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Journal > Volumes > 39 (2008) / 1 (Spring)
Predatory Protectors? Conflict and Cooperation in the Suppression of the German Peasants’ Revolt of 1525
Thomas F. Sea
University of Western Ontario

Although the primary burden of suppressing the 1525 German peasants’ revolt was assumed by the Swabian League, many individual princes raised military forces and mounted campaigns on their own against the rebels, with varying degrees of success. For those princes who did so, the rebellion offered opportunities to assert their authority over disputed areas and jurisdictions at the expense of rulers, primarily ecclesiastical princes and prelates, who had no such forces available due to financial difficulties and the speed with which the revolt had spread. The ground for exploiting such opportunities was usually the need to “protect” the power and authority of the rulers involved. The result was frequently the opposite. Thus, despite many attempts to arrange cooperation among the princes in the areas of the uprising, the suppression campaigns often resulted in increased tension between rulers and major disputes over allegedly protective actions taken against the rebels by princes at the expense of their neighbors.

Pages: 89 - 111