In 1525, the Peasants in southern Germany rose up for many social, financial and religious reasons. This uprising is known in America as the Peasant's War.

As noted in the book on Cardinal Lang, Lang and then his courtiers including Aegridus Rem were cornered in the high castle in Salzburg (it is now a major tourist destination looming above Salzburg). There they endured a three month siege. The castle was impregnable but could be isolated from supplies. So the peasants did not allow food and water to the castle.

The rest of the story is from my friend Wolf Dietrich Reitsperger who was born near Salzburg. He told me that the people in the castle (including Lang and Rem) were starving. They keep one bull alive that they paraded atop the high castle walls to show the peasants they had food. To make it appear that they had lots of food, they changed the color of the bull each day. Hence, they were stierwaschers (steer washers), a derisive name that came to be associated with Salzburgers. Perhaps had the peasants known how chose to death the castle occupants were, the castle might have fallen.


December 12, 2003