Eberhard Ludwig (Württemberg)

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Eberhard Ludwig with his black American wolfhound Melac, around 1720 by an unknown artist

Duke Eberhard Ludwig (born September 18, 1676 in Stuttgart ; † October 31, 1733 in Ludwigsburg ) was the tenth (reigning from 1693) Duke of Württemberg from 1677 to 1733 . He founded absolutism in the Duchy of Württemberg , but was never able to fully implement it due to the resistance of the Württemberg provinces . On the one hand, he reformed the tax system, promoted manufacturing and mining, established new trades by adopting the Huguenots and established a standing army . On the other hand, with his courtly need for representation, which was typical of the Baroque period , he left behind a high mountain of debt.

With the extramarital relationship with his mistress Wilhelmine von Graevenitz, Eberhard Ludwig provoked a state affair. As an experienced commander, he rose to the Reich field marshal of the Holy Roman Empire on. Since he had no male descendant, after his death the reign in Lutheran Württemberg fell to the Catholic branch line Württemberg-Winnental . The Baroque founding of the residential palace and the city ​​of Ludwigsburg goes back to Eberhard Ludwig .

Life until assumption of power (1676–1693)


Eberhard Ludwig was born in Stuttgart on September 18, 1676 . He was the third child of Duke Wilhelm Ludwig von Württemberg and his wife Magdalena Sibylla von Hessen-Darmstadt . As the first-born son, he was destined to be heir to the throne for the Duchy of Württemberg from the start . When his father died on June 23, 1677, the 9-month-old Eberhard Ludwig became Duke of Württemberg. Since he was not yet able to govern himself, the head of the Holy Roman Empire , Emperor Leopold I , appointed Friedrich Karl von Württemberg-Winnental as the chief guardian of the young Eberhard Ludwig on November 27, 1677 . Friedrich Karl was the five years younger brother of the late Duke Wilhelm Ludwig. The emperor appointed Eberhard Ludwig's mother to be co-guardian. She had a say in the upbringing of Eberhard Ludwig, but was subordinate to the guardian Friedrich Karl. In fact, he assumed the position of a ruling prince .


With his court keeping based on the French model, the head guardian consolidated Eberhard Ludwig's absolutist sense of class. A self-confident demeanor and elegant manners were essential in court society in the 17th and 18th centuries in order to reflect one's own rank. But piety was also expected of a future prince. Eberhard Ludwig's mother Sibylla von Hessen-Darmstadt implemented a strictly religious upbringing. A theological textbook of the Duke has survived to this day, the so-called Theologia Ihro Hochfürstliche Durlaucht Eberhardi Ludovici Duke of Württemberg and Teck . In this textbook the Duke was asked questions that required detailed knowledge of the Bible. Eberhard Ludwig received four tutors who taught him Latin, French and Italian, but also religion, geography, history, war science and constitutional law. Eberhard Ludwig learned riding, fencing and dancing from Hofmeister Johann Friedrich von Staffhorst . The future duke was to cultivate a lifelong relationship of trust with him. Staffhorst was even to be promoted to head of the Secret Government Council, the highest state legislative institution.

War of the Palatinate Succession (1688–1697)

Battle zones from 1688/1689: visualized on today's German borders

Eberhard Ludwig's childhood was overshadowed by the so-called War of the Palatinate Succession (1688–1697). Even before that, in the seventies and eighties of the 17th century, in the midst of peace, the French King Louis XIV had incorporated territories belonging to the Holy Roman Empire in Alsace and north of Lorraine to the Eifel into the French kingdom. In the Regensburg armistice of 1684, Emperor Leopold I recognized the French conquests for 20 years. With the renewed armed conflict, the Palatinate War of Succession, Louis XIV wanted to force the emperor to recognize his conquests on a permanent basis. Citing alleged inheritance claims of his sister-in-law Liselotte von der Pfalz , Louis XIV undertook a campaign against the Holy Roman Empire .

After French troops had taken the fortress Philippsburg , Eberhard Ludwig fled from the advancing troops first to the imperial city of Nuremberg and then on to Regensburg , the seat of the Perpetual Diet . The humiliating flight contributed to the fact that, as a duke, despite considerable political resistance, he was interested in maintaining a standing army . However, the 16-year-old Duke was not yet able to assert his own political will, as according to existing law he could only take over the business of government at the age of 18. By mid-December 1688, the French had brought the north of the Duchy of Württemberg under their control and even conquered the ducal capital Stuttgart. In Regensburg, however, Eberhard Ludwig's guardian, Friedrich Karl , succeeded in sending Emperor Leopold I 3,000 soldiers who had previously fought against the Ottomans in Hungary to Stuttgart. The French troops did not allow battle, but withdrew from Stuttgart.

Early coming of age (1693)

The Holy Roman Emperor: Leopold I. Portrait from 1667, Jean Thomas van Yperen

The War of the Palatinate Succession had other consequences for the Duchy of Württemberg, as it accelerated Eberhard Ludwig's accession to power. On September 27, 1692 Friedrich Karl was taken prisoner by the French. Although it was possible to push the French army from Württemberg back to the left bank of the Rhine, Friedrich Karl remained an important bargaining chip for Louis XIV. The French king offered the guardian his release, provided that he guaranteed the neutralization of Württemberg's foreign policy. The military defection of Württemberg from Emperor Leopold I would have opened the way to Bavaria and Austria for the French army .

The Württemberg state estates , representatives of the bourgeoisie and the Protestant clergy, now recognized the opportunity to depose the hated guardian. Friedrich Karl had repeatedly emphasized the primacy of ducal power over the estates and had not gone into the dissolution of the standing army. For this reason, the estates now asked Eberhard Ludwig's mother Magdalena Sibylla von Hessen-Darmstadt to ask the emperor to declare her son of age. This was tantamount to a coup. However, Magdalena Sibylla also pursued an interest in getting rid of her most important political rival. In the absence of Friedrich Karl she had been able to pursue a policy of reconciliation with the estates. A return of the head guardian to power would have ended their political influence. Magdalena Sibylla informed Emperor Leopold I by letter about the neutrality negotiations between Friedrich Charles and France. Thereupon the emperor informed her on January 10, 1693 that he had declared Eberhard Ludwig to be of age. A copy of the certificate of age was attached to the letter. With this document, Eberhard Ludwig was able to officially take over government as Duke of Württemberg.

Eberhard Ludwig as the ruling duke (1693–1733)

Early reign (1693-1700)


When he took over the government, Eberhard Ludwig faced immense foreign and domestic political challenges. Although the counts and dukes of Württemberg had elevated their land to the most important small state in the southwest of the Holy Roman Empire through a clever marriage policy , Württemberg was geopolitically located between Habsburg territories such as Freiburg im Breisgau and the Kingdom of France . Its location between the two major European powers, Austria and France, repeatedly made Württemberg a theater of war. As a result of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), the Palatine War of Succession and later the Spanish War of Succession , the duchy was marked by severe destruction and depopulation, which set the state back in its economic development. Most of the 340,000 inhabitants of Württemberg were penniless farmers who still operated the medieval three-field economy and were regularly affected by famine. Few cities like Stuttgart and Tübingen belonged to Württemberg ; Esslingen and Heilbronn were imperial cities .

One of the domestic political problems was that the country was a dualistic corporate state . Dualistic means here that two independent forces (the duke on the one hand and the Württemberg estates on the other) shared power in the state and pursued opposing political goals. Since the Tübingen Treaty of 1514 , the estates, as representatives of the Protestant clergy and the upper class, had the right to tax permits. With this leverage they were able to exert significant influence on the politics of the Württemberg dukes.

Government practice

The young duke was not prepared for the immense political challenges that awaited him as a duke. Although he had received a good upbringing, neither his guardian nor his mother had introduced him to the real business of government. The 16-year-old Duke lacked the discipline to work through files or to delegate reforms. This fact favored the establishment of capable favorites of the duke in the Privy Council, the highest legislative body. The court master Johann Friedrich von Staffhorst was a particularly important support . At first, Magdalena Sibylla von Hessen-Darmstadt tried to influence the Privy Council, but Eberhard Ludwig ultimately pushed her to the political sidelines. Eberhard Ludwig only fulfilled his duties of representation reliably. The generous support of music and theater served to demonstrate his political affiliation to the civilized circle of the nobility. Since on the one hand the Duke left the administration of his country almost completely in the hands of the Privy Council and on the other hand the courtly culture was promoted in this way, the French envoy named Eberhard Ludwig's first characteristic trait of superficiality.

Marriage (1697)

The wife: Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach , year and artist unknown

The marriage of the already 21-year-old Eberhard Ludwig was planned by the duchess mother Magdalena Sibylla of Hessen-Darmstadt . Usually princes were married at the age of 16 or 17. From the point of view of contemporaries, Eberhard Ludwig's marriage took place unusually late, but was inevitable for political reasons. Magdalena Sibylla decided on the 16-year-old Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach , the sister of the later sovereign Karl III. Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach : Geographically, the Duchy of Württemberg bordered the Margraviate of Baden-Durlach . A marriage connection could thus strengthen the territorial position of the Duke of Württemberg in the south of the Holy Roman Empire. Both the House of Württemberg and the House of Baden-Durlach belonged to the oldest dynasties in Europe, which preserved the high esteem of both families. Both dynasties were also closely linked by a marriage policy that went back several centuries. The marriage was also intended to maintain the traditional alliance between Baden-Durlach and Württemberg, but above all to enable another heir to the throne, who guaranteed the continued existence of Württemberg. In April 1697 the engagement was celebrated in Basel, the war-related exile of the margraves of Baden-Durlach. During the festivities, the City Council of Basel organized a meal in honor of Eberhard Ludwig, and the bridal couple received congratulations and gifts from the dignitaries. The wedding itself took place on May 6, 1697 at 8:00 p.m. in a small group. Only the parents and siblings, four heads of the city of Basel, a nobleman from the French Auvergne and a few cavaliers were present. After the banquet, the company danced the courtly minuet , for which four treble violins played. Weeks in advance, Eberhard Ludwig had organized the entry of his bride into Stuttgart with great precision. To greet them, he set up a bodyguard on horseback, which was positioned in the palace gardens. After moving into the Hauptstätter Tor, 40 to 50 men had to greet the Duchess. Since the wife was too exhausted from the long carriage ride, the state estates and city delegates should not be allowed to attend until the next day. The arrival of Johanna Elisabeth was to be announced from every pulpit in the duchy. On May 15, 1697, she marched into Stuttgart with 44 horses. However, the relationship between Eberhard Ludwig and Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach continued to deteriorate.

Peace of Rijswijk (1697)

Obelisk commemorating the conclusion of the Rijswijk Peace Treaty

The War of the Palatinate Succession continued until October 1697. One of the reasons Louis XIV held on to this war for so long was because he wanted to defuse the area on the right bank of the Rhine from Philippsburg and Strasbourg. For this purpose, medieval city walls and castles, protecting troops from approaching French positions on the Rhine, were to be removed. A free field of fire should enable the French army to bring the imperial princes on the Rhine into military and political dependence on France. Württemberg towns such as Marbach , Backnang , Großbottwar and Beilstein were burned down by the French soldiers. The looting, contribution payments and pillage contributed to the spread of epidemics and food shortages. The peace of Rijswijk on October 30, 1697 put an end to the misery of the war . Eberhard Ludwig sent the Secret Councilors Johann Georg von Kulpis and Anton Günther von Heespen to the negotiations. On behalf of the Duke of Württemberg, who did not personally take part in the negotiations, they were supposed to demand the return of the city of Strasbourg to the Holy Roman Empire and French compensation of 8 million guilders. The emperor and the Catholic imperial estates refused to do this out of consideration for the fastest possible peace agreement. After all, Eberhard Ludwig got the County of Mömpelgard back, a Württemberg exclave that was completely enclosed by French territory.

Parliament building of the Württemberg state estates in Stuttgart, made before 1900 by August Federer

First Landtag and conflict with the estates (1698–1699)

In the second half of the 1690s, Eberhard Ludwig became more aware of his responsibility as a duke. Especially with regard to the War of the Palatinate Succession , he wanted to ensure a more efficient defense of the country. Since the French conquest of Strasbourg and Alsace , Württemberg lacked an important buffer zone. A well-trained standing army was therefore essential for the duke, but the Württemberg estates urged him to forego additional taxes in times of peace. At the time of the War of the Palatinate Succession, the Supreme Guardian Friedrich Karl had already asked for the 30th part of grain and wine yields to be paid for the financing of a standing army. Now, however, there was peace and the estates demanded not only the dissolution of the tax, but also of the entire army. They threatened the duke with no longer wanting to pay the costs of the Württemberg army. This made it necessary for a state parliament, i.e. a joint meeting of the duke and the estates.

A putto paints the portrait of Duke Eberhard Ludwig, mural by Luca Antonio Colomba in Ludwigsburg Palace, 1711

On September 29, 1698, Eberhard Ludwig convened the state parliament. On this occasion the duke wanted to show the estates that he did not recognize them as political partners with equal rights. For this purpose he used a courtly splendor that is typical for him. In the courtyard of the Old Palace , the main residence in Stuttgart, guardians in elegant uniforms standing in line received the representatives of the estates. The Duke awaited them from a raised podium covered with precious carpets. His chair was covered with red velvet . At the common table, too, Eberhard Ludwig symbolically expressed that he claimed a higher rank than the estates. The Duke dined - which had never been there before - at his own table exclusively with his family members. Shortly afterwards, and not the estates, gave the signal for the board to be suddenly dismantled. On October 13, 1698, the estates rejected the Duke's demand to maintain the standing army, citing the war debts that had still not been paid off. Johann Heinrich Sturm , the chief consultant of the estates, also criticized the fact that the Secret Council was only subject to the orders of the Duke. In fact, Eberhard Ludwig was the first Duke of Württemberg to fill positions on the Privy Council exclusively with favorites he liked and thus deprived the estates of an important opportunity to influence. Since Eberhard Ludwig could not reach an agreement, he dissolved the state parliament on January 31, 1699. It should remain the only state parliament in his reign. Eberhard Ludwig raised a military tax without the consent of the estates. When some representatives of the estates then turned to the emperor to have the military tax withdrawn, Eberhard Ludwig managed to intimidate the estates by threatening to carry out arrests. At the same time, in his function as summus episcopus or as head of the Wuerttemberg church, he passed a law according to which Wuerttemberg clergy had to take an oath when they were appointed not to appeal to authorities outside the duchy. In this way Eberhard Ludwig was able to block complaints from the estates to the emperor ahead of time. The standing army was not disbanded either.

Admission of Waldensians and Huguenots (from 1699)

Document of intolerance under Louis XIV: The Edict of Fontainebleau

One of the greatest achievements of Eberhard Ludwig's policy was the admission of Reformed or Calvinist religious refugees from the Kingdom of France and the Duchy of Savoy . As a Catholic monarch, Louis XIV of France strove not only for political unity but also for religious unity of the state. A gradual disenfranchisement of the French Protestants, the so-called Huguenots , followed from 1679 open persecution. Dragoons of the French king occupied the houses of the Huguenots in order to convert them to Catholicism by force. On October 18, 1685, Louis XIV proclaimed the Edict of Fontainebleau . In twelve short paragraphs, the edict resolved the destruction of Protestant churches, the prohibition of private church services and the galley penalty for men and imprisonment for women who refused to change their denomination. Faced with the loss of their civil rights, many Huguenots tried to flee. In 1686, under pressure from Louis XIV, the Duke of Savoy, Viktor Amadeus II , banned the Reformed Confession in the Waldensian valleys in Piedmont . The so-called Waldensians were expelled from the duchy in 1687 if they did not convert to Catholicism.

The acceptance of the Huguenots and Waldensians in Württemberg had long been hindered by the strict Evangelical-Lutheran stance of the estates, the church, the secret council and the guardian Friedrich Karl. Inwardly, Eberhard Ludwig did not tolerate the Calvinism of the religious refugees either. However, in order to ensure the rapid reconstruction of his country, which had been destroyed by the Thirty Years' War and the War of the Palatinate Succession , he considered tolerating it for reasons of state . Such a policy of peuplication or a princely settlement policy was quite typical in the 17th century. In order to lure Waldensians and Huguenots into his duchy, Eberhard Ludwig resorted to privileges. In a privilege dated September 4, 1699, he promised freedom of religion, the public use of the French language and the establishment of independent communities administered by the religious refugees themselves. Schultheiße and local councilors were allowed to be elected by the Waldensians themselves. According to the Duke's order, they did not have to organize themselves into guilds for the time being , which amounted to a temporary freedom of trade. 2000 religious refugees were admitted in this way in 1699. The refugees introduced the potato in Württemberg. New professions emerged such as watchmaker, silk weaver, wig maker, hat maker and perfumery dealer. These luxury goods found rich buyers, especially at the Stuttgart and later Ludwigsburg courts. For further funding, Eberhard Ludwig issued an edict in 1720 that provided for a Waldensian deputation. Through this organization the Waldensians were able to regulate their religious and cultural affairs until 1823. Although outside of Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg, i. H. Without direct support from the ducal court, due to the limited technical and financial framework, no significant economic upswing developed, the admission of the Huguenots and Waldensians was a significant gain for the duchy in the long term.

Introduction of the Gregorian calendar (1700)

From 1582 to 1699, two time counts were common in the Holy Roman Empire ; the Julian and Gregorian calendars . Since the reform of the flawed Julian calendar by Pope Gregory XIII. The Lutheran Duchy of Württemberg adhered to the Julian calendar, while the Gregorian calendar was introduced as early as 1582 in Catholic Upper Austria , which bordered Württemberg in the south. This resulted in a difference of ten calendar days between the two territories around 1700. In order to end the temporal confusion, Eberhard Ludwig issued a general rescript on November 14, 1699, according to which the time counting was to be adapted to the current state of the natural sciences. In 1700 he recognized the resolution of the Perpetual Reichstag in Regensburg and officially introduced the Gregorian calendar in Württemberg. February 18 was immediately followed by March 1, 1700. There was now a uniform calendar throughout the Holy Roman Empire.

Period of the Spanish War of Succession (1701–1714)

In his military career, Eberhard Ludwig was drawn into a conflict between the major European powers at the turn of the century, the so-called War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). On November 1, 1700, King Charles II of Spain, who came from the Habsburg dynasty, died . In his will, Philip V of Anjou , the grandson of his brother-in-law Louis XIV of France , was named as his successor. Dynastically, however, the Austrian Habsburgs under Emperor Leopold I saw themselves as the only legitimate successors to the Spanish throne. After Louis XIV installed Philip V as Spanish king and took possession of the Spanish possession of Milan , Leopold I sent an army to northern Italy with which he began the War of the Spanish Succession. In the Hague Great Alliance of September 7, 1701, Austria secured itself with the support of Wilhelm III. of Orange the military support of the Netherlands and England.

Like the Franconian and Swabian Imperial Circles , Eberhard Ludwig initially wanted to remain neutral in this conflict between the great powers; they had had too bad experiences with the Emperor in the Peace of Rijswijk . Eberhard Ludwig was still annoyed that the peace treaty had not addressed his essential demands. However, when he heard of negotiations between the Bavarian Elector Maximilian II Emanuel and Louis XIV, he feared another French march through his duchy. In order to tie the duke firmly to himself, Emperor Leopold I appointed him imperial field marshal lieutenant general in May 1702 . At that time, however, Eberhard Ludwig had not yet played an important military role. In order to still gain military prestige, Eberhard Ludwig transferred the business of government in Stuttgart to the Privy Council in June 1702 so that he could fully devote himself to the campaign. A few days after the successful conquest of Landau Fortress by Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm of Baden-Baden , the war situation in Württemberg changed: Since the Bavarian Elector Maximilian II Emanuel, as feared, entered into an alliance with Ludwig XIV on September 10, 1702, Württemberg fell between Bavaria and France in a strategically difficult position. Should the French troops reach Bavaria, they could have used it as a deployment area in the direction of Vienna. At this point it could be decisive for the war to prevent the unification of the Bavarian and French armies. To protect his country, Eberhard Ludwig increased his armed forces by a 1,000-strong country militia made up of volunteers. In order to be able to maintain an even larger army in view of the constant threat to Württemberg, he concluded a subsidy treaty with the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands . The States General took over the costs of 15,000 thalers for 4,000 men, a grenadier regiment, two infantry regiments and a dragoon regiment. This eased the duke's precarious financial situation at times. The turning point in the war was heralded on June 13, 1704 in Großheppach . There the three most important military leaders (the Duke of Marlborough , Prince Eugene of Savoy and Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm) met to discuss how to proceed. Eberhard Ludwig was also present, but was not included in the deliberations. In the Second Battle of Höchstädt , Eberhard Ludwig led part of the cavalry on the right wing on August 13, 1704 . There he contributed to the decisive victory over the Bavarian and French troops. The Bavarian elector had to flee to France and the threat to Württemberg was averted. Eberhard Ludwig also took part personally in several battles on the Upper Rhine. After the death of Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden-Baden, the Emperor appointed the Duke on June 4, 1707 Field Marshal General of the Swabian Empire . Eberhard Ludwig did not take part in the great battles of the next few years in northern Italy and the Netherlands. The thankless task of keeping watch on the south-western border of the empire fell to him, which was not always possible given the weakness of the available units. In the following years, Eberhard Ludwig completed a brilliant military career that led to his appointment as commander in chief of the Rhine Army.

Change of the coat of arms (1705)

In 1705, Eberhard Ludwig had changes made to the Württemberg coat of arms in order to underline his claims to an increase in rank to elector . The reason for this was the dispute with the Electorate of Hanover over the leadership of the Reichssturmfahne . This high military badge of the Holy Roman Empire was originally worn by a mounted knight during the war, the penultimate counts of Markgröningen . In 1336 the county of Markgröningen became a fiefdom of the Counts of Württemberg, the Reichssturmfahne thus passed into their possession. At the Diet of Worms of 1495 , this office was permanently confirmed to the Dukes of Württemberg. The dukes of Württemberg used the imperial storm flag relatively indistinctly in their coat of arms until 1705 (see illustration coat of arms 1; black imperial eagle on a white background). Only since Hanover's electoral dignity, newly created in 1692, was traditionally linked to the assumption of an ore office, a purely symbolic court office at the emperor , Ernst August von Hanover demanded the imperial storm flag for himself. However, Eberhard Ludwig managed to assert this dignity against Hanover. The Württemberg coat of arms was renewed so that no one would question his claim to the title, which would put him in close proximity to electoral dignity (see illustration, coat of arms 2). The four large fields of the coat of arms, each representing a territory of the Duchy of Württemberg, moved up, although the content motifs were not changed. The only exception was the red-clad " Heidenkopf " (bottom right), which stood for the town of Heidenheim an der Brenz , which had belonged to Württemberg since 1448. The city's heraldry did not appear in the previous coat of arms . The barbs (bottom left) stood for the county of Mömpelgard , which was ruled by a dynastic branch line of the duke until 1723. The eagle (above right) served as a symbol for the imperial storm flag and rule over the county of Markgröningen. The yellow and black diamond pattern (top left) stood for the Duchy of Teck , which fell to Württemberg in 1495. The family coat of arms of the dynasty, which symbolically held the various territories of the duchy together, was arranged between the four large fields.

Beginning of the relationship with Wilhelmine von Grävenitz (1706)

Alleged portrait of Wilhelmine von Grävenitz , oil miniature around 1721 by Elisabeth Quitter, the only portrait of the mistress that was not destroyed after her fall

In his marriage to Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach for reasons of state , Eberhard Ludwig did not find the love he had hoped for, which he insisted on. Johanna Elisabeth did not correspond to the ideal of beauty of the time, was often ill and adhered to a strict Christian view of life. Hardly after the heir to the throne was fathered with Friedrich Ludwig in 1698, he neglected his self-confident wife in favor of changing love affairs. These relationships with his mistresses usually did not last long. Only Wilhelmine von Grävenitz managed, with a brief interruption, to bind the duke to her for 25 years. The 20-year-old came from a Grävenitz Altmark noble family. Her grandfather and initially also her father had held high court and state offices in the service of the Mecklenburg dukes in Schwerin before the family entered the Württemberg service in 1706. The most powerful man in Württemberg after the Duke, Court Marshal Johann Friedrich von Staffhorst , immediately recognized the beautiful and intellectually gifted Wilhelmine von Grävenitz as a tool with which he could distract the Duke from his government business. The Duke, employed by the mistress, would then have given him, Staffhorst, a free hand in politics. In order to arouse the Duke's interest in the Grävenitz as quickly as possible, Staffhorst ordered his wife to equip the Grävenitz with the necessary cloakroom and to prepare her for the manners in the old palace in Stuttgart . Eberhard Ludwig was quickly enthusiastic about the tall woman with her gallant French, her singing skills and her high level of education. The Duke was also impressed by the diplomatically skillful manner in which Wilhelmine stayed out of the tensions of the competing courtiers and was able to retain groups of people. Above all, however, she worked her way consistently into files that concerned the administrative and government affairs of Eberhard Ludwig. With this knowledge she could serve the duke as close political advisor. Staffhorst even had to fear for his dominant position at court because of the ambitious mistress. Instead of a short-lived sexual relationship, he had unintentionally established a real love affair, which now largely determined the duke's political decisions until 1731.

Grävenitz State Affair (1707–1710)

In order to assure the mistress of his permanent recognition, Eberhard Ludwig planned in the summer of 1707 a double revaluation of his mistress; once through marriage and once through an increase in rank to imperial countess . The duke initially kept the church marriage secret, which is why the date of the wedding is unknown. Pastor Johann Jakob Pfähler , who at least gave his blessing to a dubious second marriage or bigamy , was promoted to a better-paid church office by Eberhard Ludwig. Eberhard Ludwig was aware that if his second marriage became known, the population, which is firmly anchored in the Lutheran-Protestant faith, would meet with outrage. Even worse, however, would have been the protest of the Württemberg estates and the emperor in Vienna, who could jointly force the duke to abdicate in favor of the dynastic branch line. In the perception of the time, the marriage to Wilhelmine von Grävenitz was not the Duke's private affair, but could provoke a state crisis and damage the reputation of the dynasty. Because of his services in the War of the Spanish Succession , which lasted until 1714, Eberhard Ludwig was initially able to hope for the emperor's goodwill. Eberhard Ludwig had asked the emperor in a letter to raise Graevitz to imperial countess, a dignity that he himself could not bestow. On November 13, 1707, Eberhard Ludwig gave up the secrecy of his marriage. He wanted to emphasize the full legality of his marriage; after all, Landgrave Philip I of Hesse and Elector Karl Ludwig von der Pfalz had already lived in bigamy. Both cases had been tolerated by the emperor. In addition, constitutional lawyers at the University of Halle had claimed that the prince's position above the law was automatically transferred to their mistresses (in Württemberg bigamy was the death penalty for the common population). From the point of view of Eberhard Ludwig, his second marriage was legally inviolable. First, at the end of December 1707, an imperial diploma arrived in Stuttgart, which upgraded the rank of Grävenitz in accordance with the ducal request. As he believed he would get backing from the emperor in matters of marriage, the duke had his court marshal Johann Friedrich von Staffhorst dismissed from all his offices. Due to public protest throughout the duchy, Staffhorst had asked the duke to revise the marriage with the Graevitz.

Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach , the humiliated wife of Eberhard Ludwig, turned to her father and ruling Margrave Friedrich VII. Magnus von Baden-Durlach as well as to Emperor Joseph I. He also won the support of Landgrave Karl von in the matter Hessen-Kassel and Duke Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel . Eberhard Ludwig was unable to cope with the pressure of the imperial princes and the emperor, who asked him to annul his marriage with Graevenitz. In the event of further resistance, the emperor could legally have pronounced imperial ban and dismissal over him, which Eberhard Ludwig did not want to risk. On June 18, 1708, the second marriage was declared invalid by a specially appointed marriage court. On December 28, 1708, Countess Grävenitz finally left Württemberg to go into exile in Switzerland. When Eberhard Ludwig and Johanna Elisabeth met in March 1710 , the marital conflict had been settled for the time being.

Foundation of the Commerce Council (1709)

Like most princes of the 17th century, Eberhard Ludwig based his economic policy on the French model. With a state-controlled economic policy, so-called mercantilism , they tried to increase the efficiency of their countries. The measures included the export of domestic products and the limitation of the importation of foreign goods, e.g. B. through tariffs. According to contemporary ideas, the money would have remained in the country's economy and would have increased the purchasing power of the population. The development of so-called manufactories went hand in hand with mercantilism . In contrast to the crafts that had hitherto been organized mainly in guilds , different professional groups were brought together in order to produce certain finished products in one place and in larger quantities.

Eberhard Ludwig founded the first German Council of Commerce on September 13, 1709 to enable the state to intervene in economic life as effectively as possible. The committee was supposed to advise, establish and manage factories, mines, workhouses, post offices and roads. Many economic policy measures in the Duke's reign were initiated by the Kommerzienrat, but were supported and implemented by Eberhard Ludwig. This includes, above all, the promotion of viticulture, which before the Thirty Years War (1618–1648) was Württemberg's main export to Bavaria and Austria. Severe penalties were imposed on wine counterfeiters, in one case even the death penalty. An edict of the duke prohibited the pressing of apple and pear cider because this drink reduced the consumption of wine. According to the regulation, apples and pears can only be processed into jam.

Negotiations with France (from 1711)

Images: Ranks raised at the time of Eberhard Ludwig

In the War of the Spanish Succession , Eberhard Ludwig had two great ambitions; firstly, a territorial expansion and secondly, an upgrading of his rank either as Elector or even as “King of Franconia”. During the fighting against the Bavarian elector in 1704, he had occupied the Wiesensteig dominion on the Eastern Alb, which was surrounded by parts of Württemberg . He hoped to get the Bavarian territory as a reward for the support of the emperor in later peace negotiations. To secure his claim to Wiesensteig, Eberhard Ludwig tried to conclude alliances with Prussia and the Electoral Palatinate . With their help, Eberhard Ludwig wanted to enforce the return of Strasbourg and Alsace, as in the War of the Palatinate Succession .

The ambitious desire to upgrade its rank was due to the fact that Hanover was able to become an electorate in 1692 and Prussia to become a kingdom in 1701. Both received this honor from the emperor in gratitude for their military support against France. Since the electors chose the emperor, they were able to make important political demands on him in advance. As elector, they enjoyed greater sovereignty, which could have prevented external interference such as in the Graevitz affair. A higher title of ruler not only served prestige, but could considerably expand the freedom of action of an imperial prince, which was restricted by imperial law. Therefore, Eberhard Ludwig was even prepared to change the fronts for such an increase in rank and bet on the French King Louis XIV . This tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to continue to gain ground by trying to detach imperial princes from the union of the empire. For this, Louis XIV was dependent on concessions from his possible allies. He or his negotiators repeatedly made the duke an offer to procure him the elector's hat and Swabian imperial cities. However, since France no longer had any notable successes against the Reich, Eberhard Ludwig soon withdrew his negotiators. Now everything depended on the outcome of the forthcoming peace negotiations, which took place in 1714.

Return of the Grävenitz (1711)

The exile of the ducal mistress did not last long. This is mainly due to the clever strategy of the Württemberg legation councilor Johann Heinrich Schütz. He suggested to Eberhard Ludwig to marry Wilhelmine von Graevenitz , who had now been appointed Countess of Urach , in a marriage of convenience to his first minister, the widower Johann Franz Ferdinand Graf von Würben and Freudenthal , who was plagued by guilty trials . Under the guise of this fictitious marriage, Eberhard Ludwig had his lover brought back from exile in Switzerland. Margrave Charles III. Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach , the brother of Eberhard Ludwig's actual wife, was ready to recognize the affront because of the danger of another French invasion. Emperor Joseph I , who contributed to the escalation of the Graevenitz affair, died on April 17, 1711. His successor Charles VI. took a more tolerant attitude towards Eberhard Ludwig's marital problem. Due to these changed external conditions and numerous negotiations, Schütz was able to overcome almost all resistance. In gratitude, he was appointed to the Privy Council by Eberhard Ludwig in 1712, and in 1717 he was even elevated to the status of a baron . At court, Eberhard Ludwig now demonstratively confessed to his mistress the representative role of a duchess. In Ludwigsburg Palace Countess resided from 1715 in the apartment, which actually for Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach was provided. Again she took on the role of co-regent and advisor to the duke. It can be considered certain that Eberhard Ludwig hardly made a decision without first hearing her opinion. At the same time, he demonstrated the absolutist claim that his will and his favor alone could decide on the rise and fall of the state apparatus. At the insistence of his mistress, Eberhard Ludwig even weakened the Privy Council, the highest government agency. The Secret Council was formally obliged to the Württemberg estates and criticized the lavish court rulings of the Duke. Under the pretext that he could not constantly travel from his residence in Ludwigsburg to the meetings of the Secret Council in Stuttgart, he founded a conference ministry in 1717, which was subordinate to the Duke alone. The Secret Council was increasingly relegated to a function subordinate to the Conference Ministry. The Conference Ministry was thus an important step towards the desired princely absolutism . To better control his ministers, the Duke ordered in a cabinet order of May 4, 1724 that the secret trainee lawyer and the Assessor of the Conference Ministry had to be in the Duke's cabinet room on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They had to inform Eberhard Ludwig about all government matters and advise him, and the Countess von Würben was also present.

Making the Neckar navigable (1712–1714)

Duke Eberhard Ludwig and his advisors tried to implement the plan to make the Neckar navigable , which Duke Christoph had already pursued in the middle of the 16th century . Because of the resistance of the imperial city Heilbronn , which was independent of Württemberg , the work could mainly only be carried out on Württemberg soil. Since mills and other structures protruded into the Neckar near Heilbronn, the ship travelers were to be forced to stop in the city. Because of the ultimately unsuccessful negotiations with Heilbronn and Esslingen, work could not begin until 1712. From 1713, the route between Heilbronn and Cannstatt could be released, although it remained. Eberhard Ludwig ordered in 1716 that at least two market ships had to operate on the river per week. Shipping on the Neckar turned out to be comparatively unprofitable despite all the efforts of the Kommerzienrat and the Duke.

Introduction of income tax (1713)

In order to finance the ever-growing court and the army, Eberhard Ludwig was dependent on more efficient taxation. The so-called Third Tax Instruction issued by the Duke on January 24, 1713 stipulated that the amount of tax was to be determined according to the respective income or turnover. Previously, the population groups that were politically more influential through the Württemberg estates, with larger land holdings and incomes, had to pay less taxes. Eberhard Ludwig, however, was only interested in a more equitable distribution of taxes, but the increase in his income was much more important.

Peace of Baden (1714)

On March 7, 1714, the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of France ended the War of the Spanish Succession in the Peace of Rastatt , but without making any agreements regarding the imperial princes . This only happened on September 7, 1714 in the Peace of Baden . Even now, the emperor did not comply with Eberhard Ludwig's demands: The duke had to return the rule of Wiesensteig to Bavaria, renounce any increase in his title and acknowledge that Alsace remained with France. Thus all of the Duke's ambitions in the war failed.

Peace period (1714-1733)

Relapse of County Mömpelgard (1723)

Mömpelgard Castle (French Château de Montbéliard)

Some parts of the Duchy of Württemberg were outside the state borders, such as the county of Mömpelgard , which was enclosed by the French Free County of Burgundy . A dynastic branch of Eberhard Ludwig ruled there. However, his cousin Leopold Eberhard von Württemberg-Mömpelgard died on February 25, 1723 without leaving a legitimate successor. The sons who were born out of wedlock and therefore not entitled to inheritance still claimed the government. Eberhard Ludwig had to react if he wanted to unite the County of Mömpelgard with his duchy. He sent his Prime Minister Count Friedrich Wilhelm von Grävenitz , the brother of his mistress, to the capital Mömpelgard . Since the conservative rural population of the county rejected the mistress regiment of their late sovereign, they could easily be won over by the imperial count. The armed farmers finally drove out the illegitimate son of Leopold Erhard. Shortly afterwards, Eberhard Ludwig set out for the county with a large retinue to be paid homage to the Mömpelgarder subjects. With this symbolic act, in which the subjects swore allegiance and the duke guaranteed protection in return, he took possession of the territory. Eberhard Ludwig had thus succeeded in his only territorial expansion. This success was of course very fragile, because unlike in the rest of the duchy he had to reckon with the fact that the self-confident population could quickly ally with the French king against him. Eberhard Ludwig therefore did not touch the extensive self-government of the cities in Mömpelgard.

The Prussian host: Friedrich Wilhelm I , portrait created after 1733, artist unknown

Journey and stay at the Prussian court (1731)

In order to be able to pursue a more independent policy towards the Archduchy of Austria , Eberhard Ludwig was dependent on the support of the rising Protestant supremacy in the empire, the Kingdom of Prussia . But there were also close family ties to the Prussian royal house. The elaborate passenger train was supposed to reflect the wishes of Eberhard Ludwig according to his high rank: On May 11th, 1731 the Duke set out for the Prussian court in six carriages, each pulled by six stallions. This had a symbolic meaning, since only kings were entitled to eight horses. Eberhard Ludwig presented himself as a sovereign who was hardly behind kings. The last two carriages were used solely to transport cloakrooms, luggage and four servants. Behind the carriages followed, riding on horses, again countless servants such as cooks, valets and gun wrenches. The Duke was received by King Friedrich Wilhelm I in Potsdam . The Prussian monarch honored his guest with hunting events, balls and soldiers' marches. After a two-week stay, Eberhard Ludwig, who was in poor health, began the arduous return journey. The visit to Potsdam and Berlin was the last trip of the 55-year-old Duke.

Denominational succession problem (1731)

The Hereditary Prince Couple: Friedrich Ludwig and Henriette Marie , portrait from 1716, Antoine Pesne
Duke Eberhard von Württemberg banishes his son , painting by Ary Scheffer (1851)

With Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach, Eberhard Ludwig had only one son: Friedrich Ludwig was supposed to guarantee the continuation of the Stuttgart dynasty line. To this end, Eberhard Ludwig had his 18-year-old son with the great-niece of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I marry. In fact, Hereditary Princess Henriette Marie gave birth to a son named Eberhard Friedrich on August 4, 1718. Because of the high infant mortality rate, the succession to the throne was only apparently secured for two generations. The infant was granted only 563 days. In the mid-1720s, his father also began to be ailing. He suffered from severe coughing fits and kept losing weight. Eberhard Ludwig showed little empathy for his seriously ill son. In letters he repeatedly urged him to have sexual intercourse. He reminded Henriette Marie of her divine obligation to give birth to an heir to the throne - in vain. Eberhard Ludwig had to realize that the Catholic branch of his cousin Karl Alexander could rule the Evangelical Lutheran Duchy in the foreseeable future. Since the Duke and Wuerttemberg subjects would belong to different denominations, the estates feared a re-Catholicization of Wuerttemberg on the basis of the Augsburg Religious Peace of 1555. However, the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 already had the unofficial principle of the Augsburg Religious Peace " cuius regio, eius religio " - whose country, whose Religion - according to which the sovereign had been able to determine the denomination of the subjects - suspended and instead wrote down the territorial denomination status of the "normal year" 1624 in the Holy Roman Empire . In terms of imperial law, re-Catholicization was ruled out. On April 24, 1731, Eberhard Ludwig declared that he wanted to separate from both his mistress and his wife. He wanted to remarry so that he could still show an heir to the throne. He initially refused to reconcile with his wife Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach to his perplexed ministers, because he still wrote to his wife as a “punishment imposed by God” on him. The age of his wife supported this decision by the duke. At the age of 51, pregnancy was hardly expected from her. On the other hand, a final divorce from Johanna Elisabeth could alienate the Margrave of Baden-Durlach, a strategically important political partner for the Duchy of Württemberg. Eberhard Ludwig was also known at the royal courts for his scandalous love life. For this reason it was not possible to establish a new marriage relationship. If he wanted to prevent Karl Alexander's accession to the throne, he would ultimately have to make up with Johanna Elisabeth. On June 30, 1731, Eberhard Ludwig and Johanna Elisabeth agreed on a reconciliation treaty. On November 23, 1731, the 32-year-old Friedrich Ludwig collapsed at the lunch table and died that same evening. Ludwig Eberhard had his mistress of many years, Wilhelmine von Graevenitz, now Countess von Würben, imprisoned at Hohenurach Fortress . She was only released in the spring of 1733. In April 1733 she left Württemberg for good.

Introduction of the new criminal procedure code (1732)

Eberhard Ludwig, created before 1733, artist unknown

The code of criminal procedure issued by Eberhard Ludwig on April 4, 1732 was based on the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina of 1532, which was no longer up to date. It regulated the prosecution of criminals and the preliminary investigation of criminal offenses. For this purpose, cruel forms of torture were expressly intended as a means of judicial truth-finding. Eberhard Ludwig viewed poaching , an interference with the noble privilege of hunting, as a particularly serious crime . Because of the frequent crop failures, farmers also occasionally hunted game. In order to contain this, Eberhard Ludwig signed a contract with the Republic of Venice , which enabled him to sentence poachers to galley penalties and to hand them over to the Venetian authorities for execution. The Wuerttemberg people sentenced to galley service usually died of exhaustion before they were allowed to return.

Debt and function of the court

With expenses for the construction of the residential palace in Ludwigsburg, the standing army and the greatly expanded ducal central authorities, Eberhard Ludwig expanded the economic performance of his duchy by far. From 1714 to 1733, the court alone devoured a quarter of government spending. For comparison: With Louis XIV. In 1678 the court made up “only” 23% of the state expenditure. In 1775, 42 years after the death of Eberhard Ludwig, the unpaid mountain of debts of the deceased amounted to one million guilders. However, high national debt was not an isolated phenomenon in the Baroque era, because imperial princes like Eberhard Ludwig were spurred on by a cultural competition. The rule thesis applied by the sociologist Norbert Elias to Louis XIV, that the court had the task of domesticated the nobility by being involved in the monarch's bureaucracy and army, can only be transferred to Württemberg to a limited extent. In Württemberg there was no real nobility worth mentioning, but by promoting noble families “foreign” or not from Württemberg at his court, the duke tried to establish a political counterweight to the estates dominated by the bourgeoisie, depending on his favor . The Conference Ministry, which replaced the Secret Council as the highest government organ, was now occupied only by nobles who owed their calling and position to the Duke alone. At the end of Eberhard Ludwig's reign, the influence of the estates was clearly weakened, but not completely broken.

Death (1733)

Laying out of Eberhard Ludwig, year and artist unknown

Eberhard Ludwig left no successor until his death. Although he spread rumors of his wife's pregnancy in 1732, this was solely due to his wishful thinking. The doctors had to make their uncertain diagnosis without a palpation examination. Only urine samples and the external impression were available to them from the 52-year-old Duchess. On August 12, 1732, the Duke ordered the fortress commanders Hohentübingen, Hohentwiel , Urach and Neuffen to prepare fireworks for the imminent birth of his wife. Sufficient saltpetre and powder should be kept ready. On August 23, 1732, he gave detailed instructions for baptism. It was only when the nurses who had been recruited to ask him to leave the court that the duke realized that the main dynastic line would die out with him. The Duke's state of health quickly went downhill. On October 31, 1733, he died of a stroke . The Württemberg throne passed to Karl Alexander from the Württemberg-Winnental branch line.

Culture and art

Foundation of the Hubertus Order

On November 2, 1702, Eberhard Ludwig founded the first Württemberg order, the Hubertus Order. The knightly community was named after the patron saint of the hunt, the holy bishop Hubertus of Liège , and was intended to raise the rank of the duke. However, only regional princes such as the Margrave of Baden-Durlach, the Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and the Margrave of Bayreuth joined the order. Otherwise, the award was limited to the Württemberg court nobility. The court knights had to wear the medal every day. In the event of disregard, even the duke had to give the monarch a shotgun and the observer pistols and ten guilders for the poor as punishment. The first meeting of knights took place on November 3, 1704 at the Erlachhof, the nucleus of the later Ludwigsburg residential palace .

The hunt

Hunting has been a privilege of princes and nobles since the Middle Ages. From the point of view of the aristocrats, it originally fulfilled three functions: first, protecting agriculture from damage caused by game, second, shooting down predators such as wolves and bears, and third, procuring food. At the time of Eberhard Ludwig, hunting had developed into a popular leisure activity and a courtly form of portrayal of patriarchal strength and perseverance. Hares, wild boars, deer and foxes were hunted into enclosures and Eberhard Ludwig was driven to the gun. The Duke's shooting results were accurately recorded in hunting records. In the two winters of 1731 and 1732 he is said to have killed 20,000 animals. The duke brought good qualities to the hunt: he was a good rider and charioteer.

Foundation of Ludwigsburg

Ancestral gallery in the Ludwigsburg residential palace

As usual at all western and central European royal courts, Eberhard Ludwig based himself on the French model of Versailles Palace . Not only did he adopt the architectural ideas of Versailles, but also the French language, fashion and etiquette. When the Duke visited the court of Louis XIV during his grand tour in 1700 , he traveled strictly incognito with a small entourage. He evaded an audience with the French king due to his experiences in the Palatinate War of Succession , which had devastated his Duchy of Württemberg. The Duke of Württemberg admired the unrestricted ruling Sun King only as a patron of the arts. The successful military career in the War of the Spanish Succession increased Eberhard Ludwig's self-confidence. Like the Sun King with Versailles and Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden-Baden with Rastatt , he now also wanted to have a large residence built at the gates of his capital. This residence, for which the foundation stone was laid in 1704, was from his point of view politically necessary to underpin his claims to the electoral dignity on the one hand and territorial rounding on the other. Since he was unable to realize both of the above-mentioned ambitions in the first decade of the 18th century, the Ludwigsburg residence was supposed to compensate for these political failures. This expressed the will of Eberhard Ludwig to see his political defeats only as temporary setbacks through the architectural demonstration of strength. The costs and burdens of his subjects played no role in the realization of these plans. The population of the surrounding region had the palace forced labor to pay, while it did not matter if just the work fell into the grain and hay harvest time. Since many farmers, but also winegrowers, appeared too late at the construction site or even fled, the duke approved cruel punishments, such as being chained to cart wheels at times. Since the Duke did not have an overall concept or did not allow a building plan to be drawn up, the costs of the castle exploded. The construction devoured a total of over three million guilders.

The city of Ludwigsburg developed later . From 1711 onwards Eberhard Ludwig stayed there more and more often, mostly in the company of his long-time mistress Wilhelmine von Grävenitz . In 1718 she and Eberhard Ludwig moved the residence from Stuttgart to Ludwigsburg and elevated the still sparsely populated planned city to the capital of the duchy. Duchess Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach stayed in the Stuttgart castle .

Court ceremony

The everyday life of Eberhard Ludwig was strictly regulated by the court ceremony. In winter the Duke was woken up at 6 a.m., in summer at 7 a.m. by his valet , who slept in the same room as Eberhard Ludwig. In addition to the valet, the black wolfhound Melac slept in the immediate vicinity of the duke. According to reports by the courtiers, the animal resting on a tiger skin is said to have behaved very suspiciously of strangers and thus made the ideal “last bodyguard”. In this regard, he is also named after the French general Ezéchiel de Mélac . This had blown up the Heidelberg Castle in the Palatinate War of Succession and caused many pillages. When Eberhard Ludwig got up, the morning ceremonial of the lever began , which Eberhard Ludwig took over from Versailles Palace . At this point high ministers, generals and family members had already appeared. Chamberlain, court and chamberlain were entrusted with the service of the duke (dressing as well as preheating, adjusting and emptying the morning toilet). On this occasion the court nobility was able to address a familiar word to the monarch for the first time, a situation in which posts or ranks could be won or lost. Eberhard Ludwig's bedroom was the innermost room. Gradually fewer and fewer people were admitted into the rooms in front (antechamber, audience room, cabinet of mirrors). In this way, rank relations, but also the favor of the duke were emphasized. Eberhard Ludwig took care of government affairs until 11 a.m., and had his ministers present and advise him. Only with his signature could the state authorities bring laws and ordinances into force. At 11 o'clock the lunch table began, which, like the lever, required all important courtiers to be present. To this end, the Duke expanded his tableware, some of which was gilded, by buying expensive abroad, as he mistrusted local arts and crafts. The composition and seating arrangements of the ducal dinner party, and even the allocation of free seats, were meticulously laid down in the court regulations of 1702 and 1730. The group of people consisted of the closest family members of Eberhard Ludwig, holders of high court and government offices, the military, at times his mistress and some women who were not named. Foreign visitors were given the privilege to dine at the Duke's table. However, those who could not show any significant ancestry should only be granted this ducal favor once. After a longer stay he had to make do with the marshal's table.

In the afternoons, excursions were made in toboggans or wagons in the surrounding area, they went hunting, or took part in board games or social gatherings. The established daily routine meant that Eberhard Ludwig longed for a change, for which he had his chief ceremonial master organize splendid celebrations (balls, fireworks, operas and theater performances). On 100 days a year alone, the Duke was entertained by dramas and comedies in the theater.


The historical assessment of the duke is ambivalent. Historians share the opinion of contemporaries that the Duke grossly overestimated himself and the possibilities of his territory. He left behind a corrupt system of government and an enormous mountain of debt. In addition, personal weakness was responsible for the fact that his mistress Christina Wilhelmina von Grävenitz was able to gain at least some political influence. On the other hand, the courtly effort in the political theory of the 17th and 18th centuries was an indispensable part of political self-expression. In addition, the tax system was reformed during his reign, manufactories were promoted, new businesses established in Württemberg with the acceptance of Huguenots and the permanent existence of a standing army was enforced. Although not all of these political and economic measures were initiated on the direct initiative of the Duke, he nevertheless supported them in their implementation and enforced them.

family tree

Eberhard III. (Württemberg, Herzog)
(grandfather, reign: 1633–1674)
Wilhelm Ludwig (Württemberg)
(father, reign: 1674–1677)
Anna Katharina Dorothea von Salm-Kyrburg
Eberhard Ludwig of Württemberg
Louis VI. (Hessen-Darmstadt)
Magdalena Sibylla of Hessen-Darmstadt
Marie Elisabeth of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf
Friedrich Ludwig
Friedrich VI. (Baden-Durlach)
Friedrich VII. Magnus (Baden-Durlach)
Christine Magdalena of Pfalz-Zweibrücken-Kleeburg
Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach
Friedrich III. (Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf)
Auguste Marie von Holstein-Gottorf
Maria Elisabeth of Saxony


  • Robert Uhland:  Eberhard Ludwig. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 4, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1959, ISBN 3-428-00185-0 , p. 237 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Sybille Oßwald-Bargende: From the benefits of a magnificent farm. Eberhard Ludwig and the court society of Württemberg. In: State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg (Ed.): Ludwigsburg Palace. History of a baroque residence. Silberburg, Tübingen 2004, ISBN 3-87407-576-1 , pp. 96-105.
  • Paul Sauer : Muses, power play and mistresses. Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg. Silberburg, Tübingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-87407-798-9 .
  • Gerhard Raff : Hie good Wirtemberg all the way. Volume 4: The House of Württemberg from Duke Eberhard Ludwig to Duke Carl Alexander. With the Stuttgart and Winnental lines. Landhege, Schwaigern 2015, ISBN 978-3-943066-39-5 , pp. 22-94.
  • Bernd Wunder : Duke Eberhard Ludwig (1677–1733). In: Robert Uhland (Hrsg.): 900 years House of Württemberg. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1984, ISBN 3-17-008536-0 , pp. 210-226.
  • Dieter Stievermann: Eberhard Ludwig. In: Sönke Lorenz , Dieter Mertens , Volker Press (eds.): Das Haus Württemberg. A biographical lexicon. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-17-013605-4 , pp. 169-172.

Web links

Commons : Eberhard Ludwig  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul Sauer: Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . 2008, ISBN 978-3-87407-798-9 , pp. 142 .
  2. ^ Paul Sauer: Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . 2008, ISBN 978-3-87407-798-9 , pp. 8 .
  3. ^ Heinrich Pacher: Karl Wilhelm Margrave of Baden-Durlach . 1st edition. 2015, ISBN 978-3-7774-2386-9 , pp. 74 .
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  5. ^ A b c Paul Sauer: Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . 2008, ISBN 978-3-87407-798-9 , pp. 24 ff .
  6. ^ A b Paul Sauer: Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . 2008, ISBN 978-3-87407-798-9 , pp. 21 .
  7. ^ Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . S. 27 .
  8. ^ A b Bernd Zemek: Karl Wilhelm Margrave of Baden-Durlach. 2015, ISBN 978-3-7322-9491-6 , p. 174.
  9. ^ A b Paul Sauer: Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . 2008, ISBN 978-3-87407-798-9 , pp. 28 .
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  11. ^ Paul Sauer: Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . 2008, ISBN 978-3-87407-798-9 , pp. 33 .
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  16. ^ Jacqueline Maltzahn-Redling: Karl Wilhelm Margrave of Baden-Durlach. 2015, p. 72.
  17. ^ Paul Sauer: Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . October 16, 2008, p. 46 .
  18. Bernd Wunder: Karl Wilhelm 1679–1738: Margrave of Baden-Durlach . Ed .: Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe. Hirmer, Karlsruhe 2015, ISBN 978-3-7774-2386-9 , pp. 24 .
  19. ^ A b Paul Sauer: Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . 2008, ISBN 978-3-87407-798-9 , pp. 42 .
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  21. ^ A b Paul Sauer: Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . 2008, ISBN 978-3-87407-798-9 , pp. 54 ff .
  22. ^ Ulrich Niggemann: Huguenots . 2008, ISBN 978-3-8252-3437-9 , pp. 29 .
  23. ^ A b Paul Sauer: Muses, power play and mistresses: Eberhard Ludwig - Duke of Württemberg and founder of Ludwigsburg . 2007, p. 191 .
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  25. ^ Friedrich August Köhler: Nehren: a village chronicle of the late Enlightenment . OCLC 9280928 , p. 66 .
  26. Michael Kotulla: German constitutional history: From the Old Reich to Weimar (1495 to 1934) . 2008, ISBN 978-3-540-48705-0 , pp. 144 .
  27. ^ Ernst Marquardt: History of Württemberg . S. 175 .
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  29. ^ Ernst Marquardt: History of Württemberg . S. 177 .
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predecessor Office successor
Wilhelm Ludwig Duke of Württemberg
Karl Alexander
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on September 16, 2017 .