The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Sickingen, Franz von

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SICKINGEN, zĭk'ĭng-ĕn, Franz von, German soldier and Protestant reformer: b. near Kreuznach, 2 March 1481; d. 7 May 1523. From early youth he devoted himself to the military life. The protection of the oppressed was his chief occupation. He assisted many a creditor in procuring what was due him from a powerful debtor. He was the enemy of tyranny, and endeavored on every occasion to repress the despotism of princes and the arrogance of the priests. Without being a scholar he loved science and protected men of learning (for instance Reuchlin, whom he defended against the monks of Cologne); and in his castle at Ebernburg many persecuted scholars found a safe asylum. He was a friend of the Reformation, and contributed greatly to extend it in the countries which bordered on the Rhine. At last he engaged in a quarrel with Treves, the palatinate, and Hesse, which drew upon him the ban of the empire. He died soon after the surrender of Neustall, one of his castles, having previously received a severe injury from a fall during a sally. Consult the study by Ulmann (1872).