John William, Duke of Saxe-Weimar
|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (September 2012)|
|Reign||November 1566 – 1572|
|Predecessor||John Frederick II|
|Reign||1572 – 2 March 1573|
|Successor||Frederick William I|
|Spouse||Dorothea Susanne of Simmern|
|Frederick William I, Duke of Saxe-Weimar
John II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar
Maria, Abbess of Quedlinburg
|House||House of Wettin
|Father||John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony|
|Mother||Sybille of Cleves|
11 March 1530|
Torgau, Electorate of Saxony, Holy Roman Empire
|Died||2 March 1573
Weimar, Saxe-Weimar, Holy Roman Empire
At the time of his birth, his father still carried the title Elector of Saxony, but he lost it in 1547 after his defeat and capture by the Emperor Charles V due to his support of the Protestant Reformation. John Frederick was released and forced to adopt the lesser title of duke of Saxony in an area substantially smaller than his former lands in Thuringia. In 1554, after the death of his father, John William inherited the duchy of Saxony with his older brother, John Frederick II, and his younger brother, John Frederick III.
The three brothers divided the duchy: John Frederick II as head of the family took Eisenach and Coburg; John William received Weimar; and John Frederick III inherited Gotha. In 1565, however, when John Frederick III died without heirs, the two surviving brothers drew up a new treaty that divided his lands. The older brother retained his original lands and occupied Gotha, whereas Johann William retained his lands in Weimar. The partition plan also stipulated that the two brothers should exchange their regions among themselves every three years. This provision was never carried out, however.
The political policies of John Frederick II were directed towards recovering the lands and title of elector lost by his father in 1547. He did briefly recover the electorate during the period 1554–1556, but his involvement in political intrigues angered the Emperor Maximilian II. The Emperor finally imposed the Reichsacht (Imperial ban) on him, which made him the object of a Reichsexekution (Imperial police action) in which John William participated. After a siege of his castle in Gotha, John Frederick was finally defeated in 1566 and spent the rest of his life as an Imperial prisoner. His possessions were confiscated by the Emperor and handed over to John William, who thereby became the only ruler of the entire duchy of Saxony.
John William soon fell into disfavor with the Emperor, however, when he entered the service of the King Charles IX of France as a general in his campaign against the Huguenots (the French kings were the enemies of the Habsburg emperors). This also alienated his Protestant subjects. John William was a member of the House of Wettin, which had served as the protecting power of Protestantism in Germany since the time of Frederick the Wise, yet he allied himself with the Catholic King of France against the Protestants Huguenots.
The Emperor played off the two surviving sons of John Frederick II against John William, and in 1572 the Division of Erfurt was concluded. The duchy of Saxony was divided into three parts. The older of the two sons of John Frederick II, John Casimir, received Coburg, and the younger, John Ernest, received Eisenach. John William retained only the smaller part of the duchy, the region around Weimar, but he added the districts of Altenburg, Gotha, and Meiningen to his territories. As a result of the Division of Erfurt, all of the territorial possessions of the House of Wettin, no matter which branch ruled the individual components, became contiguous. The house of Saxe-Weimar and the first house of Saxe-Altenburg, which later separated from Saxe-Weimar (see also the Ernestine duchies), both descend from John William.
Marriage and issue
- Frederick William I, Duke of Saxe-Weimar (b. Weimar, 25 April 1562 – d. Weimar, 7 July 1602)
- Sibylle Marie (b. Weimar, 7 November 1563 – d. Altenburg, 20 February 1569)
- stillborn son (Weimar, 9 October 1564)
- John II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar (b. Weimar, 22 May 1570 – d. Weimar, 18 July 1605)
- Maria (b. Weimar, 7 October 1571 – d. Quedlinburg, 7 March 1610), Abbess of Quedlinburg (1601–1610).
- Ernst Wülcker: Johann Wilhelm, Herzog zu Sachsen. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. Band 14, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1881, pp. 343–350.
- Thomas Klein (1974) (in German). "Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB). 10. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. pp. 530 et seq.. ". In
- Justus Lipsius: Oratio In funere illustrißimi principis ac Dn. D. Johannis Guilielmi Ducis Saxoniae Lantgravii Thuringiae, Marchionis Misniae, habita Ienae ad XII. Calend. April: Anno 1573, ohne Ort 1601 (Digitalisat der ULB Sachsen-Anhalt)
John Frederick II
|Duke of Saxony
as Duke of Saxe-Weimar
as Duke of Saxe-Coburg
as Duke of Saxe-Eisenach
as Duke of Saxony
|Duke of Saxe-Weimar
Frederick William I