Lotzer, Sebastian (b. 1490)

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Sebastian Lotzer (Loytzer) (b. 1490), a writer of the Reformation era, was the son of a church official in Horb, Württemberg, Germany. He was a furrier, a trade which brought him into contact with the educated and wealthy. His brother Johann was the personal physician of Bishop Wilhelm of Strasbourg and of Elector Ludwig V of the Palatinate and a friend of Erasmus. On his journeys Sebastian came to Memmingen, became a citizen, married, and took over his father-in-law's business; hence he was also called Weyenlin Bamer. He early became a Protestant, and the intimate friend of the learned preacher Christoph Schappeler. He was most deeply influenced by Eberlin's Fünfzehn Bundesgenossen.

 It is very likely that Lotzer formulated the petition of the Memmingen peasants to the council on 24 February 1525, which became the basis for the famous Twelve Articles of the Peasant Revolt, which are not the work of an individual, as A. Götze assumes, but which constitute the official program of the peasants agreed upon by the peasants at a meeting on 27 February which was initiated by Lotzer. Lotzer was appointed "field secretary" or chancellor by Ulrich Schmid, the leader of the Baltringen peasants. The articles (which appeared in print on 19 March 1525) epitomized what had been current in Upper Swabia, basing the peasant demands on "divine law," and combining the social revolution with the religious problem; but on the whole they were quite moderate. Lotzer was also the author of the beautiful, courteous, and altogether irenic letter of the peasants' committee to the Swabian League which had refused peaceable negotiations (Vogt).

The greater the peasant host grew, the less were Schmid and Lotzer able to assert their peaceful intentions. A rebellion took place against Schmid (12-17 April). The Battle of Wurzach was a complete defeat for the peasants. Schmid and Lotzer fled to St. Gall, Switzerland, Schappeler's hometown, where Lotzer met Kessler, who gives a very valuable report on him in his Sabbata. The Swabian League ordered the Memmingen council to arrest Lotzer, but he was safely concealed and no longer heard of. His brother Johann presumably aided him under an assumed name.


Baumann, Franz Ludwig.  Die zwölf Artikel der oberschwäbische Bauern 1525. Berlin: Humboldt-Universität,1896.

Bossert, Gustav. "Sebastian Lotzer und seine Schriften." Blätter für württembergische Kirchengeschichte, 1887. Reprinted Memmingen, 1906: 25-78.

Franz, Günther. Der deutsche Bauernkrieg. Munich, 1933: 196 ff.

Götze, Alfred. Sebastian Lotzers Schriften. 1902.

Götze, Alfred. "Die Artikel der Bauern." Historische Vierteljahresschrift (1901): 1-12.

Götze, Alfred. "Die zwölf Artikel der Bauern." Historische Vierteljahresschrift (1902): 1-32.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 695.

Vogt, Correspondenz des Ulrich Arzt: Nos. 115 and 137.

Author(s) Gustav, Sr Bossert
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Bossert, Gustav, Sr. "Lotzer, Sebastian (b. 1490)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 23 Feb 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lotzer,_Sebastian_(b._1490)&oldid=146600.

APA style

Bossert, Gustav, Sr. (1957). Lotzer, Sebastian (b. 1490). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 February 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lotzer,_Sebastian_(b._1490)&oldid=146600.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 400. All rights reserved.

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