Happy Reformation Day!

We visited Wittenberg, the town where Martin Luther lived, taught, and…reformed, I guess, towards the end of our travels through Germany. We visited St. Mary’s Church, where Luther preached; the outside of the Castle Church, where the whole 95 theses thing happened 488 years ago today (though not according to these nay-sayers); and his house, which is now an excellent museum of Luther’s life and times. You can see all this stuff too, and more, at Lutherstadt Wittenberg’s Virtual Tour.

Read more about Martin Luther at this fun PBS site. Lots of documents authored by or about Luther can be found here.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

In Archaeology we learn that the best-preserved ancient towns are those which were destroyed in antiquity and never resettled. The same seems to be true of medieval towns, which is good news for the tourist trade, though not so good for the medieval inhabitants.

In the Middle Ages, Rothenburg was a free imperial city and one of the largest cities in Germany, with a population of around 6000. We took the fun and interesting Night Watchman Tour there. The info from this tour (in German–find info from the tour in English here) provides a colorful summary of Rothenburg’s history, daily town life, and the duties of the night watchman; as well as more recent history, including the town’s fate during World War II.

Rothenburg was finally conquered during the 30 Years’ War, and never regained its former prosperity. But with the rise of Romanticism in the eighteenth century, Rothenburg revived and once again became a properous town due to tourism.

Read more about it!
Photos & comments on medieval Rothenburg
Resources for Germany in the Middle Ages
Wikipedia on the 30 Years’ War: scroll down and check out the “external links” as well.
Wikipedia on Romanticism

“to the brave belong all things”

Say what you will about the Celts, they certainly did get around. If you’d like to have a bit more to say about them than you currently do, check out the following links.

This essay tells you about the Celts’ entrance into history as a group of barbarians who were apparently well-versed in Roman law, and takes you as far as the medieval Irish and Scotch Celts. It also explains why the eponymous basketball team is pronounced with an S sound–who knew it wasn’t an Ignorant Americanism? Here are some anthropological-type details about the social organization and religion of the Irish and British Celts as they ran up against the Romans and other marauders, along with some info about the German connection.

You might also check out this site, designed as an interactive site about the British Celts for children. However, with all the dead bodies and talk of human sacrifice, I’d think it would be rather scary for kids, and my browser doesn’t seem to like it much either.