Ulrich Von Hutten, a German scholar and reformer, born in the castle of Steckelberg, near Fulda, April 20 or 22, 1488, died in Switzerland, Aug. 29, 1523. When 11 years old he was placed in the monastery of Fulda, that he might there become a monk; but at 15 he ran away from the cloister to the university of Erfurt, where he was supported by his friends and relatives. A disease then new to Europe raged in many places, and when it appeared in the summer of 1505 in Erfurt both students and teachers took to flight. Hutten went to Cologne, where he studied the writings of Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. This city was the stronghold of the old system, led by Ortwein, Hoogstraten, Tungern, Pfefferkorn, and all who were then termed Dunkelmanner or "Obscurants." Here, in the headquarters of monkish peculiarities, Hutten collected materials for the sketches of the Epistolae Ooscu-rorum Virorum. Even in Cologne, however, the new spirit of classic study had found a home under the care of Johannes Rhagius, who endeavored to form a taste for the works of classical antiquity and what was then termed poetry, a word limited by the Obscurants to pure and ancient Greek and Latin metrical composition.
Hutten became his friend and pupil, and, when he was driven away under the accusation of corrupting youth and theology, followed him to Frankfort-on-the-Oder, where a new university was opened in 1506. At the inauguration Hutten published his first poem, Carmen in Laudem Marchiae, in praise of the mark of Brandenburg. Here he received the degree of M. A., and remained till 1508. The disease which had driven him from Erfurt again seized on him, and he sought health in travel. In northern Germany he was everywhere warmly received, but was wrecked on the Baltic and reduced to great poverty. In this condition he went to the university of Greifswald, and was kindly provided with clothing and hospitably entertained by the burgomaster Wedeg Lotz, and by his son, a professor in the university. An unexplained change in their treatment of him compelled him to leave the town; and on the way, late in December, he was set upon by their servants, lying in wait for him, beaten, stripped of the garments furnished him, and robbed of all his money and papers. In this condition, diseased and wounded, he came to Rostock, where he wrote a famous satire on Lotz (Klagen gegen Lotz), calling on all the scholars of the new school in Germany to avenge him.
In Rostock he lectured on the classics, established intimate relations with the professors, and worked for the interests of the classic school. In 1511 he went to Wittenberg, where he published his Ars Versificatoria, regarded in its day as a masterpiece. Thence he wandered through Bohemia and Moravia to Vienna, where for a time he appears to have been prosperous and courted. Finally arriving at Pavia in April, 1512, Hutten resolved to study law. But three months later the city was besieged by the emperor Maximilian, and Hutten, who had taken part in the contest, believed himself in danger of death, and wrote his famous epitaph. Plundered of all he possessed, he fled to Bologna. Here his disease broke out again, and, repulsed by every one, badly treated, and starving, he enlisted as a soldier in the emperor's army. The results of his Italian studies were embodied in the satire of ("Nobody"). He returned to Germany, suffering from his old disease, in 1514. He thought he had succeeded in effecting a cure by the use of gum guaiacum, and wrote a treatise, De Guaiaci Medicina et Morbo Gallico. An accident now brought him into note. Duke Ulrich of Wurtemberg had fallen in love with the wife of his cousin Johann von Ilutten, and murdered the husband. When Hutten heard of this he wrote his " Deplora-tions," in which he cried for vengeance. He availed himself of this deed to call on German towns to free themselves from ducal tyranny. His denunciations made the tyrant a byword. But a short time elapsed before Hutten found himself in a new quarrel, ardently defending Reuchlin, who as a scholar was protesting against the wholesale destruction of all Hebrew books, for which the Cologne Obscurants were clamoring. With the aid of many friends he published the celebrated Epistolae Obscu-rorum Virorum, a work which greatly aided the reformation, and previous to this his Tri-umphus Capnionis ("The Triumph of Reuch-lin"), the publication of which was long delayed by the scruples of Erasmus. In 1515 he again went to Rome, ostensibly to study law; but having become involved in a quarrel, he fled to Bologna, which he was obliged to quit for a like reason.
After visiting Ferrara and Venice, he found it necessary to return to Germany. At Augsburg he was presented to the emperor, who gave him in public the spurs of knighthood. He was then sent by the elector of Mentz on a mission to Paris, where he established intimate relations with the learned. Retiring to his family castle of Steckelberg, Hutten, having written by way of introduction several epigrams on Pope Julius II., edited the work of Laurentius Valla entitled De Falso Credita et Ementita Dona-tione Constantini Magni (1517). In 1518 he found a protector in Albert, margrave of Brandenburg, whom he invited in a glowing panegyric to place himself at the head of united Germany. In the same year he accompanied the margrave to the diet of Augsburg, where Luther was to reply to Cajetan. But "Hutten, now the brilliant knight, troubled himself but little as to the poor Augustinian monk;" he was full of a project for uniting the princes of Europe against the Turks, and was fascinated with the idea of becoming an influential statesman. The work in which he preached this crusade he printed himself at Steckelberg in 1519, entitling it Ad Principes Germanice, ut Bellum Turcis invehant Exhortatoria. In it he upbraids the court of Rome and the German nobility.
These latter had been previously more fiercely attacked in his " Dialogue of the Court Enemy," in which Hutten boldly assumes a tone like that of modern republicanism. In 1519 he left the margrave to join Franz von Sickingen in the Swabian league against his old enemy Ulrich of Wurtemberg. Yet during this war he wrote the "Triad," a most vehement diatribe against Rome, and edited two books of Livy hitherto unpublished. The war over, he retired to the castle of Sickingen, whence he sent forth the bitterest attacks on Rome. He discovered in the library of Ful-da a manifesto of Henry IV. against Gregory VII., and turned its German sentiment to such account that Leo X. demanded him as a prisoner. Driven from his castle, he took refuge in Ebernburg, and now began to write in German prose and verse; and these tracts are among his most daring productions. For a short time he fought in the army of Charles V. at the siege of Metz, and at this time Francis I. offered him the place of councillor at his court. Hutten next wandered to Switzerland, and CEcolampadius led him to Basel, where he hoped for support from Erasmus, who however turned against him, and even took pains to set the council of Zurich against him.
Finally Zwingli obtained for him an asylum on the island of Ufnau in the lake of Zurich, where, worn out by war and suffering, he ended his short and tumultuous life. Among his works not mentioned above are Dialogi, Fortuna, Febris (including the Trias, Mentz, 1520), and his poems (Frankfort, 1538). His collected works were published by Munch (6 vols., Berlin, 1821-'7). An Index Bibliographicus Hut-tenianus was published by Bocking at Leipsic in 1858, and a new edition of his works in 7 vols, in 1859. Many biographies of Ilutten have been written; one of the best and most recent is that by Strauss (2 vols., Leipsic, 1857; 2d ed., 1871).