Duchess Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

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Duchess Anna Amalia
Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Weimar Anna Amalia Bibliothek@Anna Amalie von Sachsen-Weimar (1).JPG
Duchess consort of Saxe-Weimar
Duchess consort of Saxe-Eisenach
Regent of Saxe-Weimar
Regent of Saxe-Eisenach
Born(1739-10-24)24 October 1739
Died10 April 1807(1807-04-10) (aged 67)
SpouseErnest Augustus II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
IssueKarl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Prince Frederick Ferdinand
HouseHouse of Brunswick-Bevern
House of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
FatherCharles I, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
MotherPrincess Philippine Charlotte of Prussia

Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (24 October 1739 – 10 April 1807), was a German princess and composer. She became the duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, by marriage, and was also regent of the states of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach from 1758 to 1775. She transformed her court and its surrounding into the most influential cultural center of Germany.



She was born in Wolfenbüttel, the ninth child of Karl I, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Princess Philippine Charlotte of Prussia. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick William I of Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover.


In Brunswick on 16 March 1756 she married Ernst August II Konstantin, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. Ernst August died in 1758 leaving her regent for their infant son, Karl August.[1]


During Karl August's minority she administered the affairs of the duchy with notable prudence, strengthening its resources and improving its position in spite of the troubles of the Seven Years' War. In 1775, with her son having attained his majority, she retired.[1]

Cultural role[edit]

As a patron of art and literature she drew many of the most eminent men in Germany to Weimar, including Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller and Abel Seyler's theatrical company.[1] When Anna Amalia succeeded in engaging the Seyler Company, this was "an extremely fortunate coup. The Seyler Company was the best theatre company in Germany at that time."[2] Amalia von Helvig was also later to be a part of her court. She hired Christoph Martin Wieland, a poet and translator of William Shakespeare, to educate her son. She also established the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, which is now home to some 1,000,000 volumes. The duchess was honoured in Goethe's work under the title Zum Andenken der Fürstin Anna-Amalia.

Anna Amalia was a notable composer. Among her significant works is a symphony for two oboes, two flutes, two violins, and double bass (1765), a tripartite oratorio (1768), an opera called Erwin und Elmire (1776), based on a text by Goethe, and a divertimento for piano, clarinet, viola, and violoncello (around 1780).[3]



  1. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Anna Amalia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 59. This cites F. Bornhak, Anna Amalia Herzogin von Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Berlin. 1892).
  2. ^ "Herzogin Anna Amalie von Weimar und ihr Theater," in Robert Keil (ed.), Goethe's Tagebuch aus den Jahren 1776–1782, Veit, 1875, p. 69
  3. ^ ANNA AMALIA von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, retrieved February 25, 2011
  4. ^ Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 52.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Duchess Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 24 October 1739 Died: 10 April 1807
German royalty
Title last held by
Sophie Charlotte of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Duchess consort of Saxe-Weimar
16 March 1756 – 28 May 1758
Title next held by
Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt
Duchess consort of Saxe-Eisenach
16 March 1756 – 28 May 1758