Johann Travers

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John Travers or Romansh Gian Travers (* 1483 in Zuoz ; † 22. August 1563 in Zuoz) was a Swiss lawyer and Grisons governor and military leader, Landammann and supporters of the Reformation in the Engadine . In 1527 he wrote a Rhaeto-Romanic poem with 700 verses, making him a pioneer and co-founder of the Upper Engadin written language .


Johann Travers was a son of Jacob Travers and Anna Planta, a daughter of Thomas Planta from Samedan . Travers acquired his humanistic and legal education at German universities in Leipzig between 1503 and 1505 and in Transylvania . It is unclear whether he is with J. Trauiers de Engadina Curiens. Dioc. X. who was enrolled in Friborg in 1511.

In 1515 he took up his political and legal activities, and he became Landschreiber of the Upper Engadin and Chancellor of the Bishop of Chur. In the same year he took part in the battle of Marignano as the leader of an Upper Engadine ensign . In 1517 he was appointed governor of the Valtellina . In 1519 he and his cousin Simon received the letter of nobility from Emperor Maximilian I. During his second term of office from 1523 to 1525 as governor of Valtellina, the 1st Müsserkrieg took place in 1525/1526. Travers proved himself, and he was also in the 2nd Müsserkrieg 1531-1532 commander of the Bündner and Veltliner.

He was also Landammann of the Upper Engadine thirteen times and contributed significantly to the strengthening of the Free State of the Three Leagues , for example with the Ilanz Article 1524. From 1539 to 1542, he promoted the territorial division of the Upper Engadine Mark Cooperative into individual neighborhoods. He repeatedly represented the Graubünden Free State at the Federal Diet and at foreign courts.

Travers was influenced by the medieval devotional movement of the Devotio moderna and was in correspondence with many scholars in Switzerland. 1537 he took over as deputy from Zuoz at the disputation of Susch , where he appeared as an advocate of religious tolerance in appearance. In 1539 he founded a Latin school with the Zurich reformer Heinrich Bullinger in the abandoned Nicolaikloster in Chur .

With the interruption of the Roman Catholic Council of Trento in 1552, his hopes for a unification of Catholics and Evangelicals and for overcoming the church division were dashed. In the same year he converted to the Reformed faith. It was also the beginning of the second Reformation epoch in Graubünden, and the Upper Engadin changed from the Catholic to the Protestant faith. At his request, the preacher Philipp Gallicius was called to Zuoz, who helped the reformed doctrine to break through. With the permission of the Bündner Synod, Travers himself climbed the pulpit in Zuoz when he was over 70 years old.

Later he successfully resisted the abolition of the diocese of Chur , which was promoted by preachers , which was hardly understood by his Reformed friends. For Travers, who had previously been court master and chancellor of Bishop Paul Ziegler, the bishopric represented an institutional order for which he had campaigned all his life. He is convinced that the repeal would only have benefited individual families and could have jeopardized the continued existence of the Free State of the Three Leagues.


Travers is considered to be the creator of the Upper Engadine and the written Romansh language. In 1527 he described his imprisonment at Musso Castle in the 1st Müsserkrieg in the form of a rhyming chronicle in 700 Knittel verses. It is the earliest evidence of Rhaeto-Romanic literature and is called Chanzun da la guerra dalg Chiastè d'Müs . From 1534 he was the first to have his biblical dramas performed in Rhaeto-Romanic, which had a great impact on the population of the Engadine.


  • Iso Müller u. a .: Important Graubünden residents from five centuries (= Graubündner Kantonalbank's festivities on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of its foundation in 1870 ). Vol. 1. Calven, Chur 1970, DNB 811076237 , pp. 43-61.
  • Reto R. Bezzola: Litteratura dals rumauntschs e ladins. Lia Rumauntscha, Cuira 1979, OCLC 7781976 (Romansh).
  • Erich Wenneker : Heinrich Bullinger and the Reformation in the Engadin , Bündner monthly newspaper, magazine for Bündner history, regional studies and building culture, issue 4, Chur 2004

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Erich Wenneker: Heinrich Bullinger and the Reformation in the Engadin , Bündner monthly newspaper, magazine for Bündner history, regional studies and building culture, issue 4, Chur 2004. p. 253
  2. Martin Bundi: Müsserkriege. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  3. Erich Wenneker: Heinrich Bullinger and the Reformation in the Engadin , Bündner monthly newspaper, magazine for Bündner Geschichte, Landeskunde and Baukultur, issue 4, Chur 2004, pp. 253-257
  4. Constant Wieser: Travers, Johann. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  5. ^ Gion Deplazes: Romansh literature. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .