Episode 31 – Knights’ Revolt

In October 1347, twelve trading ships docked in the Sicilian port of Messina. When the ships were boarded, the locals were horrified to find most of the crewmates either dead or dying of a strange illness that covered their bodies with the black boils. Even though the authorities ordered the ships sent back out to sea, it was too late. The Black Plague had arrived in Europe.

The plague would not stop ravaging Europe until 1720, almost 400 years after it first arrived. During this time, the plague totally reordered society by killing off huge numbers of peasants who were the foundation of the medieval system of governance called feudalism.

The decimation of the peasant population resulted in increased bargaining power for the remaining peasants, allowing them to make some choices about how they wanted to live. The empowering of the peasants left the knights, who populated the lowest level of the ruling system, without peasants to tax and protect, throwing their entire existence into question.  In 1522, the knights decided to do what they did best – to fight in the knights’ revolt, a critical step in the reordering of Europe during the time of the reformation.

Franz von Sickingen was a knight who saw himself as a sort of Robin Hood, defending the poor against injustices.

In 1513, he took the side of a citizen of Worms who was driven out of town. He attacked Worms with 7000 men and won. In 1518, he fought for the citizens of Metz against the local government. He won that battle too. He was given 20,000 gold gulden and a month’s pay for his troops, but it’s unclear how this helped the citizens. He also offered his castles as refuges for any reformer who was under attack.

He made friends with Ulrich von Hutten, a humanist who was interested in enforcing reform through military means. Together, von Sickingen and von Hutten worked to promote Luther’s teachings, even offering Luther protection against the Emperor. Luther turned them down.

In 1522, Sickingen and Hutton decided to overthrow the Archbishop of Trier, who was a supporter of the pope. Part of his strategy was to get the people of Trier to revolt.

When Sickingen attacked, the people never revolted, so he was left with insufficient forces. He ran out of gunpowder after 7 days, and retreated to his castle in Landstuhl. Hutton escaped to Switzerland. This episode is about how their work upset the social system and laid the groundwork for the peasants revolt led by Thomas Müntzer.

The ringleader of the knights: Franz von Sickingen

Beer break

CAKEWALK by Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City Michigan.

This is our second Traverse City Brewery in a row!!!

Style: Vanilla Cream Ale

ABV: 4.5%

Package: Draft, 12oz Bottle 6-Packs.

Description: An extremely light and approachable cream ale brewed with real Madagascar Vanilla Beans. The addition of corn yields a light creamy mouth feel. This finishes smooth, not sweet.

Recognitions

  • Thanks to Josh
  • Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI
  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther, The Man and His Vision
  • Christina Vunguyen – The Black Death: How it affected Feudalism
  • Roger J. P. Kain, and Hugh C. Prince – The Tithe Surveys of England and Wales

Episode 30 – The Prague Manifesto of Thomas Müntzer

When Thomas Müntzer arrived in Wittenberg in early 1522, Philip Melanchthon, Andreas Karlstadt and the other reformers had no idea of the radical ideas that had come to fruition within his heart.

These ideas, which would ultimately threaten to tear Germany apart, were still hidden from the other scholars in the Wittenberg circle. But they weren’t hidden from everybody. A few months before his return to Wittenberg, Müntzer had outlined his radical theology for the believers in Prague, in a document that would be called Müntzer’s Prague Manifesto.

Müntzer hoped the manifesto would help the believers in Prague to unite against the emperor to form a new society. Instead, it only served to highlight the radical nature of Müntzer’s thinking.

Although Luther was able to calm everything down with the Invocavit Sermons in Wittenberg, there was continuing unrest throughout the rest of Germany, eventually resulting in the Peasants War.

Thomas Muntzer, c.1600 (hand coloured woodcut) by German School; Private Collection; (c.1488-1525 was a Reformation-era German theologian and Anabaptist)

Before we dive into the Peasants War, we’ll introduce Thomas Müntzer, a former Wittenberger who eventually became the leader of the peasants in the war. He was also one of Luther’s earliest supporters.

When one of Müntzer’s parishioners, Nicholas Storch, showed unusual Biblical insight, Müntzer advocated making Storch a preacher without any formal training.

The city council of Zwickau became fearful of this irregularity, they summoned Storch to be questioned. Storch fled Zwickau with two friends, Thomas Drechsel and Marcus Strübner. Strübner was a former student in Wittenberg.

Storch, Drechsel and Strübner eventually ended up in Wittenberg, staying with Andreas Karlstadt. These were the Zwickau Prophets we mentioned back in episode 27.

Karlstadt, Amsdorf and Melanchthon were impressed by the Zwickau prophets claims of special revelation. But both Amsdorf and Melanchthon disagreed with the Zwickau prophets on the rejection of infant baptism. By the time Luther had returned, Thomas Müntzer had also arrived in Wittenberg. But by March 1522, Müntzer’s teachings had changed dramatically compared with when Luther knew him as a student.

Beer break

North Peak Brewing Company – Diabolical IPA

North Peak Brewing Company is located in a historic building which was formerly the Big Daylight Candy Factory.

In March of 1899, a partnership was formed by John G. Straub, his brother, Anton F. Straub and George E. Amiotte in the creation of candies and confectionary in Traverse City.

Under the style of Straub Brothers and Amiotte, the firm soon established success with a large local following and an extensive wholesale trade. So rapidly did the business increase, that it became necessary to provide a building of sufficient capacity to meet the growing demands of the trade.

The building housing North Peak Brewing Company was Straub’s third and final building. Straub Brothers and Amiotte “Big Daylight Candy Factory” is a handsome imposing brick edifice of three floors and a basement. It was constructed with 400,000 bricks and 250,000 feet of lumber, erected and supplied with the latest and most approved machinery devices for the manufacturing of all kinds of candies. It compared favorably on a scale with the largest and most successful establishments of its kind.


Diabolical IPA

An aggressively hopped IPA, with a nice caramel sweetness. This brew features multiple hop additions (including local Cascade, Chinook & Willamette) which provide an abundance of flavor & aroma. Citrus, pine, mint, and floral notes can’t be missed while enjoying this North Peak flagship beer

Northern United Brewing Company beers, spirits and wines are made in Michigan. Using ingredients grown in Michigan.

Recognitions

Josh Yagley

Source materials

James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer

Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther, The Man and His Vision

Matthias Riedl – Thomas Muntzer’s Prague Manifesto – A case study in the secularization of the apocalypse.

Wikipedia

Contact us

graceontap.podcast@gmail.com

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