Cover

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Title page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Epigraph

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Contents

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Author's Note

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pp. xi-xiv

I wrote this book for people who are not professional historians in order to introduce them to late medieval Germany, to German scholarship (little of which has been translated into English), and to a (my) process of thinking...

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I: Enchanted Time

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pp. 1-14

Hans Behem's sheep were settled down for the night. Across the meadow Hans could see the black silhouetted hills of the Tauber Valley against an overcast sky faintly aglow from a full moon. Small, lumpy bundles that were his...

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II: Carnival

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pp. 15-27

There is an old story that was told and retold throughout Europe about a helpless boy who is mistreated by his stepmother and those in authority, and how he exacts revenge. It appears in many versions, often in song. In the...

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III: Lent

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pp. 28-45

The Virgin Mary, Mother of the Holy Church, charges us today at the beginning of Lent to recall how our captain, Jesus Christ, fought against the Enemy of the human race and how he conquered the three great evils. He is...

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IV: Walpurgisnacht

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pp. 46-71

Easter Sunday was followed by the seven weeks of Easter that led to Pentecost (the seventh Sunday) and a celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles after the resurrection of Christ. In 1476, Pentecost...

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V: The Feast of Corpus Christi

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pp. 72-90

In the eyes of the authorities, the Drummer was a dangerous player of foolish music, leading his followers in a crazy, egalitarian dance that promised only social chaos. He had to be stopped, so wrote Archbishop Dieter to Bishop...

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VI: The Feast of the Visitation of Mary

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pp. 91-114

Saints in heaven were honored on earth by feast days. Most saints had a single day, some had two. But the Virgin Mary, as suited her position as the Queen of Heaven, had seven feast days. Throughout the Middle Ages, people...

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VII: The Feast of St. Margaret

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pp. 115-137

That's a good question. St. Margaret is a very confusing saint, or better, collage of saints. Her name usually refers to Margaret of Antioch, who reputedly had been martyred during Diocletian's persecutions in the early fourth century...

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VIII: Historical Time

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pp. 138-150

The pilgrimage to Niklashausen as a mass movement, indeed, had come to an end. But contemporaries did not know that, and for weeks after the Drummer's execution, authorities in Wiirzburg continued to maintain their...

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Bibliography

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pp. 151-157

Most of the primary sources for the story of the Drummer of Niklashausen are in print. The most complete collection, with an accompanying narrative, is Klaus Arnold, Niklashausen 1476 (Baden-Baden: Verlag Valentin Koerner...