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'diet' as in congress - great stuff, thanks

Posted by Lap of the Goddess on May 20, 2003

In Reply to: 'diet' as in congress posted by TheFallen on May 19, 2003

: : : : I was reading Baudolino by Umberto Eco and he used the word 'diet' in a way with which I was completely unfamiliar.

: : : : eg. In one section he said... "Frederick first had to settle things with the Poles... In March he convened a new diet at Worms to prepare for another descent into Italy, where Milan, as usual, with her allies, was becoming more and more unruly, then a diet at Herbipolis in September, and one in Besancon in October; in short, he seemed possessed."

: : : : The use of the word - diet - here, appears to mean something like a congress or conference.

: : : : Is anyone else familiar with this term, can tell me how and where it comes from, and how it should be pronounced. Is it pronounced the same way as the word to describe an eating regimen?

: : : A Diet of Worms doesn't sound very appealing, does it? For more information look at

: : It's the name of Parliament in a number of countries, eg Japan

: The first Diet of Worms was a critical event in the socio-political evolution of Europe. It happened in 1521 at the town of Worms in Germany(or Wurms as it's known in German). The Diet (or formal general assembly of the princes and powers of the Holy Roman Empire) was called by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, who wanted to expose the factionalism within the Catholic Church at the time, and force its chief rebellious proponent, Martin Luther, to recant.

: Luther, who clearly knew a thing or two about PR and proto-media attention, had attracted the adverse attention of the Catholic Church 4 years earlier in 1517 when he first wrote, then nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle in Wittenburg. These primarily slammed the Catholic Church for its adherence to and promotion of "indulgences", a system where the Church sold sinners (or their relatives) pieces of paper which "guaranteed" them redemption and absolution for their sins. Again, a slick piece of marketing, if the target audience is dumb enough to be fooled by it. Luther held that sinners could only be redeemed through Christ, and his 95 theses argued strongly for his case with concentrated reference to the Scriptures.

: At the Diet of Worms, Luther famously refused to do so, thus defying both secular and religious authorities in the persons of the Emperor and also the Pope. So ironically, Charles V's plan had entirely the reverse effect from that desired since, although Luther was subsequently exiled, spending years confined to the Wartburg Castle under the protection of his patron, Frederick the Wise of Saxony, his rebellion at the Diet of Worms thrust his beliefs into centre-stage, thus becoming the root cause of the Reformation and the schism between Catholic and Protestant beliefs at the heart of Christianity.

: Both words, "diet" meaning a food regimen and "diet" meaning an official congress stem from the same root, the L*tin "diaetia" meaning both daily routine or way of living.

:: Fantastic stuff, thank you