Skip to main content



A family of knights within the Holy Roman Empire, of whom the following are notable.

Ulrich von, Romantic imperialist German knight and militant humanist critic of the Church; b. Fortress Steckelberg, April 21, 1488; d. Island of Ufenau, Lake Zurich, Aug. 29, 1523. Ulrich at age 11 was sent to the monastery at Fulda, but at 17 he fled; he subsequently studied at Cologne, Erfurt, and Frankfurt on the Oder, received an A.B. degree (September, 1506), and then traveled to Leipzig, Greifswald, and Rostock. He published De arte versificandi and the Querelae, blistering attacks on his former hosts, the Lötze family in Greifswald. As a member of the knightly class then rapidly losing status, Hutten looked back romantically to better days. In 1515 he addressed five orations against Duke Ulrich of Württemberg, who had murdered his cousin Hans. He studied law in Italy (151517) and grew increasingly critical of the Curia. He criticized current ecclesiastical abuses in a series of violent tracts, the Vadiscus dialogus sive Trias Romana (Roman Trinity), Febris I, Febris II (Fever I and II), Inspicientes (Spectators), and the Nemo (Nobody), playing up the themes of Italian exploitation of the Germans and corruption in the church. Together with Crotus Rubeanus he published the Epistolae obscurorum virorum, ridiculing the scholastics of Cologne as obscurantists persecuting Reuchlin and the humanist defenders of Hebrew letters.

In 1517 he published an edition of Lorenzo Valla's De donatione Constantini intended to cast doubt on the legal foundation of papal temporal authority. Although Hutten did not really appreciate the deeper levels of Luther's theology, he wrote a series of polemical pamphlets in his support, the Bulla Decimi Leonis contra errores Martini Lutheri, in which he indicted the Pope as antichrist; the Bullicida, in which the papal bull, German liberty, Hutten, Franz von Sickingen, and other Germans carry on the dialogue; the Monitor I and Praedones, contrasting papal tyranny and Christian liberty; and a Gesprächbüchlein (Dialogue). He turned to the use of the vernacular in his first German tract, A Remonstrance and a Warning against the Presumptuous, Unchristian Power of the Bishop of Rome and the Unspiritual Estate. This was followed by Invective against Aleander, Invective against the Luther-chewing Priests, Exhortation to Emperor Charles V, Litany to the Gemans, and Expostulatio. Luther maintained a careful reserve, disapproving of Hutten's threats of force and resort to arms. Illness prevented Hutten from participating with Franz von Sickingen in the Knights' revolt (1522). He sought refuge with Erasmus in Basel (152223), but Erasmus had him driven away. Hutten avenged himself with an Expostulatio cum Erasmo (1523), to which Erasmus replied with his unworthy Spongia adversus aspergines Hutteni. Zwingli gave Hutten refuge and sent him for medical care to a pastor, Hans Klarer, of Ufenau, where he died of syphilis in poverty at the age of 35.

Moritz von, Bishop of Eichstätt; b. Arnstein, Nov. 26, 1503; d. Eichstätt, Dec. 6, 1552. He studied in Ingolstadt and became a canon in Eichstätt, 1512; canon in Würzburg, 1530; and provost of the cathedral in Würzburg, 1536. He became bishop of Eichstätt, 1539; he was personally above reproach and sought to reform the clergy of his diocese. He attended the Council of Trent, June 1543, presided at the Regensburg Colloquy, 1546, and held a diocesan synod, 1548.

Christoph Franz von, Prince-bishop of Würzburg; b. Jan. 19, 1673; d. Würzburg, March 25, 1729. Well educated, he promoted art and learning during his brief ecclesiastical career, during which he rose from dean of the cathedral to bishop.

Franz Christoph von, Bishop of Speyer; b. Wisenfeld, March 6, 1706; d. Bruchsal, April 20, 1770. He became bishop of Speyer on Nov. 14, 1743, and was created a cardinal on Nov. 23, 1761. An aristocratic ecclesiast, he patronized art and music, conducted a resplendent

court life, promoted education of laity and priests, constructed many churches and completed the castle at Bruchsal.

Bibliography: Ulrici Hutteni Equitis Germani opera , ed. e. bÖcking, 7 v. (Leipzig 185970). h. holborn, Ulrich von Hutten and the German Reformation, tr. r. h. bainton (New Haven 1937). d. f. strauss, Ulrich von Hutten, 2 v. (Leipzig 1858). p. held, Ulrich von Hutten: Seine religiös-geistige Auseinandersetzung mit Katholizismus, Humanismus, Reformation (Leipzig 1928). l. fischer, ed., Beiträge zur Geschichte der Renaissance und Reformation: J. Schlecht als Festgabe (Freising 1917), on Moritz. l. stamer, Kirchengeschichte der Pfalz (Speyer 1959) 3.2:116120, on Franz Christoph. f. zoepfl et al., Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 5:549551. d. strauss, Ulrich von Hutten His Life and Time (Reprint: New York 1974).

[l. w. spitz]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hutten." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 24 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Hutten." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (January 24, 2019).

"Hutten." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved January 24, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.