views updated May 21 2018


AUGSBURG. During the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the free and imperial city of Augsburg entered its golden age as a financial and cultural center. One of the largest of the early modern German cities, Augsburg's population approached thirty thousand in 1500, growing to its highest level of forty thousand around 1618. Augsburg's geographic position between the Lech and Wertach rivers contributed to the development of a strong textile industry after the Lech was diverted into a series of canals running through the city.

Domestic developments and international trade connections enabled Augsburg's guilds (Zünfte), most significantly the merchants (Kaufleute), weavers (Weber), and goldsmiths (Goldschmiede), to grow strong politically and economically. From its establishment following a guild rebellion in 1368 until 1548 (when Emperor Charles V laid siege to the city), Augsburg's "guild constitution" (Zunftverfassung) provided that the seventeen craft guilds were to send twelve representatives each to the Great Council and thirty-four guild masters (after 1478) to the Small Council. The guilds thus shared power with the patricians, who retained one of the two positions of mayor and fifteen representatives in the Small Council.

In the late fifteenth century, merchant families, most importantly the Baumgartners, Herwarts, Höchstetters, Fuggers, and Welsers, diversified their regional manufacturing interests into banking and credit. Close associations with trading and banking houses in Venice and Antwerp launched Augsburg merchants into Europe-wide recognition and international trade. The Fugger and the Welser trade routes and business connections extended throughout the Holy Roman Empire, Central Europe, and Italy and through the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal into Africa, India, the West Indies, and Venezuela. Close financial relationship between the Fuggers and the Habsburg emperors, particularly Maximilian I (ruled 14931519), contributed to Augsburg's growing importance in imperial politics, as is evident in the fact that Augsburg hosted twelve of thirty-five imperial diets held between 1500 and 1600. Among the most important of these diets were Martin Luther's meeting with the papal legate Cajetan (1518), the Augsburg Confession (1530), the Augsburg Interim (15471548), and the Religious Peace of Augsburg (1555). Jacob Fugger "the Rich" (14591525) amassed a fortune, which he used to finance the imperial election of Charles V in 1519 and to found the Fuggerei for poor Catholics, the first welfare housing project in the world, in 1516.

In the early sixteenth century, book production and book collection formed the backbone of intellectual development in Augsburg; individuals such as the humanist Conrad Peutinger (14651547), who served on the imperial council and as city council secretary, amassed large personal libraries. Between 1468 and 1555, the Augsburg publishing houses produced around 5,900 works, making Augsburg one of the most significant German printing centers during the Reformation era, second only to Wittenberg in printing Luther's works. Augsburg painters and woodcut engraversHans Holbein the Elder (1465?1524), Jörg Breu (c. 14751537), Hans Burgkmair (1473c. 1531), and Leonhard Beck (c. 14801542)produced numerous early Renaissance paintings and woodcuts that graced books as well as local churches. The foundation of the Latin school at St. Anna in 1531 ensured a continued tradition of humanist education within Augsburg, especially visible in its establishment of the city library in 1537.

A strong ecclesiastical and episcopal presenceincluding the bishop, cathedral chapter, and seventeen monasteries and conventsdominated late medieval religious life in Augsburg. Christoph von Stadion, the humanist-minded bishop of Augsburg (14781543), made an early attempt at ecclesiastical reform with his accession in 1517, but Martin Luther's hearing before the papal legate Cajetan (14691534) in 1518 brought the Reformation directly to Augsburg. Between 1521 and 1534, the Augsburg city council, unwilling to accept the Reformation for economic and political reasons, maintained a policy, designed by Conrad Peutinger, of outward compliance to episcopal and imperial mandates while avoiding direct interference in the growing evangelical movement among the populace and clergy. Ample evidence of the need for this policy can be seen in the July 1524 Schilling Uprising resulting from a city council attempt to banish the evangelical preacher Johannes Schilling. Anabaptist and Zwinglian influences grew in the late 1520s and early 1530s under the leadership of Michael Keller (c. 15001548), Hans Denck (c. 14951527), and Balthasar Hubmaier (14851528), culminating in the "Martyr's Synod," an important gathering of southern German Anabaptist leaders on 24 August 1527. Beginning in 1534, Augsburg's city council introduced a Zwinglian-styled reformation that was favored by the guilds; it was completed in 1537 with the publication of a reformed church order.

During the Augsburg Interim (15471548), Emperor Charles V reestablished the rights of Catholics in Augsburg by dissolving the guilds and altering the city constitution to promote a leadership shared between the Catholic and Protestant patricians. After a brief period of shifting power, the Religious Peace of Augsburg (1555) established Augsburg as one of a few fully biconfessional cities. Guild unrest in Augsburg in 1584 known as the Kalenderstreit, 'calendar struggle', ostensibly over the imperial acceptance of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, provides evidence that the Catholic and Protestant communities did not always enjoy a harmonious coexistence, either socially or politically. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the Augsburg city council maintained a confessionally neutral policy and sought to diminish social tensions that could lead to guild unrest. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) established Parität, 'parity', in Augsburg, splitting political power proportionally between Catholics and Lutherans. The confessional population distribution shifted from 70 percent Protestant in 1648 to approximately 60 percent Catholic by the mid-eighteenth century.

In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Augsburg embarked on an ambitious civic building program, which included the creation of a series of public fountains, such as the Mercury and the Hercules bronzes (15961602) designed by Adriaan de Vries (c. 15601626), and the redesign of the Rathaus (City Hall) with its famous Goldener Saal (Golden Hall) as well as numerous public buildings by Elias Holl (15731646) during his tenure as the municipal builder between 1601 and 1635. Augsburg's early organization of civic medical and charitable institutions, such as the college of medicine (Collegium Medicum Augustanum, 1582) and city orphanage (1572) served as a model for other German cities.

Augsburg suffered a political and economic downturn in the mid-seventeenth century. The population decreased to a low of 16,422 in 1635 as a result of the effects of plague epidemics (9,000 died in the 16271628 outbreak alone) and the Thirty Years' War (5,000 died in the 16341635 siege) and recovered to about 20,000 in 1645 and 30,000 around 1770. In the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Augsburg economy recovered because of its export of decorative silver, the establishment of textile manufacturing, and the city's continuing role in banking and finance. The restoration of modest wealth allowed the continuation of a strong cultural development as seen in such baroque and rococo patrician palaces as the Schaezler Palace (17651770) and in the work of Augsburg artists Johann Heinrich Schönfeld (16091684) and Johann Ulrich Mayr (16301704) in the St. Ulrich, St. Anna, and Holy Cross churches. The Collegium Musicum, which was established in 1713, sponsored works of composers such as the Augsburg native Leopold Mozart (17191787). Augsburg attempted to maintain neutrality in the growing military conflicts in Europe, but this did not prevent the siege and occupation of the city in 17031704 by French and Bavarian troops in the War of the Spanish Succession nor its loss of independence when Augsburg was integrated into the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1806.

See also Anabaptism ; Augsburg, Religious Peace of (1555) ; Charles V (Holy Roman Empire) ; Free and Imperial Cities ; Fugger Family ; Guilds ; Holy Roman Empire ; Lutheranism ; Reformation, Protestant .


Clasen, Claus Peter. Anabaptism: A Social History, 1525 1618: Switzerland, Austria, Moravia, South and Central Germany. Ithaca, N.Y., 1972.

Gottlieb, Gunther, et al. Geschichte der Stadt Augsburg von der Römerzeit bis zur Gegenwart. Stuttgart, 1984.

Kiessling, Rolf. Bürgerliche Gesellschaft und Kirche in Augsburg im Spätmittelalter. Ein Beitrag zur Strukturanalyse der oberdeutschen Reichsstadt. Augsburg, 1971.

Künast, Hans-Jörg. "Getruckt zu Augspurg": Buchdruck und Buchhandel in Augsburg zwischen 1468 und 1555. Tübingen, 1997.

Roeck, Bernd. Eine Stadt in Krieg und Frieden. Studien zur Geschichte der Reichsstadt Augsburg zwischen Kalenderstreit und Parität. 2 vols. Göttingen, 1989.

Roper, Lyndal. The Holy Household: Women and Morals in Reformation Augsburg. Oxford, 1984.

Roth, Friedrich. Augsburgs Reformationsgeschichte. 4 vols. Munich, 19011911. Reprint, Munich 1974.

Safley, Thomas Max. Charity and Economy in the Orphanages of Early Modern Augsburg. Boston, 1997.

Stuart, Kathy. Defiled Trades and Social Outcasts: Honor and Ritual Pollution in Early Modern Germany. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1999.

Tlusty, B. Ann. Bacchus and Civic Order: The Culture of Drink in Early Modern Germany. Charlottesville, Va., 2001.

Zoepfl, Friedrich. Das Bistum Augsburg und seine Bischöfe im Reformationsjahrhundert. Munich, 1969.

Marjorie E. Plummer


views updated May 14 2018


City in Swabia, Bavaria, Germany, at the confluence of the Wertach and Lech Rivers. The diocese is named Augustanus Vindelicorum. The city, of ancient origin, was a site of significant events during the Reformation.

Founded by Rome c. a.d. 30, Augsburg, as the capital of Raetia, thrived culturally and economically. The martyrdom of St. afra (c. 304) and archeological findings show that Christians were there before the time of Constantine, and in such an important city there was probably a bishop. The Romans withdrew c. 400 and Alamanni destroyed the city c. 450, but Christianity survived, the tomb and chapel of St. Afra being a pilgrimage center in the sixth century. In 536 the Franks took Augsburg, which became a bishopric c. 600. Wikterp (738) is the first bishop known with certainty. Invested by the Carolingians as counts, the bishops were able to encompass merchant settlements south of Augsburg as late as the 12th century. In the 10th century Bishop ulric (923973) defended the city against the Magyars until Otto I won the battle of the Lechfeld in 955. An episcopal schism (107788) followed the investiture struggle. In the 11th and 12th centuries the burghers, abetted by the German kings, began to seek independence of the bishop. In 1316 Emperor louis iv made Augsburg an imperial city, and in the 15th century the split between bishop and city became so bad that the chancery, and at times the bishop moved to Dillingen. Jews were banned from Augsburg from 1439 to 1805, while from the late 15th century the city became world famous for its extensive trade and riches, which did not benefit the lower classes.

Humanism, introduced to Augsburg through trade relations with Italy, was taken up in ecclesiastical circles. The split between bishop and city, social agitation and the worldliness of the higher clergy prepared for the Reformation of Luther, who was in Augsburg in 1518. Zwinglianism replaced Lutheranism in 1526, and even Anabaptists became prominent. In 1537 Catholic services were banned by law, images were forbidden and the clergy was forced to leave the city. After Charles V's victory over the Schmalkaldic League in 1547, the city had to agree in the Interim of Augsburg (1548) to the return of the clergy, the restoration of church goods and the continuation of Catholic services. In 1555 the Peace of augsburg, ratified by the Augsburg Diet, specified the equality of Catholicism and Lutheranism in Augsburg; apart from passing disturbances, it was strictly observed, as the Peace of Westphalia (1648) witnesses. The restoration of Catholicism after 1548 was the work of the bishops, especially Cardinal Otto truchsess von waldburg and Heinrich von Knöringen, with the help of the fuggers and new religious houses.

In 1809, when Augsburg ceased to be an imperial city, it was again predominantly Catholic (16,944 Catholics and 11,534 Evangelicals). The secularization of 180203 suppressed religious institutions (12 men's and five women's), deprived the bishop of his principality and chapter, and incorporated the city into Bavaria (1805). Romanticism in the early 19th century favored the Catholic revival. Religious orders returned after 1820. Rapid industrialization after 1835, with increases in population density and the incorporation of heavily Catholic fringe communities, posed difficult problems for the Church. New parishes were built, social and charitable institutions founded, and associations developed. World War II destroyed several churches, but Bishop Joseph Freundorfer (d. 1963) and the city, with help from abroad, repaired the damages and overcame post-war problems.

Augsburg has had noteworthy ecclesiastics: David of Augsburg (c. 120072); Johannes Fabri (150458); St. peter canisius (152197); Placidus Braun (17561829); canon Antonius Steichele (181689), historian and archbishop of Munich-Freising; and Bishop Pancratius von Dinkel (185894).

The 11th-century Romanesque cathedral was modified with Gothic in the early 14th century. St. Gall Church dates from the 11th, and St. Peter am Perlach from the 12th century. Several churches were built in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the Middle Ages there were three collegiate cloisters (founded 1020, 1060, 1071) apart from the cathedral chapter, two Augustinian cloisters (1135, 1160), a Benedictine (1012), a Dominican (1225), a Conventual Franciscan (1221), and a Carmelite (1321); a cloister of canonesses (968) and a Benedictine (1262); three Franciscan (1258?, c. 1315, before 1366) and three Dominican (1235, c. 1250, 1298) convents. A number of others were founded during and after the Reformation, including the Jesuits (1579), the Capuchins (1601) and the English Ladies (1662), who dedicated themselves to educating young girls.

Augsburg has been famous for religious art and artists, including Burkhard Engelberger, Gregor Erhardt, Hans Holbein the Elder, Hans Burgkmair, Johann Georg Bergmüller, Matthew Günther, Christopher Thomas Scheffler, Francis Xavier and Johann Michael Feuchtmayr. Goldsmiths Jörg Seld, Johann Zeckel, Franz Ignaz Berthold and others supplied liturgical equipment far and wide from the 15th to the 18th century. The holy pictures of the Klauber press in the 18th century had worldwide distribution. Erhard Ratdolt printed liturgical books (14861528) and the Benedictines of St. Ulrich managed a press (147274). The cathedral choir was known for its music and organists (Jacobus de Kerle, Gregor Aichinger and Christian Erbach).

The Latin schools of the cathedral chapter and four cloisters, suspended 153748, were surpassed by the Jesuit school founded in 1582. The cloister schools were suppressed with the secularization of 180203, but in 1828 the state opened a Catholic Gymnasium under the Benedictines.

In the tenth century Bishop Ulrich founded a hospital (hospitium ) for the poor. Another appeared in 1143, and a third by 1239. A house for lepers was founded c. 1250. St. Jacob's Hospital (1348) also cared for pilgrims. In 1514 the Fuggers built a model settlement for poor families that still exists.

Bibliography: w. zorn, Augsburg: Geschichte einer Stadt (Munich 1955). c. bauer et al., Augusta 955-1955 (Munich 1955). t. breuer, Die Stadt Augsburg (Munich 1958). A. horn, Dome, Kirchen, und Klöster in Bayr. Schwaben (Frankfurt A.M. 1963). f. zoepel, Das Bistum Augsburg und seine Bischöfe im Mittelalter (Munich 1956); Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, eds., j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 1:107679. a. schrÖder, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al., (Paris 1912) 5:389406. Annuario Pontificio (1964) 43.

[f. zoepfl]


views updated May 08 2018


AUGSBURG , city in Bavaria, Germany; a free imperial city from 1276 to 1806. Documentary evidence of Jews living in Augsburg dates from 1212. Records from the second half of the 13th century show a well-organized community, and mention the Judenhaus (1259), the synagogue and cemetery (1276), the ritual bathhouse, and "dancehouse" for weddings (1290). The Jews were mainly occupied as vintners, cattledealers, and moneylenders. The Augsburg municipal charter of 1276, determining the political and economic status of the Jewish residents, was adopted by several cities in south Germany. Regulation of the legal status of Augsburg Jewry was complicated by the rivalry between the episcopal and municipal powers. Both contended with the emperor for jurisdiction over the Jews and enjoyment of the concomitant revenues. Until 1436 lawsuits between Christians and Jews were adjudicated before a mixed court of 12 Christians and 12 Jews. In 1298 and 1336 the Jews of Augsburg were saved from massacre through the intervention of the municipality. During the *Black Death (1348–49), many were massacred and the remainder expelled from the city. The emperor granted permission to the bishop and burghers to readmit them in 1350 and 1355, and the community subsequently recovered to some extent. Later, however, it became so impoverished by the extortions of the emperor that the burghers could no longer see any profit in tolerance. In 1434–36 Jews in Augsburg were forced to wear the yellow *badge. The community, then numbering about 300 families, dissolved within a few years; by 1340 the last Jews had left Augsburg. The Augsburg town council paid Albert ii of Austria 900 gulden to compensate him for the loss of his *servi camerae. Thereafter Jews were only permitted to visit Augsburg during the day on business. They were also granted the right of asylum in times of war. From the late 16th century Jewish communities existed in the close-by villages Pfersee, Kriegshaber, and, temporarily, Oberhausen.

In the late Middle Ages the Augsburg yeshivah made an important contribution to the development of the *pilpul method of study and analysis of the Talmud. The variant of the pilpul method evolved in Augsburg is referred to as the "Augsburg ḥillukim." The talmudist Jacob *Weil lived in Augsburg between 1412 and 1438. While some Hebrew pamphlets were printed in Augsburg by Erhard Oeglin as early as 1514 on the initiative of the apostate J. Boeschenstein, a Hebrew press was established in 1532 by Ḥayyim b. David Shaḥor, the wandering printer from Prague, together with his son Isaac and son-in-law Joseph b. Yakar who had learned printing in Venice. Between that year and 1540 nine books appeared including Rashi's Pentateuch commentary (1533); an illustrated Passover Haggadah (1534); Jacob b. Asher's Turim (1536); a Melokhim Buch, in Yiddish (1543); a maḥzor; and a siddur. In 1530 *Joseph Joselmann of Rosheim convened a synod of German community representatives in Augsburg, the seat of the Reichstag (see *Germany). An organized Jewish community was again established in Augsburg in 1803. Jewish bankers settled there by agreement with the municipality in an endeavor to redress the city's fiscal deficit. In practice, the anti-Jewish restrictions in Augsburg were eliminated in 1806, with the abrogation of the city's special status and its incorporation into Bavaria; however, the new Jewish civic status was not officially recognized until 1861. In 1871 Augsburg was the meeting place of a rabbinical assembly dealing with liturgical reform. The Jewish population increased from 56 in 1801 to 1,156 in 1900. It numbered 1,030 in 1933. In 1938, the magnificent synagogue, dedicated in 1917, was burned down by the Nazis. In late 1941, after emigration and flight to other German cities, the last 170 Jews were herded into a ghetto, with 129 of them sent to Piaski in Poland in April 1942 and the rest mostly to the Riga ghetto and Theresienstadt. In the immediate postwar period, a camp was established in Augsburg to house displaced Jews. A few weeks after the liberation, services were resumed in the badly damaged synagogue by survivors of the Holocaust and Jewish soldiers of the U.S. Army, and the community was eventually reestablished. The synagogue was restored and rededicated in 1985. As a result of the immigration of Jews from the Former Soviet Union, the number of community members rose from 199 in 1989 to 1,619 in 2003.


R. Gruenfeld, Ein Gang durch die Geschichte der Juden in Augsburg (1917); R. Strauss, Regensburg and Augsburg (1939), includes bibliography; H. Rinn (ed.), Augusta 955–1955 (Ger., 1955); M. Steinschneider, in: zgjd, 1 (1887), 282–7; German Jewry (Wiener Library, Catalogue, series 3, 1958), 35; A.M. Habermann, in: ks, 31 (1955/56), 483–500; Monumenta Judaica, 2 vols. (1963–64); Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 14–16; 2 (1968), 30–41; A.M. Habermann, Ha-Sefer ha-Ivri be-Hitpatteḥuto (1968), 127 ff.; A. Marx, Studies in Jewish History and Booklore (1944), 329 ff. add. bibliography: M.N. Rosenfeld, Der juedische Buchdruck in Augsburg in der ersten Haelfte des 16. Jh. (1985); H. Kuenzl, in: Judentum im deutschen Sprachraum (1991), 382–405; P. Boettger, in: Denkmaeler juedischer Kultur in Bayern (1994), 75–90; S. Muetschele, "Juden in Augsburg 1212–1440" (Diss., 1996); S. Ullmann, Nachbarschaft und Konkurrenz (1999); J. Spokojny, in: Geschichte und Kultur der Juden in Schwaben, 2 (2000), 413–21.

[Zvi Avneri /

Stefan Rohrbacher (2nd ed.)]


views updated May 29 2018


Augsburg, one of the most important cities of Renaissance Germany, was located along a major trade route from Italy. It became a thriving center for both commerce and the arts. Augsburg was also one of the largest cities in the region, with 30,000 people in 1520. By 1618 its population had reached 40,000.

Much of Augsburg's wealth came from its textile industry and from investments by merchants in banking and mining. After textiles, the main industries in Augsburg were crafts and gold working. By 1615 there were 185 master goldsmiths working in Augsburg. Other artisans* in the city included clock makers, jewel cutters, and cabinetmakers, who built fine furniture. The demand for their skills increased as production of luxury items grew in the 1600s.

Wealthy patrons* financed the growth of the arts in Augsburg, and the city supported many artists and sculptors. In 1529 the town had 34 masters in its painter's guild*, including Hans Holbein the Elder. The city's most important patrons belonged to the Fugger family. These prominent merchants made their biggest contribution to the city by financing the funeral chapel in the church of St. Anna. Completed in 1518, this was the first building in Germany designed and decorated in the Renaissance style. Augsburg's impressive town hall, built in 1624, was another noteworthy example of Renaissance architecture. Its design combined Renaissance forms with local styles, such as its pair of domed towers.

Along with the arts, other forms of learning flourished in Augsburg during the Renaissance. The city's first humanist* group formed in the 1450s. Augsburg did not have a university, but in 1531 the city council established a Protestant school and a city library. In 1582 the Jesuits* founded the College of St. Salvator in Augsburg.

The Protestant Reformation* gained support quickly in Augsburg. In 1537 the city adopted a form of Protestantism called Zwinglianism as its official religion. However, the Holy Roman Emperor* Charles V changed the city's constitution in 1548 to restore the Catholic Church. He also did away with the city's guilds and gave political power to the nobility. A 1555 compromise called the Peace of Augsburg allowed citizens to worship as either Lutherans or Catholics.

(See alsoArchitecture; Catholic Reformation and Counter-Reformation; Humanism; Patronage; Protestant Reformation. )

* artisan

skilled worker or craftsperson

* patron

supporter or financial sponsor of an artist or writer

* guild

association of craft and trade owners and workers that set standards for and represented the interests of its members

* humanist

referring to a Renaissance cultural movement promoting the study of the humanities (the languages, literature, and history of ancient Greece and Rome) as a guide to living

* Jesuit

belonging to a Roman Catholic religious order founded by St. Ignatius Loyola and approved in 1540

* Protestant Reformation

religious movement that began in the 1500s as a protest against certain practices of the Roman Catholic Church and eventually led to the establishment of a variety of Protestant churches

* Holy Roman Emperor

ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, a political body in central Europe composed of several states that existed until 1806


views updated May 29 2018

Augsburg Historic city on the River Lech, Bavaria, Germany. Founded by the Romans (c.15 bc) and named after the Emperor Augustus, it became a free imperial city in 1276 and was a prosperous banking and commercial centre in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Augsburg Confession was presented and the Peace of Augsburg (1555) was signed here. The cathedral (started 994) claims the oldest stained-glass windows in Europe (11th century). Industries: textiles, engineering, motor vehicles. Pop. (1997) 262,110.