Spalatin, Georg

views updated


Humanist, reformer, and partisan of Martin luther; b. G. Burckhardt in Spalt, Bavaria, Jan. 17, 1484; d. Altenburg, Jan. 26, 1545. In 1499 he was graduated at Erfurt, where he possibly met Martin Luther for the first time. As a member of the humanist circle he associated with Heinrich Urbanus and Crotus Rubianus. He taught at the monastery of Georgenthal in 1508 and was ordained. In 1509 he became tutor, librarian, and historian for the elector of Saxony, Frederick III. In the chancery after 1516 he was occupied with the affairs of the church and the university, which, with Luther and Melanchthon, he sought to reform. As private secretary, spiritual adviser, and court preacher, he could influence the elector to protect Luther. He translated the Latin writings of Luther, erasmus, and melanchthon for Frederick. The elector died in 1525, and Spalatin became pastor in Altenburg, and married Katharina Steubel. He continued as religious adviser for the electors Johann and Johann Frederick and he was zealous in the visiting of churches and schools throughout Electoral and Albertine Saxony. Of importance is his Annales reformationis (ed. E. S. Cyprian, Leipzig 1718). Although many of his letters appear in Georg Spalatins historischer Nachlass und Briefe (ed. C.G. Neudecker and L. L. Preller, Jena 1851), those written to Luther have never been found.

Bibliography: e. engelhardt, Georg Spalatins Leben (Leben Der Altväter der lutherischen Kirche 3; Leipzig 1863). i. hÖss, Georg Spalatin (Weimar 1956); Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3rd ed. Tübingen 195765) 6:221.

[p. l. hughes]