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date: 16 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

As centers of a vivid socioeconomic, cultural and religious life cities acted as important agents of religious change. This chapter starts with a survey of the multilayered religious landscape of the late medieval cities. Civic authorities played an increasing role in the administration and supervision of the sacred and developed a specific type of civic religion. The religious Reform movement launched in the 1520s by Martin Luther and other evangelic-minded Reformers was to a large extent an urban event. The pace and the dynamics of Reform were complex and diverse depending on the political and social context of the cities involved. City governments aimed for civic unity and religious uniformity but this ideal was difficult to realize in a period of increasing religious fragmentation.

Keywords: civic religion, civic unity, France, Holy Roman Empire, Low Countries, parish church, religious coexistence, religious uniformity, religious violence, Swiss Confederation

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