Regensburg
A city important to Protestant history is Regensburg, also known as Ratisbon. It is one of the oldest
German cities and a cultural center with historic monuments dating back to Celtic times. It was an
important Roman outpost known as Castra Regina. An abbey was founded there in the mid 7th
century, and St. Boniface established an Episcopal See in 739. Regensburg has a long history of
negotiation and arbitration. For example, it was at the Council of Ratisbon in the year 742 that the
first officially authorized the use of chaplains for armies was granted, but it prohibited the "servants
of God" from bearing arms and fighting. The word chaplain itself dates from this period.

Regensburg was captured by Charlemagne in 788 when he subjugated Bavaria. One of the most
prosperous commercial centers of medieval Germany, Regenburg traded as far as India and the
Middle East. The city proper of Regensburg was made a free imperial city in 1245, and accepted the
Reformation in the 16th century, but was influenced by the Counter Reformation in the late 16th
century. In the Thirty Years War Regensburg was garrisoned by Bavarian troops and was
bombarded and captured by the Protestant general Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar in 1633, then
recovered by imperial forces under Ferdinand III. From 1532, Regensburg was often the meeting
place of the Imperial Diet, and it became the permanent seat of the Perpetual Diet or
Immerwährender Reichstag, around 1663, around the time its commerce had declined.

Under the influence of Napoleon, the diet was completely reorganized from the Holy Roman Empire
from 1801 to 1803. In April of 1809, Napoleon Bonaparte was wounded scaling the town walls with
ladders during a battle. The Bishopric of Regensburg and the city along with Aschaffenburg were
given to K. T. von Dalberg, and Regensburg and became the capital of the Upper Palatinate in 1810
under Bavarian rule. Many people went to Regensburg to plead assorted legal cases.

Astronomer Johannes Kepler died in the Golden Cross Lodging House in the city after having gone
there to collect a debt in 1630. Another momentous event occurred at the Golden Cross when Holy
Roman Emperor Karl V (King Carlos I of Spain) spent the summer of 1546 there and met a
beautiful young girl named Barbara Blomberg, the daughter of a local craftsman. It developed into a
passionate but short romance. An illegitimate son of this union was born in Regensburg under
complete secrecy in 1547, and was separated from the mother and taken to Spain to be reared. The
bastard Juan had an exciting life. He was raised as "Gerónimo" in Spain, and in respect of his father's
will he was recognized by his legitimate half brother, Philip II of Spain, and given an income and the
title of Don Juan of Austria. Philip hoped Juan would enter the Church, but Juan wanted the military
career at which he later succeeded rather brilliantly. He fought pirates, various rebels and the
Ottomans, defeating the Turks at in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. At one point, Juan had even
planned to liberate Mary Queen of Scots from her English captivity and marry her. He died of
typhus.

Unlike the other medieval German cities completely flattened by World War Two Allied bombing,
many of Regensburg's ancient buildings amazingly survived, including the famous cathedral.
However, the 9th century Romanesque church of Obermünster, top of page left, was completely
destroyed at the tail end of the War by a totally meaningless bombing in March of 1945. Only the
belfry still stood. The church could not be rebuilt.