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Subversion And Prosecution

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Chapter Summary

Municipal placards against Lutherans and their books brought plenty of arrests, and bookshops were searched periodically. However, decisions on individual cases do not suggest frequent banishment of denizens or much ceremonial penance. While a blasphemer in Antwerp might end up in a procession or on pilgrimage, someone arraigned in Cologne was more likely to spend some time in jail on a diet of bread and water. In choosing to incarcerate people rather than maim or humiliate them, Cologne punished subversion no more severely than Antwerp or Amsterdam, towns that on the whole were less diligent in defending conformity. The surviving evidence from heresy cases in the Low Countries says little about how people came to possess books, so delineation of a covert distribution web such as the one in England is impossible. Prosecution records point to a significant role for itinerant peddlers.

Keywords: Antwerp; Low Countries; Lutherans; municipal placards; prosecution; subversion

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