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    From 1453 to 1536, each event mentioned comes from the

    1962 Brussels Exhibition Catalogue

    Illustrations are mainly selected from the free encyclopedia


    The Turks capture Constantinople
    Beginning of Modern Times


    Fra Angelico's death


    Election of pope Pius II, the humanist Aenaes Sylvius Piccolomini, from Siena.
    The capture of Athens by the Turks increase the arrival of Eastern Humanists into western Europe.


    Birth of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola


    Birth of Erasmus of Rotterdam


    Birth of Guillaume Budé in Paris and of John Colet in London.
    Charles the Bold becomes king of France


    Death of Gutemberg, founding father of the Printing Process


    Birth of John Fisher


    Election of pope Sixtus IV - Francesco della Rovere - who supports Humanists


    in London, John More, Thomas's father, marries Agnes Granger


    Birth of Michaelangelo


    Death of Charles the Bold in Nancy
    His daughter Mary of Burgundy succeeds him and marries Maximilian I of Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor
    (Map :
    Europe in those days)


    February 6 : Birth of Thomas More in London
    Born within the range of the bell of Mary-le-Bow, he is a real "cockney".
    He receives the Christian Name of the most popular of English Saints,
    Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Chancellor and Martyr (1118-1170).His shrine attracted pilgrims from all over Europe and Thomas more himself went on pilgrimage to Canterbury.


    Birth of Niccolo Machiavelli in Florence


    Death of Edouard IV. Richard III usurps the crown of prince Edouard V
    Death of Louis XI
    Birth of Martin Luther in Eisleben and of Raphael in Rome


    Richard III is killed at the battle of Bosworth. Accession to the throne of the first Tudor King, Henry VII, a Lancastrian who marries Elizabeth of York.
    End of the War of the Roses (Red Rose: Lancaster. White Rose: York)


    The Portuguese Bartolomew Diaz sails round the Cape of Good Hope


    Thomas More is page of Archbishop Morton at Knole-Green Court
    He improvises with talent in Medwall plays


    Birth of  Henry, future Henry VIII, in Greenwich.
    Girolamo Savonarola St-Marc's Prior in Florence.


    Election of Alexandre VI, the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia
    Birth of
    Joan Lluis Vives in Valencia
    October 12 : Christopher Colombus discovers the New World
    Thomas More joins the University of Oxford : in the wake of Grocyn, Holt, Tunstall, and develops a liking for Greek


    Maximilian I, as Holy Roman Emperor, hands over the Belgian provinces to Philip the Handsome
    Birth of Francis I of France in Cognac.
    Charles VIII invades Italy
    Death of Memling in Bruges. Death in Florence of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.
    Thomas More translates the Life of Pico, written by his nephew Francesco della Mirandula.
    At 16, he begins Law Studies in London. For four years he lives close to the Carthusian monks of London, whose company he enjoys.
    Erasmus arrives in Paris and remains at the Montaigu College, on which he writes a wild satire in the Colloquium "L'Ichtyophagie".


    Probable date of birth of Hans Holbein The Young and of Rabelais.


    Philip the Handsome marries Joanna the Mad, Queen of Castile
    Henry VII and Philip conclude a Commercial Treaty concerning business carried out through Antwerp, called " Magnus Intercursus "
    Thomas More is admitted at Lincoln's Inn in London, where he holds the " Black Book " of Annals
    John Colet begins his course on St Paul's Epistles at Oxford


    Alexandre VI excommunicates Girolamo Savonarola
    Vasco de Gama discovers the road to the Indies via The Cape
    Birth of Melanchton


    Accession of Louis XII to the French throne
    Execution of Girolamo Savonarola in Florence.
    Niccolo Machiavelli becomes Secretary of the city.
    First meeting between Erasmus and More, at a dinner at the Lord Mayor's in London
    Erasmus is 32 years old, More approximately 21


    Erasmus and More pay a visit to the children of Henry VII in Greenwich


    Birth of Charles I of Castille, the Holy-Roman-Emperor-to-be, in Ghent
    Erasmus' " Adagia " are published in Paris


    Thomas More registers at the Bar of London
    He gives lectures on Saint Augustine
    '"City of God " (De Civitate Dei).
    He translates the " Epigrams "
    He studies his vocation among the Carthusian monks
    A true townsman, he also likes to be mixed with the countryside crowd of "Merry England "


    Election of Jules II, Giulano della Rovere
    Warham becomes Archbishop of Canterbury
    In the Henry VII chapel of Westminster Abbey, Thomas More pronounces the Funeral Oration of Good Queen Elizabeth


    Warham is Lord Chancellor of England
    John Fisher is Bishop of Rochester and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
    Thomas More is Member of Parliament at the House of Commons. He voices his opposition to the extravagant subsidies requested by Henry VII


    Martin Luther joins the Augustine Hermits of Erfurt
    Thomas More marries Joanna Colt of Netherhall. The young couple lives in London, Bucklersbury place, St-Stephen parish
    Birth of Margaret, More's the eldest daughter.
    During the 10 following years Erasmus becomes the assiduous host of More's household
    Erasmus and More together translate from Greek to Latin
    Lucian's " Dialogues "


    Bramante begins the building of Saint-Peter in Rome
    Death of Philip the Handsome in Brugg. He leaves the Netherlands to his son Charles, aged 6
    Philip's sister, Margarita of Austria will be Governor of the Netherlands until 1530, in Mechelen
    Birth of Elizabeth, Thomas More's second daughter


    Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens (who will be Pope Adrian VI), of Utrecht, professor at Leuwen, is in charge of the education of Charles V, future Holy Roman Emperor
    They meet for this purpose at Mount-César, then the Duke of Brabant's castle
    Birth of Cecily, Thomas More's third daughter


    Michaelangelo begins the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel
    Thomas More, suspect to Henry VII, makes a long stay on the Continent
    Thomas More visits Paris and Leuwen, where he attends the Universities


    Death of Henry VII. Crowning of Henry VIII who marries Catherine of Aragon
    Birth of JohnThomas More's fourth child
    Erasmus returns from Italy to England and stays in London at More's place
    He writes "The Praise of Folly" there, under the Greek title "Encomium Moriae", which, he confesses, is also a pun cherished in those days: "The Praise of More"


    In London John Colet founds " St. Paul's School "
    Thomas More is appointed " Undersheriff " of London
    He publishes the "Life of Pico"


    Thomas More's first wife, Joanna Colt, dies. More marries his second wife, a widow named Alice Middleton
    publishes in Paris "
    The Praise of the Folly", dedicated to Thomas More


    Birth of Mercator in Rupelmonde
    Julius II opens the 5th Lateran Council 
    At St-Paul's Convocation, John Colet pronounces a resounding sermon about the necessary reform of the clergy
    Colet used to say that More was the only genius of England


    Election of Leo X, Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, son of Lorenzo de' Medici (the Magnificent)
    Birth of
    Andreas Vesalius (or in 1514) in Brussels
    Thomas More writes "Richard III" in Latin and in English


    Accession of Francis I of France. Winner in marignan, it seizes the Milanese area
    Created Cardinal,
    Wolsey becomes Lord Chancellor
    In May, Thomas More goes to Brugge in embassy to Charles, declared of age.
    In September he will stay in Brussels. Then in Mechelen. In October in Antwerp.
    It is the Belgian year of Thomas More who arrives at Antwerp in October. His stay is especially marked by his friendship whith Pierre Gilles (Petrus Aegidius), Chief Secretary of the City, humanist and patron
    More created Utopia there, of which he wrote the first part as a kind of entertainment on the government by men, which abounds in original and lucid sights

    "One day, I had gone to the Churh of Our Lady, church very venerated by the people and one of our more beautiful masterpieces of architecture, and, after having attended the divine office, I prepared myself to return to the hotel, when suddenly I am facing Pierre Gilles, who gossipsed with a foreigner... ". Thus the Utopia story starts


    In Basle Froben publishes the "New Testament" of Erasmus, dedicated to Leon X
    The "Lucien" of Erasmus and More is published by Alde in Venice
    Erasmus publishes its "Enchiridion militis Christiani", principles of government which should inspire a Christian prince. "It is the assent which makes the Prince", says Erasmus
    Of the same More in the "Epigrams"
    At this time, Machiavelli has already wrote "The Prince", the manuscript of which is passed for reading to
    Lorenzo de Medici (the Magnificent), but which will only be published in 1531. It is a perspicacious analyst work, without claim of any moral nature


    More crushes the riots of "Evil May Day" against foreign hands
    Guillaume Budé prefaces the Parisian edition of Utopia
    In August, More leaves for an embassy in Calais until December
    There, he receives the portrait of Peter Giles and Erasmus, ordered by the latter to Quentin Metsijs for More. This portrait will fall in two pieces, Peter Giles in Longford Castle, Erasmus in the "National Gallery" in Rome.
    Together with his thank-you letter addressed from Calais to Peter Giles on October 7, 1517, More adds a poem, where it makes the portrait speak: "Tabula loquitur"

    October 31 : 
    Luther publishes his Bible and displays his "95 Theses" at Wittemberg Castle's Church


    Thomas More Royal Counsellor. In order not to compromise its independence, he resigns from his Under-sheriff office
    More's letter to
    Oxford University for the defense of Greek language. "Non-beleiver Science prepares Souls to Virtue"
    Fisher defends Greek language in Cambridge


    Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
    16 September : death of John Colet. More writes: "Since generations we did not have among us a man more educated or more saint"


    Luther burns publicly the Leon X bull "Exsurge"
    Trip of Dürer to the Netherlands, until 1521
    June : 
    Field of the Cloth of Gold
    In a painting of Héverlé (Castle of Arenberg) Henry VIII and Francis I meet there close to Calais, surrounded by a dazzling Court. The Humanists were not forgotten. One can see Erasme, Budé, More, Fisher, Cranevelt...


    Thomas More Knighted and Undertreasurer
    Margaret More marries William Roper
    More in embassy in Flandres - Brugge and Calais - from July to October.
    Henry VIII, having published a work against Luther heresies - probably helped by More -, receives from
    Leon X the title of "Defender of the Faith"
    Erasmus stays in Anderlecht. He often horserides from Brussels to Anderlecht "through the forests"


    Election of Adrien VI - Adrien Floriszoon, from Utrecht. Former Professor and Vice-Chancellor of Leuwen, he bequeathed his Leuwen home to accomodate poor students : this is the origin of the "Pope's College"
    Luther, in Wartbourg Castle, translates the New Testament into German
    Anne Boleyn bridesmaid of Catherine of Aragon


    Election of Clement VII - Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici
    Thomas More elected Speaker of the House of Commons


    Thomas More "High Steward" of the Oxford University
    More buys a land at Chelsea, on the Thames, in the west of London
    Margaret More publishes in English the Comment of Erasmus on the Lord' s Prayer
    Erasmus publishes against Luther (
    Wittemberg)an essay on the "Free Will"


    French defeat in Pavia
    Luther answers to Erasmus in his "De Servo Arbitrio"
    Thomas More "High Steward" of Cambridge University and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    Thomas More marries his daughters Elizabeth (Daunce) and Cecily (Heron)
    William Tyndale completes in Germany his
    New Testament in English


    Francisco Pizarro conquers Peru
    The Turks put Budapest on fire. Allusions in More's "Dialogue of Comfort"
    Hans Holbein the Young comes from Basle to England, recommended by Erasmus to Quentin Matsijs in Antwerp and to More in London, where he becomes his host
    Margaret Giggs, adopted daugther of More, marries John Clement, a former pupil of St-Paul school, tutor of the children of More, erudite doctor and humanist.


    May 6: Rome is sacked by the Charles V Imperial Army
    Thomas More is a negotiator at the Amiens Treaty
    Henry VIII reveals his intention to repudiate Catherine


    The King's divorce case starts in London
    More settles in Chelsea around 1528. This is his last home, the most roomy. He entertained there King Henry VIII, the
    Duke of Norfolk, John Clement... But on contrary to certain traditions, neither Erasmus, nor Holbein


    Clement VII calls the King's divorce case in Rome. Thomas More publishes at J Rastelle, his nephew, in London, " Dialogues concerning Tyndale " and " Supplication of souls " in favour of the mass celebrated for the late ones
    Cambray treaty. Negotiators: More, Tunstall and J Hackett, Henry VIII's Ambassador in Brussels. More signs the known " Paix des Dames " (
    Marguerite of Austria and Louise of Savoy). He refers to it in his epitaph
    Disgrace of Wolsey
    Thomas More
    Chancellor. He opens the Parliament Reformation, or Long Parliament which will condemn him to death 6 years later


    Death of Quentin Matsijs in Antwerp
    Death of John More, Thomas More's father
    Henry VIII separates from Catherine of Aragon
    Confession of Augsburg.
    Melanchthon Reform theologist


    Henry VIII declared " Supreme Chief of the Church of England ". Fisher made an add: "In so far as the God's Law permitted"
    Birth at Chelsea of Thomas More II, son of John More and Anne Cresacre


    Various decrees forward England to Schism. May 16, following day of the " Clergy Submission ", Thomas More resigns
    Popular song after More's resignation :

    "When More some time had Chancelor been"
    "No more suits did remain."
    "The same shall never more been seen"
    "Till More be there again."


    January 21: Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn in secrecy
    March: He appoints
    Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury
    from April 5 to June 13: Fisher in jail to keep him away from the Parliament
    April 12: Thomas Cromwell appointed as Secretary of State (Chief Executive)
    May 28: Cranmer declares valid the marriage between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
    June 1: Crowning of Anne Boleyn. Thomas More, expressly invited, refuses to assist
    July 11: Clement VII excommunicates Henry VIII and Cranmer


    Thomas More writes to Cromwell and to the King in order to defend himself
    March 23 : Clement VII declares valid Henry VIII's first marriage
    March 30 : Holy Monday. The Succession Law to the Throne is promulgated, which makes guilty of high treason whoever rejects the legitimacy of the children of Anne Boleyn
    April 12: Easter. More hears a sermon at St-Paul's Cross. Little after a bailiff joined him in Margaret Clement-Giggs's house and invites him to appear the following day at Lambeth's Palace
    April 13: More takes communion and says good-bye to his family. He crosses the Thames from Chelsea to Lambeth, where he refuses to sign the Succession Act
    April 17: He is transferred from Lambeth to the Tower
    More is confided to prayer and meditation
    He completes there his "Treaty for taking good communion", his "Treaty on Our-Lord's Passion" and writes, sometimes with a piece of coal, the "Dialogue of the Comfort in the Tribulations"
    He does not abandon his cilice, which he will make given by Margaret Clement to Margaret Roper the day before of his execution
    In Paris, Calvin posts wall boards against the Mass
    Saint Ignace and his companions pronounce, in Montmartre, their first vows
    Henry VIII declares himself Church of England's Supreme Chief , without any restrictive clause and appoints Cromwell as General Vicar.


    May 4: Margaret is authorized to see her father at the Tower
    June 2: Fisher and the Carthusian monks accused
    June 17: Fisher condemned to death
    June 19: Carthusian monks executed
    June 22: Fisher Decapitated at
    Tower Hill
    July 1: Thomas More is condemned to the capital punishment.
    July 6: St Peter's octave. He is decapitated in Tower Hill. "I die loyal to the king, but God first"
    The head of More, exposed on a spade at London Bridge, was repurchased by his daughter Margaret from a guard
    The body was buried, like that of Fisher, at "St-Pierre-aux liens", in the Tower, but probably thrown later in a common grave


    Death of Catherine of Aragon
    Anne Boleyn decapitated
    Erasmus dies in Basle, 70 years old
    Reginald Pole, Henry VIII's cousin, sends to the king an admonition, written at the end of 1535, before its author was created Cardinal. Letter open to Henry VIII, widened in treaty:

    "You killed, you killed, an Englishman the best among all"