A history of Gutenberg recounts:

The invention of the printing press was received with opposition from the Catholic Church. The printers of Mainz fled after an attack from soldiers of the archbishop of Nassau in 1462.

Is this represenation accurate? If so why had the Catholic church a problem with books getting printed?

  • Gutenberg himself was Catholic, but perhaps Mainz had Protestant leanings by 1462.
    – Geremia
    Dec 30, 2017 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


The raid was not against Gutenberg or the printing press directly - but only indirectly because he and his printers refused to support the winner in an intra-church rivalry.

The Pope had named one candidate (Adolf II von Nassau) for the Archbishopric of Mainz, while the city and cathedral chapter had elected Diether von Isenberg. Adolf successfully raided the city, and confiscated the property of all those who had supported his rival. Gutenberg and his printers had supported Diether, and subsequently refused to support Adolf. Consequently they were driven out of town.

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