Kreis (2002) explains that The Peasant’s War is one of the popular events that occurred in Europe in the 16th century. The revolt, popularly known as the German Peasants’ War happened in 1524-1525 consisting of a series of revolts concerning both economy and the religion. Its participation was crosscutting among the nobles, townsfolk s and the peasants. The peak of the conflict was in summer and spring of the year 1525 and concentrated in the now modern Germany’s western, southern and central parts. Additionally, revolts were also experienced in neighboring areas of modern Austria, Switzerland and Alsace. Approximately 300, 000, peasants rebels took part and an estimate of 100, 000 died in what was seen today as the greatest and most widespread uprising to ever have been waged against oppression in early Europe before the 1789’s French revolution.
Komneno’ article titled “The German peasant rebellion of 1525” is a very reliable resource that accounts for the revolt. Other than stating and explaining deeply what the peasant’s war is, it gives a comprehensive illustration to the reader on what actually happened and the underlying causes and consequences. Another article titled “Germany Peasant’s War, 1524-1525” by Steven Kreis, talks about the same issue, just like its title suggests. Steven explores a brief prehistory of the late 15th century and early 16th century and the early medieval state. He then describes the war itself by talking about what prompted the uprising and the consequences it brought along. He enlightens the reader how the war stated due to the local peasants’ refusal to pay tax and their writing of many articles to express their grievances. Steven also talks about the characteristics of the war and the legacy that was left thereafter.
This essay will therefore explore the German peasants’ war in relation the two articles. They are as earlier introduced, the German peasants rebellion, 1525 by Komneno and Germany Peasant’s War, 1524-1525” by Steven Kreis. Both the writers have the same opinion on the peasants’ lives in early Germany. Komneno talks of the peasants as a group that was oppressed. There rights were violated by the landlords and the nobles. This is one of the reasons why the revolt started. I was due the denial of agrarian rights that reforms that were brought along due to Reformation forced the peasants to invoke divine law and demand their rights.
On the same issue of oppression among the peasants, Steven observes they were burdened by heavy taxation to cater for the escalating costs of administration for early medieval state. This was due to warfare transition that forced both states and rulers to depend on expensive weapons and private army instead of knights that were unpaid. Other areas that increased taxation on the peasants were the cannon technology and sons of rulers’ territories partitioning. They were denied liberty to pick pastors of their choice, the tithe that they were subjected to was also out of proportion and the inclosed common lands were taken away. The judicial system was also unfair and was inclined towards the lordship. Death penalty was also imposed on them among other forms of oppression they underwent, all of them that were listed in a program referred to as Twelve Articles of the Peasantry (Kreis, 2002).
Most of the peasants lived in utter illiteracy. Their participation in functions that involved reading and writing was limited. This fact is well demonstrated by Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible from German to English in 1522 and 1523. This augmented tension among them. Furthermore both articles talks about poverty that was entrenched in the peasants lives. Peasants were poor especially those who lived in Thuringia, Swabia and Franconia. Their livelihood was mainly depended on fishing and hunting. During the war, they lacked resources as compared to the lords’ army that they were fighting. They lacked good weapons to fight back and this was one of their major reasons why were defeated. Kreis, (2002) goes ahead to affirm that they weapon they used were often no more than formed hordes and pitchfork.