Sleidan (Originally Philippson), Johann
Sleidan (Originally Philippson), Johann, a celebrated historian of the Reformation in Germany, and an actor in the scenes he describes, was born in 1506 at Schleiden, in the present governmental district of Aix-la-Chapelle, Prussia, and educated at Liege and Cologne. At the age of eighteen he became private tutor to a son of count Mandersheid, in whose domain the village of Schleiden was situated, and in that capacity visited France, where he devoted himself to the study of jurisprudence and became licentiate of that faculty (at Orleans, 1525). Through the influence of cardinal John du Bellay of Paris, Sleidan was appointed by king Francis I interpreter to the embassy which attended the diet at Hagenau in 1540; and in the following year the landgrave Philip of Hesse secured his appointment as messenger, interpreter, and historiographer to the Smalcald League (see Von Rummel, Philipp d. Grossmiithige, etc. [Giessen, 1830], 2, 439). It is evident, therefore, that Sleidan was by that time an adherent of the evangelical faith; and he soon afterwards proved himself a determined opponent of the Church of Rome by publishing two addresses, the one to the princes of the empire and the other to the emperor (Orationes Dues [Argent. 1544, and in German, 1567]). He also left the service of king Francis, and established his home permanently at Strasburg. In 1545 he published a Latin version of Philip Comines history of Louis XI and of the duke Charles of Burgundy; and in the same year he was instructed by the Smalcald League "to write a complete history of the renewed religion." He therefore began his famous work De Statu Relig. et Reipubl. Carolo Quinto Ceasare Commentarii. He also, in that year, accompanied the Protestant embassy to England, in order to negotiate a peace with France, and on his return in 1546 he married Jola von Nidbruck, who bore him three daughters and lived with him in wedlock to her death, in 1555. In 1548 he published a Latin edition of Comines' Charles VIII, and in 1550 a Summa Doctr. Platon. de Republica et Legibus (Argent.), and a Latin edition of De Seysel on the French State and the duty of kings. He attended the Council of Trent in 1551 in the capacity of representative of the city jof Strasburg, but was not received, and in 1552 he went to the camp of king Francis, near Saverne, for the purpose of inducing the king to modify his demands for the support of the army. In 1554 he visited the Conrent of Naumburg as the ambassador of Strasburg (Salig, Hist. d. Augsb. Conf. 1, 682; 2, 1043). The somewhat noted work De Quatuor Summis Imperiis Libri Tres (Argent. 1557) was probably written in the last year of the author's life. He died in 1556. Sleidan was characterized by frankness and a love for the truth. His style as an author was natural and easy, his Latin classical; his sources well chosen. His works accordingly commanded attention at an early period. and will always be important for the history of the Reformation. They were published in numerous editions, that of 1785 and 1786 (Frankfort-on-the-Main) being the best in German. See Dr. Theod. Paur, J. Sleidan's Comment. uber d. Regierungszeit Karls V, etc. (Leips. 1843), where a rich literature relating to Sleidan is given.