Centuriators of Magdeburg


A group of Protestant historians who treated the history of the Christian Church century by century and wrote the first five volumes (centuries) at Magdeburg, Germany. At their head was Matthias Vlacich (Latinized Flacius), a native of Istria, the ancient Illyricum, from which he assumed the surname of IIlyricus. The work was the first important church history written by Protestants. It covers the first 13 centuries in 13 separate folio volumes all published at Basel, 15591574. The large funds required for the collecting, assembling, and publication of the material were furnished by kings, princes, and cities devoted to the Protestant cause. Among them were the kings of Sweden and Denmark, the dukes of Saxony, and the cities of Augsburg and Nuremberg. The Centuriators wrote in Latin, but also prepared a German edition of the first four volumes. Several attempts, all unsuccessful, were subsequently made to bring the history down to modern times. Many refutations were prepared by Catholic scholars, the most notable of which was the “Ecclesiastical Annals” of Cardinal Baronius. The Centuries of Magdeburg were edited in thoroughgoing, systematic, and skilful fashion and were based on such original sources as the editors considered useful for their purpose. This purpose, however, was not to discover and state the truth, but to convict the papacy of having corrupted the teaching of Christ and to justify the religious opinions which the Lutheran Matthias Flacius opposed to the views of another Lutheran, Philip Melanchthon.

MLA Citation

  • “Centuriators of Magdeburg”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 August 2012. Web. 30 October 2020. <http://catholicsaints.info/centuriators-of-magdeburg/>