Open main menu

MUTIAN, KONRAD (1471–1526), German humanist, was born in Homberg on the 15th of October 1471 of well-to-do parents named Mut, and was subsequently known as Konrad Mutianus Rufus, from his red hair. At Deventer under Alexander Hegius he had Erasmus as schoolfellow; proceeding(1486) to the university of Erfurt, he took the znaster's degree in 1492. From 1495 he travelled in Italy, taking the doctor's degree in canon law at Bologna. Returning in 1502, the landgraf of Hesse promoted him to high office. The post was not congenial; he resigned it (1503) for a small salary as canonicus in Gotha. Mutian was a man of great influence in a select circle especially connected with the university of Erfurt, and known as the Mutianischer Bund, which included Eoban Hess, Crotus Rubeanus, Justus Jonas and other leaders of independent thought. He had no public ambition; except in correspondence, and as an epigrammatist, he was no writer, but he furnished ideas to those who wrote. He may deserve the title which has been given him as “precursor of the Reformation,” in so far as he desired the reform of the Church, but not the establishment of a rival. Like Erasmus, he was with Luther in his early stage, but deserted him in his later development. Though he had personally no hand in it, the Epistolae obscurorum virorum (due especially to Crotus Rubeanus) was the outcome of the Reuchlinists in his Bund. He died at Gotha on the 3oth of March (Good Friday) 1526.

See F. W. Kampschulte, Die Universität Erfurt (1858–1860); C. Krause, Eobanus Hessus (1879); L. Geiger, in Allgemeine Deutsche Biog. (1886); C. Krause, Der Briefwechsel des Mutianus Rufus (1885); another collection by K. Gillert (1890).  (A. Go.*)