Clemens Wenzeslaus of Saxony

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Clemens Wenzeslaus of Saxony, painting by Heinrich Foelix , shortly after 1776
Signature Clemens Wenzeslaus von Sachsen.PNG

Clemens Wenzeslaus August Hubertus Franz Xaver of Saxony (born September 28, 1739 at Hubertusburg Castle in Wermsdorf ; †  July 27, 1812 in Marktoberdorf im Allgäu ) was Prince of Poland and Duke of Saxony from the house of the Albertine Wettins and the last archbishop and elector von Trier , the last Prince-Bishop of Augsburg and Prince Provost von Ellwangen .


He was the fourteenth child and the seventh son of Friedrich August II. Elector of Saxony and King of Poland (as August III.), And the Austrian Archduchess Maria Josefa (daughter of Emperor Joseph I ) and thus grandson of Augustus the Strong . The three French kings Louis XVI came from the marriage of his sister Maria Josefa to the French Dauphin Louis . , Louis XVIII. and Karl X. , whose uncle he was.

From field marshal lieutenant to elector and prince-bishop

Clemens Wenzeslaus as Austrian Lieutenant Field Marshal with breast star and sash of the Order of the White Eagle

Clemens Wenzeslaus entered Austrian military service in Vienna in 1760 , took part in the battle of Torgau as a field marshal lieutenant (November 3, 1760), but opted for clerical status due to unstable health and frequent rheumatic complaints and received the dioceses of Freising and Regensburg in 1763 which he renounced in 1768 in order to become Archbishop and Elector of Trier and Prince-Bishop of Augsburg; In 1787 he also received the prince provosty of Ellwangen . On September 21, 1763 he received the minor ordinations and the subdiaconate ordination in Freising from the auxiliary bishop Franz Ignaz Albert von Werdenstein . In Munich, the Augsburg prince bishop ordained him Joseph Ignaz Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt a priest on May 1 In 1764 he celebrated in the Munich Jesuit Church his first Mass . On August 10, 1766, he was consecrated bishop by Joseph Ignaz Philipp von Hessen-Darmstadt in Freising Cathedral .

On February 21, 1768 he took up his post as elector in Trier. Although the celebration was modest according to his wishes, he was greeted with bells, gunshots and drum rolls and enthroned the following day. A week later he traveled by ship to Koblenz, where he arrived at the Deutsches Eck on the afternoon of February 28, 1768. From there it went on to the residential palace in Ehrenbreitstein. Here too he had forbidden himself to make costly expressions of joy; "The love of the subjects should be his honor". The cheers on his arrival were correspondingly great. He ruled the electorate from Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein and from 1786 from Koblenz Castle; he stayed in Trier only three times during his reign.

Construction activity

City Theater Koblenz, in front of it the Clemensbrunnen

Clemens Wenzeslaus held a magnificent court and built an expensive palace in Koblenz , where he moved his residence from the dilapidated Philippsburg Palace under Ehrenbreitstein in 1786 . Music in particular was cultivated at his court, and he also had a public theater built (today's Koblenz Theater ). It was inaugurated on November 23, 1787, the elector's name day, with Mozart's opera Entführung aus dem Serail . In view of the high costs involved in building the palace, Clemens Wenzeslaus found a private financier for the theater in his sister Kunigunde's financial advisor , Hofrat Franz-Joseph Schmitz. In return, Schmitz received the title of first director of the "Comedy, Opera, Ball and Assembléehouses" and was exempt from tax payments. Princess Kunigunde was the ruling abbess of Essen and Thorn, but mostly lived in Koblenz at her brother's court.

In the years 1783 to 1786, Clemens Wenzeslaus had a water pipe laid from Metternich over the Moselle bridge into the old town. There it led to a city wall tower, which was converted into a water tower, from which the castle was supplied with fresh spring water. In 1791 he had a drinking water fountain with a 19 meter high obelisk built for the population on Clemensplatz, which is now in front of the city theater.

In Bertrich , Clemens Wenzeslaus ran the expansion of the electoral bathhouse, which had existed since 1657, and built an inn for 60 guests with 100,000 guilders. He wanted to help the pool with the only Glauber's salt thermal bath in Germany to an economic upturn. He himself visited it as a relief seeker in 1785 and 1787.

Court keeping

The secular court of Clemens Wenzeslaus was extremely lordly. Up to 520 people worked for him at peak times. This included a team of doctors, including his first personal physician Johannes Gottlob Haupt († 1794), whom he knew from his youth in Saxony. The first personal physician was assisted by three other personal physicians. The personal physicians looked after the elector both at court and while traveling and were also available to the servants. In addition to the personal physicians, there were four court surgeons in the service of the elector.

Clemens Wenzeslaus had precisely regulated the tasks of his mouth and court cooks. Above all, they were required to use food sparingly. Wine consumption at court is said to have been high; Wine residues left over from eating were not poured out, but collected and stored as a vinegar base. The beer consumption is said to have been low.

Visits and lavish receptions were rare. On the occasion of the inauguration of the new Koblenz Palace on November 23, 1787, however, after a solemn service in the Liebfrauenkirche, 600 people are said to have participated in a ball at which “there was an abundance of food and drinks”. On this feast day, however, the elector also pardoned 32 prisoners and distributed 2,000 guilders to those in need in Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein.

Laws and edicts

Not averse to the ideas of the Enlightenment , he particularly promoted the school system in the Electorate of Trier and sought to raise education and prosperity through an edict of tolerance (1783) and the creation of various non-profit institutions. His attitude towards church matters was unsteady: he kept the Jesuits in the country even after the dissolution of the order and protested against radical reforms of his cousin Joseph II in religious matters, but protected Hontheim and in 1786 also exhibited the Emser punctuation , which meant greater independence for the church of the Holy Roman Empire of Rome.

Since pilgrimages in many communities sometimes degenerated into untenable superstitions and also turned into worldly pleasures, Clemens Wenceslaus banned processions that lasted longer than an hour with the law of November 29, 1784. Superstitious customs such as the weather bell were also prohibited. Likewise, several public holidays had already been abolished beforehand by an episcopal sovereign ordinance.

On October 30, 1787, he issued a sovereign ordinance to improve the quality of local viticulture. According to this, within seven years the genus of grapevines known as “Rhenish”, which produced grapes with bad properties and too much acid, was to be exterminated and replaced by “good” grapes - meaning Riesling  . This arrangement was rigorously implemented in the entire domain of the Elector of Trier. Only in the peripheral areas of the Trier territory such as B. on the Upper Moselle near the places Nittel , Wincheringen , Nennig , Besch and Perl , where there was often a condominium with France and the Duchy of Luxembourg, this order could not be directly enforced by the Trier authorities.

While compulsory schooling had already been introduced in Prussia in 1717, the children in the Bavarian diocese of Augsburg continued to attend elementary school voluntarily - and only in winter - until Clemens Wenzeslaus made school attendance compulsory for all children under threat of punishment in 1786.

Development under the French Revolution

Prince-Bishop's Castle in Marktoberdorf , Bavaria
Burial chapel of the elector at the parish church of Marktoberdorf

Clemens Wenzeslaus often stayed at Schloss zu Kärlich (near Koblenz), a hunting lodge of the Trier electors, although he is said not to have been a fan of the cruel hunt himself. In the chapel of this castle he ordained the French theology student Franz Josef Pey as a priest on August 10, 1784 , who died as a martyr on September 3, 1792 along with 190 other priests during the September massacre in Paris .

Terrified by the outbreak of the French Revolution , he stopped all reforms and ran a stricter regime. It offered a refuge for the emigrants and the fugitive members of the French court related to him, and Koblenz became the focus of the French royalists , who built their own army here ( Armée de Condé ). From September to October 21, 1792, Clemens Wenzeslaus was in his castle in Kärlich before he fled to Bonn under the pressure of the revolution. Two years later the French revolutionary army destroyed the castle in Kärlich. In the meantime, Clemens Wenzeslaus stayed in Augsburg and Oberdorf (since 1898 Markt Oberdorf and since 1953 Marktoberdorf) and briefly returned to Koblenz in 1793. But in 1794 he had to leave the city again and flee to Saxony with his sister after General Moreau had also moved into southern Germany in 1796. On July 7, 1801 he returned to Oberdorf. The elector allegedly provided half a million guilders there to repair war damage.

Clemens Wenzeslaus was badly affected by the victory of the revolution: in the Peace of Lunéville (1801) he lost most of the electoral state on the left bank of the Rhine , and in 1803 also the rest of it due to the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss , as well as the prince-bishopric of Augsburg and the prince-provost of Ellwangen. He retired to Augsburg with a pension of 100,000 guilders and died on July 27, 1812 in his summer residence at Schloss Marktoberdorf in the Allgäu. His sister Kunigunde, who was with him until his death, then moved to Dresden.

The grave of Clemens Wenzeslaus is in a chapel built in 1823 at the parish church of St. Martin in Marktoberdorf. His sister and niece Duchess Maria Amalie von Pfalz-Zweibrücken had campaigned for the construction of the chapel. His heart is buried in the crypt of the former monastery church St. Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg.


In the “Electoral Trier Court and Stat Calendar” from 1790, all of Clemens Wenzeslaus' titles are mentioned:


  • The Clemensbrunnen in Koblenz has been named after its builder since 1791.
  • 1799 Renaming of the Electoral Saxon. Chevauleger Regiment CI from 1734/2 (see also Ulanen # Germany ) in "Prinz Clemens"
  • Naming of Clemensplatz in Koblenz.
  • On March 21, 1821, Schanzstrasse was renamed Clemensstrasse in Koblenz.
  • Clementinum in Trier , building of the Trier seminary that he donated .


Clara Viebig made his life the subject of her novel biography Prinzen, Prälaten und Sansculottes (1931).


According to a legend, Clemens Wenzeslaus von Sachsen is the inventor of the cold duck drink , an alcoholic punch that essentially consists of wine and sparkling wine and is refined with a lemon or lemon balm.


Pedigree of Clemens Wenzeslaus of Saxony
Great-great-grandparents Elector
Johann Georg II. (1613–1680)
⚭ 1638
Magdalena Sibylle of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1612–1687)
Friedrich III. (1609–1670)
⚭ 1643
Sophie Amalie von Braunschweig-Calenberg (1628–1685)
Erdmann August von Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1615–1651)
⚭ 1641
Sophie von Brandenburg-Ansbach (1614–1646)
Eberhard III. (1614–1674)
⚭ 1637
Anna Katharina Dorothea von Salm-Kyrburg (1614–1655)
Ferdinand III. (1608–1657)
⚭ 1631
Maria Anna of Spain (1606–1646)
Philipp Wilhelm of the Palatinate (1615–1690)
⚭ 1653
Elisabeth Amalia of Hesse-Darmstadt (1635–1709)
Georg (1582–1641)
⚭ 1617
Anna Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt (1601–1659)
Eduard von der Pfalz (1625–1663)
⚭ 1645
Anna Gonzaga (1616–1684)
Great grandparents Elector Johann Georg III. (1647–1691)
⚭ 1666
Anna Sophie of Denmark (1647–1717)
Margrave Christian Ernst of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1644–1712)
⚭ 1671
Sophie Luise of Württemberg (1642–1702)
Emperor Leopold I (1640–1705)
⚭ 1676
Eleonore Magdalene von der Pfalz (1655–1720)
Duke Johann Friedrich von Braunschweig-Calenberg (1625–1679)
⚭ 1668
Benedicta Henriette von der Pfalz (1652–1730)
Grandparents King August II (1670–1733)
⚭ 1693
Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1671–1727)
Emperor Joseph I (1678–1711)
⚭ 1699
Wilhelmine Amalie von Braunschweig-Lüneburg (1673–1742)
parents King August III. (1696–1763)
⚭ 1719
Maria Josepha of Austria (1699–1757)
Clemens Wenzeslaus of Saxony


  • Alexander Dominicus: Coblenz under the last elector of Trier Clemens Wenzeslaus. 1768-1794 . Hölscher, Koblenz 1869.
  • Karl Hausberger : History of the Diocese of Regensburg , Vol. 2: From the Baroque to the Present , Regensburg 1989, pp. 29–31.
  • Leo Just:  Clemens Wenzeslaus, Duke of Saxony. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , p. 282 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Franz Xaver Kraus:  Clemens Wenzeslaus . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 4, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1876, pp. 309-314.
  • Franz Liesenfeld: Klemens Wenzeslaus, the last elector of Trier, his estates and the French revolution 1789–1794 (West German magazine, supplement 17), Trier 1912.
  • Jakob Marx : History of the Archbishopric Trier. As an electorate and archdiocese from the earliest times up to the year 1816. Section 3: The history of the Trierisches Land since the assumption of government of the last elector Klemens Wenzeslaus . Trier 1858–1864 (reprint: Scientia, Aalen 1970).
  • Wolf-Ulrich Rapp: City constitution and territorial constitution. Koblenz and Trier under Elector Clemens Wenzeslaus (1768–1794) . Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1995, ISBN 3-631-45632-8
  • Josef Staber: Church history of the diocese of Regensburg . Regensburg 1966, p. 159.
  • Wolfgang Wüst: Prince-Bishop's office and state leadership in the bishopric of Augsburg under Clemens Wenzeslaus of Saxony, 1768–1803 . In: Pankraz Fried (ed.): Miscellanea Suevica Augustana. Presented to the city of Augsburg for the 2000 anniversary in 1985 (Augsburg contributions to the regional history of Bavarian Swabia 3). Sigmaringen 1985, pp. 129-147.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Lieselotte Sauer-Kaulbach: A funny 'Vivat!' the Koblenzer for Clemens Wenzeslaus . In: Rhein-Zeitung No. 49 of February 27, 2018, edition BO, p. 21.
  2. ^ A b Frank Grube, Gerhard Richter, Eberhard Duchstein: Koblenz . Bookstore Reuffel, Koblenz, ISBN 3-9800158-07 .
  3. ^ Theater Koblenz: The house. History and information about the Koblenz Theater. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  4. a b Courtly life on the Middle Rhine under Clemens Wenzeslaus of Saxony. In: Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  5. ^ Franz-Josef Risse, Lothar Spurzem: Parish Church and Parish of St. Mauritius Kärlich. Published by the Catholic Church Community of St. Mauritius Kärlich, Mülheim-Kärlich 2017.
  6. a b c d Reinhard Heydenreuter: Marktoberdorf - electoral summer residence in Ostallgäu . Deutscher Sparkassenverlag, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-09-303837-5 .
  7. Riesling world power Moselle - thanks to a Saxon . In: Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  8. ^ Rhenish history . Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  9. Josef Schmitt: Der Kärlicher Saint . Edited by Winfried Henrichs, Mülheim-Kärlich 1981.
  10. Josef Schmitt: Exciting and at the same time significant days in Kärlich . In: Mülheim-Kärlich , ed. Winfried Henrichs, Mülheim-Kärlich 1981.
  11. ^ Winfried Henrichs: City Chronicle Mülheim-Kärlich . Published by the city of Mülheim-Kärlich, Mülheim-Kärlich 2009.
  12. ^ Website of the Diocese of Augsburg . Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  13. ^ Kurfürstlich-Trierischer Hof- und Statskalender , Koblenz: Kurfürstl. Hofbuchdruckerei, 1790, p. 28 ( )
  14. ^ Rhein-Zeitung Koblenz (rz online) , accessed on March 11, 2010
predecessor Office successor
Johann IX. Philipp von Walderdorff Archbishop and Elector of Trier
Charles Mannay
Bishop of the Napoleonic Diocese of Trier
Johann Theodor of Bavaria Prince-Bishop of Freising
Ludwig Joseph von Welden
Johann Theodor of Bavaria Prince-Bishop of Regensburg
Anton Ignaz von Fugger-Glött
Johann IX. Philipp von Walderdorff Prince Abbot of Prüm
Joseph Ignaz Philipp of Hessen-Darmstadt Prince-Bishop of Augsburg
1768–1803 / 1812
secularized , then Franz Friedrich von Sturmfeder
Anton Ignaz von Fugger-Glött Prince Provost of Ellwangen