Anton Ulrich (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel)

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(Portrait of Christoph Bernhard Francke , Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum)
Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel

Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (born October 4, 1633 in Hitzacker ; † March 27, 1714 in Salzdahlum near Wolfenbüttel ) was Duke of Braunschweig and Lüneburg and Prince of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel from the House of the Welfs . He is regarded as the prototype of the enlightened, absolutist ruler of the Baroque age : power-conscious, equally interested in external representation and progress in education, and as a poet and novelist himself artistically active.


Youth, studies and travel

Anton Ulrich was the second (surviving) son of Duke August the Younger and Princess Dorothea von Anhalt-Zerbst . Like the rest of the younger princely children, he received his first lessons from Justus Georg Schottelius and Sigmund von Birken . The stepmother Sophie Elisabeth von Mecklenburg encouraged the artistic education of the duke's children very much; In the court theater of Wolfenbüttels, it was mainly the princely relatives who performed in front of a selected court audience. As a schoolboy and later as a student, the prince wrote his first songs and poems, which made him stand out with his sister Sibylle Ursula, who was also gifted in literature . He studied at the University of Helmstedt and received his doctorate in theology .

His cavalier tour, which followed on from his studies, led through southern Germany, Italy and, on the return trip, through the Netherlands . He met the novelist Madeleine de Scudéry , among others , and discovered his inclination to the theater. On August 17, 1656 he married Princess Elisabeth Juliane of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Norburg . On this occasion, Anton Ulrich wrote his first play for the stage, the spring ballet . In the 1680s he traveled to Venice four times, alone or with his family , encouraged by his cousins ​​who ruled in Celle , Hanover and Iburg . The city made a lasting impression on Anton Ulrich.


Duke Anton Ulrich of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel

Even his father often used Anton Ulrich on government business. August the Younger died in 1666, Anton Ulrich received Schöningen , Jerxheim , Voigtsdahlum and Calvörde as apanage and lived in the Prinzenhaus zu Wolfenbüttel. A year later, his older, ruling brother Rudolf August appointed him governor. In 1685 Anton Ulrich was promoted to co-regent with equal rights alongside his brother, who was more dedicated to hunting. As a politician, Anton Ulrich was particularly determined to oppose his cousin Ernst August's drive for power. A quarter of a century of tension and competition between Hanover and Wolfenbüttel followed.

On Anton Ulrich's initiative, Duke Rudolf August reached an agreement with the other princes of the Brunswick family in Burgwedel in the spring of 1671 to jointly fight the city ​​of Brunswick , which insisted on independence and which had to submit to the lordly sovereignty of the Duke on June 10, 1671. Wolfenbüttel's troops fought against France in 1674/75 and 1689 , against Sweden in 1675 near Bremen and in Pomerania and against the Turks in 1683 with the imperial troops in Hungary and the Peloponnese . In 1692 Anton Ulrich became head of the "Anton Ulrich zu Fuß Leibregiment" (from 1704 Leibregiment auf Fuß). In 1693, Duke Anton Ulrich allied himself with Denmark and in 1698 and 1701 with Louis XIV. With the help of the French, he not only enlarged the Wolfenbüttel army considerably, but also expanded the princely art collections. As a skilled diplomat, Anton Ulrich helped to settle the disputes that had arisen between the Reich and Sweden in the Duchy of Bremen . For Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel part of Thedinghausen fell away.

Dissatisfied with the fact that the younger line of his house had been awarded the electoral dignity in 1692 , he turned from a loyal supporter into an opponent of the emperor. Anton Ulrich was relieved of co-regency as punishment by an imperial mandate on February 18, 1702. On the night of March 20, 1702 Hanoverian and Cellian troops advanced into the Wolfenbüttel area, disarmed the troops and cut off the cities of Braunschweig and Wolfenbüttel from any connection with the surrounding area.

Anton Ulrich fled to Gotha , and Rudolf August had to make a settlement on April 19, 1702 in Braunschweig in which he made a binding commitment not to oppose the Hanoverian primacy and to get his brother to recognize this agreement.

The political situation that led to the separation of the “Consortium Regiminis” (community government) is unique in its extensive historical representation in the coin image of the commemorative taler “on the separation of fraternal unity” . In 1702 Anton Ulrich had this memorial coin minted for the separation of unity, which shows Otto von Guericke's attempt to prove the effect of air pressure and interpreted it politically: The cellic and Hanoverian horse try in vain to break fraternal unity until a treacherous hand this unity destroyed.

Sole ruler

Anton Ulrich
Double sarcophagus by Anton Ulrichs and Elisabeth Julianes in the Guelph crypt of the Marienkirche in Wolfenbüttel

Anton Ulrich submitted and continued to rule with or rather for his brother until he became sole ruler through his death on January 26, 1704. His minister, Chancellor Propst von Wendhausen , managed in 1706 to bring about a complete reconciliation between the older and younger lines of Braunschweig. Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel renounced its claims to the Duchy of Saxony-Lauenburg , which had fallen to the entire House of Braunschweig , recognized the electoral dignity of Hanover and received Campen Castle and the villages of Bevenrode , Waggum and Bienrode, which belong to Gifhorn .

Anton Ulrich sought compensation for his losses to the younger house of Braunschweig through close ties with Austria ; The means to this end was the marriage of his granddaughter Elisabeth Christine , the daughter of his second son Ludwig Rudolf, to the brother of Emperor Joseph I , Archduke Karl of Austria, who later became Emperor Karl VI. The granddaughter, who was attached to the Protestant faith, resisted for a long time, but had to convert to the Catholic Church in Bamberg Cathedral on May 1, 1707 .

In 1708 she married Archduke Karl. The close relationship with the Austrian imperial family motivated Anton Ulrich to make new, ambitious plans. His hopes of acquiring part of the old possessions of the Guelphs , the lands of the Elector of Bavaria, who was outlawed in 1706, were just as unfulfilled as those of acquiring the Diocese of Hildesheim and especially the Archdiocese of Cologne and the electoral dignity associated with it.

1709 converted Anton Ulrich secretly converted to Catholicism. It was not until the following year that he made a public profession of faith in the Bamberg Cathedral in front of the Elector Archbishop of Mainz Lothar Franz von Schönborn . He assured his subjects that the Lutheran creed would be preserved. He had the St. Nicolai Church built for the small Catholic community in Braunschweig with his own funds . To justify his change of faith, which he did not use politically, he published a self-written statement in eight sentences . Anton Ulrich also experienced that his granddaughter's husband was elected emperor in 1711 and that in the same year his second granddaughter Charlotte Christine was also given the opportunity to become empress by marrying Grand Duke Alexei of Russia , son of Peter I.

Anton Ulrich died at the age of 80. He was buried with his wife Elisabeth Juliane in the Guelph crypt of the Wolfenbüttel main church, Beatae Mariae Virginis . His successor was his eldest son , August Wilhelm .


Elisabeth Juliane

Anton Ulrich married on August 17, 1656 Elisabeth Juliane von Holstein-Norburg (1634–1704), daughter of Friedrich von Schleswig-Holstein-Norburg . The couple had 13 children, six of whom died before their first birthday:

Art, education, literature

Promoter of art and education

Anton Ulrich's role model for his lifestyle was Louis XIV. He introduced the French language and French customs in Braunschweig and spent enormous sums of money, which threatened the state budget, on luxury, but also on promoting the arts and education. He organized opulent celebrations and opera performances in Salzdahlum, Wolfenbüttel and Braunschweig, for which one of the largest opera houses of that time was built in Braunschweig in 1690, the opera house on Hagenmarkt , which largely resulted from the renovation of the former town hall. Singers and composers such as Johann Rosenmüller , Johann Sigismund Kusser , Reinhard Keizer , Georg Caspar Schürmann and later Johann Adolph Hasse worked here . The box seats of the opera were not sold as in Veneto , but only rented for one performance each.

His most important act in the field of patronage is that he significantly expanded the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel, founded by his father, through generous financial support. He hired Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz , with whom he was friends, as a part-time librarian . Anton Ulrich was also the sponsor of Anton Wilhelm Amo , the first doctor of philosophy of African origin in Germany. With the library rotunda built by Hermann Korb on Anton Ulrich's order from 1712 on the remains of the old stables in Wolfenbüttel, the duke founded the first independent library building in Germany.

Anton Ulrich had the Salzdahlum Castle built on the model of Marly-le-Roi between 1694 and 1695 (but only as a half-timbered house for financial reasons ), on which he housed his art collection, which he was constantly expanding. He sought personal contact with artists, such as Adriaen van der Werff . In 1713 Tsar Peter I was received in the palace for negotiations to end the Great Northern War . In 1733 the Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich (later King Friedrich the Great) and Elisabeth Christine of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern married in Salzdahlum. The castle was demolished under the government of King Jerome of Westphalia , and the inventory was auctioned and sold. The remains of the art collection later formed the basis of the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Braunschweig.

In 1714–1716, Wolfenbüttel Castle received a new half-timbered facade under the master builder Hermann Korb . The stone entrance portal and the sculptures by the Austrian sculptor Franz Finck on the bridge and along the moat, which embody the virtues and duties of the dukes, also date from this period. In Seesen he had a hunting lodge converted into the ducal Seesen hunting lodge with a baroque garden.

He also sponsored the construction of the new church in Calvörde , which burned down on October 6, 1700.


Duke Anton Ulrich: The Trojan Paridis judgment / From the golden apple of the Eridis

Anton Ulrich is considered one of the most important authors of the baroque . His literary work includes novels ( The Serene Syrian Woman Aramena and The Roman Octavia ), religious poetry ( Churfürstliches Davids-Harpenspiel ) and texts for singspiele and operas ( Orpheus ). Many of these works were created in collaboration with his former tutor Sigmund von Birken, who dedicated a number of his own writings to the duke. He took over the completion of the Aramena from his sister Sibylle Ursula when she broke off work on the complex manuscript in the second of the five volumes in 1663 due to her marriage.

Anton Ulrich's lyrical role model was his teacher Georg Justus Schottelius, his role model when writing novels was Andreas Heinrich Bucholtz . Duke Wilhelm IV of Saxe-Weimar accepted Duke Anton Ulrich into the Fruit Bringing Society in 1659 . His company name was Der Siegprangende , his motto in spite of the rough air , his emblem the red autumn rose .

On court festivals Ulrich wrote numerous libretti for operas, singspiels and ballets, which became important for the history of the development of court theater and opera. Several of Anton Ulrich's 61 hymns , which appeared as the Christ-Fürstliches Davids-Harpfen Spiel , were recorded in various hymn books (including: Let God , God, you will remain my God and oh, God, I should complain longer ).

With his novels, which embody the worldview and the aesthetic ideal of the Baroque era with their labyrinthine plot and the graceful, formal style, Anton Ulrich is considered one of the founders of the German historical novel. Broad in scope, rambling in execution, stiffly pedantic and sought-after in style, yet an artistic design and liveliness cannot be denied. In fact, his novel was Octavia still into the youth of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe read a lot and this as a structural model for his own 1796 novel, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship used Joseph von Eichendorff mentioned Anton Ulrich in his book The German novel of the 18th century his relationship to Christianity (Paderborn 1866) and describes him as a literary protagonist of the “so-called ' state reason '”.

Some spiritual odes were included in Protestant hymn books, for example the song Jesus ist mein Residence , which can be found, for example, in the Baden-Durlach hymnbook of all Protestant Lutheran churches in the margravial Badische Landen from 1772 (song number 280). His poem Death Song was included in the Frankfurt anthology .

Poem example

Die Song (1667)

It's enough! my dull sense
        whips away /
    where my fathers sleep.
I finally have a good feeling /
        It's enough!
    I have to get on quickly.

I am tired / I have led
        the day's burden:
    it must be evening one day.
Deliver me / LORD / sprout from the plow /
        It is enough!
    no complaints from me.

The great burden weighed on me /
        almost suffocated /
    so many long years.
Oh let me find what I'm looking for.
        It's enough!
    with such Creutzes-ware.

So nim now / Lord! my soul
        I command
    into your hands and care.
Write them in your book of life.
        It's enough!
    that I go to sleep.

Not better it should ergehn me /
        as as happened
    Vättern / acquired
by her death to life Ruch.
        It's enough!
    So it died!



  • The translucent Syrian woman Aramena. 5 parts. Hofmann and Gerhard, Nuremberg, 1669, 1673 and 1778–80. Revised and shortened by Sophie Albrecht , 3 parts, Berlin, 1782–1786.
  • Octavia. Roman history . 6 parts. Hofmann, Knortz and Gerhard, Nuremberg, 1685ff. Revised in 6 parts, Braunschweig, 1712.


  • Highly enlightened spiritual songs of a high person. 1665.
  • Christ Princely David Harp Game. Gerhard, Nuremberg, 1667. Expanded Weiss, Wolfenbüttel, 1670 ff.

Libretti and plays

  • Amelinde, or: Dy triumphant soul. Stern, Wolfenbüttel 1657.
  • Regier-Kunst-Schatten Or: Presentation of a number of properties which can be beneficial or disadvantageous to a potentate. Stern, Wolfenbüttel 1658.
  • Orpheus from Thrace. Stern, Wolfenbüttel 1659.
  • Andromeda. A royal lady from Ethiopia. Stern, Wolfenbüttel 1659.
  • The Trojan Paridis judgment / From the golden apple of Eridis. 1662.
  • Ballet of the day Or: blossoming spring joy. Stern, Wolfenbüttel 1659.
  • Ballet der Natur Or: Princely spring pleasure. Stern, Wolfenbüttel 1660.
  • Iphigenia. A royal lady. Stern, Wolfenbüttel 1661.
  • Masquerade of the Hercinie: Or funny lift of the Hartz forest. Stern, Wolfenbüttel 1661.
  • The Trojan Paridis judgment of the golden apple of the Eridis. Wolfenbüttel 1662.
  • Selimena. Bißmarck, Wolfenbüttel 1663.
  • The Hoffmann Daniel. How he served King Dario. Stern, Wolfenbüttel 1663.
  • Ballet of Diana, or: Diana's delightful pleasure. Stern, Wolfenbüttel 1663.
  • The disturbed Irmenseul; or The Converted Sachsenland. 1669.


Pedigree of Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel

Heinrich I (Braunschweig-Lüneburg) (1468–1532)
⚭ 1487
Margaret of Saxony (1469–1528)

Heinrich V (Mecklenburg) (1479–1552)
⚭ 1505
Ursula of Brandenburg (1488–1510)

Magnus I (Saxony-Lauenburg) (1470–1543)
⚭ 1509
Katharina von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1488–1563)

Heinrich (Saxony) (1473–1541)
⚭ 1512
Catherine of Mecklenburg (1487–1561)

Johann IV. (Anhalt-Zerbst) (1504–1551)
⚭ 1534
Margaret of Brandenburg (1511–1577)

Christoph (Württemberg) (1515–1568)
⚭ 1544
Anna Maria of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1526–1589)

Julius (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel) (1528–1589)
⚭ 1560
Hedwig of Brandenburg (1540–1602)

August (Saxony) (1526–1586)
⚭ 1548
Anna of Denmark (1532–1585)

Great grandparents

Ernst I (Braunschweig-Lüneburg) (1497–1546)
⚭ 1528
Sophie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1508–1541)

Franz I (Saxony-Lauenburg) (1510–1581)
⚭ 1540
Sibylle of Saxony (1515–1592)

Joachim Ernst (Anhalt) (1536–1586)
⚭ 1571
Eleanor of Württemberg (1552–1618)

Heinrich Julius (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel) (1564–1613)
⚭ 1585
Dorothea of ​​Saxony (1563–1587)


Duke Heinrich (Braunschweig-Dannenberg) (1533–1598)
⚭ 1569
Ursula von Sachsen-Lauenburg (1552 / 53–1620)

Duke Rudolf (Anhalt-Zerbst) (1576–1621)
⚭ 1605
Dorothea Hedwig von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1587–1609)


Duke August II (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel) (1579–1666)
⚭ 1623
Dorothea von Anhalt-Zerbst (1607–1634)

Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1633–1714)


Web links

Commons : Anton Ulrich, Duke of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ J. Luckhardt: Painting and Divertissement - Travel of Duke Anton Ulrichs and his family to Venice. 2002, p. 7.
  2. Voigtsdahlum is today's Groß Dahlum between Schöppenstedt and Schöningen.
  3. ^ A b Ludwig Ferdinand Spehr:  Anton Ulrich, Duke of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1875, pp. 487-491.
  4. a b H. Grote: Wolfenbüttel Castle. Residence of the Dukes of Braunschweig and Lüneburg. 2005, p. 36.
  5. 1704–1714 he was chief of the body regiment on foot cf. List of the Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel regiments of the early modern period
  6. Johann David Köhler: Historical coin amusement published weekly. Volume 16, Weigel, Nuremberg 1744, p. 321.
  7. ^ Wilhelm Gottlieb Soldan : Thirty Years of Proselytism in Saxony and Braunschweig . Leipzig 1845, pp. 227-230. Soldan (p. 248ff.) Also conclusively proves that the writing Funffzig Motiva, or moving causes and considerations, ... Why among so many religions or confessions of faith, ... The sole Roman-Catholic faith ... is preferable , the 1711 (and after several times) with an attached letter from Pope Clement XI. to the Duke was published and long considered his work, can not be written by Anton Ulrich; Carlos Sommervogel proved it to be the work of Martin Szentiványi .
  8. ^ H. Grote: Wolfenbüttel Castle. Residence of the Dukes of Braunschweig and Lüneburg. 2005, p. 183.
  9. Rudi Fischer: 800 years Calvörde - a chronicle until 1991.
  10. The Trojan Paridis judgment / From the golden apple of Eridis . 1662 ( Wikisource )
  11. In Köthener Society book , Herzog Anton Ulrich takes place under the # 716..
  12. ^ Felicitas Igel: Wilhelm Meisters apprenticeship years in the context of the high novel. Wuerzburg 2007.
  13. Duke Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel: "Song of Death"., July 17, 2015.
  14. Christ Princely Davids-Harpfen-Spiel: for the mirror and for image of heaven-flaming devotion . Nuremberg 1667, pp. 246–247 ( digitized version )
predecessor Office successor
Rudolf August Prince of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
August Wilhelm