During his time on the Veste Coburg (Coburg Fortress), Martin Luther corresponded with the Nuremberg Council Scribe Lazarus Spengler (1479–1534) during the Augsburg Diet of 1530. From the letter of 24 August 1530, it becomes clear that Luther wanted to send Spengler a printed copy of his “Sermon on Keeping Children in School”, written in July 1530. The Sermon was dedicated to Spengler.
The imperial city of Nuremberg had introduced the Reformation in 1525 and reorganised the school system. In 1525/26, Spengler had campaigned for the establishment of Nuremberg’s first grammar school, independent of religious institutions. By his own account, Luther did not know more than that to write, “since we sit here in the desert and have to find out more from you about new tidings.” Other letters from his time in Coburg include the signature “ex eremo – from the desert”.
Luther did not feel happy on the fortress; he was lonely and fell ill several times. However, he was not completely isolated. Although he was incognito in Coburg, he repeatedly received visits, for example from Argula von Grumbach (around 1492–c.1568).
The letters of Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560) and of other delegates informed Luther about the events on the diet. However, at times news from Augsburg arrived very sparingly. In the letter to Spengler shown here, Luther could only report that he “nevertheless had heard about the new committee at Augsburg”. This statement refers to the Committee of Fourteen formed on 13 August 1530, which was to negotiate a settlement between the Catholic and Protestant sides. However, no result was achieved.