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Chapter One

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Chapter Summary

The Electoral Palatinate was a German territory on the upper Rhine whose domains were clustered around Heidelberg and Mannheim. In the sixteenth century, the Palatinate was one of the leading states of the Holy Roman Empire in prestige, but not in actual power. The Palatinate briefly became an officially Protestant territory during the reign of Ludwig's starry-eyed brother Frederick II. Thomas Erastus was born in Baden, Switzerland around the year 1524. In those days he directed his attentions to theology, and by assiduous reading, he successfully laid the foundations of true religion. Erastus lived in Italy from 1544 to 1555. Erastus's time in Italy was a critical period for his professional and personal development. The most interesting letter from Italy concerns Erastus's attempt to act as an intermediary between Olaus Magnus and Konrad Gessner, two of sixteenth-century Europe's great naturalists.

Keywords: electoral palatinate; Frederick II; Heidelberg; sixteenth century; Thomas Erastus

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