During the late medieval and early modern period, the university at Erfurt, founded in 1392, emerged as one of the best attended universities in the German territories of the Holy Roman Empire. It was renowned for its faculty of law and medicine as well as for its contribution to Humanism, later also for its outstanding achievements in Natural Sciences. Its most prominent student was probably Martin Luther.
Together with many other German universities, Erfurt suffered a serious decline during the 18th century. In 1816, the university ceased to exist because of a lack of students.