Sickingen, Franz von

Sickingen, Franz von

(fränts fən zĭ`kĭngən), 1481–1523, German knight. Placed under the ban of the Holy Roman Empire because of his profitable forays along the Rhine, he served King Francis I of France and then made peace with Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, whose service he entered. His presence with an army near Frankfurt helped insure the election (1519) of Maximilian's grandson, Charles V, as Holy Roman emperor. Influenced by Ulrich von HuttenHutten, Ulrich von
, 1488–1523, German humanist and poet, partisan of the Reformation, an outstanding figure in German political history. Hutten's career as poet was launched by his participation in the famous Episculae obscurorum virorum
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, Sickingen aided persecuted reformers like Johann ReuchlinReuchlin, Johann
, 1455–1522, German humanist and lawyer, a scholar of Greek and Hebrew, b. Baden. He taught jurisprudence at Tübingen. In 1492 he began the study of Hebrew, and his Rudimenta Hebraica (1506) was the first Hebrew grammar written by a Christian.
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 and Martin LutherLuther, Martin,
1483–1546, German leader of the Protestant Reformation, b. Eisleben, Saxony, of a family of small, but free, landholders. Early Life and Spiritual Crisis

Luther was educated at the cathedral school at Eisenach and at the Univ.
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. He led (1522) the knights of SW Germany in a war, sometimes called the Knights' War, against the ecclesiastical princes, aiming at the secularization of ecclesiastical lands. Unsuccessfully laying siege to Trier, he was again put under the imperial ban and was besieged at his castle of Landstuhl by the princes of Trier, Hesse, and the Palatinate. Forced to capitulate, he died of his wounds. His defeat symbolized the end of the power of German knighthood. He appears, much romanticized, in Goethe's drama Götz von Berlichingen and in Wilhelm Hauff's novel Lichtenstein.

Sickingen, Franz Von


Born Mar. 2, 1481, in Ebernburg; died May 7, 1523, in Landstuhl. A German imperial knight who joined the Reformation.

Sickingen was a leader of the uprising of knights of 1522–23 against the princes and was a friend of U. von Hutten. He led Swabian, Franconian, and Rhenish knights against the archbishop of Trier, but, not gaining the support of the burghers and peasants, Sickingen was forced to retreat. He died from wounds. F. Lasalle’s drama Franz von Sickingen (1859) is devoted to Sickingen.


Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 29, pp. 483–85, 492–95.