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The Biography Index

Biographies Main Index

 

Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony

Portrait of Frederik III by Albrecht Dürer c.1500

 

 

 

 

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The Dukes of Saxony and the Electors

The Duke of Saxony was one of the seven Electors. When Charles V became Emperor in 1519, the Duke of Saxony was Frederik III (or Frederick III), also known as Frederik the Wise. He was a Protestant and Martin Luther was living in Wittenberg under Frederik's protection.

When Charles V decided to eliminate the Protestant religion from the Holy Roman Empire, he waged war on electoral Saxony. The Elector then was John the Constant. He joined forces with Philip of Hess against the Emperor.

In 1532, John died and the new elector, John-Frederik I, was beaten by Charles V at the Battle of Mühlberg. John-Frederik was forced to sign the Wittenberg Capitulation which gave the electorate to another Saxony prince, Maurice. The Emperor also gave some of the lands belonging to John-Frederik to Maurice.

Unfortunately for Charles V, Maurice was also a Protestant and joined up with other Protestant princes to fight the Emperor. This time the Protestants were victorious, and the Emperor was compelled to put his signature to "The Peace of Augsburg" which allowed the Protestant states to remain Protestant.

 

The Electors

There were seven princes of the Holy Roman Empire, called Electors, who had the right to take part in the election of the emperor. In 1356 these were:

  • The Archbishop of Trier

  • The Archbishop of Mainz

  • The Archbishop of Cologne

  • The Count Palantine of the Rhine

  • The Margrave of Brandenburg

  • The Duke of Saxony

  • The King of Bohemia

Other Electors were named in the 17th Century.

 

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