Background[ edit ] In the sixteenth century, many parts of Europe had common political links within the Holy Roman Empirea decentralized entity in which the Holy Roman Emperor himself had little authority outside of his own dynastic lands, which covered only a small fraction of the whole. Aristocratic dynasties ruled hundreds of largely independent territories both secular and ecclesiastical within the framework of the empire, and several dozen others operated as semi-independent city-states. The princes of these dynasties were taxed by the Roman Catholic church. The princes could only gain, economically, by breaking away from the Roman church and establishing a German church under their own control, which would then not be able to tax them as the Roman church did.
Christianization of the Germanic peoples The earliest stage of Christianization of the various Celtic people and Germanic people occurred only in the western part of Germany, the part controlled by the Roman empire.
Christianization was facilitated by the prestige of the Christian Roman Empire amongst its pagan subjects and was achieved gradually by various means.
The rise of Germanic Christianity was at first voluntary, particularly among groups associated with the Roman Empire. After Christianity became a largely unified and dominant force in Germaniaremaining pockets of the indigenous Germanic paganism were converted by force.
But aspects of the primeval pagan religion have persisted to this day, including the names of the days of the week.
As Roman rule crumbled in Germany in the 5th century, this phase of Catholicism in Germany came to an end with it. At first, the Gallo-Roman or Germano-Roman populations were able to retain control over big cities such as Cologne and Trierbut in these too were overwhelmed by the attacks of Frankish tribes.
Most of the Gallo-Romans or Germano-Romans were killed or exiled. But as soon asFrankish King Clovis I was anointed together with many members of his household.
In contrast to the eastern German tribes, who became Arian Christians, he became a Catholic. Following the example of their king, many Franks were baptized, but their Catholicism was mixed with pagan rites. During the period of the Frankish Empirethe two most important of these missionaries were Columbanuswho was active in the Frankish Empire fromand St Bonifacewho was active from The conversion of the Germanic peoples began with the conversion of the Germanic nobility, who were expected to impose their new faith on the general population.
This expectation was consistent with the sacral position of the king in Germanic paganism: Hence the general population saw nothing wrong with their kings choosing their preferred mode of worship.
The favoured method of showing the supremacy of the Christian belief was the destruction of the holy trees of the Germans. These were trees, usually old oaks or elm trees, dedicated to the gods.
Because the missionary was able to fell the tree without being slain by the god, his Christian god had to be stronger.
Similar events were sometimes convened in times of crisis, for much the same reasons. The Hiberno-Scottish mission ended in the 13th century. Supported by native Christians, they succeeded in Christianizing all of Germany.
Charlemagne when emperor still regarded himself as the real leader of the Church. Although in he confirmed the gift of his father to the Roman res publica, nevertheless he saw to it that Rome remained connected with the Frankish State; in return it had a claim to Frankish protection.
He also interfered in dogmatic questions. A bust of Charlemagnekey figure in the attempt of a united Christendom. Part of the treasury in the Aachen Cathedral. Charlemagne looked upon the revived Roman Empire from the ancient point of view inasmuch as he greatly desired recognition by the Eastern Empire.
He regarded his possession of the empire as resulting solely from his own power, consequently he himself crowned his son Louis. Yet on the other hand he looked upon his empire only as a Christian one, whose most noble calling it was to train up the various races within its borders to the service of God and thus to unify them.
The empire rapidly declined under his weak and nerveless son, Louis the Pious The decay was hastened by the prevailing idea that this State was the personal property of the sovereign, a view that contained the germ of constant quarrels and necessitated the division of the empire when there were several sons.
Louis sought to prevent the dangers of such division by law of hereditary succession published inby which the sovereign power and the imperial crown were to be passed to the oldest son. This law was probably enacted through the influence of the Church, which approved of this unity of the supreme power and the Crown, as being in harmony with the idea of the Kingdom of God and also as required by the hierarchical economy of the church organization.
When Louis had a fourth son, by his second wife, Judith, he immediately set aside the law of partition of for the benefit of the new heir. An odious struggle broke out between father and sons, and among the sons themselves.
In the emperor was captured by his sons at the battle of Luegenfeld field of lies near Colmar. Pope Gregory IV was at the time in the camp of the sons. The demeanour of the pope and the humiliating ecclesiastical penance that Louis was compelled to undergo at Soissons made apparent the change that had come about since Charlemagne in the theory of the relations of Church and State.
Gregory's view that the Church was under the rule of the representative of Christ, and that it was a higher authority, not only spiritually but also substantially, and therefore politically, had before this found learned defenders in France.
In opposition to the oldest son Lothair, Louis and Pepin, sons of Louis the Pious, restored the father to his thronebut new rebellions followed when the sons once more grew dissatisfied. Inthe emperor died near Ingelheim.Peasants' War (–25) Rebellion of German peasants, probably the largest popular uprising in European history.
Sparked by anger against ever-increasing dues demanded by the princes, there was widespread pillaging in the countryside of s Germany. Learn about the life and ideas of theologian Martin Luther, who rebelled against the Roman Catholic church and began the Protestant Reformation in 16th-century Europe.
In , a revolt broke out in Germany. Peasants rose up in a war that showed the religious and social tensions that would tear Europe apart over the following centuries. The Causes of War. The Peasants’ War was not the first revolt against the authority of nobles in Germany, but it was the most widespread the region had seen so far.
Site Index. Introduction & Recurring Sources; About the author; FAQ; Alphabetical Index of Wars, Oppressions and other Multicides A-J; K-Z; Multicides of the 20th Century, Grouped By Size.
16th Century historical map archive sorted chronologically. History maps from the year , the sixteenth century. Peasants' War: Revolt of the rural population between Lucerne and Bern against the undemocratic rule of the cities.
The rebels are defeated and severely punished.