On This Day in History – 1 May – Death of Pope Pius V


Portrait by Bartolomeo Passarotti
(c. 1566, Walters Art Museum in Baltimore)

Event – Death of Pope Pius V

Year – 1572

Location – Vatican City, Italy

After Northern Rising of 1569 against Elizabeth I of England, Pope Pius V issued the Regnans in Excelsis bull in 1570 which excommunicated Elizabeth I, absolved her subjects of their loyalty to her, and encouraged her overthrow. This would provide Catholic Englishmen with the support they needed to act more brazenly against their Protestant Queen in the future, with the Ridolfi Plot in 1571, the Throckmorton Plot in 1583 and the Babington Plot in 1586.

Pope Pius V had been Pope since 1566 and had been born as Antonio Ghislieri in 1504 in the Duchy of Milan in Italy. He played a large role in the Council of Trent which embodied the counter-Reformation and aimed to clamp down on Protestant heresies across Europe. His excommunication of Elizabeth I can be seen in this vein, as Elizabeth was considered to be one of the greatest heretics, the daughter of Anne Boleyn who was believed to have pushed Henry VIII to Break with Rome.

Pope Pius V was canonised in 1712 by Pope Clement XI for his efforts on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church in the face of the Protestant heresies sweeping Europe in the sixteenth century.

Further Reading

  • Richard McBrien – Lives of the Popes (1998)
  • John O’Malley – A History of the Popes: From Peter to the Present (2009)
  • John O’Malley – Trent: What Happened at the Council? (2013)
  • Charles Phillips – An Illustrated History of the Popes (2017)

Book Review – ‘Ask a Historian: 50 Surprising Answers to Things You Always Wanted to Know’ by Greg Jenner


I absolutely ADORED this book! It took me a while to read it because I had to keep going back to reread bits and pieces, and I was sending snapshots to friends as I was reading. There were times when I was rolling around in bed laughing while I was reading it.

Greg Jenner really has a way of writing that is so engaging, no matter whether the subject is one you’re completely interested in or not. My favourite questions I think were ‘Why do Greek statues have small penises?’, ‘Is it true that a dead Pope was put on trial?’, and ‘Who invented meringue and why?’, though the historiography section was also particularly interesting for me as a historian myself, particularly looking at how we name periods.

I would love a series of these books with different questions from members of the public – it’s such an engaging way to learn about different parts of history that you might not know much or anything about, but this makes you want to go away and learn more, I think in large part because Jenner is so good at writing about these things in a way that you can understand it without having a lot of contextual knowledge.

I needed something like this to read right now given where my head is at, and I’d been eyeing up this book for a while and I just thought, sod it, I’m going to buy it, and I am so unbelievably glad that I did! I will come back to it over and over again, and now I just want to read ‘Dead Famous: An Unexpected History of Celebrity from Bronze Age to Silver Screen’ and I can’t wait for the next series of the ‘You’re Dead to Me’ podcast either!

Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrich Zwingli & John Knox


Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach 1528.
Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach 1528.

Martin Luther 1483-1546

Germany – monk, priest, reformer, author & professor of theology
Rejected five of the seven sacraments – sale of indulgences, confession, pilgrimages, prayers to Saints and the Catholic Mass.
Salvation achieved through faith not good works.
Transubstantiation – real body and blood of Christ.
Denied Papal authority.
Importance of the Scriptures.
Bible should be in the vernacular.
For clerical marriage.
Works:- * Ninety-Five Theses (1517) * Appeal to the German Nobility (1520) * Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520) * Freedom of a Christian (1520) * On Secular Authority (1523) * Bondage of the Will (1525) * Small and Large Catechisms (1529) Continue reading “Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrich Zwingli & John Knox”

Timeline of the English Reformation


 

Anonymous portrait of Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York c.1501.
Anonymous portrait of Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York c.1501.

1501 – Katherine of Aragon marries Prince Arthur of England.

1502 – Prince Arthur dies.

1504 – Pope Julius II annuls marriage of Katherine and Arthur.

1509 – Henry VIII succeeds to the throne and marries Katherine of Aragon:-

Katherine testified that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated, and so a dispensation was granted to allow her to marry Henry. The matter of consummation was later a central issue in the divorce.

1516 – Princess Mary (later Mary I) born.

1517 – Luther posts his 95 theses on a church door in Wittenburg in Germany, formally beginning the Protestant Reformation in Europe:- Continue reading “Timeline of the English Reformation”

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