson at the expenses of Crispin van de Passe and Jan Jansson for Henry Holland, London], 1620, de Beer Eb 1620 P.
Arbor uite crucifixe Iesu
Ubertino de Casale (1259-1329) entered a Franciscan monastery in the Genoa region of Italy at age fourteen. By the turn of the century, Casale had developed his more radical beliefs. He believed in 'absolute' poverty and criticised the church, its' Pope, and the Franciscans themselves. In 1305, the troublesome and argumentative monk was banished by his own order to an isolated monastery at Mount Alverna in central Italy. While there, in just over three months, he wrote his seminal work, Arbor vite ('The Tree of the Crucified Life of Jesus'). In it, Casale writes of reform, renewal, and the apocalypse; and he criticises Popes Boniface VIII and Benedict XI, calling them 'Beasts of the Apocalypse'. This work was printed in Venice in 1485. Someone has clearly read and marked this page, which shows the end of Book II and the beginning of Book III.
Ubertino de Casale, Arbor uite crucifixe Iesu, [Venice]: Andream de Bonettis de Papia, 1485, Shoults Itc 1485 U.
Oxford professor and theologian, John Wycliffe (c. 1329-84), was one of the main instigators of religious reform in England. A prolific writer, Wycliffe, condemned the Church's ownership of property, the luxury and privilege enjoyed by the clergy, indulgences, confession, and even the papacy itself. In his treatise, De Ecclesia et Membris eius (above p. vi, 'And þus [thus] it is a blynd fooly…'), Wycliffe states 'it is blind folly… men should fight for the pope more than…for belief'. Wycliffe also promoted and oversaw the translation of Jerome's Vulgate into Middle English. Because of his polemic, he was 'ordered to be silent' and Pope Gregory XI (d. 1378) issued papal bulls against him. Some years after his death, Wycliffe was declared a heretic, his body was exhumed, burned, and the ashes were cast into a river.
John Wycliffe, Three Treatises, Dublin: Hodges and Smith, 1851, Storage Bliss PL W.
'John Wyclif' from [Herōologia Anglica]
Portrait image of Oxford professor and theologian, John Wycliffe (c. 1329-84).
[James Stewart], 'John Wyclif' from [Herōologia Anglica], [Arnhem: Printed by Jan Jansson …for Henry Holland, London], 1620, de Beer Eb 1620 P.
Katharina von Bora: A Reformation Life
Katharina (Kate) von Bora (1499-1552) entered her first convent at age five. Her father was an impoverished gentleman farmer and in 1509, he decided, without consulting her, that she should become a nun. During her 18 monastic years, Kate learned to read and write Latin and German. In the 1520s, Luther's writings made their way to Kate in her convent. After reading them and contacting Luther himself, she made the decision, along with eleven other nuns, to escape. This they did, in April 1523, with the help of Luther and a local merchant. Despite Luther's initial reticence, the couple married in 1525, and they had six children. Kate, 'a busy, talented, and forceful woman' (Stjerna, 2009), developed and ran farming projects to supplement the household income and took part in the 'Table Talk' at the Luther home. She was the 'ultimate Reformer's spouse'.
Rudolf K. and Marilynn Morris Markwald, Katharina von Bora: A Reformation Life, St Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2002, Private Collection. Every effort has been made to trace copyright ownership and to obtain permission for reproduction. If you believe you are the copyright owner of an item on this site, and we have not requested your permission, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Facsimile 'Der Buhler Vogelherd', c. 1535 from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges
In medieval times, women had three options – wife, nun, whore. After the Reformation, those options shrank as many convents were closed in newly converted Protestant areas. Reformers rejected celibacy, advocating marriage and attendance to the family as a 'religious vocation' for women. Men and women were considered equal in the ethereal eyes of the Lord, but not in the home where women were still expected to be subservient to men and do all the chores. The women, in this image above, have turned society on its allegorical head. The 'deceptive' women, helped by the devil (at right) have 'bewitched' the men, from all walks of life, into a trap. In a time of religious and political instability, the artist is portraying an image of society in moral decline.
Niclas Stör, Facsimile 'Der Buhler Vogelherd', c. 1535 from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag Anton Kippenberg, 1975, Private Collection.
Argula von Grumbach: A Woman before her Time
In the 16th century, women were expected not to have opinions on theology. One who did not adhere to this philosophy was Bavarian noblewoman, Argula von Grumbach (1492-c.1555). Described by Peter Matheson as the 'first woman publicist', Argula challenged scholars, the Church, and lawmakers in eight published pamphlets. She corresponded with Frederik the Wise, Spalatin, and Luther, who described her as a 'special instrument of Christ's work'. None of the educational or ecclesiastical institutions she wrote to ever replied to her personally but they did call her names: 'silly bag', 'female devil', and 'heretical bitch'. Her husband, who was still faithful to the 'Old Church', lost his administrative office because of her writings, and was told to control 'his woman'. Clearly, Argula made the established patriarchy feel incredibly uncomfortable.
Peter Matheson, Argula von Grumbach: A Woman before her Time, Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2013, Private Collection. Every effort has been made to trace copyright ownership and to obtain permission for reproduction. If you believe you are the copyright owner of an item on this site, and we have not requested your permission, please contact us at email@example.com .
Luther's Works. Career of the Reformer I
Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a friar and Professor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg, Germany. While undertaking scriptural studies, he arrived at an essential tenet: the Bible alone was the source of true Christianity. Luther rejected the authority of the Pope, and thought that people should go to the church and pray directly to God or Christ, and not to anyone who claimed special powers or holiness. On 31st October, 1517, All Saints' Day eve, an occasion that attracted many pilgrims to the city, he is said to have nailed 95 theses to the church door. Printed by local printer Johann Rhau-Grunenberg, these points of disputation, in Latin, were a provocative attack on indulgences; forty-four made direct reference to the Pope or the papacy. The theses were posted to initiate scholarly debate. This page shows propositions 28 to 48.
Edited by Harold J. Grimm, Luther's Works. Career of the Reformer I, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1957, Central BR330 E5 1955, v. 31.
'Martin Luther' from [Herōologia Anglica]
Image of Protestant reformer, Martin Luther.
[James Stewart], 'Martin Luther' from [Herōologia Anglica], [Arnhem: Printed by Jan Jansson …for Henry Holland, London], 1620, de Beer Eb 1620 P.
Ein Schon Sermonn tzu Erffurdt geprediget
Luther was primarily a preacher, and he followed the precept that 'Christ Himself wrote nothing, nor did He give command to write, but to preach orally.' He was forever delivering sermons, calculated at preaching some 7000 between 1510 and 1546; almost 200 per year, or four a week. Luther's Sermon on Indulgences and Grace (Eynn Sermon von dem Ablasz und Gnade) was printed in April 1518. Written in German, it was a best-seller. Reprinted 14 times in 1518 alone, its success established the reputation of Luther. On 22 October 1522, Luther was at the Kaufmannskirche, one of the oldest parish churches in Erfurt. He delivered a sermon on the suffering of a Christian man. This is a facsimile of that sermon.
Martin Luther, Ein Schon Sermonn tzu Erffurdt geprediget, Erfurt: Michael Buchfuehrer, 1522 (1922 Jubilee Facsimile), Private Collection.
Adversus Latrocinantes et Raptorias Cohortes Rusticorum
While travelling through Thuringia, east-central Germany, Luther learnt of the peasant unrest that would become known as the Peasants' War of 1525. Fearful of a divided Christian Germany, he condemned the rulers who oppressed their subjects; he also condoned the killing of the rebels because they had 'become faithless, perjured, disobedient, rebellious, murderers, robbers, and blasphemers…'. Even though he later modified his stance on this, his reputation suffered. Here is a Latin translation of Luther's Wider den Reubischen und Mördischen Rotten der Bauern (Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants). It was issued by Catholic opponents in Cologne, and contains a response from Johannes Cochlaeus, Luther's foe and first biographer.
Martin Luther, Adversus Latrocinantes et Raptorias Cohortes Rusticorum, Cologne: [S. Kruffter?], August, 1525, Shoults Gb 1525 L.
Enchiridion Geistliker Leder unde Psalmen (1536)
On the engraving of Luther in Special Collections' copy of Herōologia Anglica, there is a note: 'Composer of the old Hundred Psalms'. Luther ranked music second only to theology. He was an accomplished lute and flute player. He also loved singing. He saw it as a powerful teaching tool, and an activity that promoted congregational participation. He also wrote songs. Between 1523 and 1524 he produced no fewer than forty hymns, some of which, like Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) and Christ lag in Todesbanden (Christ Lay in Death's Bondage) are still sung today. This facsimile of the rare original (printed in Magdeburg in 1536) shows various hymnals written by Luther in Low German.
Facsimile edition by Stephen A. Crist, Enchiridion Geistliker Leder unde Psalmen (1536), Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994, Special Collections M2138 E5 1994.
Die Propheten Alle Deutsch [The Bible], (Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1534)
While in exile at the Wartburg Castle, under the protection of Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony (1463-1525), Luther began his translation of the New Testament, using the 1516 critical Greek edition by Erasmus. Das Newe Testament Deutzsch was published in September 1522. He then started on the Old Testament and Apocrypha, using a translation committee of friends such as Philip Melanchthon, Justus Jonas, and John Bugenhagen; his 'Sanhedrin'. Completed in 1534, the entire Bible was in German – the language of the people. Essentially, with the aid of the printing press, Luther not only helped standardize the various regional dialects, but he also left the German people his greatest achievement. This is a facsimile of the first volume, reprinted in 1935.
Translated by Martin Luther, Die Propheten Alle Deutsch [The Bible], (Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1534), Leipzig: U. Foersters Verlag, Facsimile edition 1935, Private Collection.
In 1520, Pope Leo X issued the bull Exsurge Domine that condemned Luther's Protestant views as heretical. A year later, at the Diet of Worms, on 17th April 1521, Luther was summoned to either renounce or reaffirm his views. After much thought he stood firm, saying: 'Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.' On 25th May, Luther was officially an outlaw. Here is Bernard of Luxemburg's popular Catalogue of Heretics that shows Luther on top of a 'column of heresy'. Catholic iconography is evident: a demon blows ideas into Luther's ear with a bellows; another drags him with a chain into the flames of hell.
[Bernard of Luxemburg], Catalogus Hereticoru[m], Cologne: Peter Quentel, 1526, Shoults Gb 1526 B.
Tomus Primus Omnium Operum
Frederick the Wise, Luther's protector, founded Wittenberg University in 1502. He thought of Luther as his 'star university professor' (Roper, 2015). Despite never meeting Luther, and even being publicly criticised by him for collecting relics and profiting from their display, Frederick continued to offer Luther protection and support. He did not allow Luther to go to Rome for trial. In 1521, after the Diet of Worms, where Luther was declared a heretic, Frederick 'kidnapped' Luther and sequestered him at Wartburg Castle to keep him safe. The title page of this 1550 edition of Luther's works shows Luther (right) and Frederick (left) both kneeling before Jesus on the Cross. It depicts the pair as 'equivalent pious Protestants' – Frederick was nothing of the sort.
Martin Luther, Tomus Primus Omnium Operum, [Wittenberg]: Johannem Lufft, 1550, 8Gc 1550 L. Hewitson Library, Knox College.
'Philip Melanchthon', from [Herōologia Anglica]
Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) was something of a child prodigy. He graduated BA from Heidelberg at 13; MA from Tübingen at 16; and became the Chair of Greek at Wittenberg University at only 21. A shy and scrawny scholar, Melanchthon stood in complete contrast to his robust and rugged colleague, Luther. However, the pair complemented each other and would work closely together for 20 years. Pettegree describes Melanchthon as the 'towering intellectual force of Wittenberg's Reformation' – he was the most important of Luther's friends and collaborators and without him 'the Reformation would have been immeasurably diminished' (Pettegree, 2015).
[James Stewart], 'Philip Melanchthon', from [Herōologia Anglica], [Arnhem: Printed by Jan Jansson …for Henry Holland, London], 1620, de Beer Eb 1620 P.
This volume, Deuteronomy by Martin Luther, is said to have been annotated in Melanchthon's hand; unfortunately, it is not.
Martin Luther, [Deuteronomy], [Wittenberg: Lufft], 1525, Bb L. Hewitson Library, Knox College.
Hierarchiae Ecclesiasticae Assertio
Dutch theologian, Albertus Pighius (1490-1542) was a staunch supporter and defender of the Catholic Church and the papacy. He was employed by several popes – most notably his former teacher, Pope Adrian VI (1522-23). Pighius's Hierarchiae, or 'Affirmation of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy', was a 'rejoinder to Henry VIII' and a statement on papal infallibility. Interestingly, the blind tooling on the cover of this bound copy of Hierarchiae has five repeating stamped portraits of some of the protagonists of the Reformation. They include reformers Jan Hus, Martin Luther, and Philip Melanchthon; and opponents, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, who summoned Luther to the Diet of Worms and subsequently outlawed him.
Albertus Pighius, Hierarchiae Ecclesiasticae Assertio, [Cologne]: Melchior Nouesianus, 1538, Shoults Gc 1538 P.
The Life of Luther. Written by Himself
An engraving of Martin Luther, after the original by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Collected and arranged by Jules Michelet; translated by William Hazlitt, The Life of Luther. Written by Himself, London: David Bogue, 1846, Shoults Eb 1846 L.
Lucas Cranach: His Life, His World and His Art
While Melanchthon was the intellectual backbone of the Reformation, Lucas Cranach the Elder, court painter for Frederick the Wise, was essentially the 'brand marketing manager'. Luther and Cranach became friends in 1518. It was Cranach's talent as an artist, businessman, and innovator that helped Luther spread his 'message' throughout Germany. Cranach produced some of the most iconic woodcut images of Luther (see Michelet's work, right) that helped to spread Luther's ideas and therefore the Reformation. He also published countless works by Luther, most notably Luther's translation of the Bible (c. 1525). And despite working for and maintaining close relationships with some high profile Catholics, like Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz, Cranach was essentially 'the authentic creator of Brand Luther' (Pettegree, 2015).
Peter Moser, Lucas Cranach: His Life, His World and His Art, Bamberg: Babenber Verlag , 2005, Central ND588 C8 MW51. Every effort has been made to trace copyright ownership and to obtain permission for reproduction. If you believe you are the copyright owner of an item on this site, and we have not requested your permission, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
[Bible class with Luther and friends], from Die Reformatoren: ein Gedenkbuch für die Evangelische Christenheit.
One of Luther's main detractors, Johannes Cochlaeus (1479-1552), described Luther as being one of 'Four Evangelists' – the others were Melanchthon, Justus Jonas, and Johannes Bugenhagen. The four were friends and colleagues and 'in their different ways essential to the success of the Reformation' (Pettegree, 2015). Jonas began his association with Luther as a student and moved permanently to Wittenberg in 1521 to take up the role of doctor of theology and dean of the university. He translated Luther's work into German and Latin and 'held the fort' while Luther was in hiding at Wartburg. Bugenhagen came to Wittenberg as a student of Luther's and went on to take over as local parish minister from him. Bugenhagen was instrumental in disseminating the ideas of the Reformation in his translations of Luther's works into Low German.
(Luther sits at the table with his finger poised over a passage of the Bible. On the left is Bugenhagen, a rabbi, and Jonas. Behind him stands Philip Melanchthon and beside Melanchthon is Georg Rörer, Luther's personal secretary and an editor of Luther's 'Table Talk'. Another rabbi sits near the window reading.)
Anna I. Katterfeld, [Bible class with Luther and friends], from Die Reformatoren: ein Gedenkbuch für die Evangelische Christenheit. , Cologne: H. Wulfers, 1933, Special Collections BR315 I4 1933.
Born Johann Dobnek in Wendelstein, near Nuremberg, Johannes Cochlaeus (1479-1552) graduated MA from the University of Cologne in 1507. A talented humanist scholar, Cochlaeus was a prolific writer and in a two-year period, around 1510, he published four scholarly editions including one of Pomponius Mela's Cosmography. Cochlaeus went on to receive his doctorate from the University of Ferrara in Italy in 1517 and was ordained as a priest in Rome in 1518. In 1528, he became the court chaplain to George, the Duke of Saxony – a staunch opponent of the Reformation. Over the course of his career, Cochlaeus would become the 'most prolific and most acerbic of Catholic polemicists' (Keen, 2002).
___, Johannes Cochlaeus, ___, c. 1525, Wikipedia image.
Articuli CCCCC. Martini Lutheri: ex sermonibus eius sex et triginta, quibus singulatim responsum est
Initially, Cochlaeus was sympathetic to Luther's cause but after meeting with him at the Diet of Worms in 1521, Cochlaeus made it his mission to discredit Luther and the Reformation. In a corpus of work that would eventually number over 200, he attacked Luther and his reformation philosophies. He was against 'simple people' and women reading Luther's translated Bible, and their increased involvement in Church life. He fought dirty – he spread rumours that Luther was against the selling of indulgences only because he was jealous of the money they brought in; he alleged that Luther was involved in underage and group sex with nuns; and that his birth was the result of his mother coupling with a devil. Here is just one of Cochlaeus's works responding to and disputing parts of Luther's many sermons.
Johannes Cochlaeus, Articuli CCCCC. Martini Lutheri: ex sermonibus eius sex et triginta, quibus singulatim responsum est, Cologne: Peter Quentel, 1526, Shoults Gb 1526 L.
Historia ioannis cochlaei de actis et scriptis Martini Lvtheri Saxonis chronographice
The crowning glory of Cochlaeus's works came with the publication of his long and ferocious yet comprehensive biography of Luther. At almost 200,000 words, Cochlaeus's Historia (1549) would become the foundational work for most other anti-Lutheran polemics until the 20th century. In it, Cochlaeus describes Luther as keeping company with the devil and even accuses him of being the devil incarnate. He quotes extensively from other contemporary Luther detractors – for example Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII's Chancellor, writing here under the pseudonym William Ross. On page 62, More as Ross exhorts Luther – 'merdas suas resorbeat, & sua relingat stercora, quibus tam foede linguam suam calamumq…' – to suck back his excrement (merdas) and relinquish the dung (stercora) which fouls his speech and writing (calamum – pen).
Johannes Cochlaeus, Historia ioannis cochlaei de actis et scriptis Martini Lvtheri Saxonis chronographice, [Paris: Nicolas Chesneau], 1565, Shoults Fb 1565 C.
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor from The Civil Wars of Spain, in the Reign of Charles the Fifth, Emperour of Germanie, and King of that Nation.
Born into the Dutch Hapsburg dynasty, Charles V (1500-58), became Holy Roman Emperor in 1519. In 1521, he decided that Luther deserved a formal public hearing and summoned him to a Diet at Worms, giving him safe passage through the German countryside. Luther's supporters did not want him to attend the Diet in case his fate echoed that of Jan Hus, who was branded a heretic and condemned to death at the Council of Constance in 1415. However, Luther attended, recanted nothing, and survived. It was not politically prudent for Charles to condemn Luther to death although he did publicly brand him an 'obstinate schismatic and a manifest heretic' and outlawed him. Still under Charles's 'safe passage', Luther hastily left Worms. Luckily for Luther, for the rest of his reign, Charles was too distracted by various wars to police his reformation activities.
Prudentio de Sandoval, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor from The Civil Wars of Spain, in the Reign of Charles the Fifth, Emperour of Germanie, and King of that Nation. , London: Printed for Simon Miller, 1655, de Beer Eb 1655 S.
De Duplici Copia Verborum ac Rerum Commentarii Duo
Born in the Netherlands, Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), or Erasmus of Rotterdam, was the illegitimate son of a priest. Well-educated, Erasmus entered an Augustinian monastery about 1486 and was ordained as a priest. However, the monastic life did not suit him and in 1493 he was given dispensation to leave and concentrate on his humanist studies. Erasmus believed mastering 'the Classical languages' was the only means of gaining a well-rounded mind and a better understanding of the Scriptures. In the years before Luther posted his 95 theses and began publishing in earnest, Erasmus was the most published author in Europe. Here is Copia, his textbook on rhetoric. It contains advice on Latin style, grammar, and syntax with a focus on 'varieties of expression'. It was first published in 1512.
Desiderius Erasmus, De Duplici Copia Verborum ac Rerum Commentarii Duo, [London: Henry Middelton], 1573, Shoults Eb 1573 E.
Epistolarvm D. Erasmi Roterodami. Libri XXXI, et P. Melanchthonis Libri Iv. Quibus adjiciuntur Th. Mori et Lvd. Vivis epistolae
Erasmus was one of the greatest scholars of his time; Luther and Melanchthon both made use of his Latin translation of the Greek New Testament (1516). Melanchthon greatly admired Erasmus and his views on theological scholarship; he wrote to and kept up a cordial correspondence with him from the early years of the Reformation until Erasmus' death. Luther, however, was not a fan, especially after Erasmus, who initially held no animosity towards Luther, was pressured into writing against the reformer and published de Libero Arbitrio ('On Free Will') in 1524. Luther answered with de Servo Arbitrio ('On Enslaved Will') in 1525, in which he denounced Erasmus' 'unlearned work'. This volume contains the correspondence of Erasmus and some of his friends – Philip Melanchthon, Sir Thomas More, and Valencian humanist Juan Vives.
Desiderius Erasmus, Epistolarvm D. Erasmi Roterodami. Libri XXXI, et P. Melanchthonis Libri Iv. Quibus adjiciuntur Th. Mori et Lvd. Vivis epistolae, [London: M. Flesher & R. Young], 1642, de Beer Ec 1642 E.
Colloquiorum Desiderii Erasmi Roterodami Familiarum Opus Aureum
Throughout his life Erasmus was loyal to the Roman Catholic Church. He did want change but not in the radical ways promoted by Luther. Often called the 'Prince of Humanists', Erasmus was keen 'to effect a transformation of the spirit through language' (Carrington, 2002). In contrast to Luther's 'violent invective', Erasmus tried to hold the via media, the middle road; he was a moderate and was 'filled with alarm' (Pettegree, 2015) by some of Luther's reformation philosophies. Despite the fact that Luther personally abused Erasmus in his de Servo Arbitrio, and thought it a work by a 'lazy amateur', he still made use of Erasmus's revised translations of the New Testament. Some of Erasmus' works were banned by Pope Paul IV (1555-59), but he continued to be published into the future as this 1740 edition of his Colloquies or Conversations attests.
Desiderius Erasmus, Colloquiorum Desiderii Erasmi Roterodami Familiarum Opus Aureum, [London: Bonwicke, Ware, Ward, et al.], 1740, Shoults Eb 1740 E.
The Newe Testament
About 1523, William Tyndale (c.1494-1536) began translating the New Testament into English, fulfilling his mission to make the Bible accessible to the common English reader. Tyndale knew he was breaking the rules, undermining the Catholic Church's grip on both the access to and interpretation of Scriptures. Like Luther, he believed there was no longer a need for an intercessor between the people and God. Traditionally the scriptures were in Latin, and under the 1408 Constitutions of Oxford, it was forbidden to translate the Bible into the native tongue. Tyndale's English translations appeared between 1525 and 1536 and were classed as 'heretical'. They were banned and burnt; a fate Tyndale also suffered on 6th October 1536. This black-letter facsimile of the 1536 New Testament shows the Gospels of St John: 'In the begynnyng was the woorde…'.
Corrected by Willyam Tindale, The Newe Testament, Columbus, Ohio: Lazarus Ministry Press , 1536 (1999 facsimile), Special Collections BS140 1999.
'William Tindall' from [Herōologia Anglica]
Image of English scholar and Protestant reformer, William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536).
[James Stewart], 'William Tindall' from [Herōologia Anglica], [Arnhem: Printed by Jan Jansson …for Henry Holland, London], 1620, de Beer Eb 1620 P.
An Abridgment of the History of England
King Henry VIII (1491-1547) ruled England for 36 years. His controversial personal life (six wives and many mistresses) led him to break with the Catholic Church to create the Church of England. At first Henry supported the Papacy. In July 1521, he wrote An Assertion of the Seven Sacraments against Martin Luther, which was itself a response to Luther's Babylonian Captivity (1520), which had denounced the Papal system. A slanging match began: Henry called Luther a 'serpent so poisonous' and 'a limb of Satan!', while in his own rebuttal (Adversus Henricum Anglicum), Luther called Henry 'that king of lies, King Heinz' and a 'damnable and rotten worm'. Henry's work was dedicated to Pope Leo, who, pleased with Henry's support, gave him the official title of Fidei Defensor (Defender of the Faith). This 19th century copy of Goldsmith's History of England contains some delightful wood engravings by Thomas Bewick.
Oliver Goldsmith, An Abridgment of the History of England, Gainsborough: Henry Mozley, 1812, Special Collections.
England's Conversion and Reformation Compared; or, The Young Gentleman directed in the Choice of his Religion
In 1526, Henry began his relationship with Anne Boleyn. The King sought a Papal annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne. With no hope that Pope Clement VII would agree, Henry created a schism of his own. In 1533, the Ecclesiastical Appeals Act was passed, which forbade all appeals to the Pope in Rome on religious or other matters; Henry thus became the final legal authority. The First Act of Supremacy (1534) followed, making him 'the only supreme head on Earth of the Church of England called Anglicana Ecclesia'. This break of the Anglican Church from the control of Rome and the wider Catholic Church was the beginning of the English Reformation. Robert Manning (1655-1731), an English Roman Catholic priest, presents his polemic on the controversy.
[Robert Manning], England's Conversion and Reformation Compared; or, The Young Gentleman directed in the Choice of his Religion, Antwerp: Printed for RC and CF, 1725, Shoults Lb 1725 M .
'Thomas Cramner' from Herōologia Anglica
Image of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), leader of the English Reformation.
[James Stewart], 'Thomas Cramner' from Herōologia Anglica, [Arnhem: Printed by Jan Jansson …for Henry Holland, London], 1620, de Beer Eb 1620 P.
Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum, ex Authoritate Primum Regis Henrici 8 inchoata
Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum was drawn up in 1552 by a commission headed by Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556), Archbishop of Canterbury, and a leader of the English Reformation. First published in 1571, it had later additions and amendments by Matthew Parker, and John Foxe, the martyrologist. Not only did it codify, thus justify, Henry's earlier divorce from Catherine of Aragon, but it also provided a foundation for the legalisation of divorce. It established that marriage was not a sacrament, and that an innocent person might again marry in the case of adultery, absolute desertion, protracted absence, mortal enmities, or, cruelty. The code was never ratified by Parliament. This is a later reprint (1640) of a book that is a fundamental work to the English Reformation.
[Church of England], Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum, ex Authoritate Primum Regis Henrici 8 inchoata, [London: T. Harper & R. Hodgkinson, et al], 1640, Shoults Eb 1640 C.
Assertionis Lutheranae Confvtatio ivxta Vervm ac Etiam Originalem Archetypum
Not even his past role as tutor could save John Fisher (1469-1535) from the wrath of Henry. He was an opponent of Luther and on one occasion (11th February 1526), at the King's command, he preached a sermon outside St Paul's Cathedral against Luther and his writings. However, Fisher was a strong advocate of Papal authority, and when Henry tried to divorce Catherine of Aragon, Fisher became the Queen's chief supporter. Fisher fell out of favour. He was arrested in March 1533 for opposing the divorce and for refusing to take the oath of succession, which acknowledged the issue of Henry and Anne as legitimate heirs to the throne. He was imprisoned in the Tower and executed on 22nd June 1535. This edition of Fisher's Assertions on Luther was printed by the Paris-based female printer Charlotte Guillard (d.1557).
John Fisher, Assertionis Lutheranae Confvtatio ivxta Vervm ac Etiam Originalem Archetypum, Paris: [Charlotte] Guillard, 1545, Shoults Fb 1545 F.
A Specimen of Some Errors and Defects in The History of the Reformation of the Church of England
The first volume of Gilbert Burnet's (1643–1715) History of the Reformation appeared in 1679. As a Protestant Whig, his message was that Catholicism and Englishness were incompatible: Catholicism was tyranny, Protestantism liberation. The book was a huge success and greatly enhanced Burnet's reputation. One critic, however, was Henry Wharton (1664-1694), who took the then fashionable attack of line-by-line analysis, picking up inconsistencies and errors, especially relating to manuscript sources used by Burnet. Wharton found 89 faults in a work that was trumpeted as perfect. Here is Wharton on the clergy misbehaving.
[Henry Wharton], A Specimen of Some Errors and Defects in The History of the Reformation of the Church of England, London: Printed for Randall Taylor, 1693, Shoults Eb 1693 W.
An Historical Vindication of the Church of England in Point of Schism
Sir Roger Twysden (1597–1672) was an English pamphleteer and constitutional historian, who, over a long career, was not only deemed 'troublesome, [and] unreliable' by King Charles I, but later, in 1642, imprisoned for anti-parliamentary activities. It is no wonder he decamped to the countryside, where he wrote An Historical Vindication of the Church of England in Point of Schism (1657), a narrative positing an early British priority for the English Church over Rome. In this second edition, he notes the persecution of Protestants in Queen Mary's time, and Geneva, where John Calvin was active. Twysden was an admirer of Paolo Sarpi, the anti-papalist; he may also have had sympathies with Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531), the leader of the Reformation in Switzerland.
Sir Roger Twysden, An Historical Vindication of the Church of England in Point of Schism, London: Printed for Robert Pawlet, 1675, de Beer Eb 1675 T.
'Huldrych Zwingli', from Herōologia Anglica
Image of Huldrych Zwingli, leader of the Reformation in Switzerland.
[James Stewart], 'Huldrych Zwingli', from Herōologia Anglica, [Arnhem: Printed by Jan Jansson …for Henry Holland, London], 1620, de Beer Eb 1620 P.
Etat et Delices de la Suisse
Although the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland began in Zurich, with the activities of Zwingli, it was Geneva that eventually became known as 'Protestant Rome'. The thrust came from the work of John Calvin (1509-1564), a zealous reformer who built on the ideas of Luther. One legacy was Calvin's Geneva Academy, established in 1559. This intellectual centre trained young men in theology and day-to-day pastoral practicalities. They then spread the Calvinist word around the world. By the time this engraving was done in 1764, Geneva was the centre of the Calvinist world.
Johann George Altmann, Etat et Delices de la Suisse, Basle: Emanuel Tourneisen, 1776, de Beer Swb 1776 .
Commentaries on the Book of the Prophet Daniel
Calvin's coolly rational theology was complemented by a passionate concern for social, as well as religious, reformation. On his recall to Geneva in 1541, Calvin presented a proposal (the 'Ecclesiastical Ordinances') to the city council aimed at completing the city's religious and moral transformation. Under these new regulations, attendance at sermons was compulsory; all inhabitants had to renounce the Roman faith on penalty of expulsion from the city; nobody could possess crucifixes or other articles associated with the Roman worship; fasting was prohibited; dancing was frowned upon; and it was forbidden to give non-Biblical names to children. This disciplined public morality reflected both a social concern and a real network of caring for people's souls. Calvinism – a reformed Protestantism – was born; synonymous with 'hard work, thrift, and proper moral conduct'. This is a modern edition of Calvin's commentary on the Prophet Daniel.
John Calvin, Commentaries on the Book of the Prophet Daniel, Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1852, Central BX9420 C463 1852.
'John Calvin', from Herōologia Anglica
Image of French theologian and reformer, John Calvin.
[James Stewart], 'John Calvin', from Herōologia Anglica, [Arnhem: Printed by Jan Jansson …for Henry Holland, London], 1620, de Beer 1620 P.
Sacrosancti et Oecumenici Concilii Tridentini Paulo III, Iulio III et Pio IV
Between 1545 and 1563, Church officials gathered at Trent to address doctrinal issues, and condemn Protestantism. Initiated by Pope Paul III (1534-49), the Council of Trent was an important reforming event that helped reassert traditional Catholic beliefs. The city became the centre for Rome's Counter Reformation.
[Council of Trent], Sacrosancti et Oecumenici Concilii Tridentini Paulo III, Iulio III et Pio IV, [Amsterdam: William Jansz Blaeu], 1656, de Beer Gb 1656 T.
Index Expvrgatorivs Librorvm
One result of the Council of Trent (1545-63) was the formation of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1559, a list of prohibited books considered a threat to the Catholic faith. In 1571, the Sacred Congregation of the Index was formed to investigate those writings that were denounced in Rome but which required corrections or purging. In this 'Expurgatorius' edition of 1586, works by Erasmus are listed. There is no mention of Luther.
___, Index Expvrgatorivs Librorvm, [Lyon: Jean Mareschal], 1586, Shoults Fa 1586 I.
[The Historie of the Council of Trent]
Paolo Sarpi (1552–1623) was an Italian historian and prelate whose writings were highly critical of the Catholic Church. Indeed, the 'great unmasker', as John Milton called Sarpi, was such a threat to Papal authorities that he survived two assassination attempts: in one instance surviving 15 stiletto (dagger) thrusts. Sarpi's most famous work was The History of the Council of Trent, of which this is the first English edition. On the subject of his books being condemned, Sarpi captures the doggedness and determination of Luther well: 'Neither did this trouble Martin one iote, but rather caused him to goe on, and to declare and fortifie his doctrine the more it was opposed.' (p.9)
Paolo Sarpi (Translated into English by Nathanael Brent), [The Historie of the Council of Trent], London: Robert Baker and John Bill, 1620, Shoults Ec 1620 S.
Les Provinciales, or, The Mystery of Jesuitisme
At the Council of Trent, the Society of Jesus was asked to undertake the impossible task of bringing Protestantism back into the fold of the 'Mother Church'. The Jesuits actually became an integral part of the Counter Reformation, and in this role, they revitalised Catholicism. With their hard-line approach and relentless suppression of heresy, they stemmed Protestant successes, and were ever ready to combat heresies such as Luther's 'faith alone' (sola fide) doctrine. John Evelyn's translation of Les Provinciales or, The Mystery of Jesuitisme, written by mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), contains a superb engraving of Ignatius Loyola (founder of the Society) and four other Jesuits. Pascal was a Jansenist, a movement within the Catholic Church, yet opposed by many in the hierarchy, especially the Jesuits.
Blaise Pascal, Les Provinciales, or, The Mystery of Jesuitisme, London: Printed for R. Royston, 1658, de Beer Eb 1658 P.
Motvs Monasteriensis Libri Decem
The Münster Rebellion occurred between February 1534 and June 1535; an abortive attempt by radical Anabaptists (so-called 're-baptisers'; Wiedertäufer), to form a commune in that city; it was to be the 'New Jerusalem'. Crushed, it was the last open revolt in the aftermath of the Lutheran Reformation. Persecution of the sect followed. Motvs Monasteriensis Libri Decem (1546) is an epic poem based on Johannes Fabricus's first-hand knowledge of the troubles in Münster.
Johannes Fabricius, Motvs Monasteriensis Libri Decem, [Martin Gymnich], 1546, Shoults Gb 1546 F.
Painting of Bartholomew Day Massacre
The French Wars of Religion (the Huguenot Wars) were fought between Roman Catholics and Huguenots (Reformed Protestants) in France in the 16th century. The Bartholomew Massacre left an indelible stain on Catholic-Protestant relations. It started in Paris on 23rd August 1572, with Catholics tasked to kill many leading Huguenots, including Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, their political leader. An assassination attempt on him had occurred two days before. Slaughter prevailed, with thousands dying. Although François Dubois did not witness the event, he depicts in this painting Admiral Coligny's body hanging out of a window at back right. To the back left, Catherine de' Medici is shown emerging from the Château du Louvre to inspect a heap of bodies.
François Dubois, Painting of Bartholomew Day Massacre, ___, c. 1572, Wikipedia.
Print depicting the attempted assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, Bartholomew Day Massacre
The black and white engraving depicts the attempted assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, leading Huguenot political leader.
___, Print depicting the attempted assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, Bartholomew Day Massacre, ___, c. 1572, Wikipedia.
The History of the Reformation of Religion within the Realm of Scotland
Thomas Carlyle said of John Knox (c.1514–1572) that he was 'one Scotchman to whom, of all others, his country and the world owe a debt'. Initially a Catholic, Knox came under the influence of George Wishart, a Protestant preacher. In 1551, he moved to London and helped implement the English Reformation. When in exile in Geneva, he met John Calvin; he eventually wrote a defence of Calvin's doctrine of predestination. On returning to Scotland, and with the support from Scottish Protestant nobles, Knox engineered the anti-French, anti-Catholic revolution that saw Scotland embrace Protestantism in 1560. This is a later printing of his History, first published in 1587.
John Knox, The History of the Reformation of Religion within the Realm of Scotland, Edinburgh: Printed by H. Inglis, Westport, 1790, de Beer Sc 1790 K.
Persecutio Undecima. The Churches Eleventh Persecution, or, A Briefe of the Puritan Persecution of the Protestant Clergy of the Church of England
From the English Reformation on, there was a very real fear of Catholic Spain. The Stuart kings did not help. All of them married Catholics; each suspected of favouring their wives' religion. Anxieties intensified between Catholics and Protestants. And with the variety of splinter groups under the 'Protestant' banner, there were the inevitable ructions. John White (1590-1645), Long Parliament MP for Southwark, was in charge of the committee investigating clergy immorality, replacing scandalous and malignant clergy with Puritan ministers. White's First Century of Scandalous Malignant Priests (1643) earned him the nickname 'Century White'. Robert Chestlin, a Royalist author and minister, attacked the purging, and in his Persecutio Undecima listed some of those unfortunates who were 'sequestered, turned out, plundered, imprisoned, molested, abused,…and killed.'
[Robert Chestlin], Persecutio Undecima. The Churches Eleventh Persecution, or, A Briefe of the Puritan Persecution of the Protestant Clergy of the Church of England, [London], 1648, de Beer 1648 C.
Memoires of the Lives, Actions, Sufferings and Deaths of those Noble, Reverend, and Excellent Personages, that suffered by Death, Sequestration, Decimation, or Otherwise, for the Protestant Religion
The Puritans wanted to reform the established Church of England by getting rid of Catholic practices. They were often lampooned as 'busybodies' and 'killjoys' because they were seen as morally upright and self-controlling, with strict adherence to religious matters such as observing the Lord's Day (Sunday). They became so powerful that in 1642 they plunged England into Civil War. The beheading of King Charles I of England (ironically a loyal Anglican), not only symbolised Calvinist resistance theories put into practice, but resulted in the establishment of a Puritan state in the British Isles until 1660. Here are the last few sentences said by Charles before he lost his head.
David Lloyd, Memoires of the Lives, Actions, Sufferings and Deaths of those Noble, Reverend, and Excellent Personages, that suffered by Death, Sequestration, Decimation, or Otherwise, for the Protestant Religion, London: Printed for Samuel Speed by John Wright [et al], 1668, de Beer Ec 1668 L.
A Dissuasive from Popery
The English Reformation in Ireland began with Henry VIII. 'Protestant' policies were forced on the local populace, despite the fact that the majority of them continued to adhere to Roman Catholicism. About the time of the Restoration in 1660, Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) was resident in Ireland as Bishop of Down and Connor. He wrote A Dissuasive from Popery at the instigation of Irish bishops, who thought some treatise might be useful to the common people and check the nuisance of popery. It missed the mark with the Presbyterian clergy, and it was ineffectual with locals, who were not only too attached to traditional Catholic forms of worship, but preferred discourse in the Irish tongue, and not English.
Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down, A Dissuasive from Popery, London: Printed by J.G. for R. Royston, 1664, de Beer Eb 1664 T.
Modern-day German periodical.
___, Der Spiegel, ___, August 2015, Private Collection. Every effort has been made to trace copyright ownership and to obtain permission for reproduction. If you believe you are the copyright owner of an item on this site, and we have not requested your permission, please contact us at email@example.com .
Macht Freiheit Reformation
___, Macht Freiheit Reformation, , August 2012, Private Collection. Every effort has been made to trace copyright ownership and to obtain permission for reproduction. If you believe you are the copyright owner of an item on this site, and we have not requested your permission, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
'Käsebauer und Käsefrau' [Cheesemaker and his wife] (Augsburg, 1521) from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges
Known as 'The Petrarch Master', the German artist Hans Weiditz the Younger (1495-c.1537) was friends with an elite group of woodcut artists including Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein, and Hans Burgkmair, who was his teacher. This is his 'Cheesemaker and wife', one of the many colourful leaflets he produced dealing with common folk and working life.
Hans Weiditz, 'Käsebauer und Käsefrau' [Cheesemaker and his wife] (Augsburg, 1521) from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag Anton Kippenberg, 1975, Private Collection.
'Zum Tanz eilendes Bauernpaar', [Augsburg], 1521. Facsimile from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges
This colourful woodcut by Weiditz portrays a peasant couple off to the dance, carefree and without any woes. The text reiterates this, contrast the full-bellied peasant with the rich man, whose life is dogged by anxiety and conflict. The Peasants' War four years later would give a lie to this idealisation.
Hans Weiditz, 'Zum Tanz eilendes Bauernpaar', [Augsburg], 1521. Facsimile from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag Anton Kippenberg, 1975, Private Collection.
'Der Teufel mit der Sackpfeife' [The Devil playing the Bagpipe], [Nuremberg], 1535. Facsimile from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges
The Nuremberg artist Erhard Schön (1491–1542) was a pupil of Albrecht Dürer. When he adopted Lutheranism in the 1520s, he began designing woodcuts for anti-Catholic books and broadsheets. This is one of his most well-known satirical efforts, the devil playing the monk – with bagpipes (wind) featuring. Like cartoons today, this rather grotesque image was designed to amuse and enrage.
Erhard Schön, 'Der Teufel mit der Sackpfeife' [The Devil playing the Bagpipe], [Nuremberg], 1535. Facsimile from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag Anton Kippenberg, 1975, Private Collection.
'Der Schalksnarr' [The Fool], 1540. Facsimile from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges
Very little is known about the life of Heinrich Vogtherr the Younger (1513-1568), except for the fact that his father was an artist who studied under Hans Burgkmair; he was once associated with the artist Bruegel; and he entered the Augsburg painters' guild in 1541. Images of jesters and fools were common subjects and here is Vogtherr's most striking – and colourful – depiction of a fool, 'cocking a snoot' at the authorities.
Heinrich Vogtherr the Younger, 'Der Schalksnarr' [The Fool], 1540. Facsimile from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag Anton Kippenberg, 1975, Private Collection.
This rose was designed for Martin Luther as a personal seal and later came to symbolise Lutheranism – a white rose with a red heart and a black cross, all on a sky-blue background.
___, Luther Rose, ___, c. 1520, Wikipedia.
Lucas Cranach: His Life, His World and His Art
Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) was an artist, an entrepreneur, and a good friend of Martin Luther. From early in the 16th century, Cranach lived in Wittenberg and became Elector of Saxony, Frederick the Wise's court painter; he was to become one of the most important German Renaissance artists. This portrait of Martin Luther by Cranach was finished one year after the ex-monk married Katharina von Bora in 1525.
Peter Moser, Lucas Cranach: His Life, His World and His Art, Bamberg: Babenber Verlag, 2005, Central ND588 C8 MW51.
Lucas Cranach: His Life, His World and His Art
Katharina von Bora married Martin Luther in 1525, after escaping from a convent two years before. Many of Luther's friends and colleagues were against the marriage; Philip Melanchthon disapproved and did not attend the wedding. From all accounts, their marriage was a success and their household, along with their six children and many hangers-on, a happy one. This portrait of Kate, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, was completed in 1526.
Peter Moser, Lucas Cranach: His Life, His World and His Art, Bamberg: Babenber Verlag, 2005, Central ND588 C8 MW51.
Krieg der Mäuse gegn die Katzen [Battle of Mice and Cats], 1500, from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges
Johann Gutenberg's 'invention' of the printing press in Mainz, Germany, in the 1450s, enabled the dissemination of thoughts, ideas, and writings to a much greater audience. Leaflets or broadsheets (flugblatt), like early xylographic block books, were another way to disseminate ideas cheaply. This colourful 'Battle of Mice and Cats' by the unknown German Master was printed in 1500. It depicts mice (the common folk) planning to storm the castle of the cats (the ruling class); anti-feudal sentiment was a popular one in the 1470s onwards. The text at top right reads: 'When you have dog, cat and mice in the same house like an old man and a young wife they rarely can live without arguments.'
[Unknown], Krieg der Mäuse gegn die Katzen [Battle of Mice and Cats], 1500, from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag Anton Kippenberg, 1975, Private Collection.
Landsknecht und Troßbube, [Lansquenet and Baggage train boy, Augsburg], 1521 from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges
Here Weiditz the Younger (1495-c.1537) satirises the lansquenets, mercenary soldiers in the wars of the Middle Ages. One such fellow is depicted as being pot-bellied, having a huge nose and jutting chin, lacks a sword yet still wears the scabbard, and is still holding his halberd. Behind him, Sancho Panza-like, is the baggage train boy, a dwarf-like copy of his master. The text conveys the message that these guys are losers and dropouts, who after squandering everything (home and land), are now out to make money as mercenaries. This leaflet was printed four years before the Peasants' War of 1525.
Hans Weiditz, Landsknecht und Troßbube, [Lansquenet and Baggage train boy, Augsburg], 1521 from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag Anton Kippenberg, 1975, Private Collection.
Der Bärentanz [Bear Dance, Augsburg], 1523 from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges
Augsburg-based Leonhard Beck (c.1480–1542) was a painter and designer of woodcuts, who at one stage was an assistant to Hans Holbein the Elder. This 'Bear Dance' woodcut was executed about 1523. The text above the ox reads (roughly): 'The ox who tries to flee the butcher / will have to be able to play the pipes'. Above the bear: 'The bear who wants a long life / has to dance to all sorts of tunes.' And above the donkey: 'The donkey who cannot play the timpani / has to carry the sacks to the mill instead.'
Leonhard Beck, Der Bärentanz [Bear Dance, Augsburg], 1523 from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag Anton Kippenberg, 1975, Private Collection.
Hasen richten über Jäger und Mönche [Hares are judging hunters and monks], 1535 from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges
This picture is an energetic protest of the hunted against the hunters, regardless of their standing and reputation. The 'Unknown German Master' has hares roasting a hunter, who is skewered over a spit. A couple at left are hanging a nobleman or landowner, while it is any guess on what will happen to the monk in the middle. He does not look happy! Many of these methods of execution were used on peasants during the 1525 uprising.
[Unknown], Hasen richten über Jäger und Mönche [Hares are judging hunters and monks], 1535 from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag Anton Kippenberg, 1975, Private Collection.
Kampf der Gänse gegen die Füchse [Battle of the geese against the fox], 1544 from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges
The subject of injustices within society and criticism of tyrants always provides good copy for artists. The essence of this flugblatt, printed in 1544, is of turning the tables. In the background, foxes have captured the geese. In the foreground, the geese are exacting revenge: hanging foxes from trees; leading another to 'slaughter'; and at lower right, the geese seem to be feeding off a dead fox. The text above reads (roughly): 'Those who like to tell lies, have a sweet tooth, steal, are always idle or lecherous, will in the end face the retaliation of the master.' The unknown artist Monogrammist GP is not Giovanni Pietro Possenti, an Italian printmaker, who lived from 1618 to 1659. The identity of this MGP remains a mystery.
Monogrammist GP, Kampf der Gänse gegen die Füchse [Battle of the geese against the fox], 1544 from Flugblatter der Reformation und des Bauernfrieges, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag Anton Kippenberg, 1975, Private Collection.