List of rulers of Saxony

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Coat of arms of Saxony used since the accession of the House of Ascania to dukedom in 1180, comprising the Ascanian crest with an added bendwise crancelin indicating the Saxon ducal rank.

This article lists Dukes, Electors, and Kings ruling over different territories named Saxony from the beginning of the Saxon Duchy in the 9th century to the end of the Saxon Kingdom in 1918.

Dukes of Saxony[edit]

Main article: Duchy of Saxony

The original Duchy of Saxony comprised lands of the Saxon people in the north-western part of present-day Germany, namely, the contemporary German state of Lower Saxony as well as Westphalia and Western Saxony-Anhalt, not corresponding to the modern German state of Saxony.

Early dukes[edit]

Hattonid Dynasty[edit]

Ottonian Dynasty[edit]

Dukes of Saxony
Ottonian Dynasty
Image Name Date Notes
Liudolf, Duke of Saxony.jpg Liudolf I 850 – 12 March 864 or 866
Bruno dux.jpg Bruno 12 March 864 or 866 – 2 February 880
Otto I, Duke of Saxony.jpg Otto I the Illustrious 2 February 880 – 30 November 912
Ptacnik.jpg Henry I the Fowler 30 November 912 – 2 July 936 Also German King 919–936
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor.jpg Otto II the Great 2 July 936 – 961 Also German King 936–973, Emperor 962–973

Billung Dynasty[edit]

Dukes of Saxony
Billung Dynasty
Image Name Date Notes
Billung u Hildegard.jpg Hermann 961 – 27 March 973
Bernard I 27 March 973 – 9 February 1011
Bernard II 9 February 1011 – 29 June 1059
Wartburg-Duke.Orthilius.von.Sachsen.JPG Ordulf 29 June 1059 – 28 March 1072
Magnus 28 March 1072 – 23 August 1106

Supplinburg Dynasty[edit]

Dukes of Saxony
Supplinburg Dynasty
Image Name Date Notes
Lotar III.JPG Lothair I 1106 – 4 December 1137 Also German King 1125–1137, Emperor 1133–1137

Welf Dynasty[edit]

Dukes of Saxony
Welf Dynasty
Image Name Date Notes
Henry the Proud.jpg Henry II the Proud 4 December 1137 – 20 October 1139 Also Duke of Bavaria as Henry X

Ascanian Dynasty[edit]

Dukes of Saxony
Ascanian Dynasty
Image Name Date Notes
Albert I of Brandenburg.jpg Albert I the Bear 20 October 1139 – 1142 Also Margrave of Brandenburg

Welf Dynasty[edit]

Dukes of Saxony
Welf Dynasty
Image Name Date Notes
Lev Jindrich.jpg Henry III the Lion 1142–1180 Also Duke of Bavaria as Henry XII

With the final removal of the Welfs in 1180, the Duchy of Saxony was sharply reduced in territory. Westphalia fell to the Archbishop of Cologne, while the Duchies of Brunswick and Lüneburg remained with the Welfs. The Ascanian Dukes had their base further east, near the Elbe, resulting in the name Saxony moving towards the east. The post carve-up Saxony is therefore sometimes called the younger Duchy of Saxony. Also the counting of its dukes is discontinued. While the first post carve-up duke is competingly counted as Bernard III—because of two predecessors of the same name before 1180—or as Bernard I with his great-great-great-great grandson Bernard II being counted second. The second post carve-up duke Albert I is already usually counted as the first, although before 1180 he had one predecessor of the same name, being even his grandfather Albert the Bear.

Ascanian or younger Duchy of Saxony[edit]

The new dukes replaced the Saxon horse emblem (Coat of arms of Lower Saxony.svg) and introduced their Ascanian family colours and emblem (Adalbert I Ballenstedt.gif) added by a bendwise crancelin, symbolising the Saxon ducal crown, as new coat-of-arms of Saxony (Armoiries Saxe.svg). The later rulers of the House of Wettin adopted the Ascanian coat-of-arms.

Dukes of Saxony
Ascanian Dynasty
Image Name Date Notes
Bernhard von Sachsen.jpg Bernard I (or III) 1180–1212 numberings starting with Ascanian rule or continuing after prior dukes of the same name. Father of the following
Albrecht-I-von-Sachsen.jpg Albert I 1212–1260 father of the following two dukes
John I 1260–1282 joint rule with his brother Albert II until 1282, when John I resigned. Some time after 1272 John I and Albert II divided some competences among each other, however, continued joint rule.
Albrecht 2 Sachsen.jpg Albert II 1260–1296 joint rule with his brother until 1282, then fostering John I's minor sons Albert III, Eric I, and John II, who later ascended as co-rulers. In 1296 uncle and nephews partitioned Saxony into the Lauenburg line (Albert III, Eric I, and John II jointly) and the Wittenberg line, where Albert II continued as sole ruler until 1298, then succeeded by his son Rudolf I (see section Dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg below in this arcticle). Uncle of the following three dukes
Albert III, 1282–1296 joint rule with his uncle Albert II and his brothers Eric I and John II until 1296. In 1296 uncle and brothers partitioned Saxony into the Wittenberg line (Albert II) and the Lauenburg line, where Albert III, Eric I, and John II continued to rule jointly (see section Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg below in this arcticle). Brother of the following two dukes
POSSE.jpg Eric I, 1282–1296 joint rule with his uncle Albert II and his brothers Albert III and John II until 1296. In 1296 uncle and brothers partitioned Saxony into the Wittenberg line (Albert II) and the Lauenburg line, where Albert III, Eric I, and John II continued to rule jointly (see section Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg below in this article). Brother of the following duke
John II, 1282–1296 joint rule with his uncle Albert II and his brothers Albert III and Eric I until 1296. In 1296 uncle and brothers partitioned Saxony into the Wittenberg line (Albert II) and the Lauenburg line, where Albert III, Eric I, and John II continued to rule jointly (see section Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg below in this article)
In 1296 Albert II and his nephews Albert III, Eric I, and John II terminated their joint rule and partitioned Saxony into the Lauenburg line, where Albert III, Eric I, and John II continued to rule jointly until 1303, and the Wittenberg line, where Albert II continued as sole ruler until 1298.

Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg[edit]

Main article: Saxe-Lauenburg

Since the Duke of Saxony was considered one of the prince-electors electing a new Holy Roman Emperor, conflict arose between the lines of Lauenburg and Wittenberg over the issue of who should cast Saxony's vote. In 1314 both lines found themselves on different sides in a double election. Eventually, the Dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg succeeded in 1356 after the promulgation of the Golden Bull. To distinguish him from other rulers bearing the title Duke of Saxony, he was commonly called Elector of Saxony.

Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg
Ascanian Dynasty, Lauenburg Line
Image Name Date Notes
Eric I,
John II and
Albert III
1296–1303 joint rule of the brothers
In 1303 the brothers partitioned the Duchy with Eric I receiving Saxe-Bergedorf, John II Saxe-Mölln and Albert III Saxe-Ratzeburg.

Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg (1401–1876)[edit]

Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg
Ascanian Dynasty, Lauenburg Younger Line
Image Name Date Notes
Eric V 1401–1436. joint rule with his father Eric IV (until 1411), his younger brother John IV (until 1414), and his youngest brother Bernard II (from 1426)
John IV 1401–1411/1414 joint rule with his father Eric IV (until 1411) and his elder brother Eric V, brother of the following
Bernard II[1] 1426–1463 joint rule with his brother Eric V until 1436. Father of the following duke
Coat of Arms of John V, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg.jpg John V[2] 1463–1507 father of the following duke
MagnusISaLauenb.JPG Magnus I 1507–1543 father of the following duke
Francis I[3] 1543–1571 and again 1573–1581 joint rule with his son Francis II from 1578. Father of the following three dukes
Magnus II[4] 1571–1573 brother of the following two dukes
Franz der 2. Herzog von Sachsen-Lauenburg.JPG Francis II[5] 1578–1619 vice-regent from 1578, administrator from 1581. Joint rule with his brother Maurice between 1581 and 1612. Father of Augustus and Julius Henry
Maurice 1581–1612 joint rule with his brother Francis II. Uncle of the following two dukes
Augustus[6] 1619–1656 brother of the following duke
JuliusHendrikSaksenLauenburg.jpg Julius Henry
[7]
1656–1665 father of the following two dukes
Francis Erdmann 1665–1666 elder son of Julius Henry and his second wife.
JuliusFransSaksenLauenburg.jpg Julius Francis
[8]
1666–1689 younger son of Julius Henry and his third wife.
The male line of the Saxe-Lauenburgish Ascanians was extinguished in 1689. The House of Welf usurped the duchy,
preventing the succession of the legitimate heiress, Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg, and resucceeded with its Brunswick and Lunenburg-Celle line.
Welf Dynasty, Lüneburgish Line
Image Name Date Notes
Georg-Wilhelm.jpg George William 1689–1705 He invaded Saxe-Lauenburg with his troops, preventing the ascension of the legitimate heiress, Duchess Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg; this de facto takeover was imperially legitimised only in 1728. He was a great-great-grandson of Magnus I through his great-grandmother Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg
Welf Dynasty, Hanoverian Line
GeorgeIKneller1714.jpg George I Louis 1705–1727 He was a nephew and son-in-law of George William.
George II of Great Britain-01.jpg George II Augustus 1727–1760 in 1728 Emperor Charles VI enfeoffed George II Augustus with Saxe-Lauenburg, finally legitimating his grandfather's de facto takeover.
George III 1762.jpg George III 1760–1814 De facto deposed by various occupations in the Napoleonic Wars, he was a grandson of George II Augustus
George III's son, Regent George agreed to pass Saxe-Lauenburg to his Danish cousin in a general territorial realignment at the Congress of Vienna
Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg
Oldenburg Dynasty, Main Line
Image Name Date Notes
Fiedrichvidenmark.jpg Frederick I 1814–1839 Frederick was a great-grandson of Duke George II Augustus on both sides, through his mother Caroline and through his father. The official colours of Saxe-Lauenburg were changed to red and gold.
Christianviiidenmark.jpg Christian I 1839–1848 half nephew of the former, but not related to the Saxe-Lauenburgish Welfs, however, great-great-great-great-grandson of Duke Francis I
Friedrichviidenmark.jpg Frederick II 1848–1863 son of the former
Oldenburg Dynasty, Glücksburg Line
Christian IX - Konge til Danmark.png Christian II 1863–1864 deposed in Second Schleswig War and resigned by Treaty of Vienna. His mother was a cousin of Frederick I and Christian I as well as maternally and paternally a great-granddaughter of George II Augustus.
Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg
Hohenzollern Dynasty, Berlin Line
Image Name Date Notes
Wilhelm I Friedrich Ludwig.jpg William 1865–1876 In 1865, the Estates of Saxe-Lauenburg offered him the ducal throne and he accepted. He was a great-great-great-great-grandson of Duke George William. The coat-of-arms of Saxe-Lauenburg was changed to the colours red and silver, with a border in the Prussian colours of black and white. Both duke and estates decided to merge Saxe-Lauenburg into Prussia, as district Duchy of Lauenburg, with effect from 1 July 1876.

The Ascanian Dynasty continued in Saxe-Lauenburg until 1689, but after the Lauenburgish line had finally lost the Saxon Electorate to the Wittenberg line in 1356 and failed to obtain the succession in the Electorate after 1422, recognition of the Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg as Dukes of Saxony waned.

Dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg[edit]

Main article: Saxe-Wittenberg

For the predecessor see the section Ascanian or younger Duchy of Saxony above in this article.

Dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg
Ascanian Dynasty
Image Name Date Notes
Albrecht 2 Sachsen.jpg Albert II 1296–1298 1260–1296 joint rule of Saxony with his brother John I, Duke of Saxony (till 1282) and thereafter with the latter's sons Albert III, Eric I, and John II. In 1296 uncle and nephews had partitioned Saxony into the Wittenberg line, where Albert II continued as sole ruler, and the Lauenburg line, where his nephews ruled jointly (see section Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg above in this article). Father of the following duke
Rudolf-I-von-Sachsen.jpg Rudolph I 1298–1356 rivalled as Saxon Prince-Elector by his cousin John II.
In January 1356 the Golden Bull confirmed Rudolf I as the legitimate Saxon Prince-Elector, thus the rulers of Saxe-Wittenberg are conceived as Electors of Saxony since (see section Electors of Saxony below in this article).

Wettin Dukes of Saxony[edit]

Albertine Dukes of Saxony[edit]

The Albertines were a junior branch of the Wettin dynasty of Electors of Saxony (section below), who ruled in Northern Thuringia and Southern Meissen until they replaced the senior "Ernestine" branch as Electors and rulers of most Saxon territory in 1547.

Dukes of Saxony
Wettin Dynasty, Albertine Line
Image Name Date Notes
Herzog-Albrecht-der-Beherzt.jpg Albert the Bold 1464–1500 Younger son of Frederick II, Elector of Saxony. Divided the Saxon lands, including Thuringia and Meissen, with his brother Ernest in 1485.
Lucas Cranach d.Ä. - Bildnis des Herzogs Georg von Sachsen (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin).jpg George the Bearded 1500–1539 Son of Albert. Opposed Martin Luther.
Lucas Cranach d. Ä. 042.jpg Henry IV the Pious 1539–1541 Brother of George. Introduced Lutheranism to Albertine Saxony.
Moritz Sachsen.JPG Maurice 1541–1553 Son of Henry IV. Became Elector 1547.

Ernestine Dukes of Saxony[edit]

Main article: Ernestine duchies

Following their displacement by the Albertines, the Ernestine branch of the Wettins continued to rule in southern Thuringia as "Dukes of Saxony", but their lands eventually split up into many different tiny "Ernestine duchies". Of these, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, and Saxe-Altenburg lasted until 1918. This article does not list the subsequent Ernestine dukes.

Electors of Saxony[edit]

Main article: Electorate of Saxony

The Golden Bull of 1356 confirmed the right to participate in the election of a Holy Roman Emperor to the Duke of Saxony in the Saxe-Wittenberg line. For the predecessor see the section Ascanian Dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg above in this article.

Electors of Saxony
Ascanian Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Notes
Rudolf-I-von-Sachsen.jpg Rudolf I 10 January 1356 11 March 1356 Since 1298 Duke of Saxe-Wittenberg.
Rudolf-II-von-Sachsen.jpg Rudolf II 11 March 1356 6 December 1370 Son of Rudolf I.
WenzelISachsenWittenberg.jpg Wenceslaus
Wenzel
6 December 1370 15 May 1388 Brother of Rudolf II.
RudolfIIISachsenWittenberg.jpg Rudolf III 15 May 1388 9 June 1419 Son of Wenceslaus.
AlbrechtIIISachsenWittenberg.jpg Albert III
Albrecht II
9 June 1419 12 November 1422 Brother of Rudolf III.
Wettin Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Notes
Saxonia Museum fuer saechsische Vaterlandskunde III 10.jpg Frederick I
Friedrich I
6 January 1423 4 January 1428 Nicknamed "the Warlike." After the Wittenberg line of the Ascanians became extinct, the Electorate was given to Frederick, Margrave of Meissen and Landgrave of Thuringia, of the House of Wettin.
Saxonia Museum für saechsische Vaterlandskunde I 23.jpg Frederick II
Friedrich II
4 January 1428 7 September 1464 Nicknamed "the Gentle". Son of Frederick I. Ruled jointly in Saxony with his brothers, but was the sole holder of the Electorate. Father of Ernest and Albert, founders of the Ernestine (continuing below) and Albertine Saxon lines (see section Albertine Dukes of Saxony above in this article).
Ernestine Line
Saxonia Museum für saechsische Vaterlandskunde I 55.jpg Ernest
Ernst
7 September 1464 26 August 1486 Son of Frederick II, divided Saxony with his brother Albert, taking Wittenberg, northern Meissen, and southern Thuringia. Inherited Thuringia in 1482 and ruled it jointly with Albert until 1485.
Lucas Cranach d. Ä. 097.jpg Frederick III
Friedrich III
26 August 1486 5 May 1525 Nicknamed "the Wise." Son of Ernest. Protector of Martin Luther, but a lifelong Catholic.
Lucas Cranach d.Ä. - Kurfürst Johann der Beständige von Sachsen.jpg John
Johann
5 May 1525 16 August 1532 Nicknamed "the Steadfast." Brother of Frederick III. Legally established Lutheranism in his territories in 1527.
Lucas Cranach d. Ä. 044.jpg John Frederick I
Johann Friedrich I
16 August 1532 19 May 1547 Nicknamed "the Magnanimous." Son of John the Steadfast. Deprived of his Electorate by Emperor Charles V for his role in the Schmalkaldic War. Died 1554.
Albertine Line
Moritz Sachsen.JPG Maurice
Moritz
4 June 1547 11 July 1553 Second cousin of John Frederick, grandson of Albert. Though a Lutheran, allied with Emperor Charles V against the Schmalkaldic League. Gained the Electorate for the Albertine line in 1547 after Charles V's victory at the Battle of Mühlberg.
Lucas Cranach d. J. 004.jpg Augustus I
August I
11 July 1553 12 February 1586 Brother of Maurice. Recognized as Elector by the ousted John Frederick in 1554.
Christian I of Saxony with sword.jpg Christian I 12 February 1586 25 September 1591 Son of Augustus I.
Kurfürst Christian II. von Sachsen (Porträt).jpg Christian II 25 September 1591 23 June 1611 Son of Christian I.
Johann Georg I Saxony.jpg John George I
Johann Georg I
23 June 1611 8 October 1656 Brother of Christian II, ruled during the Thirty Years' War, during which he was at times allied with the Emperor and at times with the King of Sweden.
Johan Georg II Johann Fink, vor 1675.jpg John George II
Johann Georg II
8 October 1656 1 September 1680 Son of John George I.
1647 Johann Georg.JPG John George III
Johann Georg III
1 September 1680 22 September 1691 Son of John George II.
Jan Jerzy IV 4.jpg John George IV
Johann Georg IV
22 September 1691 27 April 1694 Son of John George III.
Stolpen-August.der.Starke.JPG Frederick Augustus I
Friedrich August I
27 April 1694 1 February 1733 Brother of John George IV. Converted to Catholicism 1697 in order to compete for the crown of Poland. Took the Polish crown 1697, opposed by Stanisław Leszczyński 1704, forced to renounce the throne 1706, returned as monarch 1709 until his death. Called "the Strong".
King Augustus III of Poland.jpg Frederick Augustus II
Friedrich August II
1 February 1733 5 October 1763 Son of Frederick Augustus I. Converted to Catholicism 1712. King of Poland 1734–1763. Called ""the Fat" or (in Poland) "the Saxon".
Anton Raphael Mengs 006.jpg Frederick Christian
Friedrich Christian
5 October 1763 17 December 1763 Son of Frederick Augustus II, raised Catholic.
Fryderyk August I.jpg Frederick Augustus III
Friedrich August III
17 December 1763 20 December 1806 Son of Frederick Christian. His Electorate ceased with the fall of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and he became King of Saxony. Called "the Just."

Kings of Saxony[edit]

Main article: Kingdom of Saxony

The Holy Roman Empire came to an end in 1806. The Elector of Saxony, allied to Napoleon I, anticipated its dissolution by becoming the ruler of an independent Kingdom of Saxony in 1806.

Kings of Saxony
Wettin Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Notes
Fryderyk August I.jpg Frederick Augustus I
Friedrich August I
20 December 1806 5 May 1827 Duke of Warsaw 1807–1813. Called "the Just."
Anton-sachsen.jpg Anthony
Anton
5 May 1827 6 June 1836 Brother of Frederick Augustus I.
Friedrich August II of Saxony.jpg Frederick Augustus II
Friedrich August II
6 June 1836 9 August 1854 Nephew of Anthony.
Louis Ferdinand von Rayski - König Johann von Sachsen, 1870.jpg John
Johann
9 August 1854 29 October 1873 Brother of Frederick Augustus II.
König Albert von Sachsen (Porträt).jpg Albert
Albert
29 October 1873 19 June 1902 Son of John. Called "the Good"
Georg von Sachsen 1895.jpg George
Georg
19 June 1902 15 October 1904 Brother of Albert.
FA3 of Saxony.png Frederick Augustus III
Friedrich August III
15 October 1904 13 November 1918 Son of George. Last king of Saxony. Lost his throne in the German revolutions of 1918.

References[edit]

  1. ^ His wife was Adelheid of Pomerania; their daughter, Sophie of Saxe-Lauenburg (before 1428–1473), was married to Gerhard VII, Duke of Jülich-Berg.
  2. ^ His wife was Dorothea of Brandenburg (ca. 1446 – March 1519, daughter of Frederick II, Elector of Brandenburg). Their children were Eric of Saxe-Lauenburg (1472 – 20 October 1522; Eric I as Prince-Bishop of Münster, Eric II as Prince-Bishop of Hildesheim) and Sophia of Saxe-Lauenburg (m. ca. 1420, d. 1462; mother of Eric II, Duke of Pomerania).
  3. ^ He was married on 8 February 1540 to Sybille of Saxe-Freiberg (Freiberg, 2 May 1515 – 18 July 1592, Buxtehude), daughter of Henry IV of Saxe-Wittenberg. Their children were Henry of Saxe-Lauenburg (Henry II as Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück, Henry III as Prince-Archbishop of Bremen, and Henry IV as Prince-Bishop of Paderborn), Sidonia Katharina of Saxe-Lauenburg (m. Wenceslaus III Adam, Duke of Cieszyn) and Ursula of Saxe-Lauenburg-Ratzeburg (m. Henry III, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg [Dannenberg]).
  4. ^ His wife was Princess Sophia of Sweden.
  5. ^ His wife was Mary of Brunswick and Lunenburg (Wolfenbüttel) (1566–1626; daughter of Julius, Duke of Brunswick and Lunenburg (Wolfenbüttel)); their daughters were Juliane of Saxe-Lauenburg (26 December 1589 – 1 December 1630; m. 1 August 1627 to Frederick, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sønderburg-Norburg) and Sophie Hedwig of Saxe-Lauenburg (24 May 1601 – 1 February 1660; m. 23 May 1624 to Philip, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg).
  6. ^ His wife, Elisabeth Sophie of Holstein-Gottorp, was the daughter of John Adolf, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. Their daughter was Anna-Elisabetha of Saxe-Lauenburg (23 August 1624–1688; m. 2 April 1665 to William Christoph, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg).
  7. ^ He was married first to Anne of Ostfriesland, then (on 27 February 1628) to Elisabeth Sophia of Brandenburg (13 July 1589 – 24 December 1629; daughter of John George, Elector of Brandenburg and mother of Duke Francis Erdmann), and finally (on 18 August 1632) to Anna Magdalene, Baroness Popel von Lobkowitz (d. 7 September 1668), who ascended with him to the throne on 18 January 1656. She was mother of Duke Julius Francis.
  8. ^ His wife was Hedwig of the Palatinate-Sulzbach (15 April 1650 – 23 November 1681; daughter of Christian Augustus, Count Palatine of Sulzbach); their daughters were Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg and Sibylle Auguste of Saxe-Lauenburg.

External links[edit]