Martin Luther’s birth charts

If we go to Astrodatabank and look up the data of Martin Luther we find a straightforward entry: Martin Luther, November 19th 1483, 22:46 (greg) = 10:46 PM. Rating AA, BC/BR in hand.

That seemed to be fine until I came across Ebenezer Sibly’s collection of famous charts which includes Martin Luther’s. His data, according to Sibly, are: October 22nd 1483, 1:10PM. A mere difference of a bit less than one month! My suspicion was aroused and I tried to find out if there were any other sources to be found.

If we have a look at the publishing situation in Germany between the late 15th century and the begining of the 16th century, we will become aware that, after Gutenberg had invented the printing press in 1440, pamphlets of religious or astrological content were produced and distributed in numbers of up to 10.000 copies per pamphlet. People took a real interest in astrological predictions as everybody who was able to read could now partake in the discussions. The famous German astrologer Liechtenberger produced literature making predictions based on the great conjunction of 1484 which flooded the market. He claimed that this great conjunction of 1484 would produce a prophet – and who would be better suited for this position than Martin Luther. The only problem was that he was, according to his own words, born in 1483 and not one year later. But this did not matter to some. At the time it was claimed that there was no reliable birth certificate available, and so Luca Gaurico calculated the first, rectified, birthchart. He claimed the date of birth to be October, 22nd 1484, 1:10PM. The astrologers of  Wittenberg, the German elite at the time, agreed with Gaurico’s new date, but not the time. Amongst different suggestions from other astrologers Philipp Melanchthon, Luther’s friend, suspected the time of birth to be 9:00PM.

Aby Warburg tells us in Heidnisch-antike Weissagung in Wort und Bild zu Luthers Zeit that, in the end, Melanchthon went to see Luther’s mother Margarethe to find out what the truth was. She revealed to him that the day of Luther’s birth was November, 10th. She was certain, because Luther’s Christian name derived from “St. Martin’s Day”. And she was pretty sure that the time of birth was “around midnight”, although the year remained unclear. Melanchthon would from that time on enter 1483 in the register of the deanery and the biographies.

This is as much as I could find out about the correct birth time of Martin Luther.

4 thoughts on “Martin Luther’s birth charts

  1. I should say something about it, if I’m welcomed (so I hope).
    I found this is a very interesting aubject: a couple of years ago I wrote an article about this following the story given by Aby Warburg and searching other variants as the one given by Lilly and Cardano.
    It’s interesting how everybody tried to use Luther’s horoscope, even the same Luther 🙂

    • Hello Margherita,

      your comments are of course always appreciated.
      A slightly different version of the Aby Warburg story can be found in Holden’s History of Horoscopic Astrology.

      By the way, is the article you mention available online?


  2. Unfortunately it is in Italian 😦

    Anyway more or less is what you wrote, I just added some notes about “the little prophet” prophecy and its link with the great conjunction.

    I found that prophecy very disturbing, it’s one of the very few ones which was not evaneshent and generic and in a way or the other it became true. Well, I don’t believe Luther is an Antichrist, but the white monk was not an easy target, true?

    Generally Renaissance prophecies are little more than nonsense, but not this one.


  3. Yes, of course. I did not want to go into that much detail, but you are of course right. It all has to do with the “Little Prophet”. Abu Ma’shar, or Albumasar as the Germans called him was one of, if not the most beloved of the ‘Arab’ astrologers. And he was the one who was heavily into the great conjunctions and he came out with the prophecy about the “Little Prophet”. I don’t know if you have read my article in the Tradition, but it explains a bit about the conjunctions and how it all was handed down.
    Anyway, it was all about the great conjunction of 1484 in Scorpio that set all the frenzy about the “Little Prophet” in motion. Famous astrologers like Paul von Middelburg and after him Johann Lichtenberger wrote about it. After Melanchthon proclaimed that Luther’s year of birth was 1483, Lichtenberger’s pupil Peter Creutzer tied the coming of the new prophet in with the great conjunction of 1524 and the appearance of the 1527 comet.

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