The Life of Martin Luther
Luther's Early Years (1483 - 1516)

Note: The Luther Timeline is currently undergoing some much-needed renovation. As I have time, I'll be cleaning up the links and making the formatting a bit more robust. In the meantime, I plan to keep the site up and running. Please pardon our dust.

1483 (age: newborn)
Margaretta Luther
Margaretta Luther

November 10

Luther is born at roughly 11:00 p.m. in Eisleben* to Hans and Margaretta Luther. [Wikipedia article: Martin Luther's Birth House]

November 11 Luther is baptized in the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul.
1484 (age<1)
Hans Luther
Hans Luther

Hans Luther, disappointed with business prospects in Eisleben, moves to Mansfeld, hoping to make a living in the copper mines there. [Google maps: Mansfeld]

1491 (age 7)
Hans Luther leases a smelter from the count of Mansfeld. The family's financial security improves.
March 12 Luther begins school at the Mansfeld Lateinschule.
1497 (age 13)
Luther begins boarding school in Magdeburg*. He boards with the Brethren of the Common Life. [Google maps: Magdeburg]
1498 (age 14)
Luther begins attending the parish school of St. George in Eisenach. Initially, he stays with relatives.
1499 (age 15)
Luther moves in with Heinrich Schalbe, one of the leading men of the city and father of one of Luther's classmates.
1501 (age 17)
Luther moves to Erfurt and begins studying liberal arts at the University of Erfurt, one of the best universities at the time. His father picked the school and paid the tuition. [Google maps: Erfurt]
1502 (age 18)
July 2 Elector Frederick the Wise founds Wittenberg University.
September Luther takes the baccalaureate exams and finishes 30th in a group of 57.
September 29 Luther receives his Baccalaureate degree and begins studying for his Masters.
1505 (age 21)
January Luther receives his Masters degree. His father gives him a copy of Corpus Iuris and arranges for his entry into law school.
May 19 Luther begins law school at University of Erfurt. He is required to teach philosophy for the Liberal Arts program and to begin his studies by memorizing the titles of laws.
July 2 Luther, on his way back to Erfurt from parents' house, is caught in a bad thunderstorm. He is nearly struck by lightening and thrown to the ground. He vows he will become a monk if St. Anne will save him. (St. Anne was the patron saint of miners, i.e. most of the men Luther grew up around.)
July 17 Luther enters the Black Monastery in Erfurt, joining the Augustinian Hermits, a strict but not terribly austere order of mendicant monks.
Luther as a young monk
Luther as a young monk
1506 (age 22)
July/August Luther takes his monastic vows
September 19 Luther becomes a subdeacon.
1507 (age 23)
February 27 Luther is ordained a deacon.
April 3 Luther is ordained to the priesthood
Luther begins to study theology at the University of Erfurt.
May 2 Luther celebrates his first mass.
1508 (age 24)
Luther teaches during winter semester at the new Wittenberg University.
(age 25)
March 9
Luther becomes Baccalaureus Biblicus, one of the mileposts on the way to the doctorate.
October 1
Luther returns to Erfurt from Wittenberg.
(age 26)
Luther leaves on a journey to Rome. He and a traveling companion are charged with handling some of his order's political affairs.  [picture]
(age 27)
Luther returns to Erfurt from Rome.
Luther is transferred to Wittenberg.  [etching of the city]  He moves into the newly constructed (Augustinian) Black Cloister.
(age 28)

Luther begins teaching again at the University of Wittenberg.
October 19
Luther becomes a Doctor of Theology.  [picture]
October 22
Luther is admitted to the senate of the theology faculty at the University of Wittenberg.
(age 29)
August 16
Luther begins lecturing on the Psalms.
(age 30)

Luther becomes priest for Wittenberg's city church in addition to his duties at the university.
(age 31)

Luther is appointed the Augustinian vicar for Meissen and Thuringia. This appointment gives him charge over eleven Augustinian monasteries in his area. He becomes increasingly busy and often finds he is behind on his saying of the daily office.
Luther begins a year of lectures on the Epistle to the Romans. In his studies he comes to the personal conviction that the just shall live by faith.  [Luther's account of his conversion]
(age 32)

A plague strikes Wittenberg. Luther's friends encourage him to leave the city, but Luther will not abandon his duties.
October 27
Luther begins a year of lectures on Galatians.
Luther publishes the Theologia Germanica, a manuscript by the Friends of God.  He adds his own preface and claims he learned more from this manuscript than any other source save the Bible and Augustine.
* indicates a site in German.  Altavista has a good translator.  So does Google.

Luther’s Early Years  |  Luther the Reformer  |  Luther the Church Leader  |  Luther’s Later Years 
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