Sophia Jagiellon, Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sophia Jagiellon
Sophia Jagiellon, Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach.PNG
Sophia of Poland
Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Reign 1486-1512
Spouse Frederick I, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Among Others
Kasimir, Margrave of Bayreuth
Georg, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Albert of Prussia
William of Brandenburg
House Jagiellon dynasty
Father Casimir IV Jagiellon
Mother Elizabeth Habsburg
Born 6 May 1464
Krakow, Poland
Died 5 October 1512
Burial Monastery of Heilsbronn
Religion Roman Catholicism

Sophia of Poland (Polish: Zofia Jagiellonka, 6 May 1464 – 5 October 1512) was a Polish and Lithuanian princess by birth and Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Kulmbach by her marriage to Frederick I, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

Sophia was the daughter of Casimir IV Jagiellon, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and his wife Elizabeth Habsburg of Hungary. Sophia's paternal grandparents were King Władysław II Jagiełło (Jogaila) of Poland and his fourth wife Sophia of Halshany. Her maternal grandparents were Albert II of Germany and his wife Elizabeth of Bohemia.

Sophia received her name in honour of her paternal grandmother. She was the sixth of thirteen children born to her parents. Sophia's siblings included King Vladislas II of Hungary, Jadwiga, Duchess of Bavaria, Saint Casimir, John I Albert of Poland, Alexander Jagiellon, Sigismund I the Old, Anna of Poland, Barbara, Duchess of Saxony and three sisters named Elizabeth.

Sophia was baptised by John Gruszczynski, Bishop of Krakow. There is no information available concerning Sophia's upbringing or education.


In 1468, Sophia was first betrothed to Prince Maximilian, son of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, and a future Holy Roman Emperor himself. Then, the same year, there was an offer from Matthias Corvinus, though Matthias soon tried for the hand of Sophia's elder sister, Jadwiga. A marriage to Maximilian seemed more likely for Sophia. She and her sisters were all attractive brides for European nobility, since they all had claims to the thrones of Austria and Luxembourg through their mother Elisabeth. There could have been a chance that one could become Duchess of Austria or Luxembourg and transfer their patrimony to a husband and his family.

Sophia's marriage plans with Matthias fell through when her father made an alliance with Matthias' main enemy, George of Poděbrady. The plans between Maximilian and Sophia similarly fell through for different reasons.


Exactly when the idea of a marriage between Sophia and Frederick I, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, was brought forth is not known. There is a presumption that this occurred in the summer of 1470, when Polish deputies visited Brandenburg. An agreement was finally signed on 7 December 1473 in Cadolzburg.

As for the political motives of this marriage, Sophia's father Casimir sought allies among the Germans, since he was concerned with the influence of the Holy Roman Emperor. Frederick III and Frederick I's father, Albrecht III, Elector of Brandenburg, had taken note of the growing power of Sophia's once betrothed Matthias Corvinus, who was threatening to take some of Albrecht's lands. Thus, the marriage was seen as a means to benefit both families.

Terms concerning the marriage had been negotiated almost two years earlier. Finally, in October 1475, the marriage contract was signed at Poznan. Sophia's family gave a dowry to Frederick's family worth 32,000 florins.

Originally, the wedding of Sophia and Frederick was to take place in Poznan, but Albrecht opted for Frankfurt instead.[2]

On 13 January 1479, Sophia left Poland, accompanied by family, for Frankfurt.

On 14 February 1479, Sophia and Frederick were married. According to the Polish chronicler Jan Długosz, the wedding was not extravagant and even the royal courtiers were not banqueted. In addition, he claimed that the king's senators, knights and other clerics, who had traveled with his daughter to Frankfurt, hardly received any gifts.

Difficulties arose with the payment of Sophia's dowry. According to the marriage contract, Casimir IV was supposed to pay the first installment of 6,000 guilders by 25 December. Unable to do so, the Polish king asked for a deferment, to which Albrecht agreed.

Sophia as Margravine[edit]

On 11 March 1486, Sophia's father-in-law Albrecht died. Her husband Frederick inherited the title Margrave of Brandenburg and Sophia became Margravine.

In 1486, Frederick and Sophia took over Ansbach from Emperor Frederick III of Austria.

All this time, there was a continuing problem with payment of Sophia's dowry. In 1489, Sophia's brother Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary promised Frederick he would pay the rest of the money his father owed. In 1493, Frederick sent envoys to Poland on payment of dowry. On 30 September 1495, Sophia personally wrote a letter to her brother asking for the promised money. The dowry was never completely paid off until after Sophia and Frederick's deaths. The last of the money was paid to their children.

To strengthen family ties even more, Sophia's sister Barbara married one of Frederick's cousins, George, Duke of Saxony.

It is known that in 1505, shortly before the death of her mother, Sophia was seriously ill; we know this from a letter written by Sophia's mother-in-law, Anna of Saxony.

Sophia died on 5 October 1512 in Ansbach. She was buried in the monastery of Heilsbronn. After the death of Sophia, her husband arranged an extremely boisterous wake: 1,500 cups of wine were drunk and 2 oxen and 600 fish were eaten over the course of the night.[3]


Sophia and Frederick had seventeen children:

  1. Kasimir, Margrave of Bayreuth (27 September 1481, Ansbach–21 September 1527, Buda).
  2. Margarete (10 January 1483, Ansbach–10 July 1532).
  3. George "the Pious" (4 March 1484, Ansbach–27 December 1534, Ansbach).
  4. Sofie (10 March 1485, Ansbach–24 May 1537, Liegnitz), married 14 November 1518 to Duke Frederick II of Legnica.
  5. Anna (5 May 1487, Ansbach–7 February 1539), married 1 December 1518 to Duke Wenceslaus II of Cieszyn.
  6. Barbara, died young.
  7. Albert of Prussia (17 May 1490, Ansbach–20 March 1568, Castle Tapiau), Grand Master of the Teutonic Order and then first Duke of Prussia.
  8. Friedrich (13 June 1491, Ansbach–ca. 1497).
  9. Elisabeth, died young.
  10. Johann, Viceroy of Valencia (9 January 1493, Plassenburg–5 July 1525, Valencia).
  11. Elisabeth (25 March 1494, Ansbach–31 May 1518, Pforzheim), married in Pforzheim 29 September 1510 to Margrave Ernest of Baden-Durlach.
  12. Barbara (24 September 1495, Ansbach–23 September 1552), married in Plassenburg 26 July 1528 to Landgrave George III of Leuchtenberg.
  13. Friedrich (17 January 1497, Ansbach–20 August 1536, Genoa), a canon in Würzburg and Salzburg.
  14. Wilhelm, (30 June 1498, Ansbach–4 February 1563, Riga), Archbishop of Riga in 1539-63.
  15. Johann Albrecht (20 September 1499,Ansach–17 May 1550, Halle), Archbishop of Magdeburg in 1545-50.
  16. Friedrich Abrecht, died young.
  17. Gumprecht (16 July 1503, Ansbach–25 June 1528, Naples), a canon in Bamberg.



This article incorporates information from the revision as of 2 October 2009 of the equivalent article on the Polish Wikipedia.


  • Baczkowski K., Polish history of late-medieval, Krakow 1999, ISBN 83-85719-40-7, P. 230, 236, 249
  • Duczmal M., Jagiellons. Biographical Lexicon, Poznan-Krakow 1996, ISBN 83-08-02577-3, Pp 495–507.
  • Dworzaczek W., Genealogy, Warsaw, 1959.
  • Rudzki E. Polish queens, V. 1, Warsaw 1990, p. 134, 141, 148, 153, 154
  • Wdowiszewski Z., Genealogy of the House of Vasa and Jagiello of Poland, Krakow 2005, p. 110-112.
Sophia Jagiellon, Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Born: 6 May 1464 Died: 5 October 1512
German nobility
Preceded by
Anna of Saxony
Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach
11 March 1486 - 5 October 1512
Title next held by
Emilie of Saxony
Margravine of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
11 March 1486 - 5 October 1512
Title next held by
Susanna of Bavaria