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Historical Writing And German Identity: Jacob Wimpheling And Sebastian Franck

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Chapter Summary

Two sixteenth-century German writers' perspectives demonstrate their recognition of a German people. Despite the territorialism of the German lands, the cosmopolitanism of the German peoples, and an array of dialects and local customs, Jacob Wimpheling and Sebastian Franck recognized that the diverse German peoples constituted a single people. They reassessed the German identity that had persisted since Graeco-Roman antiquity and brought to the Germans' attention the fact that they had allowed others to define who they were. By crafting a history for the German people, both Wimpheling and Franck reconciled the ancient German past with contemporary times. Their works represented the efforts their contemporaries had made to present the Germans on the international intellectual stage, showing the Byzantines, and especially the Italians, that the Germans were worthy of respect.

Keywords: Byzantines; cosmopolitanism; German history; Italians; Jacob Wimpheling; Sebastian Franck



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