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- John Frederick I of Saxony ( German: Johann Friedrich I; Torgau, 30 June 1503 – Weimar, 3 March 1554), called John the Magnanimous, was Elector of Saxony and Head of the Protestant Confederation of Germany (the Schmalkaldic League ), "Champion of the Reformation".
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Ernest, Elector of Saxony (1464–1486), Frederick II, Elector of Saxony (1428–1464) and Albert III, Duke of Saxony (1486–1500); Fürstenzug, Dresden, Germany After Henry's death in 1435, and Sigismund was forced to renounce and became a bishop in (1440), Frederick and William divided their possessions.
- Early Years
- Elector of Saxony
- Final Days
- Marriage and Family
John Frederick was the eldest son of John, Elector of Saxony, by his first wife, Sofie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. His mother died fourteen days after his birth, on 12 July 1503. He received his education from George Spalatin, whom he highly esteemed during his whole life. Spalatin was Martin Luther's friend and advisor and thus, through Spalatin's schooling, John developed a devotion to the teachings of Martin Luther. His knowledge of history was comprehensive, and his library, which extended over all sciences, was one of the largest in Germany. He cultivated a personal relationship with Martin Luther, beginning to correspond with him in the days when the bull of excommunication was hurled against the Reformer, and showing himself a convinced adherent of Luther. With vivid interest he observed the development of the reformatory movement. He eagerly read Luther's writings, urged the printing of the first complete (Wittenberg) edition of his works, and in the latter years of his life pr...
In 1532, John Frederick succeeded his father as elector. In the beginning he reigned with his half-brother, John Ernest, but in 1542 became sole ruler. Chancellor Brück, who for years had guided the foreign relations of the country with ability and prudence, remained also his councilor, but his open and impulsive nature often led him to disregard the propositions of his more experienced adviser, so that the country was in frequent danger, especially as John Frederick was not a far-sighted politician. He consolidated the State Church by the institution of an electoral consistory (1542) and renewed the church visitation. He took a firmer and more decided stand than his father in favor of the Schmalkaldic League, but on account of his strictly Lutheran convictions was involved in difficulties with the Landgrave of Hesse, who favored a union with the Swiss and Strasburg Evangelicals. He was averse to all propositions of Popes Clement VII and Paul III to support calling a General Council...
Emperor Charles V condemned him to death as a convicted rebel; but, not to lose time in the siege of Wittenberg, which was defended by Sybille, the wife of the elector, he did not execute the sentence and entered into negotiations. To protect and save his wife and sons, and to prevent Wittenberg from being destroyed, John Frederick conceded the Capitulation of Wittenberg, and, after having been compelled to resign the government of his country in favor of Maurice of Saxony, his condemnation was changed into imprisonment for life. He was never greater and more magnanimous than in the days of his captivity, as is evident from the correspondence with his children, his wife, and his councilors. Friends and foes were compelled to acknowledge his calm behavior, his unwavering faith, and his greatness under misfortune. He steadfastly refused to renounce the Protestant faith or to acknowledge the Augsburg Interim, declaring that by its acceptance he would commit "a sin agai...
The sudden attack upon the emperor by Elector Maurice made an end of John Frederick's imprisonment, and he was released on 1 September 1552. He firmly refused to bind himself to comply in matters of religion with the decisions of a future council or diet, declaring that he was resolved to adhere until his grave to the doctrine contained in the Augsburg Confession. His homeward journey was a triumphal march. He removed the seat of government to Weimar and reformed the conditions of his country, but died within two years. A special object of his care was the University of Jena, which he planned in place of Wittenberg, which he had lost (1547). He died in Weimar, Germany.
In Torgau on 9 February 1527 John Frederick married Sybille of Cleves. They had four sons: 1. Johann Frederick II, Duke of Saxony(b. Torgau, 8 January 1529 – d. as imperial prisoner at Schloss Steyer, Upper Austria, 19 May 1595). 2. Johann Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Weimar(b. Torgau, 11 March 1530 – d. Weimar, 2 March 1573). 3. Johann Ernst (b. Weimar, 5 January 1535 – d. Weimar, 11 January 1535). 4. Johann Frederick III, Duke of Saxe-Gotha(1554–1565) (b. Torgau, 16 January 1538 – d. Jena, 31 October 1565). 1. Johann Frederick II, Duke of Saxony. 2. Johann Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Weimar. 3. Johann Frederick III at right.This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Jackson, Samuel Macauley, ed. (1914). "article name needed". New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge(third...A. Beck, Johann Friedrich der Mittlere, 2 vols., Weimar, 1858F. von Bezold, Geschichte der deutschen Reformation. Berlin, 1886
At length in September 1645 the elector was compelled to agree to a truce with the Swedes, who, however, retained Leipzig; and as far as Saxony was concerned this ended the Thirty Years' War. After the peace of Westphalia, which with regard to Saxony did little more than confirm the treaty of Prague, John George died (1656).
- Etymology of Kurfürst
- Rights and Privileges
- High Offices
- See Also
The Holy Roman Empire was in theory an elective monarchy, but from the 15th century onwards the electors often merely formalised what was a dynastic succession within the Austrian House of Habsburg, with the title usually passing to the eldest surviving son of the deceased Emperor. Despite this, the office was not legally hereditary, and the heir could not title himself "Emperor" without having been personally elected. Formally the Prince-Electors elected a King of the Romans, who was elected in Germany but became Holy Roman Emperor only when crowned by the Pope. Charles V was the last to be a crowned Emperor (elected 1519, crowned 1530); his successors were all Emperors by election (German: erwählter Römischer Kaiser; Latin: electus Romanorum imperator) only. Electors were among the princesof the Empire, but they had exclusive privileges in addition to their electoral ones which were not shared with the other princes. The dignity of Elector was extremely prestigious, and was held i...
The German element Kur- is related etymologically to the English word choose (cf. Old English ceosan [tʃeo̯zan], participle coren 'having been chosen' and Gothic kiusan). In English, the "s"/"r" mix in the Germanic verb conjugation has been regularized to "s" throughout, while German retains the r in Kur-. There is also a modern German verb küren which means 'to choose' in a ceremonial sense. Fürst is German for 'prince', but while the German language distinguishes between the head of a principality (der Fürst) and the son of a monarch (der Prinz), English uses prince for both concepts. Fürst itself is related to English first and is thus the 'foremost' person in his realm. Note that 'prince' derives from Latin princeps, which carried the same meaning.
The German practice of electing monarchs began when ancient Germanic tribes formed ad hoc coalitions and elected the leaders thereof. Elections were irregularly held by the Franks, whose successor states include France and Germany. The French monarchy eventually became hereditary, but the German monarchy remained elective. While all free men originally exercised the right to vote in such elections, suffrage eventually came to be limited to the leading men of the realm. In the election of Lothar II in 1125, a small number of eminent nobles chose the monarch and then submitted him to the remaining magnates for their approbation. Soon, the right to choose the monarch was settled on an exclusive group of princes, and the procedure of seeking the approval of the remaining nobles was abandoned. The college of electors was mentioned in 1152 and again in 1198. A letter of Pope Urban IV suggests that by "immemorial custom", seven princes had the right to elect the King and future Emperor. Th...
Electors were among the rulers of the States of the Empire, but enjoyed precedence over the other princes. They were, until the 18th century, exclusively entitled to be addressed with Durchlaucht ([your] Serene Highness). In 1742, the electors became entitled to the superlative Durchläuchtigste (Most Serene Highness), while other princes were promoted to Durchlaucht. As rulers of States of the Empire, the electors enjoyed all the privileges of the other princes, including the right to enter into alliances, autonomy in relation to dynastic affairs and precedence over other subjects. The Golden Bull recognised certain additional rights belonging to the electors. For instance, electors were granted a monopoly over all mines of gold, silver, and other metals within their territories, to tax Jews, to collect tolls, and to mint money; these powers belonged to the Emperor in the other territories, and princes who wrongly assumed them could be deprived of their status. Thus, the electors we...
The electors, like the other princes ruling States of the Empire, were members of the Reichstag, which was divided into three collegia: the Council of Electors, the Council of Princes, and the Council of Cities. In addition to being members of the Council of Electors, several lay electors were therefore members of the Council of Princes as well by virtue of other territories they possessed. In many cases, the lay electors ruled numerous States of the Empire, and therefore held several votes in the Council of Princes. In 1792, the King of Bohemia held three votes, the Elector of Bavaria six votes, the Elector of Brandenburg eight votes, and the Elector of Hanover six votes. Thus, of the hundred votes in the Council of Princes in 1792, twenty-three belonged to electors. The lay electors therefore exercised considerable influence, being members of the small Council of Electors and holding a significant number of votes in the Council of Princes. The assent of both bodies was required fo...
The individual chosen by the electors assumed the title "King of the Romans", though he actually reigned in Germany. The King of the Romans became Holy Roman Emperor only when crowned by the Pope. On many occasions, a Pope refused to crown a king with whom he was engaged in a dispute, but a lack of a papal coronation deprived a king of only the title Emperor and not of the power to govern (cf Declaration of Rhens). The Habsburg dynasty stopped the practice of papal coronations. After Charles V, all individuals chosen by the electors were merely "Emperors elect". The electors were originally summoned by the Archbishop of Mainz within one month of an Emperor's death, and met within three months of being summoned. During the interregnum, imperial power was exercised by two imperial vicars. Each vicar, in the words of the Golden Bull, was "the administrator of the empire itself, with the power of passing judgments, of presenting to ecclesiastical benefi...
Each elector held a "High Office of the Empire" (Reichserzämter) and was a member of the (ceremonial) Imperial Household. The three spiritual electors were all Arch-Chancellors (German: Erzkanzler, Latin: archicancellarius): the Archbishop of Mainz was Arch-Chancellor of Germany, the Archbishop of Trier was Arch-Chancellor of Burgundy, and the Archbishop of Colognewas Arch-Chancellor of Italy. The other offices were as follows: When the Duke of Bavariareplaced the Elector Palatine in 1623, he assumed the latter's office of Arch-Steward. When the Count Palatine was granted a new electorate, he assumed the position of Arch-Treasurer of the Empire. When the Duke of Bavaria was banned in 1706, the Elector Palatine returned to the office of Arch-Steward, and in 1710 the Elector of Hanover was promoted to the post of Arch-Treasurer. Matters were complicated by the Duke of Bavaria's restoration in 1714; the Elector of Bavaria resumed the office of Arch-Steward, while the Elector Palatine r...Bryce, J. (1887). The Holy Roman Empire,8th ed. New York: Macmillan."Germany." (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica,11th ed. London: Cambridge University Press.This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "article name needed". Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (first...^ Precedence among Nations^ C. V. Wedgwood, The Thirty Years War(Anchor Books, 1961), p. 39.
- Family and Children
Born in Dresden, he was the second son of the Elector Christian I and Sophie of Brandenburg. He succeeded to the electorate in 23 June 1611 on the death of his elder brother, Christian II. The geographical position of electoral Saxony rather than her high standing among the German Protestants gave her ruler much importance during the Thirty Years' War. At the beginning of his reign, however, the new elector took up a somewhat detached position. His personal allegiance to Lutheranism was sound, but he liked neither the growing strength of Brandenburg nor the increasing prestige of the Palatinate; the adherence of the other branches of the Saxon ruling house to Protestantism seemed to him to suggest that the head of electoral Saxony should throw his weight into the other scale, and he was prepared to favor the advances of the Habsburgs and the Roman Catholicparty. Thus he was easily induced to vote for the election of Ferdinand, archduke of Styria, as emperor in August 1619, an action...
In Dresdenon 16 September 1604 Johann Georg married firstly Sibylle Elisabeth of Württemberg. She died in the birth of their only child: 1. Stillborn son (Dresden, 20 January 1606). In Torgau on 19 July 1607 Johann Georg married secondly Magdalene Sibylle, daughter of Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia. They had ten children: 1. Stillborn son (Dresden, 18 July 1608). 2. Sophie Eleonore (b. Dresden, 23 November 1609 - d. Darmstadt, 2 June 1671), married on 1 April 1627 to Landgrave Georg II of Hesse-Darmstadt. 3. Marie Elisabeth (b. Dresden, 22 November 1610 - d. Husum, 24 October 1684), married on 21 February 1630 to Duke Frederick III of Holstein-Gottorp. 4. Christian Albert (b. Dresden, 4 March 1612 - d. Dresden, 9 August 1612). 5. Johann Georg II(b. Dresden, 31 May 1613 - d. Freiberg, 22 August 1680), successor of his father as Elector of Saxony. 6. August(b. Dresden, 13 August 1614 - d. Halle, 4 August 1680), inherited Weissenfels as Duke. 7. Christian I(b. Dresden, 27 October 16...
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
Frederick III 1463-1525; elector of Saxony (1486-1525): protector of Luther after the diet at Worms
The dignity or territory of an elector of the Holy Roman Empire.