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Seminar 21 - Charles V - a failure?

Discussion topics & essay titles


  • Dynastic background and biography
  • Was Charles a medieval or modern ruler?
  • Which were the greatest challenges of his reign? Should it be deemed a failure?
  • Could Charles have prevented the Reformation in Germany?


Key sources



Core reading






Further reading (recommended in bold)


  • Brady, Th. / Cameron, E. / Cohn, H., ‘The Politics of Religion: The Peace of Augsburg 1555. A Roundtable Discussion, in: German HistoryLink opens in a new window 24 (2006)
  • K. Brandi, The Emperor Charles V (1939)
  • Cohn, Henry, ‘Did bribes induce the German electors to choose Charles V as emperor in 1519’, in: German HistoryLink opens in a new window 19 (1/2001), 1-27S.
  • Dixon, C. Scott, ‘Recent works on Charles V’, in: German HistoryLink opens in a new window 21 (2003), 104-24
  • J. Edwards, Ferdinand and Isabella (2004)
  • M. Fernandez Alvarez, Charles V: Elected Emperor and Hereditary Ruler (1975)
  • W. Maltby, The Reign of Charles V (2002)
  • G. Parker, Emperor: A New Life of Charles V (New Haven, 2019)
  • M. Rady, The Emperor Charles V (1988)
  • H. Soly (ed.), Charles V 1500-1558 and his Time (1999), esp. chaps. on religion and international relations
  • Sutter Fichtner, P., The Habsburg Monarchy 1490-1848 (2003)
  • J. Tracy, Emperor Charles V, Impresario of War (2002)
  • O. Volckart, '"The dear old Holy Roman realm, how does it hold together?" Monetary policies, cross-cutting cleavages and political cohesion in the age of Reformation', German History 38 (3/2020), 365-86

Charles V

Anonymous Artist, 'Charles V' (Flemish 16thC; source)