* 1478 London
The humanistic author and English statesman Sir Thomas More, or Thomas Morus, was born as the son of a judge in London on 7 February 1478. At the age of 12 More was a page in the service of John Morton, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Later the archbishop helped him receiving a scholarship for Oxford where he studied Latin and Greek. He started studying law in 1496, becoming a barrister in 1501. During this time More wrote poetry in Latin and English and worked as a successful lawyer and mediator. More married his first wife Joan Colt in 1505 who suddenly died in 1510. Soon after, More married his second wife Alice Middleton who had a daughter from her previous marriage. In 1516 More wrote the first book of Utopia which was published in December that year. More, a staunch opponent of Martin Luther, was knighted in 1521. More became parliamentary speaker in 1523 and Lord Chancellor in 1529. He resigned as Lord Chancellor in 1531. After his refusal to take the Oath of Succession in front of the parliament in 1534, More was sentenced to death by a special jury. Thomas More was beheaded on 6 July, 1535.