"I would never have thought that such a storm would rise from Rome over one simple scrap of paper..." Martin Luther
Martin Luther was born during the transitional period between the Middle Ages and the Modern Ages on November 10, 1483 in the town of Eisleben, Germany. He was the son of Hans Luther and Margarete. Traditionally the family had worked on Hans father’s farm but when he died inheritance laws prevented them from taking over the farm. So they moved to Eisleben where copper mining was a growth industry. Here their second child Martin was born.
Hans worked hard in Eisleben and ended up as the owner of a small metallurgical plant. As a parent he placed heavy emphasis on religion and kept a tight hold on his children. His father wanted Martin to succeed himself in wealth, and sent his son to study law at the University of Erfurt in 1502. But fo r the deeply religious Martin, the Church's promise of salvation was irresistible - caught in a thunderstorm, terrified by the possibility of imminent death, he vowed to become a monk.
After entering the monastery, Martin works his way to becoming a priest. Several years later his order sent him to represent them on a mission to Rome. He arrived in high spirits, expecting a religious experience like no other.
In Rome he discovers that the capital of the Catholic faith is suffocated with corruption. In despair Luther finds hope in the pages of the Bible. He discovers that it is not the Church (the Catholic Church held spiritual dominion over all the nations of Europe back then), but his own faith that will guarantee salvation. With his new plan Martin turned on the Church. He specifically attacked the practice of selling indulgences in the well known 95 Theses that he nailed to the church doors. Here Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door in 1517. The original wooden door was destroyed one of the many wars that touched Wittenburg. The King of Prussia gave this bronze door to Wittenburg with the 95 thesis inscribed on it.
Martin Luther had inadvertently chosen unavoidable conflict with what was the most powerful institution of his day, the Catholic Church. With the new revolutionary technology of the printing press Luther’s message was across all of Europe in just a few months.
After he left the Catholic Church he helped to start the Protestant church and became a professor at the University of Wittenburg. Students from various countries came to study under him. He met with strong opposition from the Church, who even named him an outlaw at the Diet of Worms. Martin Luther and others knew the Church held the power to burn them at the stake. Still his protests led to the widespread Protestant Reformation. While Luther himself would have protested against the Lutheran Church being named after him, Lutheranism might not have succeeded without the political support of the princes of Germany. These leaders used the people's support of Lutheranism in order to gain governmental sovereignty.
His influence went beyond the religious sphere, as his translation of the Bible, which is still used today, contributed greatly to a uniform written German language. No other person of this time in history influenced the world as he did. He endured the threat of severe punishment from the pope and the emperor for what he preached and proclaimed. It is said he was the greatest reformer in German history as the Reformation was unstoppable, and continued even after Luther's death. He died in1543, from a crippling heart attack and lies in the Castle Church in Wittenburg.
"When I die, I want to be a ghost...So I can continue to pester the bishops, priests and godless monks until that they have more trouble with a dead Luther than they could have had before with a thousand living ones."