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HIST 2220 War and Society (Jobin) - An Introduction to Works Held in Rare and Distinctive Collections

This guide features works held by Rare and Distinctive Collections that focus on the history of war and society from Rome through the twentieth century.

Martin Luther and the Papacy


Martin Luther, Ain Sermon von dem Sacrament der Puss (1520); Bulla Contra Errores Martini Luther (15 June 1521).

Special Collections, Rare and Distinctive Collections

In a sermon written three years after he posted his Ninety-Five Theses on 31 October 1517 to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, Martin Luther's Ain Sermon von dem Sacrament der Puss addresses one of his prime concerns:  the Sacraments.  In response, the Catholic Church issued Bulla contra errores Martini Luther & sequatium, dated 15 June, 1521, a papal bull threatening Luther with excommunication. 

Rulers throughout Europe took sides, including Henry VIII of England, whose Assertio septem sacramentorum adversus Mart. Lutherum, which took issue with Luther's pronouncement that there were only two sacraments instituted by Christ rather than the seven asserted by the Church, was first published in the summer of 1521. 

Assertio septem sacramentorum earned Henry VIII the title 'Fidei Defensor' (Defender of the Faith), despite his role just a few years later in breaking from the Roman Church.  Special Collections copy was published in Paris in 1562, a timely reprint as the French Wars of Religion heated up.  

For access to Luther's Ain Sermon von dem Sacrament der Puss, see Google Books

For access to a range of post-Reformation works, see the Post-Reformation Digital Library

Protestant and Catholic Reformations and Conflict

John Foxe, Actes and Monuments, Persecutions of the Primitive Church

Huntington Library

John Foxe, Actes and Monuments, Henry VIII and the Roman Church

Huntington Library

John Foxe, Actes and Monuments, [1641?]. 

View of Windsor Castle, with Anthony Person, Testwood and Filmer being burned alive in a pyre.

British Museum 1613664273

Written during perhaps the most contentious years of the English Reformation, John Foxes' Acts and Monuments records Christian history from a distinctly Protestant perspective.  Beginning with the early Church and ending during the reign of Elizabeth I, Foxes' Actes and Monuments provided a highly polemical Protestant account.  Commonly referred to as the Book of Martyrs, Foxes' work included views of persecutions and executions, with a focus on those that took place under the Catholic Queen Mary (r. 1553-8).  John Foxe was among a number of other Protestants to leave England for Protestant regions of Continental Europe when Mary Tudor came to the throne. 

Special Collections edition of Actes and Monuments, which dates from 1596, was heavily used by the Puritan Samuel Bull family, who carried the volume with them in their emigration from Britain to North America.  Many woodcuts are partially damaged and the volume is lacking substantial portions of the beginning and the end.   

For select hand-colored woodcuts from of Foxes' Actes Fand Monuments, see the University of Cambridge Digital Library.

For access to the text of the 1563, 1570, 1576, and 1583 editions that is keyword searchable, see The Acts and Monuments Online

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Catholic- or Counter-Reformation depended on similar strategies.  Writing in the late seventeenth century, Mathias Tanner highlights those who suffered for the Catholic faith.  His Societas Jesu apostolorum imitatrix, sive, Gesta praeclara et virtutes eorum, qui è Societate Jesu in procuranda salute animarum, per apostolicas missiones, conciones, sacramentorum ministeria, evangelij inter fideles & infideles propagationem, ceteráque munia apostolica, per totum orbem terrarum speciali zelo desudâ[ve]runt records the lives of those involved in the Jesuit mission to England.  John Gerard, seen below, was arrested under Elizabeth I, and imprisoned and tortured in the Tower of London before escaping to the Continent. 

For a digitized copy of this edition, see HathiTrust Digital Library.

Mathias Tanner. Johannes Gerardi, Societas Jesu Apostolorum Imiatrix sive Gesta Praeclara et Virtutes Eorum Qui e Societate Jesu, 1594.

Special Collections, Rare and Distinctive Collections

Wenceslaus Hollar (?) Etching of the English and Bohemian Civil Wars (MS 410)

Special Collections, Rare and Distinctive Collections

The seventeenth century ushered in an yet another era of open warfare rooted in religious tensions and conflict. This map of England and view of Prague, probably etched by the well-known Bohemian artist Wenceslaus Hollar, illustrates events leading up to both the English Civil War and the Thirty Years War, the latter of which engulfed the European Continent in several  phases between 1618 and 1648.   The Thirty Years War may have caused as many as 8 million military and civilian deaths, including deaths due to starvation. 


The map includes scenes of battles, including the Battle of the White Mountain (see detail above, left) of 1620.  The execution of Charles I of England 1649 (see detail below, right) by the Rump Parliament was the culmination of nearly a decade of conflict between Parliament and the King over issues such as the Divine Right of Kings and the correct nature and practice of Protestantism. 

Seventeenth-Century Religious Wars

Rare and Distinctive Collections


Classroom: Norlin N345

Reading Room: Norlin M350B


Seventeenth-Century Religious Wars