The two were leaders of intellectual and cultural affairs during the troubled years of the Reformation. Strasbourg was already a powerful commercial and intellectual center and Basle had some of the same qualities but was also a significant center for art and printing. Both were able to participate in the Reformation without allowing the violence that caused havoc in other cities along the Rhine. Both were intellectual and educational centers and had magistrates who were dedicated to assuring peace by imposing compromise or silence on heated issues. The two cities thus became places of refuge for a very international group of people persecuted in their own lands. They also attracted creative people who wanted to participate in the cultural life that the two cities offered.