Here I stand I can do no other.
“Hier stehe ich und kann nicht anders,” said Martin Luther at the diet of Worms in 1521. “Here I stand I can do no other.”
Luther has caused quite an uproar in the empire with his rebellious writings. The foundations of the status quo started to crack everywhere as sedition and rebellion festered throughout the empire. Revolt was in the air. Seditious princes smelled delicious opportunities to advance themselves by backing the reformation. Something had to be done.
And so Charles the fifth the Holy Roman emperor summoned Luther to appear before the diet of worms in April of 1521 to defend himself. He is accused of heresy and he is ordered to recant his writings.
But he takes a stand and he refuses to recant. If he can’t be convinced by scripture and by reason he has to stand by his writing.
And then Luther takes off and runs before his enemies can kill him. The makes him an outlaw and all subjects of the empire are required to kill him on sight. And Luther really disappears. He is gone. And his friends fear the worst.
Translating the bible on the Wartburg
But things are not as they appear. Luther’s prince the Grand Elector Frederick kidnaps before someone else does and hides him in his Wartburg castle
And there Luther sits, safe and sound and has nothing to do. And because he has time on his hands he commits his most heretic act yet. Luther translates the bible into German.
Now the people do not need a priest to tell them what the bibles says. Now they can read the bible by themselves. And they do. And they realize that the creative interpretation of the scriptures by the church, that God divided the world in Lords and serfs, which was the divine foundation of feudalism, is nothing but a self serving lie.
Translating the bible brings down the curtain over dying middle ages.
For the next 150 years Roman Catholics and Protestants slug it out. War and rebellion and more war and more rebellion devastate Germany, kill two thirds of its population and rip it apart in a multitude of small principalities that are divided along confessional lines.