Ludwig of Hanau-Lichtenberg

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Ludwig of Hanau-Lichtenberg
Born5 October 1487
Died3 December 1553(1553-12-03) (aged 66)
BuriedSt. Adelphi church in Neuweiler
Noble familyHouse of Hanau
FatherPhilipp II, Count of Hanau-Lichtenberg
MotherAnna of Isenburg-Büdingen

Ludwig of Hanau-Lichtenberg (5 October 1487 in Buchsweiler – 3 December 1553[1]) was a German nobleman. He was a younger son of Count Philipp II and his wife Anna of Isenburg-Büdingen.

Clerical offices[edit]

Following the medieval tradition, he joined the clergy. This tradition was meant to ensure that only one son — usually the eldest — would inherit the entire county, while his brothers derived an adequate income from their clerical offices. This way, the territorial intergrety of the county could remain intact. The alternative would be to divide the county among all brothers, which would lead to fragmentation. After a few generations, the fragments would be too small to provide their rulers with an adequate income, and their sovereignty would come into question. Giving a younger son an appanage or only an annual allowance was not yet generally considered acceptable in the 16th century (although this would be common practice later). Another consideration was that the clergy did not marry; marrying a befitting noblewoman was expensive, as such ladies were entitled to a large dower, and a wittum if they were widowed.

Ludwig, and his brother Reinhard initially waived their rights and received an annual pension and compensation in kind.

Ludwig studie law at several universities and received his degree in Bologna.[2] He then became a canon in Strasbourg. For unknown reasons, he resigned from this post in 1513. It has been observed elsewhere that is this period, shortly before the Reformation, clerical offices became less attractive as a source of income for the nobility. After Ludwig' resignation, his brother Philipp III provided him with the district of Buchsweiler as an apanage. However, one year later, he returned the district to his brother, arguing that it would be better if a single person were to administer the whole county. The exact reason for this act cannot be inferred from the sparse sources. Nevertheless, a change in thinking during the transition from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Period is clearly in evidence.

In 1518, he received a château in Willstätt as his residence. In 1519, Elector Palatine Louis V appointed him Judex vicariatus in the Reichskammergericht.

Ludwig died on 3 December 1553 and was buried in the St. Adelphi church in Neuweiler.


Ludwig never married, he had extramarital relations, possibly with two women.[3] One of them was named Agnes, the other came from Rumpenheim. It is also possible, that these two descriptions describe the same person, i.e. a woman named Agnes who came from Rumpeheim. He had at least two illegitimate daughters, named Felicitas and Agnes.

There was also an illegitimate Caspar of Hanau,[4] but it's not clear whether this Caspar was a son of Ludwig or his father Philipp. Caspar had a son name Philipp Ludwig (d. 3 August 1612).[5]



  • Reinhard Dietrich: Die Landesverfassung in dem Hanauischen, in the series Hanauer Geschichtsblätter, vol. 34, Hanau, 1996, ISBN 3-9801933-6-5
  • M. Goltzené: Aus der Geschichte des Amtes Buchsweiler, in: Pay d’Alsace, issue 111/112, p. 64 ff
  • E.Haug. Groß-Arnsburg im Baerental, in: Wasgaublick, vol. 19, issue 10, 1991, p. 364 ff and issue 11, p. 412 ff
  • Joseph Heinzelmann: Das „Gothaer Liebespaar“ ist ein Liebespaar, in: Archiv für hessische Geschichte und Altertumskunde, vol. 57, 1999, p. 209 ff
  • Gustav Knod: Deutsche Studenten in Bologna 1289 – 1562, 1889
  • Reinhard Suchier: Genealogie des Hanauer Grafenhauses, in: Festschrift des Hanauer Geschichtsvereins zu seiner fünfzigjährigen Jubelfeier am 27. August 1894, Hanau, 1894
  • Ernst J. Zimmermann: Hanau Stadt und Land, 3rd. ed., Hanau, 1919, reprinted: 1978


  1. ^ Document A 12.6f in file 81 "Government of Hanau" in the state archive in Marburg says he died on 3 December 1543
  2. ^ Knod, p. 182
  3. ^ Spieß, p. 224, footnote 113
  4. ^ Haug, p. 419
  5. ^ Goltzené, p.64