Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto III was Holy Roman Emperor from 996 until his early death in 1002. A member of the Ottonian dynasty, Otto III was the only son of the Emperor Otto II and his wife Theophanu. Otto III was crowned as King of Germany in 983 at the age of three, shortly after his father's death in Southern Italy while campaigning against the Byzantine Empire and the Emirate of Sicily. Though the nominal ruler of Germany, Otto III's minor status ensured his various regents held power over the Empire, his cousin Henry II, Duke of Bavaria claimed regency over the young king and attempted to seize the throne for himself in 984. When his rebellion failed to gain the support of Germany's aristocracy, Henry II was forced to abandon his claims to the throne and to allow Otto III's mother Theophanu to serve as regent until her death in 991. Otto III was still a child, so his grandmother, the Dowager Empress Adelaide of Italy, served as regent until 994. In 996, Otto III marched to Italy to claim the titles King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor, left unclaimed since the death of Otto II in 983.
Otto III sought to reestablish Imperial control over the city of Rome, which had revolted under the leadership of Crescentius II, through it the papacy. Crowned as Emperor, Otto III put down the Roman rebellion and installed his cousin as Pope Gregory V, the first Pope of German descent. After the Emperor had pardoned him and left the city, Crescentius II again rebelled, deposing Gregory V and installing John XVI as Pope. Otto III returned to the city in 998, reinstalled Gregory V, executed both Crescentius II and John XVI; when Gregory V died in 999, Otto III installed Sylvester II as the new Pope. Otto III's actions throughout his life further strengthened imperial control over the Catholic Church. From the beginning of his reign, Otto III faced opposition from the Slavs along the eastern frontier. Following the death of his father in 983, the Slavs rebelled against imperial control, forcing the Empire to abandon its territories east of the Elbe river. Otto III fought to regain the Empire's lost territories throughout his reign with only limited success.
While in the east, Otto III strengthened the Empire's relations with Poland and Hungary. Through his affairs in Eastern Europe in 1000, he was able to extend the influence of Christianity by supporting mission work in Poland and through the crowning of Stephen I as the first Christian king of Hungary. Returning to Rome in 1001, Otto faced a rebellion by the Roman aristocracy, which forced him to flee the city. While marching to reclaim the city in 1002, Otto suffered a sudden fever and died in a castle near Civita Castellana at the age of 21. With no clear heir to succeed him, his early death threw the Empire into political crisis. Otto III was born in July 980 somewhere between Aachen and Nijmegen; the only son of Emperor Otto II and his wife Theophanu, Otto III was the youngest of the couple's four children. Prior to Otto III's birth, his father had completed military campaigns in France against King Lothar. On 14 July 982, Otto II's army suffered a crushing defeat against the Muslim Emirate of Sicily at the Battle of Stilo.
Otto II had been campaigning in southern Italy with hopes of annexing the whole of Italy into the Holy Roman Empire. Otto II himself escaped the battle unharmed but many important imperial officials were among the battle's casualties. Following the defeat and at the insistence of the Empire's nobles, Otto II called an assembly of the Imperial Diet in Verona at Pentecost, 983, where he proposed to the assembly to have the three-year-old Otto III elected as King of Germany, becoming Otto II's undoubted heir apparent; this was the first time. After the assembly was concluded, Otto III and his mother Theophanu traveled across the Alps in order for Otto to be crowned at Aix, the traditional location of the coronation of the German kings. Otto II stayed behind to address military action against the Muslims. While still in central Italy, Otto II died on 7 November 983, was buried in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Otto III was crowned as king on Christmas Day 983, three weeks after his father's death, by Willigis, the Archbishop of Mainz, by John, the Archbishop of Ravenna.
News of Otto II's death first reached Germany shortly after his son's coronation. The unresolved problems in southern Italy and the Slavic uprising on the Empire's eastern border made the Empire's political situation unstable. With a minor on the throne, the Empire was thrown into confusion and Otto III's mother Theophanu assumed the role of regent for her young son. Otto III's cousin Henry II had been deposed as Duke of Bavaria by Otto II in 976 following his failed rebellion and imprisoned under the Bishopric of Utrecht. Following Otto II's death, Henry was released from prison; as Otto III's nearest male Ottonian relative, Henry II claimed the regency over his infant cousin. Archbishop of Cologne Warin granted Henry II the regency without substantial opposition. Only Otto III's mother Theophanu objected, along with his grandmother, the Dowager Empress Adelaide of Italy, his aunt, Abbess Matilda of Quedlinburg. Adelaide and Matilda, were both in Italy and unable to press their objections; as regent, Henry II took actions aimed less at guardianship of his infant cousin and more at claiming the throne for himself.
According to Gerbert of Aurillac, Henry II adopted a Byzantine-style joint-kingship. Towards the end of 984, Henry II sought to form alliances between himself and other important figure in the Ottonian world, chief among them his cousin King Lothar of France. In exchange for agreeing to make Henry II king of Germany, Henry II agreed to rel
Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, Holy Roman Emperor from 800. He united much of central Europe during the Early Middle Ages, he was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire, he was canonized by Antipope Paschal III. Charlemagne was the eldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, born before their canonical marriage, he became king in 768 following his father's death as co-ruler with his brother Carloman I. Carloman's sudden death in December 771 under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the sole ruler of the Frankish Kingdom, he continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He campaigned against the Saxons to his east, Christianizing them upon penalty of death and leading to events such as the Massacre of Verden.
He reached the height of his power in 800 when he was crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at Rome's Old St. Peter's Basilica. Charlemagne has been called the "Father of Europe", as he united most of Western Europe for the first time since the classical era of the Roman Empire and united parts of Europe that had never been under Frankish or Roman rule, his rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of energetic cultural and intellectual activity within the Western Church. All Holy Roman Emperors considered their kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne's empire, as did the French and German monarchies. However, the Eastern Orthodox Church views Charlemagne more controversially, labelling as heterodox his support of the filioque and the Pope's recognition of him as legitimate Roman Emperor rather than Irene of Athens of the Byzantine Empire; these and other machinations led to the eventual split of Rome and Constantinople in the Great Schism of 1054. Charlemagne died in 814, having ruled as emperor for 14 years and as king for 46 years.
He was laid to rest in his imperial capital city of Aachen. He married at least four times and had three legitimate sons, but only his son Louis the Pious survived to succeed him. By the 6th century, the western Germanic tribe of the Franks had been Christianised, due in considerable measure to the Catholic conversion of Clovis I. Francia, ruled by the Merovingians, was the most powerful of the kingdoms that succeeded the Western Roman Empire. Following the Battle of Tertry, the Merovingians declined into powerlessness, for which they have been dubbed the rois fainéants. All government powers were exercised by their chief officer, the mayor of the palace. In 687, Pepin of Herstal, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, ended the strife between various kings and their mayors with his victory at Tertry, he became the sole governor of the entire Frankish kingdom. Pepin was the grandson of two important figures of the Austrasian Kingdom: Saint Arnulf of Metz and Pepin of Landen. Pepin of Herstal was succeeded by his son Charles known as Charles Martel.
After 737, Charles declined to call himself king. Charles was succeeded in 741 by his sons Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne. In 743, the brothers placed Childeric III on the throne to curb separatism in the periphery, he was the last Merovingian king. Carloman resigned office in 746. Pepin brought the question of the kingship before Pope Zachary, asking whether it was logical for a king to have no royal power; the pope handed down his decision in 749, decreeing that it was better for Pepin to be called king, as he had the powers of high office as Mayor, so as not to confuse the hierarchy. He, ordered him to become the true king. In 750, Pepin was elected by an assembly of the Franks, anointed by the archbishop, raised to the office of king; the Pope ordered him into a monastery. The Merovingian dynasty was thereby replaced by the Carolingian dynasty, named after Charles Martel. In 753, Pope Stephen II fled from Italy to Francia, appealing to Pepin for assistance for the rights of St. Peter.
He was supported in this appeal by Charles' brother. In return, the pope could provide only legitimacy, he did this by again anointing and confirming Pepin, this time adding his young sons Carolus and Carloman to the royal patrimony. They thereby became heirs to the realm that covered most of western Europe. In 754, Pepin accepted the Pope's invitation to visit Italy on behalf of St. Peter's rights, dealing with the Lombards. Under the Carolingians, the Frankish kingdom spread to encompass an area including most of Western Europe. Orman portrays the Treaty of Verdun between the warring grandsons of Charlemagne as the foundation event of an independent France under its first king Charles the Bald; the middle kingdom had broken up by 890 and absorbed into the Western kingdom and the Eastern kingdom and the rest developing into smaller "buffer" nations that exist between Fr
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
Early Middle Ages
Historians regard the Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, as lasting from the 5th or 6th century to the 10th century CE. They marked the start of the Middle Ages of European history; the alternative term "Late Antiquity" emphasizes elements of continuity with the Roman Empire, while "Early Middle Ages" is used to emphasize developments characteristic of the earlier medieval period. As such the concept overlaps with Late Antiquity, following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, precedes the High Middle Ages; the period saw a continuation of trends evident since late classical antiquity, including population decline in urban centres, a decline of trade, a small rise in global warming and increased migration. In the 19th century the Early Middle Ages were labelled the "Dark Ages", a characterization based on the relative scarcity of literary and cultural output from this time. However, the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine Empire, continued to survive, though in the 7th century the Rashidun Caliphate and the Umayyad Caliphate conquered swathes of Roman territory.
Many of the listed trends reversed in the period. In 800 the title of "Emperor" was revived in Western Europe with Charlemagne, whose Carolingian Empire affected European social structure and history. Europe experienced a return to systematic agriculture in the form of the feudal system, which adopted such innovations as three-field planting and the heavy plough. Barbarian migration stabilized in much of Europe, although the Viking expansion affected Northern Europe. Starting in the 2nd century, various indicators of Roman civilization began to decline, including urbanization, seaborne commerce, population. Archaeologists have identified only 40 per cent as many Mediterranean shipwrecks from the 3rd century as from the first. Estimates of the population of the Roman Empire during the period from 150 to 400 suggest a fall from 65 million to 50 million, a decline of more than 20 per cent; some scholars have connected this de-population to the Dark Ages Cold Period, when a decrease in global temperatures impaired agricultural yields.
Early in the 3rd century Germanic peoples migrated south from Scandinavia and reached the Black Sea, creating formidable confederations which opposed the local Sarmatians. In Dacia and on the steppes north of the Black Sea the Goths, a Germanic people, established at least two kingdoms: Therving and Greuthung; the arrival of the Huns in 372–375 ended the history of these kingdoms. The Huns, a confederation of central Asian tribes, founded an empire, they had mastered the difficult art of shooting composite recurve bows from horseback. The Goths sought refuge in Roman territory; however many bribed the Danube border-guards into allowing them to bring their weapons. The discipline and organization of a Roman legion made it a superb fighting unit; the Romans preferred infantry to cavalry because infantry could be trained to retain the formation in combat, while cavalry tended to scatter when faced with opposition. While a barbarian army could be raised and inspired by the promise of plunder, the legions required a central government and taxation to pay for salaries, constant training and food.
The decline in agricultural and economic activity reduced the empire's taxable income and thus its ability to maintain a professional army to defend itself from external threats. In the Gothic War, the Goths revolted and confronted the main Roman army in the Battle of Adrianople. By this time, the distinction in the Roman army between Roman regulars and barbarian auxiliaries had broken down, the Roman army comprised barbarians and soldiers recruited for a single campaign; the general decline in discipline led to the use of smaller shields and lighter weaponry. Not wanting to share the glory, Eastern Emperor Valens ordered an attack on the Therving infantry under Fritigern without waiting for Western Emperor Gratian, on the way with reinforcements. While the Romans were engaged, the Greuthung cavalry arrived. Only one-third of the Roman army managed to escape; this represented the most shattering defeat that the Romans had suffered since the Battle of Cannae, according to the Roman military writer Ammianus Marcellinus.
The core army of the Eastern Roman Empire was destroyed, Valens was killed, the Goths were freed to lay waste to the Balkans, including the armories along the Danube. As Edward Gibbon comments, "The Romans, who so coolly and so concisely mention the acts of justice which were exercised by the legions, reserve their compassion and their eloquence for their own sufferings, when the provinces were invaded and desolated by the arms of the successful Barbarians."The empire lacked the resources, the will, to reconstruct the professional mobile army destroyed at Adrianople, so it had to rely on barbarian armies to fight for it. The Eastern Roman Empire succeeded in buying off the Goths with tribute; the Western Roman Empire proved less fortunate. Stilicho, the western empire's half-Vandal military commander, stripped the Rhine frontier of troops to fend off invasions of Italy by the Visigoths in 402–03 and by other Goths in 406–07. Fleeing before the advance of the Huns, the Vandals and Alans launched an attack across the frozen Rhine near Mainz.
There soon followed the bands of the Alamanni. In the fit of anti-barbarian hysteria which followed, the Western Roman Emperor Honorius had Stilicho summarily beheaded. Stilicho submitted his neck, "with a firmness not unworthy of t
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder was a Roman author and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, friend of emperor Vespasian. Spending most of his spare time studying and investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field, Pliny wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia, which became an editorial model for encyclopedias, his nephew, Pliny the Younger, wrote of him in a letter to the historian Tacitus: For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading. In the latter number will be my uncle, of your compositions. Pliny the Younger refers to Tacitus’s reliance upon his uncle's book, the History of the German Wars. Pliny the Elder died in AD 79 in Stabiae while attempting the rescue of a friend and his family by ship from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which had destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum; the wind caused by the sixth and largest pyroclastic surge of the volcano’s eruption did not allow his ship to leave port, Pliny died during that event.
Pliny's dates are pinned to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 and a statement of his nephew that he died in his 56th year, which would put his birth in AD 23 or 24. Pliny was the son of an equestrian, Gaius Plinius Celer, his wife, Marcella. Neither the younger nor the elder Pliny mention the names, their ultimate source is a fragmentary inscription found in a field in Verona and recorded by the 16th-century Augustinian monk Onofrio Panvinio at Verona. The form is an elegy; the most accepted reconstruction is PLINIVS SECVNDVS AVGV. LERI. PATRI. MATRI. MARCELLAE. TESTAMENTO FIERI IVSSOThe Vs represent Us, it should say "Plinius Secundus augur ordered this to be made as a testament to his father ler and his mother Marcella"The actual words are fragmentary. The reading of the inscription depends on the reconstruction, but in all cases the names come through. Whether he was an augur and whether she was named Grania Marcella are less certain. Jean Hardouin presents a statement from an unknown source that he claims was ancient, that Pliny was from Verona and that his parents were Celer and Marcella.
Hardouin cites the conterraneity of Catullus. How the inscription got to Verona is unknown, but it could have arrived by dispersal of property from Pliny the Younger's Tuscan estate at Colle Plinio, north of Città di Castello, identified for certain by his initials in the roof tiles, he kept statues of his ancestors there. Pliny the Elder was born at Como, not at Verona: it is only as a native of old Gallia Transpadana that he calls Catullus of Verona his conterraneus, or fellow-countryman, not his municeps, or fellow-townsman. A statue of Pliny on the façade of the Duomo of Como celebrates him as a native son, he had a sister, who married into the Caecilii and was the mother of his nephew, Pliny the Younger, whose letters describe his work and study regimen in detail. In one of his letters to Tacitus, Pliny the Younger details how his uncle's breakfasts would be light and simple following the customs of our forefathers; this shows that Pliny the Younger wanted it to be conveyed that Pliny the Elder was a "good Roman", which means that he maintained the customs of the great Roman forefathers.
This statement would have pleased Tacitus. Two inscriptions identifying the hometown of Pliny the Younger as Como take precedence over the Verona theory. One commemorates the younger's career as the imperial magistrate and details his considerable charitable and municipal expenses on behalf of the people of Como. Another identifies his father Lucius' village as Fecchio near Como. Therefore, Plinia was a local girl and Pliny the Elder, her brother, was from Como. Gaius was a member of the Plinia gens: the insubric root Plina still persists, with rhotacism, in the local surname "Prina", he did not take his father's cognomen, but assumed his own, Secundus. As his adopted son took the same cognomen, Pliny founded the Plinii Secundi; the family was prosperous. No earlier instances of the Plinii are known. In 59 BC, only about 82 years before Pliny's birth, Julius Caesar founded Novum Comum as a colonia to secure the region against the Alpine tribes, whom he had been unable to defeat, he imported a population of 4,500 from other provinces to be placed in Comasco and 500 aristocratic Greeks to found Novum Comum itself.
The community was thus multi-ethnic and the Plinies could have come from anywhere. No record of any ethnic distinctions in Pliny's time is apparent; the population prided themselves on being Roman citizens. Pliny the Elder had no children. In his will, he adopted his nephew; the adoption is called a "testamental adoption" by writers on the topic, who assert that it applied to the name change only, but Roman jurisprudence recognizes no such category. Pliny the Younger thus became the adopted son of Pliny the Elder after the latter's death. Fo
The German Renaissance, part of the Northern Renaissance, was a cultural and artistic movement that spread among German thinkers in the 15th and 16th centuries, which developed from the Italian Renaissance. Many areas of the arts and sciences were influenced, notably by the spread of Renaissance humanism to the various German states and principalities. There were many advances made in the fields of architecture, the arts, the sciences. Germany produced two developments that were to dominate the 16th century all over Europe: printing and the Protestant Reformation. One of the most important German humanists was Konrad Celtis. Celtis studied at Cologne and Heidelberg, travelled throughout Italy collecting Latin and Greek manuscripts. Influenced by Tacitus, he used the Germania to introduce German history and geography, he devoted his time to poetry, in which he praised Germany in Latin. Another important figure was Johann Reuchlin who studied in various places in Italy and taught Greek, he studied the Hebrew language, aiming to purify Christianity, but encountered resistance from the church.
The most significant German Renaissance artist is Albrecht Dürer known for his printmaking in woodcut and engraving, which spread all over Europe and painted portraits. Important architecture of this period includes the Landshut Residence, Heidelberg Castle, the Augsburg Town Hall as well as the Antiquarium of the Munich Residenz in Munich, the largest Renaissance hall north of the Alps; the Renaissance was driven by the renewed interest in classical learning, was the result of rapid economic development. At the beginning of the 16th century, Germany was one of the most prosperous areas in Europe despite a low level of urbanization compared to Italy or the Netherlands, it benefited from the wealth of certain sectors such as metallurgy, mining and textiles. More book-printing developed in Germany, German printers dominated the new book-trade in most other countries until well into the 16th century; the concept of the Northern Renaissance or German Renaissance is somewhat confused by the continuation of the use of elaborate Gothic ornament until well into the 16th century in works that are undoubtedly Renaissance in their treatment of the human figure and other respects.
Classical ornament had little historical resonance in much of Germany, but in other respects Germany was quick to follow developments in adopting printing with movable type, a German invention that remained a German monopoly for some decades, was first brought to most of Europe, including France and Italy, by Germans. Printmaking by woodcut and engraving was more developed in Germany and the Low Countries than anywhere else, the Germans took the lead in developing book illustrations of a low artistic standard, but seen all over Europe, with the woodblocks being lent to printers of editions in other cities or languages; the greatest artist of the German Renaissance, Albrecht Dürer, began his career as an apprentice to a leading workshop in Nuremberg, that of Michael Wolgemut, who had abandoned his painting to exploit the new medium. Dürer worked on the most extravagantly illustrated book of the period, the Nuremberg Chronicle, published by his godfather Anton Koberger, Europe's largest printer-publisher at the time.
After completing his apprenticeship in 1490, Dürer travelled in Germany for four years, Italy for a few months, before establishing his own workshop in Nuremberg. He became famous all over Europe for his energetic and balanced woodcuts and engravings, while painting. Though retaining a distinctively German style, his work shows strong Italian influence, is taken to represent the start of the German Renaissance in visual art, which for the next forty years replaced the Netherlands and France as the area producing the greatest innovation in Northern European art. Dürer supported Martin Luther but continued to create Madonnas and other Catholic imagery, paint portraits of leaders on both sides of the emerging split of the Protestant Reformation. Dürer died in 1528, before it was clear that the split of the Reformation had become permanent, but his pupils of the following generation were unable to avoid taking sides. Most leading German artists became Protestants, but this deprived them of painting most religious works the mainstay of artists' revenue.
Martin Luther had objected to much Catholic imagery, but not to imagery itself, Lucas Cranach the Elder, a close friend of Luther, had painted a number of "Lutheran altarpieces" showing the Last Supper, some with portraits of the leading Protestant divines as the Twelve Apostles. This phase of Lutheran art was over before 1550 under the more fiercely aniconic influence of Calvinism, religious works for public display ceased to be produced in Protestant areas; because of this, the development of German art had ceased by about 1550, but in the preceding decades German artists had been fertile in developing alternative subjects to replace the gap in their order books. Cranach, apart from portraits, developed a format of thin vertical portraits of provocative nudes, given classical or Biblical titles. Lying somewhat outside these developments is Matthias Grünewald, who left few works, but whose masterpiece, his Isenheim Altarpiece, has been regarded as the greatest German Renaissance painting since it was restored to critical attention in the 19th century.
It is an intensely emotional work that continues the
Anton Pilgram was a late medieval Austrian architect and sculptor active in the area of today's Czech Republic and western. Pilgram is known as the sculptor of the portal of Old City Hall in Brno and craftsman of the pulpit in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, he spent a major part of his life in Moravia. He was trained in Vienna, following that, in 1481, he was invited to Heilbronn, his earliest work was a chancel at the St Kilian Church in Heilbronn. However, research by Kaliopi Chamonikola, 2004, disputes the attribution of the design of the chancel to Pilgram, he created his early architectural works in Swabia, Germany. He participated in the building of the St. George Church in Schwieberdingen and St Lawrence Chapel in Rottweil. During his stay in Swabia, he became familiar with the works of Italian and German Renaissance artists, he came back to Brno around 1495, he worked there as a sculptor and stonemason at the St Jacob Church and Judentor. Among his most important works are wooden sculptures of Saint Peter Martyr and a Dominican saint, created around 1511, the portal of the Old City Hall.
In 1512 Pilgram became a cathedral builder of the St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. There he concentrated on smaller architectonic forms, such as the cathedral pulpit and various relief sculptures. Pilgram died in Vienna around 1516. Anton Pilgram is considered to be one of the most talented descendants of Nikolaus Gerhaert of Leiden in Middle Europe, his figural sculptures express a high level of individuality, are not within medieval artistic expression. Czech art historian Albert Kutal indicated possible influence of north Italian Renaissance sculpture and paintings by Andrea Mantegna. According to preserved historical documents, Pilgram was a self-confident and contentious artist, who asserted his artistic individuality against the will of guilds and other institutions. Současné teoretické přístupy k dílu Antona Pilgrama s důrazem na jeho tvorbu ve Vídni, na Moravě a na Slovensku – Thesis by Lucie Valdhansová The Artistic Identity of the Architect and Sculptor Anton Pilgram, by Kaliopi Chamonikola Umeni: Art.