Maurice, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg

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Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
Reign 1581 – 1612
Predecessor Francis I
Successor Francis II
Co-rulers Magnus II
Francis II)
Born 1551
Died 2 November 1612
Consort Catherine of Spörck
Moritz Rautenstein (illegitimate)
Julius Ernst Rautenstein (illegitimate)
House Ascania
Father Francis I of Saxe-Lauenburg
Mother Sybille of Saxe-Freiberg
Religion Lutheran

Maurice of Saxe-Lauenburg (1551 – 2 November 1612, Buxtehude) was the fourth son of Francis I of Saxe-Lauenburg and Sybille of Saxe-Freiberg (Freiberg, *2 May 1515 – 18 July 1592*, Buxtehude), daughter of Duke Henry IV the Pious of Saxony. Maurice ruled Saxe-Lauenburg as duke between 1581 and 1612, together with his elder brothers Magnus II (until 1588) and Francis II, who survived him.


When in 1571 their father Francis I resigned in favour of his then major sons Magnus II and Francis II, Magnus violently tried to repress his younger brother Francis II, however, failing in the end in 1574. Francis I then reascended the throne.

After their father's death in 1581 the then major Maurice and his elder brothers Magnus II and Francis II jointly ruled as dukes in Saxe-Lauenburg. However, in 1588 Francis II and Maurice imprisoned Magnus II in Ratzeburg's castle for his repeated atrocities and continued their joint rule without him.

In 1585 (or 1586) Maurice moved to Buxtehude, then a city in the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen ruled by his brother Prince-Archbishop Henry of Saxe-Lauenburg, and resided in Buxtehude in the Abtshaus (Abbot's house) of the nunnery of Altkloster (nds) (now a component of Buxtehude). In 1588 his mother played a prominent role in his affair with Gisela von Tschammer, against whom she initiated a trial witchcraft. As duke Maurice remained passive and lived in the abbot's house until his death. The abbot's house now serves as a gallery and café. His mother Sibylle died in Buxtehude in 1592.

Marriage and issue[edit]

In 1581 Maurice married Katharina von Spörck; however, they got a divorce already in the next year. They had no children.

With his mistress Gisela of Saxony (married with Adam von Tschammer) Duke Maurice had two illegitimate sons:

  • Moritz Rautenstein (*? – 1617/39*)
  • Julius Ernst Rautenstein (*ca. 1590 – ca. 1660*)


Succession box[edit]

Maurice, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
Born: 1551 Died: 2 November 1612 in Buxtehude
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Francis I
Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg
1581 – 1612
with his brother Francis II (1578 – 1619)
Succeeded by
Francis II