Aufstand oder Fehde

Franz von Sickingen and the Implications of the Feud Against Trier (1481-1525)

  • Glenn Allen Callihan Messiah College
Keywords: Early Modern, Knight's Revolt, Franz von Sickingen, Feud


This article focuses on dismantling the narrative of rebellion surrounding Franz von Sickingen’s feud with Trier in 1522-1523. Through an examination of Sickingen’s material circumstances, the reactions of both the princes and the lower nobility to the feud, this article demonstrates that the narrative of the “Knight’s Rebellion” lacks historical credibility and is best examined as a private feud. This article utilizes the Flerscheimer Chronik, letters, and contemporary accounts as well as various secondary sources in both English and German to demonstrate that the feud against Trier is not evidence of a declining nobility in the early modern period, but rather it is dramatic example of the “feud culture” prevalent throughout the later middle ages and early modern period.