The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Hutten, Ulrich von

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HUTTEN, Ulrich von, ool'rĭH fōn, German knight, distinguished for his poems and satires, and for the influence which his writings exercised upon the Reformation: b. Steckelberg on the Main, 31 April 1488; d. Ufnau, an island in the lake of Zürich, 22 Aug. 1523. His father placed him at Fulda in order to educate him for a monk. The monastic school there was one of the most famous in all Germany, and he received an excellent education. Here he lost his faith and, the declared enemy of Christianity, fled to Erfurt in 1504, where he became intimately acquainted with several scholars and poets. In 1511 he went to Wittenberg, where he published a work on versification. Ulrich, Duke of Würtemberg, murdered a cousin of Hutten and Hutten gave free course to his indignation in poems, letters and addresses, which made him known throughout Germany. He distinguished himself no less in the Reuchlinian controversy with the Dominican Hogstraaten in Cologne. Hutten severely criticized the monastic life, and was so much the enemy of the clergy, that by his edition of Laurentius Valla, ‘De falso credita et ementita Donatione Constantini,’ he declared war upon the Church and prepared the way for Luther. In 1518 he entered the service of Albert, archbishop of Mayence; and made several official journeys to Paris. He also accompanied the archbishop to the Diet at Aufsburg, where Luther held his well-known discussion with Cajetan; and Hutten, in a Demosthenic oration, urged the German princes to a war against the Turks. He took the field with the Swabian League in 1519 against his hereditary enemy, Ulrich of Würtemberg, and then retired to the solitude of his paternal castle of Steckelberg, to engage anew in the controversy with the monks. Here he published work after work, violently assailing the Church, the clergy and the state. Leaving Steckelberg in 1522 he went first to Basel and thence to Zürich, where he died. He was a savage and violent controversialist, and was unsparing in the vehemence of his invective. Consult ‘Life’ by Jordan (1910); and Sturges' translation of Strauss' ‘Life’ in German.