A timeline of the major events of Martin Luther’s life, as well as relevant political events.

  • Martin Luther is born in Eisleben, Germany on November 10th
    Martin Luther

  • Frederick the Wise becomes Elector of Saxony
    Elector Frederick the Wise

  • Maximillian I becomes Holy Roman Emperor
    Maximilian I

  • Julian II becomes Pope
    Pope Julius II

  • Luther studied at the University of Erfurt

  • Luther joins the Augustinian Order in Erfurt to become a monk
    Augustinerkloster, Erfurt

  • Luther begins studying theology in Erfurt and is ordained a priest on April 4th

  • Luther earns his bachelor’s degree

  • Luther journeys to Rome on official business representing his Order

  • Luther is sent to Wittenberg by his Order

  • Luther earns a Doctorate in Theology at the University of Wittenberg
    Luther as scholar

  • Luther becomes Professor of Theology in Wittenberg

    Leo X becomes Pope

  • Luther distributes his Ninety-Five Theses Against the Sale of Indulgences on October 31st
    Painting of Luther posting the 95 Theses

  • Luther is interrogated by Cardinal Cajetan in Augsburg
    Luther and Cajetan
  • Charles V becomes Holy Roman Emperor
    Charles V
    Luther participates in the Leipzig Debate with Johannes Eck and Andreas von Karlstadt

  • Rome issues Exsurge Domine, the papal bull threatening Luther with excommunication and bans the printing, buying, or selling of his books
    exsurge domine
  • Luther is declared a heretic and outlaw at the Diet of Worms before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
    Diet of Worms

    Luther is kidnapped for his own protection by his ruler, Frederick the Wise, and hidden in the Wartburg

  • Luther returns to Wittenberg and publishes his German translation of the New Testament
    new testament

  • The German Peasants’ War
    peasants war
  • Luther marries the former nun Katharina von Bora
    katarina von bora

    John the Constant becomes Elector of Saxony
    John the Steadfast

  • Publication of Luther’s Small Catechism and Large Catechism

  • The Diet of Augsburg, which results in the Augsburg Confession, a statement outlining the tenants of the Lutheran faith
    Diet of Augsburg

  • John Frederick becomes Elector of Saxony
    John Frederick

  • The publication of Luther’s German translation of the complete Bible
    1534 Bible

  • Pope Paul III calls for the Council of Trent to reform the Catholic faith
    Pope Paul III

  • Luther dies on February 18th in Eisleben, the town of his birth. He is buried in the Castle Church in Wittenberg
    Luther's death