The Scandalous Marriage of Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther

by Heather R. Darsie On 13 June 1525, forty-one-year-old Martin Luther married twenty-six-year old Katharina von Bora. Katharina was given to the Church at a young age. By her early twenties, she and several other nuns in the Marienthron convent were familiar with Luther’s teachings and wished to practice them. They became fed up with religious life, and wanted to leave the convent. Katharina von … Continue reading The Scandalous Marriage of Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther

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Anne Boleyn Speaks to Her Court, 1533

by Heather R. Darsie After Anne Boleyn had her coronation, she was assigned her own court and officers. Per her chaplain William Latymer, she gave two speeches to her court. The first was to her temporal officers, and the second to her spiritual advisers. The accuracy of these speeches is in no way verifiable, as William Latymer’s work was written during the reign of Elizabeth … Continue reading Anne Boleyn Speaks to Her Court, 1533

Massacre at Vassy? A Skirmish with Mary, Queen of Scots’ Uncle and the Huguenots

Tensions over religion rose throughout the 16th century in France, culminating in the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598). The Vassy Massacre on 1 March 1562 is frequently seen as the first major incident which sparked the Wars of Religion. The Catholic Francis, Duke of Guise, entered the small town of Vassy and was present for the massacre. A group of Huguenots were attacked and slaughtered, … Continue reading Massacre at Vassy? A Skirmish with Mary, Queen of Scots’ Uncle and the Huguenots

Poor Relief in Reformation England, Germany, and the Netherlands

by Heather R. Darsie** Attempts at providing poor relief increased in the late 16th century. Some of the more overt changes happened in Elizabethan England, and in the Netherlands and Germany. This is in part due to religious changes.  In this essay, trends in charitable giving and social changes in poor relief due to the Reformation in England, Germany, and the Netherlands are explored. Poverty … Continue reading Poor Relief in Reformation England, Germany, and the Netherlands

1519: A Tudor Year in Review

by Heather R. Darsie The year 1519 was a year of massive changes, important births, and important deaths in Western Europe. Some of these impacted Henry VIII’s reign, whilst others did not come meaningfully into play until the reigns of Henry’s daughters. Henry VIII turned 28 years old in 1519, and was still young-minded. Births and Deaths Maximilian I von Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor, died … Continue reading 1519: A Tudor Year in Review

Katharina von Bora

by Heather R. Darsie Katharina von Bora died on 20 December 1552, at the age of 53 years old. Katharina was possibly born 29 January 1499, although there are no primary sources to enforce this date. It is not known exactly who Katharina’s parents were, but is generally agreed that she came from a petty noble Saxon family. Katharina was sent to a Benedictine cloister … Continue reading Katharina von Bora

Sir Thomas More: Ethics, Duty, and the Law

by Heather R. Darsie On 6 July 1535, Sir Thomas More lost his head for sticking with his legal principles. He was 57 years old. Often lauded as an important religious figure during the English Reformation, More was canonized 19 May 1935. Ironically to some, that was the 399th anniversary of the death of another famous victim from the English Reformation: Anne Boleyn. Turning back … Continue reading Sir Thomas More: Ethics, Duty, and the Law

Anne Boleyn: The Difference of 1,100 Days

By Heather R. Darsie On 15 May 1536, Anne Boleyn was put on trial for her alleged crimes against Henry VIII. Three years earlier, a roughly five-months pregnant Anne and her husband Henry were learning that things were leaning in favor of their marriage. Henry and Anne secretly wed around 14 November 1532 in Dover, then officially secretly wed (confusing, I know) in January 1533 … Continue reading Anne Boleyn: The Difference of 1,100 Days

The Increasing Horrors of War in 16th Century Western Europe

by Heather R. Darsie The 16th century saw rapid changes in military capabilities. The medieval knight and a knight’s form of armor and fighting reached peak efficiency by around 1450. After 1450, advances in military science made armor more and more vulnerable. The advent of pike attacks and guns made armor almost ineffective, and the flat walls of many fortifications made excellent targets for canon … Continue reading The Increasing Horrors of War in 16th Century Western Europe

Jeanne d’Albret

by Heather R. Darsie Please note that this article first appeared here. Jeanne d’Albret was born on 16 November 1528 to Marguerite d’Angoulême and Henri II of Navarre at the Parisian Saint Germain-en-Laye palace. Henri was Marguerite’s second husband. Marguerite had two children with Henri, but only Jeanne survived. Jeanne was the niece of the French king, Francois I, who dearly loved his elder sister Marguerite. … Continue reading Jeanne d’Albret