The life and impact of Georg Spalatin
*17th Jan. 1484 †16th Jan. 1545
Who was Georg Spalatin?
He was the man behind Luther, the architect of the Reformation. In keeping with the humanist custom, George Burkhardt gave himself the academic name "Spaltinus" after his native town, the city of Spalt
. He was born in the diocese of Eichstätt on the 17th
of January 1484 to a single mother and an unknown father. After visiting the St.-Nikolaus Monastery affiliated school in Spalt, and the distinguished St. Sebald Latin School in Nuremberg, "Georius [sic!] Burgardi de Spaltz" enrolled himself at the University of Erfurt. After completing his Bachelor's Degree in Spalt 1499, he joined his humanist-styled teacher Nikolaus Marschalk at the newly founded University of Wittenberg and achieved in the following year his Master's Title. In 1508 he was ordained as Priest in Erfurt. In this same year he became a "Prinzenlehrer" at the Electoral Court of Torgau and quickly gained the confidence of the Elector Friedrich the 3rd of Saxony (also known as Friedrich the Wise). Here Spalatin was "Secret Secretary", spiritual advisor and Court Chaplain.
Pic: Georg Spalatin, 1537
(Lucas Cranach d.Ä)
Spalatin and Luther
The cooperation between Martin Luther and Elector Friedrich 3rd von Sachsen at the start of the Reformation would be unimaginable without the mediation activities of Spalatin. His influence over the deeply religious Princes can be explained on the one hand by his activities as "Secret Secretary" and Worldly Council, and on the other as religious and spiritual advisor. The close relationship between Spalatin and Martin Luther and his theology beginning in 1518 can be seen as chiefly responsible for the Elector's sheltering of Luther, thereby allowing the Reformation to unfold. Spalatin mediated between the two parties from this point on. He cleared paths and played a large role in helping Martin Luther become the Reformer for which he is now so well known. As confidant to the saxonian Elector, Spalatin took part in all important Diets and meetings of the Princes. From 1516 he was active in the Electoral Chancellery and was responsible for various tasks in regards to church- and University matters. In 1521, following the Diet of Worms where Martin Luther defended himself and his writings, Spalatin organized the escape of Luther to the Wartburg castle. Doing so, Spalatin wanted to ensure the safety of Luther and kept up contact with him for the duration of his ten-month stay. With Luther and Melanchthon, they engaged themselves in the University Reform of Wittenberg. As translator of both Luther's and Melanchthon's writings as well as through his own actions, Spalatin promoted the evangelical teachings.
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