A bloody carnival? Charles V’s soldiers and the sack of Rome in 1527

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2 Scopus citations


The sack of Rome in 1527 was one of the most violent and shocking events in early modern European history, especially when considering the spread of Lutheranism in the Holy Roman Empire and the general dubious status of Rome in Europe. Most studies usually and naturally focus on the extraordinary effects of the sack while offering a superficial and simplistic exploration of the experience and motivations of the sacking soldiers. In this article I would like to suggest that the sack offered the deprived soldiers a temporary opportunity to violently undermine the prevalent social order. A “time out of time”, and much like the medieval and early modern carnival, the sack provided the soldiers with an opportunity to act under a set of norms and ideals that would have seemed peculiar and even socially and culturally offensive under normal circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)784-802
Number of pages19
JournalRenaissance Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020


  • Renaissance Europe
  • Sack of Rome
  • early modern military history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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