A Brill Calendar: October 1
Charles V and the Collateral Councils
Few statesmen have been as important to Europe as the son of Philip I, "the Handsome" and of Joan the Mad.
It was in the Low Countries that the young man became responsible for ruling the Netherlands four years before inheriting the proudest title of Europe: Holy Roman Emperor. Charles V ruled in the North-Western part of his realm for forty years , before abdicating his throne in 1555: the first of his possessions upon which the Sun was not supposed to set. But the seeds of this abdication were planted much earlier. On October 1, 1531 the time had come to install a new method to cater for the prosperity of his subjects and for the peace in lands in the north of France in an innovative way.
That day, Charles called into being three ‘Collateral Councils’ of powerful and influential men with the function to provide the emperor with sound advice, good counsel and true wisdom. It is seldom that the undisputed head of Christianity could use it better; particularly in Flanders, with the mature wealth of Bruges, the supreme economic power of Antwerp and the political experience of Brussels. When it came to honour the imperial financial obligations incurred during his young years, Charles V was perfectly aware of the new-fangled need to treat his northern lands with circumspection. These councils could help perhaps his task. It is an old story: who’s paying the piper is calling the tune.
In the context it should be remarked that religious strife didn’t play a crucial role in controversies until one much later.