Period IV

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98-1543), Erasmus, 1523. Kunstmuseum Basel, photo Wikipedia.

Basel, the Mirror of Europe

The city of Basel represents and confirms at micro level the identity of Switzerland. A crossroads of rivers to the north of Europe, and roads and mountain passes that connect Italy with Germany, the United Kingdom and the Low Countries.

Basel experienced the Celtic tribe of the Rauraci, the Romans, the Burgundian kingdoms, the Alemans, the Carolingian Empire, the Holy Roman Empire and,  finally,  accession to the Swiss Confederation in 1501.

The industrial, trading and the catholic humanist city hosted Erasmus (1456-1536),  who is buried in the protestant Münster.

The city also underwent the fury and rage in 1529 of the refomers (Basilea reformata).

Basel remained and became an agent of humanism, the printing press, tolerance, ideas and civilization afterwards.

The bishopric of Basel was the frontier between two archbishoprics: Besançon in France, to which belonged the territory of Basel-city,  and Mainz (Mayence) in Germany, which included the bishopric of Constance and the territories of minor-Basel (Klein-Basel), on the right bank of the Rhine.

Basel was also the city of the Council (1431-1449), after the Council of  Constance (1411-1418).

Famous artists — such as Holbein the Younger (1497-1543), scholars (Jacob Burckhardt 1818-1897), or politicians, e.g. the French socialist Jean Jàures (1859-1914) in 1912 —  had their finest hour in this city.