The Diet of Worms

If ever there was an historical event that captures the imagination, it is the Diet of Worms. To English-speaking school children, it must sound like the worst meal ever. Of course, a ‘diet’ is simply a gathering (the word comes from the Latin ‘dieta’) and Worms is a city – arguably the oldest – in Germany (it is pronounced ‘vurms’ in German).
So why mention the Diet of Worms today? Well, in 1521 the gathering opened on 28 January (it ran until 25 May). Had you forgotten this anniversary? Shame on you – for dinner, this evening, a diet of worms then.
The meeting of the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire at Worms was where Martin Luther defended the principles of the Reformation. Luther had already been excommunicated by Pope Leo X, but Emperor Charles V granted him safe conduct to a hearing at the Diet. On 17 April, Luther refused to recant his views. In May, the Diet issued the Edict of Worms, declaring Luther an outlaw and a heretic and banning his writings.
So now you know …