Johannes Sleidanus

1506-1556. Annalist of the Reformation. Born in Schleiden, near Aachen, he studied classics at Liège and Cologne, and law at Paris and Orléans. He entered the service of Cardinal du Bellay and represented Francis I in diplomatic negotiations with the Smalcald League* (1537). Dismissed for his Protestant opinions, he settled at Strasbourg (1542). As Sleidanus was accustomed to copying all papers bearing upon the Reformation to which he had access, Martin Bucer* persuaded Philip of Hesse to appoint him historian of the Reformation (1544). The first volume was finished in 1545. He used diplomatic visits to England and Marburg to collect materials. When war interrupted his work, at Cranmer's intercession he was granted a pension from Edward VI of England. He represented Strasbourg and a group of imperial cities at the Council of Trent (1551). Appointed professor of law at Strasbourg, he finished his great work, entitled De Statu Religionis et Republicae Carolo V Caesare Commentarii (1555). He died in poverty. His book remains the most valuable contemporary history of Reformation times, containing the largest collection of documents. Because of its impartiality, however, it pleased neither Protestant nor Catholic.