Lothar Franz von Schönborn

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Lothar Franz von Schönborn, ca. 1715.
Portrait at Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne

Lothar Franz von Schönborn (4 October 1655 – 30 January 1729) was the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz from 1694 until 1729, and the Bishop of Bamberg from 1693 until 1729.

Lothar Franz was born in Steinheim am Main in 1655 to Count Philip Erwin of Schönborn. He was a nephew of John Philip of Schönborn, Archbishop of Mainz from 1647 until 1673, and a grand nephew of Georg Friedrich von Greiffenklau, Archbishop of Mainz from 1626 until 1629. Furthermore he was an uncle to the Schönborn-Buchheim branch which included John Philip Francis, Frederick Charles, Hugh Damian and Francis George.

In 1694 Lothar Franz was elected the Archbishop of Mainz despite an opposing recommendation from the Emperor. During his reign, he increased taxation of the cathedral chapter and eroded some of its rights. In 1707 he was instrumental in the conversion of the Protestant Elizabeth Christina of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel to Catholicism. In 1711 he ensured the election of Charles VI of Austria as the Holy Roman Emperor, and was rewarded by Charles for his loyalty with 100,000 guldens with which he began the construction of Schloss Weißenstein in Pommersfelden. He also built the New Residence of the Bishops at Bamberg (1697-1703) and Favorite Palace at Mainz (1700-1722).

In 1710 Lothar Franz became embroiled in a dispute with the cathedral chapter over his desire to have one of his nephews named coadjutor and successor. The chapter instead proposed Count Palatine Francis Louis of Neuburg, and with papal support implemented his appointment. Lothar Francis' reign was marked by an attempt to restore the waning fortunes of the Prince-Archbishopric. After leading it through the destructive Nine Years' War and the War of the Spanish Succession, during both of which the archbishopric was devastated, he reformed the administration, taxation and law which led to a more centralised state.

In 1726, Emperor Charles VI granted Palanok Castle with Mukacheve, Chynadiyovo and 200 villages in the Kingdom of Hungary (today part of the Ukraine) to Elector Lothar Franz who had not only elected and crowned him, but had remained one of his most influential political supporters within the Empire. The estate, one of the largest in Eastern Europe, remained in the House of Schönborn well into the 20th century.

Lothar Franz died in Mainz on 30 January 1729. Despite greatly centralising the prince-archbishopric and increasing his personal authority at the expense of the cathedral chapter, it is disputed amongst historians as to how much an absolutist ruler Lothar Francis was.


  • R.H. Thompson: Lothar Franz von Schönborn and the Diplomacy of the Electorate of Mainz. From the Treaty of Ryswick to the Outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession, Springer Netherland 1973; ISBN 978-90-247-1346-2

External links[edit]

Media related to Lothar Franz von Schönborn at Wikimedia Commons


This article incorporates material from history.wikia.com, released as GFDL.

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Marquard Sebastian von Schenk von Stauffenberg
Prince-Bishop of Bamberg
Succeeded by
Friedrich Karl von Schönborn
Preceded by
Anselm Franz von Ingelheim
Archbishop-Elector of Mainz
Succeeded by
Count Palatine Francis Louis of Neuburg