Ulirih Von Gutten

Ulirih Von Gutten

German humanist writer
Date of Birth: 21.04.1488
Country: Germany

Biography of Ulrich von Hutten

Ulrich von Hutten was a German writer and humanist, born on April 21, 1488, in the fortress of Steckelberg near Fulda, Hesse, Germany. Descended from a noble but impoverished knightly family, he was destined for a life as a monk. However, he lost his faith and became an irreparable anticleric. After leaving school in 1504, Hutten chose the life of a wandering scholar.

He briefly stayed in Cologne and Erfurt before entering the newly founded university in Frankfurt an der Oder, where he earned an academic degree and published the first of many Latin poems that would continue to be published until approximately 1516. In 1511, Hutten published a treatise on the art of versification.

While studying law in Pavia, Italy, in 1512, the city was captured and plundered by the Swiss. Hutten then moved to Bologna and was forced to enlist in military service in 1513. He returned to Germany in 1514 and secured the patronage of the new elector of Mainz, Archbishop Albert of Brandenburg, with the help of his relatives. In 1514, Hutten met Erasmus of Rotterdam, who warmly received his works.

A year later, Hutten's cousin, Hans von Hutten, was killed by Ulrich, Duke of Württemberg, and Hutten launched fierce attacks against the duke in the press. He later directed his anger towards all the independent princes of the Holy Roman Empire. At the same time, he became one of the authors of the famous "Epistolae obscurum vivorum" (Letters of Obscure Men) published between 1515 and 1517. These letters exposed the clergy of Cologne, and the elector Albert, frightened by Hutten's unrestrained speeches, expelled him from his court.

Hutten joined forces with Martin Luther, becoming his friend and ally. He reinforced Luther's appeals to the common people with admonitions from the upper classes, passionately exposing the papacy and the Roman Catholic clergy in both Latin and German. This caused Emperor Charles V to withdraw his patronage, and Hutten fled Germany for Switzerland.

Sick and impoverished, he eventually made his way to Basel, where Erasmus refused to meet him, dissatisfied with the lack of restraint in Hutten's later works. The disagreement between the two humanists escalated into a bitter feud. Hutten's further wanderings led him to Zurich, where Ulrich Zwingli, a Swiss religious reformer, provided him sanctuary on the island of Ufenau in Lake Zurich. It was there that Hutten died on August 29, 1523.