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Basel

[Basill]

Switzerland

Coordinates: 47° 34' 0" N, 7° 36' 0" E

 
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Berlin [Berline]

Germany

Capital of the margraviate of Brandenburg

Coordinates: 52° 31' 0" N, 13° 25' 0" E

 
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Bologna (Bononium)

[Bononie; Bonomie; Bonony; Bononia]

Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Coordinates: 44° 30' 27" N, 11° 21' 5" E

Cathedral city

 
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Ferrara [Ferraria]

Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Cathedral city

Coordinates: 44° 50' 0" N, 11° 37' 0" E

 
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Florence (Firenze)

[Florentia]

Tuscany, Italy

Coordinates: 43° 46' 13" N, 11° 15' 17" EE

Historic republic; cathedral city

 
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Frankfurt am Main

[Francford; Franckforde; Frankford]

Hesse, Germany

Coordinates: 50° 6' 37" N, 8° 40' 56" E

 
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Mainz

(Maguntiacum) [Mentz; Moguntia; Moguntina]

Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Coordinates: 50° 0' 0" N, 8° 16' 16" E

Cathedral city; seat of the prince-elector of Mainz

 
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Nürnberg (Nuremberg) [Nureburgh; Nurremberge; Noremberge; Norenberge]

Germany

Coordinates: 49° 27' 0" N, 11° 5' 0" E

 
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Sens [Sene; Senon]

Yonne, Burgundy, France

Cathedral city

Coordinates: 48° 14' 51.14" N, 3° 17' 15.57" E

 
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Speyer (Spira) [Spire; Spyre; Spires]

Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Cathedral city

Coordinates: 49° 19' 10" N, 8° 25' 52" E

 
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Worms (Vormatia) [Vangio; Wormes; Wromes]

Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Cathedral city

Coordinates: 49° 37' 55" N, 8° 21' 55" E

692 [668]

K. Henry. 6. Tho. Rhedonensis, Grunfelder, Radtgeber, &c. Martyrs. The Councell of Basill.

malice of these mighty potentates, had offended inough, and was easely conuict and condemned to be burned: but in such sort, as first of all he should be depriued of all such degrees as he had taken to Priesthode: For it is counted an vnlawfull thing, that a Priest should be punished with prophane punishment, when as notwithstanding it is lawfull inough for Priests to put any lay man to death, be he neuer so giltles.

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How religiously and earnestly do they foresee, that the maiesty of Priestly dignitie should not in any case be hurt? But how little care haue they, that their consciences bee not hurt with false iudgements, and oppressing the giltles? Wherefore, before that he should come vnto punishment, this good man must be disgraded. MarginaliaThomas degraded. The order and maner of this Popish degrading is partly before touched in the story of William Taylor, fol. 517.

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After that it had pleased the Byshops to disgrade thys man frō the degrees wherewith before they had consecrated him, and thought not that sufficiēt, by and by after they depriued him of his life also, & burned him four yeres after that he came to Rome. MarginaliaTho. Rhedonēsis a French man burned at Rome. In the yeare of our Lord. 1436.

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The burning of Tho. Rhedonensis.
woodcut [View a larger version]
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Foxe's account of the French Carmelite, Thomas of Rennes, who was burned in Rome in 1436, was taken from Crespin. In the first edition the woodcut used to illustrate his story was a repeat of that used for William Sawtry, with the words in the banderole changed to 'Lord help me'. When this block was used again for Sawtry in 1570, it had the original inscription ('Jesu have mercy') replaced at the same time that the woodblock was cut back on either side. Meanwhile from 1570 onwards one of the new single-column woodcuts was used for Thomas of Rennes. CUL copy: this martyr is dressed in white and his beard is coloured grey. His hair is brown but, on top, the thinning hair is grey. There is close attention to detail in his features, including liver spots in his bald patch. WREN: in this copy the martyr's hair and beard are greying also, although there is no additional detail of liver spots on his head.

And thus through the crueltie of these most tyrannous Prelates, this blessed Martyr dyed. Albeit it is not to be thought that he died, but made a losse of this bodie, for a greater gaine of saluation, before the iust iudgement of God: Neither is it to be doubted, but that he liueth eternally vnder the aultar, with them whose bloud the Lorde will reuenge, peraduenture too soone for some of them, whome the earth hath heere so long holden vnpunished.

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As this Thomas abouesayd suffered at Rome: so were diuers other in other places about Germany executed neare about the same time, after the burning of Iohn Hus: MarginaliaHenry Grunfelder priest, Henry Radtgeber priest, Ioh. Draendorfe priest, Pet. Thoraw, Mat. Hager, Martyrs.as Hēry Grunfelder, Priest of Ratispone, an. 1420. also Henry Radtgeber Pirest, in the same Citie, an. 1423. Iohn Draendorfe of noble birth, and a Priest, was burned at Wromes. an. 1424. Peter Thoraw, at Spyre, an. 1426. Math. Hager, also suffered at Berline in Germany, not long after. Ex Balei Centur. sept.

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After the death of Pope Martine, who reigned foureteene yeares, succeeded Eugenius, the fourth of that name, MarginaliaPope Eugenius. 4. about the yeare of our Lord 1431. Of whome Antoninus thus writeth, that he was much geuen to wars, as may well declare his conflictes and fighting with the Romaines: also the battailes betweene the Venetians and the Florentians.

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This Pope began first to celebrate the Councell of Basill, which Councell Martin his predecessour had before intended, according to the institution of the Councell of Constance. Notwithstanding the said Eugenius perceauing afterward this Councell of Basill not to fauour him and his doings, and fearing some detriment to come to him by the same, afterward laboured by all subtill practise to dissolue and interrupt the saide Councell, and fromBasill to translate it first to Ferraria, then to Florentia, more neere to his owne sea of Rome. Concerning the which Councell of Basill, for somuch as we haue begon heere to make mention, it shall be no great digression out of the way, to discourse something thereof (the Lorde so permitting) more at large, so much as for the most principall matters thereof shall seeme sufficient or necessary to be knowne.

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¶ Heere folowth the order and maner of the Councell of Basill, touching the principall matters concluded therein, briefly collected and abridged heere in this present booke: The rest wherof we haue referred vnto our former edition, wherein the full discourse of the whole disputation is to be seene more at large, for suche as haue list and leisure to see more thereof. 
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Council of Basel [I]

One of the the more important results of the Council of Constance was the decree 'Frequens', mentioned in Foxe's text, which mandated that a general council was to held at regular intervals. The Council, which was in session from 1431-49, met despite the implacable hostility of Eugenius IV, who tried to dissolve it. In 1439, as Foxe will relate, the Council elected their own pope (or antipope), Felix V. At this point, the Council had over-reached itself by initiating fears of a new schism and it rapidly lost support. Ultimately the Council was out-manoeuvred by Eugenius and accomplished few of its objectives. Yet it was remembered positively by Protestants for its attempts to reform the Church and to restrict papal authority. It is for these reasons, particularly the latter, that Foxe devotes so much attention to it.

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Foxe's account of the Council of Basel was added to the 1563 edition. There is no section about it in either of his two Latin martyrologies. Apart from background material on Martin V, Cardinal Julian and the council at Ferrara, all of which came from Caspar Peucer's continuation of Carion's chronicle (see Chronicon Carionis, ed. Philip Melancthon and Caspar Peucer [Wittenburg, 1580], pp. 634-5), it was taken entirely from the first book of Aeneas Sylvius Picclomini's commentaries on the council. The commentary is devoted to events in the year 1439, when Picclomini was actually attending the council. At this point in his life, Picclomini, who later became Pope Pius II, was an ardent conciliarist and his approving account of the council was quite congenial to Foxe.

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As a result, in the 1563, Foxe followed the first book of Picclomini's account quite closely, although he abridged it. (Foxe would have been able to consult it in Ortwin Gratius' Fasciculus rerum expetendarum ac fugiendarum, where it was printed, or in the 1571 edition of Pius II's Opera omnia, both of which works he is known to have used. For a modern edition of this work, see Aeneas Sylvius Picclomini, De Gestis Concili Basiliensis Commentarium libri II, ed. Denys Hay and W. K. Smith, Second edition [Oxford, 1992]). In the 1570 edition, Foxe further abridged his already abridged version of Picclomini's text. The 1570 version was reprinted without further changes in subsequent editions.

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Most of Foxe's abridgements were relatively innocuous and were made simply to save paper in a book that was expanding to an alarming length. But some of Foxe's deletions were more tendentious. For example, Picclomini relates that Louis d'Aleman, the cardinal of Arles, president of the Council, and a staunch anti-papalist, at a critical juncture, 'quod erat futuram, plurimasque sanctorum reliquias tota urbe perquiri iussit…quae res maxime devotionem adauxit intantum ut vocato postmodum de more Spiritu Sancto nemo lachrymas continuerit' ['considered what was going to happen, and had ordered search to be made for the very many relics of the saints throughout the whole city….This so greatly increased the devotion that when, as usual, the Holy Spirit had been invoked, nobody restrained his tears'] (Picclomini, Commentarium, ed. Hay and Smith, pp. 178-9). Foxe's version of this passage ran: 'Arlatensis considered before what would come to passe. And after theyr prayers made unto almightie GOD, wyth great tears and lamentation that he would send them his holy spirit to aid and assist them, they were greatly comforted and encouraged' (1563, p. 319). Foxe did not want his godly, anti-papalist venerating relics, so this inconvenient passage was simply rewritten.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

Marginalia

The Councell of Basil.

Ex Aeneæ Syluio.

Ex Cocleo in Hist. Hussit

Et ex paralipom. Abbat. Vrsperg.

IN the 39. session of the Councell of Constance (as is before mentioned, page. 594.) it was decreed and prouided concerning the order and times of such generall Councels as should heereafter followe: The first that shoulde next ensue, to be kept the fift yeare after the said Councell of Constance: the second to be holden the seauenth yeare after that, and so orderly all other to follow successiuely from ten yeare to ten yeare. Wherefore, according to this decree, followed a generall Councell, fiue yeares after the Councell of Constance, celebrate and holden at Sene, vnder Pope Martine, an. 1424. but it soone broke vp. After the which Councell, the tearme of seauen yeares being expired, another Councell was holden at Basill, in the yere of our Lord 1431. The which Councell is noted to haue bene the most troublesome, and to haue endured longer then any other Councell beforetime celebrate and holden in the Church. This Councell continued almost the space of seauenteene yeares: wherein it was concluded, as before in the Councel of Constance, that the generall Councels were aboue the Pope, and both of these two Councels did attribute the chiefe authoritie in decreeing and determining vnto the generall Councell: which is the cause that the contrary part doth derogate so much from the authoritie of this present Councell.

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Where as Pope Martine the fift had appointed Iulian, Cardinall and Deacon of S. Angell, his Legate, to celebrate and holde a generall Councell at Basill for the reformation of the Churche, and rooting out of heresies, within short space after Pope Martin died, MarginaliaThe death of P. Martin. in whose seate Eugenius the fourth succeeded, MarginaliaPope Eugenius. 4. who confirmed vnto the said Cardinall Iulian, the same authoritie which his predecessor before had giuen him. Vnto this Councell of Basill beeing begon, came the Emperour Sigismund, who during his life time, with his presence and authoritie, did protect and defend the said Synode. After the Emperours death, MarginaliaPope Eugenius seeketh to dissolue the councell of Basill.Pope Eugenius altering his former minde & purpose, wonld transport the Councell vnto Bononie, and thereby hindred the successe of the Councell of Basill. And first he helde a contrary Councell at Ferraria, and afterward at Florence: For after the death of the Emperour Sigismund, there was no Princes or noble men, that had any care or regard of the Councell. Eugenius the Pope pretended causes, as touching the Greekes, which should come vnto the Councell, and the vniting of their Church vnto the West Church, the which Greekes woulde in no wise passe the Alpes: Also as touching his owne incommoditie, that he could not come vnto Basill being so long a iourney, and that all his men might haue easie accesse vnto Bononia, and that amongst the Germaines (which in their owne countrey are so intractable) nothing can be attempted for their reformation: wherupon he cited Cardinall Iulian and the fathers of the Councel vnto Bononia, vnder great penaltie. MarginaliaDissention betweene the councell of Basill, and Pope Eugenius. They againe cited the Pope, their either he should come himselfe vnto the Councell, or send Ambassadors vnder the like penaltie. For this cause the Ambassadours of Albert King of the Romaines, and of the other Princes of Germany, assembled together first at Norenberge, and when as they coulde determine nothing there, they assembled againe at Frankford, to appease the dissention betweene the Councell and the Pope: for it was thought, that the Electors of the Empire might best assemble and meete in that place. In the meane time, the Emperours Ambassadours, and the Ambassadours of the Electors, went vnto Basill, and hauing conference with the Ambassadours of the other Princes which were there, they did earnestly exhort the fathers of the Councell, that they would embrace and receiue the vnitie, which

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