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Christian Europe—German Reformation

1500 to 1740
Martin Luther to Last Hapsburg Emperor

Era Summary       Characters       Timeline       Reading Assignments      


Characters—German Reformation


Character/Date Short Biography

Hussite Rebellion

John Hus
1373–1415
Initiated a movement based on writings of Wycliffe. Excommunicated, and burned at the stake.
Wenceslas of Bohemia
1361–1419
Mentally unstable king of Bohemia best known for allowing execution of Jan Hus and provoking Hussite War.
Jan Ziska
1360–1424
Leader of the Hussites whose military tactics, were particularly interesting and novel.

Protestant Leaders

John Calvin
1509–1564
Protestant Theologian. Influenced French Huguenots, Presbyterian Scots, and English Puritans.
Martin Luther
1483–1546
Leader of the Protestant Reformation. Excommunicated by Catholic Church.
Philip Melanchthon
1497–1560
Protestant theologian who collaborated with Martin Luther. Served with Luther on the faculty at the University of Wittenberg
Frederick the Wise
1486–1525
Known as the 'Elector of Saxony', a powerful Prince who founded the University of Wittenberg, and supported Luther during his trial for heresy.
Huldrych Zwingli
1484–1531
Priest who was a critic of the abuses of the Church and an early leader of the Reformation in Zurich, Switzerland.
Jacob Arminius
1560–1610
Dutch Reformed theologian who opposed strict Calvinist doctrines and began and early split within the Dutch Reformed Church.
Desiderius Erasmus
1466–1536
Humanist Philosopher and theologian. Befriended Luther, but did not break from the church.

German Peasant War

Thomas Munzer
1489–1525
Radical protestant reformer who was a rebel leader during the Peasants War in Germany.
Goetz of the Iron Hand
1480–1562
Robber baron who led the peasants uprising in Germany shortly after the protestant reformation.

Dutch Revolt

William the Silent
1533–1584
Hero of the Dutch Revolt. Led resistance to the Inquisition and Spanish tyranny.
Count Hoorn
1524–1569
Admiral of the Dutch Navy. With Egmont, protested Inquisition and was beheaded.
Count Egmont
1522–1568
Powerful Noble in Low Countries during Dutch Revolt. Protested Inquisition and was beheaded.
Marice of Nassau
1567–1625
Son of William the Silent and Statholder of the Dtuch Republic after the death of his father.
Margaret of Parma
1522–1586
Half-sister of Philip II of Spain who governed the Netherlands in the early years of the Dutch revolt.
Alexander Farnese
1545–1592
Nephew of Philip III, who governed the Netherlands in the later years of the Dutch revolt.

Thirty Years War

Count of Tilly
1559–1632
One of the two major generals of the HRE imperial forces during the Thirty Years War.
Wallenstein
1583–1634
Military leader of the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years War.
Great Elector
1620–1688
Calvinist Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg who made commercial and domestic reforms and laid the groundwork for the rise of Prussia.

Holy Roman Emperors

Charles V
1500–1558
16th century Hapsburg Emperor who ruled Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and parts of Italy.

Recommended Reading—German Reformation

Read chapters from "core" texts before reviewing study questions.


Book Title
Selected Chapters (# chapters)

Core Reading Assignments

Marshall - The History of Germany   Charles V to Joseph I and Charles VI (12)
Finnemore - Germany: Peeps at History   The Reformation to The Thirty Year's War (2)

Supplemental Recommendations

Aston - Stories from German History   Dawn of the Reformation to The Aftermath (4)
Marshall - The Story of Europe   Beginning of the Reformation to Spain and Netherlands (5)
Morris - Historical Tales: German   Ziska, the Blind Warrior to The Siege of Vienna (8)
Singmaster - Martin Luther    entire book
Upton - Youth of the Great Elector    entire book
Upton - Prince Eugene, the Noble Knight    entire book
Upton - William of Orange    entire book
Macgregor - The Netherlands    entire book

Easy Reading Selections

Haaren - Famous Men of Modern Times   Wallenstein to Gustavus Adolphus (2)