This article reconstructs the politics behind the four papal elections that took place between 1590 and 1592, an apparently unusual period during which the papacy seems to have been undergoing an electoral crisis. It argues, however, that the impulse to select weak and short-lived candidates was in fact a rational response to the unusually fraught political situation in Europe as the only way to balance the competing needs of continuity in Rome and stability in the wider Catholic Church.
About a third of the last testaments of Prague citizens from 1517 to 1544 referred to testators’ ethical beliefs. As their European neighbors, Praguers valued a pragmatic, life-sustaining, household oriented system of ethics consisting of orderliness, diligence, cooperation and domestic solidarity. They made no claim to rest their ethics on transcendental or universal values. The citizens’ notions of good and evil sprang from their wishes and desires andtheir anxieties and fears.
In 1575 the men in the village of Goumoëns-la-ville voted to abolish the Mass and establish Reformed Christianity as the sole creed in their village. Agreements between the ruling Orte, Bern and Fribourg, devolved the determination of the village’s religious adhesion to the residents themselves. For years, both creeds had coexisted in the village and this arrangement became the status quo that villagers upheld in a previous election.
This article builds on recent advances in sensory anthropology to examine the significance of smell in late medieval and early Reformation ritual. It arguesthat late medieval ritual reflected and reinforced the power of smell to affect senses of boundary demarcation and transition between bodies, the world, and the divine. By removing incense from their rituals, early Reformers challenged this paradigm, effectively desacralizing the sense of smell.
This article explores how the funeral processions of the Dutch stadholders negotiated the ambiguous outcomes of the Dutch Revolt and the Reformation. Basing themselves on the obsequies of the former Habsburg sovereigns, the directors of these public ceremonies created a separation between the private and public identities of the deceased. This was important since the sovereignty of the republican Dutch state was no longer involved in the symbolic transfer of dynastic powers to a new heir.