The Thirty Years' War, 2nd Edition by Geoffrey Parker

By Geoffrey Parker

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Among those who turned to Calvinism were Elector Frederick III of the Palatinate in 1559–60, Count John of Nassau in 1578, and Landgrave Maurice of HesseKassel in 1605. The last conversion gave rise to a war, for the extinction of the HesseMarburg branch of the family the previous year was exploited by the newly Calvinist landgrave: he occupied the vacant inheritance, and in particular the famous university of Marburg, which had become an important seminary for training Lutheran pastors. The students rebelled, but Maurice’s troops prevailed.

At the 1612 assembly Maximilian, who had just issued a complex legal code without Europe between war and peace, 1555-1618 13 consulting his Estates, persuaded the ‘representatives of the people’ to vote him a handsome annual subsidy for seven years (equal by itself to double the revenues of the Elector of Saxony); to invest him with the power to make war and peace as he chose, and to raise all necessary taxes (in case of war) at his own discretion. 17 Undoubtedly the principal reason for this cooperation was Maximilian’s proven financial expertise.

Puzzled, the narrator enquires of a bystander if the old man is guilty of treason. ‘Much worse than that,’ comes the reply. ‘He is a man who believes that we can achieve salvation by good works as well as by faith. You must realize that if such views become accepted, a state cannot endure, and severe laws are required to suppress such disgraceful horrors,’ Disgusted, our hero moves on to Seville, where he is imprisoned and fined by the Inquisition for a careless word overheard while forty sinners are burnt at the stake for heresy.

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