Aventinus (1477-1534), the name taken by Johann Turmair, author of the Annales Boiorum, or Annals of Bavaria, from Aventinum, the Latin name of the town of Abensberg, where he was born on the 4th of July 1477. Having studied at Ingolstadt, Vienna, Cracow and Paris, he returned to Ingolstadt in 1507, and in 1509 was appointed tutor to Louis and Ernest, the two younger sons of Albert the Wise, the late duke of Bavaria-Munich. He retained this position until 1517, wrote a Latin grammar, and other manuals for the use of his pupils, and in 1515 travelled in Italy with Ernest. Encouraged by William IV., duke of Bavaria, he began to write the Annales Boiorum, about 1517, and finishing this book in 1521, undertook a German version of it, entitled Bayersche Chronik, which he completed some years later. He assisted to found the Sodalitas litteraria Angilostadensis, under the auspices of which several old manuscripts were brought to light. Although Aventinus did not definitely adopt the reformed faith, he sympathized with the reformers and their teaching, and showed a strong dislike for the monks. On this account he.was imprisoned in 1528, but his friends soon effected his release.
The remainder of his life was somewhat unsettled, and he died at Regensburg on the 9th of January 1534. The Annales, which are in seven books, deal with the history of Bavaria in conjunction with general history from the earliest times to 1460, and the author shows a strong sympathy for the Empire in its struggle with the Papacy. He took immense pains with his work, and to some degree anticipated the modern scientific method of writing history. The Annales were first published in 1554, but many important passages were omitted in this edition, as they reflected on the Roman Catholics. A more complete edition was published at Basel in 1580 by Nicholas Cisner. Aventinus, who has been called the "Bavarian Herodotus," wrote other books of minor importance, and a complete edition of his works was published at Munich (1881-1886). More recently a new edition (six vols.) has appeared.
See T. Wiedemann, Johann Turmair gen. Aventinus (Freising, 1858); W. Dittmar, Aventin (Nördlingen, 1862); J. von Döllinger, Aventin und seine Zeit (Munich, 1877); S. Riezler, Zum Schutze der neuesten Edition von Aventins Annalen (Munich, 1886); F. X. von Wegele, Aventin (Bamberg, 1890).