How long O Lord. How long?
The common and popular media would have you believe that 500 hundred years ago today Martin Luther invented the Reformation. Naturally being the common and popular media this is somewhat inaccurate. As a dedicated and serious historian (See “A True History of These Isles Vol. 1 (Prehistory to 1216 CE-ish)”, available on Amazon Kindle $0.99/£0.99- terms and conditions apply) it therefore falls upon myself to ensure the correct application of facts and a fair interpretation of both Luther and the events.
Luther’s Early Life
Martin Luther was born 10th Nov 1483in Saxony into an industrious family; he had several siblings. His father insisted he become a lawyer. He seems to have had a typical education as he referred to his time in school as being both ‘purgatory and hell’, while his university (at Erfurt) was a ‘beer and whorehouse’. Despite this he received a Master’s Degree in 1505. As his father was still stuck on the idea of his son being a lawyer Martin Luther was sent back to Erfurt to study just the law. He didn’t like it and felt there was more to Life, so took to philosophy, but on encountering Reason and Logic felt he might be slipping back into Law. He concluded the only way to be worthwhile and content was to encounter God
A Dramatic Event
On the 2nd Jul 1505, or so the records state, while walking in a field or riding on a road, he was struck by lightning, but survived. Not wishing to have that such a close encounter with God, as yet, weary of people inferring there were many other reasons why a student would be lying confused in a field and also not wishing to risk a repeat experience he became a monk.
How Things Were Done
At this time a large portion of Central Europe was supposed to be ruled by The Holy Roman Emperor. As was the custom of the time he divided his time between fighting the French while arguing with any pope as to who had the final say in things. In the meantime various princes, dukes, counts etc fought or sued each other, while suppressing peasants who rebelled or worse took the nobles to the courts. It was a good time for mercenaries and lawyers (Be fair, you can see Luther Snr’s point of view).
Luther in Conflict with The Church
At this time the Church had become very indulgent by making a rule which said you could do what you liked as long as you said you were sorry and paid a large amount of money to the Church. Luther thought this unfair upon the poor people and showed his displeasure by writing a version of the Bible in a very common language called The Vernacular while in 1517 (31st Oct) also by nailing to the door of a church a work of nine-five reasons why he was right. The Church authorities acted swiftly.
In 1521 he was summoned to a church court. Here, he defended his case with great eloquence for three or five days and then confused everyone by saying he had nothing to say and was going to stand there. Despite this clever and dramatic move The Church authorities said Luther was incorrect and thus an hysteric. They then condemned him to the terrible punishment of a Diet of Worms.
The Peasant’s Official Revolt
Because Luther had been saying the Church was too wealthy and not Religious enough he had gathered a following. On hearing the news of the cruel sentence passed on him The Poor People were so outraged by this vile treatment that they rose in official rebellion (instead of their normal rowdy behavior). This started in 1524, a peasants’ council was formed and in was agreed to upgrade the rebellion into a war. This ended in 1525, because the authorities could massacre better than peasants could massacre large armies.
The peasants however were good at wrecking churches, monasteries, and being not educated also libraries. Luther was disgusted with this and told them they should concentrate on praying, being rude to bishops and but listen to their rulers.
This was well-received by many of the nobility.
Luther’s Private Life
During this turbulent time people were daring to think the unthinkable. This can be typified by the case of twelve nuns at a convent in Brehna, Saxony who were fed up of being nuns. On hearing of this Luther in a spirit of gallant manliness smuggled them out in herring barrels on the 4th April 1523. The Church authorities may have thought something fishy was going on but possibly shrewdly deduced he’d end up in a pickle. He and one nun Katharina von Bora did however fall in love and marry, thus allowing all clergy to marry. When Katharina found out he’d been living on hard bread and sleeping in a mildewed bed (or maybe the other way around) she soon sorted him out, Luther learning the great value of the phrase ‘Yes Dear’
Luther and The Reformation
Several bishops and affiliated lesser nobility had tried to have Luther massacred but more sympathetic nobles kept hiding him. When the authorities realised he wasn’t arguing with them, but only the bishops and rowdy peasants it became safe for him to come out of hiding. The first thing he had to do was to tell people to stop listening to people who were not reading The Bible but just having visions as you never knew where they’d got those visons from. He wisely then set up his own church to ensure more Bible reading and singing of hymns.
In Later Years
Luther had a family, his own church and a reformation, however in later years he also suffered with many types of ill-health which made him short-tempered, and sadly not amusingly irascible but down right unpleasantly rude. Being a typical man when admonished by his wife on this score he blamed someone else. This included in particular The Jews, which was very unfair because he was supposed to have read the Bible and it didn’t need much of an excuse for the population to pick on Jews. This outlook of his may have led to a case of Terminal Stupidity as he died in 1546. Normal and balanced people do not subscribe to these later views and wish he’d just to stuck more wholesome pastimes in his retirement such as tending to a garden or annoying bishops.
It can be argued that because of Luther there are a lot more ways of being Christian than there used to be. As long as people don’t hurl insults or objects at each other over the matter then this is no bad thing.
The author wishes it to be known this article is originally based on a post of some two years ago (Whimsicalities Anyone?) which is so full of inaccuracies and incorrect assumptions that is has been fully overhauled.
For more interesting views on matters historical readers may (or may not) wish to consider investing in a copy of
Available on Kindle (normal terms and conditions apply)
I need add no more. This is gold for those starting or floundering!
I’m currently in the process of designing my “dream” office. I have an entire empty room to do with what I please, and you’d better believe I’m going to make space for all my books.
It’s fun to imagine what it’s going to look like when it’s finished.
But I still know it’s never going to get done if I never actually work on it.
It’s kind of like writing a book. You can’t write a book without actually writing. And you can’t write well if you’re not interested in what you’re writing about. If I were designing a workshop instead of a place to write, I’d never get that thing done.
Don’t write what you know. Write what you WANT to know. What you’re INTERESTED in knowing.
I’ve heard many authors say that the key to writing a good book is to write the book you’ve always wanted to…
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As previous chapters have covered much of the activities of the Scots and how they upset or distracted the kings and northern nobility of England, there will be some brevity hereabouts
In the previous volume it was annotated, recorded and generally written about, over the long history of these Isles the folk who lived in the part we call Scotland were wont to march south to raid, enslave, loot or conquer folk in places we now call Northern England. If we go even farther back to about half way through Volume I they did the same to those who were what we would call Welsh, only they were Britons and lived in a place called Strathclyde. Being a fair-minded folk The Scots of the lowlands of Scotland did the same to those who lived in the Highlands or the Islands (as opposed to Ireland, which is another matter). Thus, the Scots in general were a busy and industrious folk who when they had no particularly serious issue with outsides (or Highlanders or Islanders) fought amongst themselves for land, heritage and if they were ambitious enough the Scots throne.
The Perceived Wisdom of the Scots of the Middle Ages
It was an acknowledged fact of Scottish politics that no matter what had been done by whom and when, if the fighting involved the English (or to be precise the Norman Kings and nobles), at least one side was fighting for Scottish Independence, even if they had started it by invading England. As we will see this was used to good effect.
The problem facing those who survived long enough to be a king of Scotland was the number of other folk who wanted to be king and kept on asking some of those Norman lords (aka English) to the south if they could lend them a retinue to bolster the campaign. This became very irritating and Alexander III last of the Dunkeld had some very strong words with Edward I but did not invade, preferring to visit nuns, widows, virgins and in fact any women and as recorded previously died 1286 in a hurry to meet his new bride.
The Rise of The Bruces
Not happy with the other twelve or fifty candidates for the throne or people asking what an English king thought about it, The Bruce family acted. The Bruces from 1306 started by killing John III of Comyn who was Scots but might have wanted to be English
As John had been killed in a church Robert Bruce was quick to say this was only done to protect Scotland from being taken over by the English. In the confusion he then said that all his wars were against the Kings of England and various rouges bought by English Gold and so everything was a war of Independence which gave him the rite to invade not just England but Ireland as well. This worked quite well in Scotland but as noted previously did not do so well for Robert’s brother Edward who died of unconvinced Irish. Robert however defeated the English and their Norman kings, nobles etc at Bannockburn in 1324 on the 23rd June. A peace treaty was signed in which it was clearly stated that only scots nobles could massacre other scots nobles but that Robert could not be held responsible for cattle raiders. He then ruled Scotland but made a hobby of acquiring various ailments and so died in 1329, but the pope at the time said Robert could be buried, so all ended well.
A Time of Turbulence and Then Stability and then Not So Much
Because there was no Son The Bruce, matters were somewhat tempestuous between 1329 & 1356 when David (The II and a Bruce) and Edward (Not a Norman one but a Balliol) disputed who should be king. A lot of time was wasted with small battles, one king escaping from or imprisoning the other until Edward noticed no one was supporting him anymore and he retired.
With all this practice David (The II and no one arguing about it) set to massacring or just punishing disagreeable nobles and inventing a Treasury by which means he was able to prove that Scotland was very wealthy. Thus ahead of the game he cannily died in 1371.
Regrettably there was no David to be the III, so a nephew named Robert but who was really A Stewart was crowned The II. England and France at the time were having peace talks and Robert (The II) wanted to join in. This did not go well with his sons or other nobles and he spent the rest of his life losing his throne to various claimants until 1390 when he expired of coups.
In this unhappy situation Robert (the II)’s son, John said it was in order that he should now be king, because he had had experience at trying to depose David II and/or Edward and also rebel against his father. Although he convinced the Scots parliament to allow him to be called Robert and thus be The III, the nobles were not convinced. Considering some of these had splendid names such as Black Douglas, Red Douglas (possibly an early socialist) or Archibald The Grim it is easy to see why. He was also blamed for failing the pacify the west and north of Scotland where folk were wont Gaelic and opposed to Scots. It is likely he would have been deposed or slewed but for the king of England being Richard The II, The Hopeless and The Deposed. This allowed the nobles in the south of Scotland to raid, pillage, slaughter etc the north of England and not really care who might call themselves King of Scotland. He was to eventually die in 1406 0f ill-health possibly bought on by a series of Douglases.
The Church in Scotland
Whereas the Scots had been properly Christian, they had to put up with the Archbishop of York telling them what to do. What with Scottish nobles raiding across the border this was not always an effective means of religious leadership. The Papacy in 1192 attempted to sort this out by telling Scottish bishops they didn’t have to speak to the Archbishop of York anymore. Regrettably due to a clerical oversight no Scots’ Archbishop was appointed even though the Scots’ church was titled Ecclesia Scoticana which sounded very important. For some obscure reason they were known as The Special Daughter of Rome even though they were more than one and naturally men. Thus, somewhat confused and not a little depressed the church in Scotland generally restricted itself to religious matters.
The Scottish Parliamentary Experience
As was fashionable in parts of Europe various knights, local important un-nobles and folk with money felt the nobles were having far too much say in the running of things and so grumbled together. Kings liking the idea of having folk who were not nobles around the place allowed them to form parliaments. The idea unravelled a bit when these folk stopped just talking and gained powers.
In Scotland to avoid the attentions of nobles disagreeable or otherwise, these used never to meet in the same place but in various towns, then tell the king what they thought of things. By deft manoeuvring they even managed to gain some powers of taxation and telling the king what his name should be (See Robert III).
Unlike later commoners (see Oliver Cromwell) they were never able to gain an army and so their role was often marginal.
In the not uncommon circumstance of the various Middle Ages there was no shortage of folk to fight, the Scots very cannily invented the Clan. This was based around the family of a chief. However not only his family, but followers etc could join and all use the same name. This made raids, squabbles and wars a much neater affair as everyone knew which side they were on. Something not always shared in England and Ireland (Wales being in a bit of a sulk). Because the ordinary person gave loyalty to the Clan they did not have to listen to The King. Whereas this seemed a smidge democratic it meant that kings of Scotland developed aggressive tendencies, or went into a sulk neither of which boded well for stable or healthy long-term government. However, as the Clans survive to this day, theirs, it must be argued, was the better arrangement.
Because English Kings felt obliged, for many reasons, to fight both Scotland and France it was understandable the latter two should form an alliance. In Scotland, this was called The Auld Alliance, and to ensure everyone Scottish knew who was who The English were titled The Auld Enemy. This arrangement allowed the French and Scots to be very sentimental about each other and when it suited kings of either nation they could join with the other in wars with England without footling about with new treaties.
Conclusion of The 14th Century.
Although far from united, The Scots were able to maintain the argument that whatever they did was to ensure they remained independent from England. This enabled Scottish History to be Romantic so more socially attractive than England’s which was deemed only to be Eventful and Turbulent.
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Here is a post of pure inspirational brilliance. Read, digest then get writing.
Too many times has a fellow writer told me that they are an “aspiring writer”. You’re not. You’re a writer, end of story.
What do I mean by that? Well the word ‘aspiring’ means that you hope to be a writer one day. Let me say this to you in clear, plain English. If you write, you are a writer. If you continue to write, you continue to be a writer. There is no special club you need to join to be branded a writer. If what you do is writing, you are, by definition, a writer.
Now you can be an “aspiring author”. That makes sense, because an author is basically a writer who has published a book. Not every writer has published a book, so you could actually aspire to have your book published one day. Be an aspiring author, not an aspiring writer.
It also comes down…
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Here is a gentleman of true courage and fortitude.
Your future, not your pain.
The reality of the past 7 years and the realisation that what I was interested in doing. (Encouraging someone everyday) has been achieved. Nuts really how this has happened considering the pain that envelopes me on a daily basis. Success is doing what you say your going to do. Asking if I want a coffee in a morning if you know me is pointless. Making a coffee for me if you so wished, I don’t take milk and less than one teaspoon of sugar. The point of this post is to talk with you about doing, not considering it. Talking to me seems useless, but standing up and doing something means so much to me these days.
You see when your faced with losing your own life, no really you do start to see. It’s only then that you become. Let me explain. Good…
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Here are some very important and wise words from Dan
your humble host
Is that you?
LOTS of stories in various stages of being written…
…and none actually WRITTEN?
I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself. It’s pretty common.
And why does it happen? Easy. It’s a (constant) case of “Oh, that looks exciting! And that!”
and that and that and that and that…”
To be a writer, you are going to have to make yourself eat your vegetables before you can have dessert.
You pick one story and you say that’s it. The rest of the stories don’t exist until I finish this one.
Finishing one will cause them all to get finished. Chasing ten rabbits won’t finish any.
The other ones will call to you.
You’ll get good ideas.
Make a quick note and stick it away.
Don’t pursue the ideas. Pursue onestory.
Until you finish it.
Then pursue the next one! In…
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