Religion and Popular Rebellion, from the Capuciati to Niklashausen

Author: Arnold, John H.

Source: Cultural and Social History, 1 June 2009, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 149-169(21)

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Abstract:

The historiography of pre-modern popular uprisings tends to ascribe a religiose 'naïveté' to earlier revolts, placing religion as innately antithetical to popular politics. This article challenges that opposition, and argues that whilst (as Sam Cohn has recently demonstrated) medieval revolts were not by any means all 'religious' in outlook, leadership or inspiration, those which did involve religious elements can be read more sympathetically and with greater nuance. Focusing particularly on structural similarities between the Drummer of Niklashausen (1476) and the Capuciati (1183), the article argues that longue durée forms of revolt persist, driven by a plebeian reappropriation of certain elements in orthodox religion.

Keywords: CAPUCIATI; DRUMMER OF NIKLASHAUSEN; MEDIEVAL RELIGION; MEMORY; POPULAR REBELLION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/147800409X411029

Affiliations: Birkbeck, University of London

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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