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Religious Warfare in Europe 1400-1536$
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Norman Housley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199552283

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552283.001.0001

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The Three Turks

The Three Turks

(p.131) Chapter Five The Three Turks
Religious Warfare in Europe 1400-1536

Norman Housley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The dominant reference point in religious warfare in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries was the Turk, and this chapter argues that ‘Turkishness’ was a multifaceted and changing identity. For many the essential enemy was the Ottoman Turks, whose aggression and brutality were widely disseminated. Their activities and plans were subjected to numerous prophetic and apocalyptic readings. Many contemporaries described their Christian opponents as Turks or ‘worse than Turks’, a practice that demonstrated both the potency of the Turkish image and the internal divisions which plagued the Christian world. For Erasmus and other moral reformers the Turk resided within each Christian, and Christian sinfulness was fully as fatal to the common defence of Europe as political rivalries. It was the achievement of Thomas More to synthesize these three images in a number of works that he wrote in the late 1520s and early 1530s.

Keywords:   Turks, Luther, Erasmus, More

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