volksmarschall

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BOOK II: THE REFORMATION

PART THREE: THE EVANGELICAL WARS


II

German Troubles

The peculiarity of the Evangelical Wars which engulfed Europe was that its origins were in the parochial problem of the Germanies. Much of modern European history, much to the chagrin and problems of the other peace-loving peoples of the continent, was moved by German problems. If we say the Evangelical Wars were rooted in theology, then the blame lay with Martin Luther’s radicalism and reformation. If we say, as I’ve just described, that the wars were not so much theological as they were political, the German princes are to blame as was the German Wittelsbach family on the throne of Denmark which subsequently saw itself as the pan-Lutheran, pan-Protestant, protector of the rebellious Protestant Germans wherever they lay.

Indeed, the origin of the German Lutheran churches was political more than theological. As I described many chapters ago, the looting of Christendom by Protestants was done for political gain. The longstanding German-Papacy dispute that was a medieval problem that boiled over to this problem, finally had a wedge issue in Luther’s self-righteousness to bring a hammering blow to the Catholic Church.

It is unsurprising, given the great history of Germanic problems, that the Evangelical Wars started in Germany when German Protestants, seeking to consolidate their power, overthrow the rightful and legitimate Catholic duke of Bavaria, Maximilian, who fled to Vienna and Rome to launch his counterrevolution. The long history of counterrevolutionary politics is not the fault of Catholicism but the reaction of Catholicism to a greater antinomian and revolutionary threat posed by the egalitarian and rebellious children of Korah in the guise of holiness and purity.

The Evangelical Wars were about power. It was a series of conflicts primarily motivated by political power; which, in the spirit of the times, and the intense religiosity of the age, gained sanctified blessing by Protestant and Catholic clergy who joined the fray in their blessings of arms, armies, and soldiers in their righteous struggles. This was not new. Christian clergy had long blessed and been integrated into the post-Roman armed forces, whether at Chalons or during the Crusades—even great saints like Bernard of Clairvaux preached to the French crusaders of their holy task in defending the land of the apostles and Christ’s birth from the heretical Muslims.[1] So again, this long Christian tradition of active warfare with clergy on the frontlines came to fruition when Duke Maximilian received audience with Pope Alexander VII, the former Cardinal-Bishop of Angers, and the most glorious and holy French pope blessed his rightful claim to restoration and sanctified his sword for the oncoming struggle.

The beginning of the Evangelical Wars did not initially include Louis-Joseph who, in 1565, had ascended to the domains of the Angevins from the claim his mother, Yolande, had to the Valois-Anjou line in being married to the last Valois Duke and King of the Angevin domains, Nicholas I. The circumstances of Louis-Joseph’s divinization and hagiography is, in part, due to his militant and confident Catholicism which he shared with his mother. Yolande was 49 years of age when she birthed Louis-Joseph. It is now accepted that she carried on an affair and that Louis-Joseph was not the blood son of Nicholas I; but the fact that such a barren woman who was unable to conceive a child in her sexual prime with Nicholas gave birth to a son before Nicholas’ death to ensure a stable inheritance and ascension, was clearly conceived—pardon the pun—by Louis-Joseph’s historians and Alexander VII himself, who served as the young boy’s mentor and tutor before ascending to the papacy, as a miracle of God.

hZQo929.jpg

FIGURE 1: “Queen Yolande.” Although 49 when she gave birth to Louis-Joseph, the court painters generally depicted Yolande as the epitome of sexual fertility and beauty despite most primary accounts depicting her as nothing special and coming from the lower aristocratic stock. Her marriage with Nicholas I was one of true love rather than political networking.

Embroiled in the Italian Wars, which I shall cover in the third book, Louis-Joseph, the domains of the Angevins, and France, initially supported their Habsburg and Catholic brethren without material forces being involved in the conflict. The French had other prerogatives and responsibilities to deal with: rebellion in Italy, consolidation in Naples, reconquest in North Africa, colonial expansion in the New World, etc. Thus, the first two Evangelical Wars primarily saw the Catholic League solely composed of German Catholics and the Habsburgs against the Calvinist and Lutheran forces of the Swiss Confederation, and the German Protestant lands of the Palatinate, Saxony, and Bavaria, before Denmark and Brandenburg entered the second war on the part of the Evangelical League.

Thus, in 1579, when Louis-Joseph was 29, and fresh off northern Italian campaigns, a Catholic army led by the Holy Roman Emperor, Matthias II, entered Bavaria with Papal blessing to restore Maximilian as the ruler of the duchy. Some 33,000 soldiers, mostly from the Habsburg dominions, but including Bavarian Catholics and other Catholic German exiles and princes, were with the cohort as it moved slowly, but menacingly, to Munich. The Protestant forces, mostly just the Bavarian court loyal to Albert, gathered together when spies informed them that an army from the “Whore of Babylon”[2] was coming to wage war on the “camp of the saints.”[3]

The Calvinist army made a futile, but valiant, stand outside Munich with their 19,000 soldiers against the Habsburg army nearly twice its size. In one of the first large-scale battles to involve horse, cannon, pike, and firearm outside of the Italian Peninsula, the battle revolutionized the German way of war. In six hours of fighting, the Catholic army broke the Protestant army which was put to flight and no mercy was given to the left behind. Albert’s army and claim to Bavaria was broken in a single day as around 12,000 of his men and compatriots were slayed by battle or by the Catholic victors who gave no quarter to “Satanists.”[4] The next day, Maximilian entered Munich at the head of the Cross and the Banners of the Catholic army and Habsburg flags.

mlqVSrp.jpg

FIGURE 2: An artistic depiction of the Battle of Munich, which was a decisive victory for the Catholic and Habsburg forces.

Despite the battlefield defeat, Albert escaped and fled into neighboring territories, rallying an army of southern Protestants in the first ecumenical movement in Protestant history with the Lutheran Palatinate and Calvinist Swiss putting aside their differences to aid the ostentatiously Calvinist Albert. Two months after the battle of Munich, a new Protestant, Evangelical, army had formed with an equal force to their Habsburg opponents. On August 9, the Evangelical army reentered Bavaria with the intent of encircling and destroying the Catholic army. With the emperor’s presence among the troops, the hope was that he would be taken prisoner and be used as leverage in the coming settlement.


[1] Catholic tradition has held that Islam was a Christian heresy. St. John of Damascus, in encountering the Muslims for the first time after their conquest of Syria, wrote that the teachings of Islam were similar to a conglomerate of Christian heresies known to be active in Arabia during Muhammad’s life, including Arianism, Nestorianism, and Docetism.

[2] It was common in the sixteenth century Reformation to identify the Harlot of Babylon in Revelation 17 as the Catholic Church. This prejudice remains in confessional Calvinist and especially North American Baptist and evangelical circles. The traditional Christian reading of great Mystery Babylon was that she was old covenant (apostate) Jerusalem, the harlot city prefigured and prophesied about in Amos, Hosea, and Jeremiah, and following the hermeneutical principle of the New Testament revealing what was prefigured or prophesied about in the Old Testament. Obviously there was no Vatican, Islam, or New York City (three common futurist interpretations) prefigured in the Old Testament.

[3] The historical nature of Protestantism and the prospects of an imminent second coming caused many Protestants to read themselves as in the final books of Revelation with the coming end of history nigh. As mentioned in ff.2, Protestants generally saw themselves as the “light of the world” and the “camp of the saints” being assailed by the Whore of Babylon, Gog and Magog, and the forces of the anti-Christ, which were all synonymous with Catholic powers and clerics.

[4] While never dogmatized, the popular Catholic approach to the Protestant Reformation was its spirit of division and confusion was from the devil.
 

stnylan

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This seems to be one of those signal and significant clashes that determines many futures.
 

Idhrendur

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The big war is certainly here.
 

volksmarschall

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Due to time constraints and other outstanding obligations on my part, I’m putting this on hold so what time I have for AARs can be devoted to Empire for Liberty in Vic. 2. This will resume when the future allows for it.

~ volksmarschall
 

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No worries and quite understandable.
 

The Number 9

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I had some troubles to follow as many AARs as I want. So, I'm not against a bit of time to focus on others. :D
Don't worry, we will be here when you'll find some time to continue writing this one.