Augsberg (Interim, Confession, League of & Peace of)

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Augsberg (Interim, Confession, League of & Peace of)

Augsberg in 1550 /

Augsberg in 1550 /

On the northern tip of the Lechfeld plain in Bavaria, two rivers meet and conjoin – the Lech and the Wertach. Here an occupying Roman called Nero Claudius Drusus (a younger brother of Tiberius) founded a colony in 15 B.C. which eventually grew to become the impressive and ancient city of Augsberg.

   Banks and business houses such as the Fugger (q.v.) and Welser were responsible for its development in the 15th and 16th centuries. It became an important centre for banking and finance, as well as encouraging the arts and sciences. Both Holbein painters, father and son, came from Augsberg, but the city declined in importance in the 17th century and quietly became just another town in Bavaria in the nineteenth.

   The Interim of Augsberg was a formula designed at the Diet in 1548 by Charles V in order to solve the Holy Roman Empire’s religious quarrels by inventing a rather loosely designed kind of Roman Catholicism which would be acceptable to Protestant princes. Lay persons could receive the Communion cup, and Protestant ministers could keep their wives. Catholic princes accepted this without much enthusiasm but the Protestant princes rejected it without a word. Then Pope Paul refused any endorsement at all until 1549, while the majority of Catholic priests refused to give communion wine to the laity. Nothing in the Interim could be considered a success.

   The Confession was a statement of faith composed by Martin Luther and others for the Diet of Augsberg in 1530, though the official text was written by Melanchthon in 1531. It was the earliest of Protestant Confessions and became authoritive for the Lutheran Church.

   The Peace of Augsberg was a treaty signed in 1555 by both Catholics and Protestants, recognising as legitimate the Augsberg Confession of 1530. The Catholic faith triumphed, and the Peace showed the failure of Charles V’s ragged attempt to ruin Protestantism within the Empire. This might be considered odd because the treaty was organised by the Emperor’s brother Ferdinand. It confirmed appropriation of ecclesiastical property by Protestant princes, declaring that each (petty) ruler should decide the religion of his state, which led to the popularity of the phrase – cuius regio, eius religio.

   The League of Augsberg was an alliance against the French territorial expansionism of King Louis XIV (q.v.) being formed in association with Emperor Leopold I, Spain, Bavaria and other places within the Empire. It was 1686. England, the Netherlands and Savoy allied themselves to the League during the subsequent War of the League of Augsberg (1689 – 97), also known as the War of the Palatinate Succession. Thus was created what became known as ‘The Grand Alliance ‘ (q.v.). The Palatinate was devastated in 1689 and the combined English/Dutch fleets won the naval engagement at La Hogue in 1692. Eventually there was a peace treaty (Rijswijk 1697), restoring the independence of Lorraine but confirming France’s possession of Alsace, thus ensuring barely explicable European problems for a long time to come.

By | 2014-08-02T17:38:15+00:00 August 1st, 2014|German History|0 Comments

About the Author:

‘Dean Swift’ is a pen name: the author has been a soldier; he has worked in sales, TV, the making of films, as a teacher of English and history and a journalist. He is married with three grown-up children. They live in Spain.

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