This is the name change of a humanist, theologian, and educator.

Philipp Schwartzerdt (1497-1507)

Melanchthon was born to an armorer, Georg Schwartzerdt, and Barbara Reuter. He was raised in Latin school at Pforzheim. He would be introduced to Greek and Latin through the works of Aristotle and the ancient Greco-Roman poets.

Philip Melanchthon (1507-1560)

Melanchthon was the calque translation of his original German surname Schwartzerdt from German to Greek. It meant “black earth.” It was common for Protestant scholars to change their names to a Greek surname. He was convinced to do so by his great influence, his great-uncle Johann Reuchlin, who was a Renaissance humanist.

Melanchthon would go on to attend the Universities of Heidelberg and Tubingen. He would be taught Scholasticism, and be influenced by intellectuals like Erasmus, Rudolphus Agricola, and William of Ockham.

He would become acquainted with Martin Luther, and defended his views during the Protestant Reformation.


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