Franciscus irenicus

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Irenicus 1518 over the dukes of Swabia

Franciscus Irenicus (from Greek eirenicos "peaceful"), Latinized from Franz Friedlieb or Franz Fritz (* 1495 in Ettlingen , † 1553 in Gemmingen ), was a German historian and theologian and a follower of Martin Luther . In Gemmingen he was the head of the Gemmingen Latin School as the owner of the qualification .


Franz Fritz was born in Ettlingen in 1495. He attended the prestigious Latin school in Pforzheim . Philipp Melanchthon was one of his younger classmates. In 1510 Irenicus enrolled as Franciscus Fritz de Ettlingen to study Artes liberales at Heidelberg University . In 1512 he became a Baccalaureus there. After traveling in southern Germany, he enrolled as Franciscus Fritz Ettlingensis in May 1516 at the University of Tübingen . Like Melanchthon, who also studied in Tübingen, he joined the humanistic circle of the Sodales Neccarani, the Neckar comrades. In January 1517 at the latest, Irenicus returned to Heidelberg, where he received his master's degree in March 1517 under the name Franciscus Irenicus . Willibald Pirckheimer followed the work of the young historian on the Germaniae exegesis (also called Exegesis Germaniae ) in 1517 with interest and supported him with his historical knowledge. The margravial house also supported the extensive work materially. Luther's Heidelberg disputation in April 1518, in which Irenicus presumably attended as a listener, made him a staunch supporter of the reformer.

Grave slab of Franciscus Irenicus in the castle garden in Gemmingen

Irenicus is last attested in Heidelberg in July 1519. Since October 1519 he has been a canon in Baden-Baden and a priest, since 1522 court and travel preacher of the margrave. In 1524 he accompanied Philip I to the imperial regiment in Esslingen and appeared here in the Augustinian monastery as a Reformation preacher despite the official ban. The Papal Legate Campeggio appealed to Archduke Ferdinand in vain. In 1525 a religious mandate allowed Margrave Philipps in Baden to marry the priests. In the same year Irenicus married the daughter of a citizen of Esslingen. Three sons came from this marriage. Under the protection of the margrave, Irenicus also preached at the Speyer Reichstag in 1526 . This time Campeggio's protest against the Archduke was successful. Irenicus had to leave Speyer. Under political pressure, Margrave Philipp canceled the reformatory innovations he had granted in Baden. Since 1530 he was again considered a supporter of the old church.

In March 1531 Irenicus left Baden. Ambrosius Blarer and Martin Bucer had prevented the committed Lutheran from getting a vacant pastor's position in Esslingen. In the fall of 1531 Irenicus took over the position at the parish church in Gemmingen. Wolf von Gemmingen had appointed him. He is attested in this office on December 24, 1531. In the theologians' controversy about the Lord's Supper , Irenicus emphatically represented the Lutheran standpoint in the conflict in Kraichgau . As a preacher , he was also the head of the Latin school in Gemmingen, which was founded in 1521. David Kochhaf, who later called himself David Chytraeus , was one of his students. In theological and denominational issues, Irenicus later apparently held back. He saw the main focus of his activity in teaching at the Latin school, which under his leadership enjoyed a significant upswing. Irenicus has not left his residence in Gemmingen anymore. According to the inscription on the grave slab preserved in the garden of Gemmingen Castle , he died in 1553.


Of the writings of Irenicus only the printed ones have survived. The books about the Margrave Philip and a history of the Alsatian monastery Odilienberg mentioned in the Germaniae exegesis cannot be proven by any other evidence. Like the first posthumous new edition of the Germaniae exegesis, the printing of two school writings from the Gemmingen period is also due to his son Paul.

Germaniae exegesis

In August 1518 Thomas Anshelm in Hagenau published the twelve books Germaniae exegesis, the life's work of Franciscus Irenicus. The work is an attempt at a historical regional study of Germany from the time of the Teutons to the present, not a narrative representation, but a collection of material. The statements are supported by over three hundred printed sources. Irenicus did not conduct any empirical historical research, and the regional studies contributions almost never come from his own views. Irenicus tried to counter the early onset of criticism of his work (Pirckheimer, Melanchthon) with an oratio protreptica at the end of the print. After the publication of the work, the judgments became sharper; the criticism of Erasmus of Rotterdam was devastating.

  • Germaniae exegeseos volumina duodecim a Francisco Irenico Ettelingiacensi exarata […]. Th. Anshelm, Hagenau, August 1518.
  • Germaniae exegeseos […]. Basel 1567.
  • Francisci Irenici […]. Hanau 1728.

School writings

In artem poeticam et libros epistolarum Horatii annotationes

The volume, published posthumously by his son Paul in 1567, begins with a commentary on the Ars poetica .

  • Francisci Irenici Ettelingiacensis in artem poeticam et libros epistolarum Horatii annotationes doctissimae, per Paulum Irenicum […]. Frankfurt am Main 1567.


Irenicus wrote his grammatica on the model of the elementary grammar of Melanchthon, but also used new humanistic textbooks. It covers orthography, etymology and syntax.

  • Grammatica Francisci Irenici […] per Paulum Irenicum filium […]. Frankfurt am Main 1569.


  • Günther Cordes: The sources of the Exegesis Germaniae of Franciscus Irenicus and his Germanic concept. Dissertation Tübingen 1966.
  • Günther Cordes: Franciscus Irenicus from Ettlingen. From the life of a humanist and reformer. In: Alfons Schäfer (Ed.): Oberrheinische Studien. Volume 3, 1975, pp. 353-371.
  • Anneliese Seeliger-Zeiss: The grave slab of Franciscus Irenicus in Gemmingen. A work by the stonemason Jost Neibeck. In: Ettlinger Hefte. No. 29, 1995, pp. 43-46.
  • Gerhard Kiesow: Of knights and preachers. The Lords of Gemmingen and the Reformation in Kraichgau. regional culture publisher, Ubstadt-Weiher 1997, ISBN 3-929366-57-6 , pp. 74–76.
  • Gernot Michael Müller, Franz Josef Worstbrock: Irenicus (Fritz, Friedlieb), Franciscus. In: Worstbrock et al. (Ed.): German Humanism 1480–1520. Author Lexicon. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-020639-5 , column 1247-1258.
  • Moritz Csáky:  Irenicus, Franciscus. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 10, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1974, ISBN 3-428-00191-5 , p. 178 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Adalbert Horawitz:  Irenicus, Franz . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 14, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1881, p. 582 f.
  • Kristina Lohrmann:  Irenicus, Franciscus (Friedlieb, Franz). In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 2, Bautz, Hamm 1990, ISBN 3-88309-032-8 , Sp. 1332-1333.
  • Walther Ludwig : Hellas in Germany - representations of Graecistics in German-speaking countries from the 16th and 17th centuries. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1998, ISBN 3-525-86295-4 . - (To Franciscus Irenicus, Martin Crusius and Johann Caspar Löscher )

Individual evidence

  1. ADB: Irenicus, Franciscus
  2. Torsten Lüdtke: Praeceptor Germaniae and Reformer in the shadow of Luther. On the 450th anniversary of Philipp Melanchthon's death. In: Community letter of the evangelical parish Petrus - Giesendorf, June 2010

Web links

Wikisource: Franciscus Irenicus  - Sources and full texts