It was an age of awakening – of innovation and invention – of cultural highs in art and music. Research and science were at an all time high in order to find solutions regarding the plagues of the time. People had come out of a long period of desolation during the Black Death which had spread throughout Europe in the fourteenth century.
Medical knowledge had stagnated during the Middle Ages and the Black Plague, which originated in Asia, eventually wiped out between 30-60% of Europe’s population. It took almost 200 years for the country repopulate.
In 1481, on this day, Franz von Sickingen was born in Ebernberg, Germany. He would always have an interest in the military, even in his youth. He became a knight for Emperor Maximilian I, fighting valiantly against Venice in 1508. Because of his success as a soldier, he was awarded large parcels of land along the Rhine. He later gained popularity becoming involved in private feuds, usually fighting for the underdog.
Germany was becoming a mecca for invention, especially since the printing press had come into use. The Reformation was underway and a fellow named Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk, was making huge waves in the Roman Catholic church. Von Sickingen took it on himself to shield Luther and provide a place of refuge for him in oen of his castles.
In effect he became a soldier of the cross at that point in his life. In May of 1523, von Sickingen was wounded in a battle which was one of the first to use artillery. His wounds took his life a day later. Without the protection of Von Sickingen, Luther’s Reformation might easily have been thwarted. Instead it went on to change the world.