The Printing Press

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  • Created by: Lilly
  • Created on: 13-01-13 17:31

The printing press

  • The first press was put into production by Guttenburg in 1455.
  • By 2500, there were printing shops in over 60 Germain cities
  • Between 1517-20, 300 000 copies of Luther's writings were published, ensuring that Rome was unable to silence Luther early on while gauranteeing his message had as large an audience as possible.
  • However, less than 3% of the population could read. Wood cuts, which were pictures dipecting a message played a large part in the spread of Luther's message to the 97% of the population who couldn't read.
  • As early as 1523, 183 pamphlets by Luther were circulating Germany, compared with 20 by his enermies and 215 by his firends.
  • The printing press played a large part in the spread of Luther's message, beacuse:

-It was relatively cheap compared to making a bible, and were alot faster, with reduced doctrinal errors

-venacular catechisms published, by which people gained instructions in what and how to worship

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  • There were other reasons for why Luther's ideas spread so quickly:

1) The political structure of HRE


3)Imperial cicites/towns

4) Charles V's failures

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1- Political structure of the HRE

  • HRE split into 360 individually ruled states, which were in essence politically autonomous to Charles
  • Anticlericalism, opposition to Rome and discontenet with the HRE gave Luther the opportunity to set out his programme of reform and spread the 'pure' gospl
  • Germans were ready to identify with one of their own- Luther became the figure head of German nationalism and a patriotic icon around whom people could put forward their grivances.
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2- Preaching

  • Unlike pamphlets, they offered continuous guidance and support
  • Luther's messages were flexible and he had adapted them to suit different audiences- for example children, spread his message to larger audience
  • Instruct people in the new doctrine and to encourage them to support and follow the movement
  • Spoken in the vencualr
  • Sermons published in order that travelling preachers, so they could teach it to others- further expansion of the lutheran message
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3-Imperial cities/Towns

  • In the cities and towns of Germany, reform was generally carried forward by influencial figures in society. Often local guilds or members of an urban council, convinced by th preaching of a dedicated Lutehrna Evangelist would intiate the reform
  • E.G. Nuremberg, the town council intiated teh religious reform. In Basle it was local guilds which put pressure on the town council to reform.
  • Eventually more than 50 of teh 65 self governing imperial cities in Germany embraced reform
  • In these towns, there is a commo theme explaining the success of reform. Radical ideas would be popularised by preachers and pamphlets and the town council would be persuaded by greater or lesser amounts of persuassion to accept the case for reform.
  • The layity resented clerical privalges and saw the opportunity to secualrise the church as a way of winning control of monastic land and avoiding the payment of clerical taxes
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4- Charles V's failures

  • After diet of Worms in 1521, he left the empire, not to return until 1529, which meant that he wasn't there to enforce the edict, and therefore allowed Lutheransim to spread
  • When he left the empire, he left his brother Ferdinand as leader, he had even less power than Charles, which meant that he couldn't enforce his will on the empire.
  • Charles was too distracted by the Turks threat and the Valois threat, which included battles, which meant that Charles would need soliders, which would ultimately come from Germany, so he couldn't upset the princes as they were supplying his troops. It also meant that he couldn't use force to enforce the edict
  • Before Charles became Emperor, he had to sign a Capitulation, which essentially meant that he couldn't act without the support of the princes, which made it almost impossible to enforce the edict of Worms or to impose Catholicism,
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