Also 500 years ago in Wittenberg, Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power of Indulgences (somehow titled Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum, but Luther himself called it frequently “meine Propositiones”) which started the reformation. They were heavily based on the writings of Jan Hus, who 100 years earlier had been burnt on the stake in Konstanz, which at that time also started the Hussite Wars. Jan Hus his whose last words were: Sancta Simplicitas! (transl. Svatá prostoto! or Holy simplicity!) while wearing a tall paper hat with the inscription Haeresiarcha. Luther was also a composer, of sacred music. His poetics may be described as rather dry and practically inspired, and fitting a puritan paradigm. Maybe he was the predecessor for a kind of Neue Sachlichkeit (which the rest of the world identifies now as Weimar German, but the German artists at the time thought of as all-businesslike in attitude, and intrinsically American), though not as a practical engagement with the world but with divine matters. Maybe it is the fate of leaders, to act gradually against all ideals, hopes and poetics. About the barrels, it is known that in 1523 Katharina von Bora (die Lutherin, or Luther's later wife) helped Luther to escape from a convent acting as his prison, hiding him in a herring barrel. Something fishy would remain. On his return to Wittenberg and in the middle of the Peasant Wars (in which the peasants revolted against suppression, supported by the reformation ideals), Luther wrote the infamous 'Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants', switching over to the ruling side and nobility, and advocating execution for the 100000s of former supporters. In 1526 Luther wrote: “I, Martin Luther, have during the rebellion slain all the peasants, for it was I who ordered them to be struck dead.“ Maybe this is tainting the single beauty of the antifon Media Vita In Morte Summus which he rewrote and adapted to 'Mytten wir ym leben synd' with a cruel aftertaste. Sancta Simplicitas?
Media vita in morte sumus
quem quaerimus adjutorem
amarae morti ne tradas nos.
In the midst of life we are in death
of whom may we seek for succour,
deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.