This document was compiled near the height of the Protestant Reformation, a time during which many countries and peoples in Europe began to break away from the Catholic Church on the basis of disputes of theological doctrine. To such examples are mentioned by Martin Luther in the passage, one being that the Catholic church had new practices that differed from that of traditional Christianity, such as indulgences and simony, and the second being that the Pope utilized the church as a means to accumulate power for himself rather than to glorify Jesus Christ. Martin Luther made these claims and speeches in private to his followers, whom he trusted. This trust allowed him to speak truly on his opinions of the Catholic Church, making more clear exactly how he believed Catholicism differed from true Christianity. However, this document was not written by Martin Luther himself, but rather his followers, who likely wrote it with the intent of distributing it to the peoples of Europe. This may have resulted in some inaccuracy and dramatization of Luther’s views towards the Catholic church in the document. His followers likely would have done this, with the goal of rallying more Christians to join the Protestant Movement and break away from the Catholic church.
This document was written at the height of the Sunni-Shia conflict between the Ottoman and Safavid Empires. Both the Ottomans and Safavids practiced slightly different versions of the Islamic faith, Sunni and Shia respectively. This document was written by the Ottoman sultan (Sunni) to the Safavid Shah (Shia). Because he believes that his own brand of Islam is superior, he attempts to downgrade Shia views by depicting them as sacrilegious while also attempting to uphold Sunni views by depicting them as righteous and holy. However, because the Safavid ruler is also Muslim, the Ottoman sultan makes sure to honor Muhammad, the undisputed founder of the faith, in his letter. Ultimately, his goal is to convince the Safavid sultan to convert to Sunni Islam, and he uses religious writing and sentiment to do so.
During this time, King Louis XIV ruled over France with the power of an absolute monarch. Under his supreme powers, he demanded that areas under French influence pay him reverence periodically. One of the areas was Siam, or modern-day Thailand, the king of which is depicted offering gifts to Louis in the document. The picture was created by a French artist, Nicolas Larmessin, who attempted to convey his own king’s, as well as France’s, power and sovereignty in this image. He likely intended the audience of this image to be both the people of France and foreign peoples under French influence. By showing it to these groups of people, its purpose would effectively be completed in that it would allow King Louis to legitimize his own power through an engraving him that depicted him and France as superior over other kings and nations.