Georg Spalatin

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Georg Spalatin 1509 by Lucas Cranach the Elder Ä.
Spalatin monument in gap
Melanchthon translation from 1523

Georg Burkhardt later called himself Spalatin (born January 17, 1484 in Spalt in the diocese of Eichstätt (hence his name); †  January 16, 1545 in Altenburg ) and was a German humanist , theologian , reformer and historian .


Spalatin was born as the illegitimate son of the red tanner Georg Burghardt the Elder. Elderly and born to a woman of unknown name († 1523). After attending the collegiate school in his native town of Spalt (today's district of Roth near Nuremberg), he came to the St. Sebaldus School in Nuremberg in 1497 . In the summer semester of 1498 he enrolled at the University of Erfurt , initially studied philosophy and in 1499 acquired the first academic degree of a baccalaureate . In 1502 he turned to the newly created University of Wittenberg , where he conducted Greek and historical studies and, on February 2, 1503, was one of the first to acquire the academic degree of a master’s degree at the artist faculty .

Spalatin then studied law and theology in Erfurt . From 1505 to 1507 he worked as a novice teacher at the Elisabeth Church in Georgenthal and, after being ordained as a priest in 1508, became the tutor of the future Elector Johann Friedrich . In 1512 he was commissioned by the Elector Frederick the Wise to become the administrator of the university library housed in Wittenberg Castle. In 1514 Friedrich appointed him his court chaplain and then his secret clerk at the University of Wittenberg. Since then, Spalatin has been the elector's most trusted servant as the prince's confessor, accompanied him to almost all diets and almost exclusively mediated Friedrich's relations with Martin Luther . After his imperial ban ( Edict of Worms ) in 1521, it was Georg Spalatin who organized his rescue from his persecutors to the Wartburg .

In 1515 Georg Spalatin became canon of St. Georgenstift in Altenburg. Johann the Steadfast , who knew how to appreciate him like his predecessor, appointed him local pastor in 1525 and superintendent of Altenburg in 1528 . In 1530 Spalatin accompanied the elector to the Augsburg Reichstag. From 1527 to 1542 he developed a significant activity in the organization of the Evangelical Church in the Saxon region. For example, during a church visit from January 1529 in Zwickau, except for the Hermannsdorf pastor , he relieved all pastors subordinate to the Grünhain monastery , as he found them to be "clumsy" to continue their office.

Georg Spalatin devoted himself more to his historical research. He collected Roman sources and evaluated them. In 1510 he published a chronicle of the Saxons and Thuringians . He wrote the biographies of Frederick the Wise (edited by Neudecker and Preller, Weimar 1851) and Johann the Constant; Christian religious trades or religious matters, mistakenly called Annales Reformationis (Leipzig 1718) by Ernst Salomon Cyprian , and a history of the popes and emperors of the Reformation age. He also wrote the first biography of Arminius (Hermann der Cherusker) and published it in Wittenberg in 1535 under the title: Von dem thewrern Deudschen Prince Arminio: a short extract from credible Latin histories: compiled and translated into German by Georgium Spalatinum .

Georg Spalatin was married to Katharina Heidenreich († 1552) from Altenburg. From this marriage there were two daughters; Born in 1532 and 1533. He died on January 16, 1545, just one day before his 61st birthday, in Altenburg. Spalatin was buried in front of the altar of his St. Bartholomäi town church in Altenburg. His bones are now considered lost.

Spalatin was a close friend of Veit Warbeck . It was repeatedly (secured in 1509 and 1515) by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Ä. and in 1537 by Lucas Cranach the Elder. J. portrayed.

Since October 31, 2017 Altenburg (Thuringia) has erected a memorial to the “helmsman of the Reformation”. This monument at eye level was created by the sculptor Christian Späte.

Remembrance day

January 16 in the Evangelical Name Calendar .


  • Annales Reformationis or yearbooks of the Lutheri Reformation. ES Cyprian, Leipzig 1718.
  • The life and the contemporary history of Frederick the Wise , published in Georg Spalatin's Historical Estate and Letters , compiled by Christian Gotthold Neudecker and Ludwig Preller . Mauke, Jena 1851.

See also


  • Martin Burkert, Karl-Heinz Röhlin: Georg Spalatin. Luther's friend and protection. Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 2015, ISBN 978-3-374-04039-1 .
  • Armin Kohnle, Christina Meckelnborg, Uwe Schirmer: Georg Spalatin. Helmsman of the Reformation. Accompanying volume for the special exhibition with an extensive catalog section. Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle 2014, ISBN 978-3-936300-98-7 .
  • Hans Joachim Kessler among others: Spalatin in Altenburg. A city is planning an exhibition. Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle 2012, ISBN 978-3-89812-912-1 .
  • Christopher Spehr:  Spalatin, Georg. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 24, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-428-11205-0 , p. 614 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Björn Schmalz: Georg Spalatin and his work in Altenburg 1525–1545. Sax-Verlag, Markkleeberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-86729-048-7 .
  • Karl DienstGeorg Spalatin. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 10, Bautz, Herzberg 1995, ISBN 3-88309-062-X , Sp. 865-868.
  • Ute Mennecke-Haustein: Georg Spalatin. In: W. Killy (Ed.): Literature Lexicon. Volume 11 1991, pp. 83-84.
  • Irmgard Höss : Georg Spalatin 1484-1545. A life in the time of humanism and the Reformation. Weimar 1989.
  • Christian G. Neudecker, Ludwig Preller (ed.): Georg Spalatin's historical estate and letters. Jena 1851 ( digitized ).
  • Karl August Hugo Burkhardt: History of the Saxon church and school visits from 1524 to 1545. Leipzig 1879.
  • Adolf Seelheim: Georg Spalatin as a Saxon historiographer. Hall 1876.
  • Julius Wagner: Georg Spalatin and the Reformation of the churches and schools in Altenburg. Altenburg 1830 ( digitized ).

Web links

Commons : Georg Spalatin  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Georg Spalatin  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Flyer of the Elisabeth Church
  2. Spalatin on the website of the Evangelische Kirchgemeinde Altenburg ( Memento of the original from January 11, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Spalatin (actually Bur [c] khar [d] t until 1503), Georg (ius), Deutsche Biographie [1]
  4. Georg Spalatin in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints