Ernst Ludwig I (Saxony-Meiningen)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ernst Ludwig I of Saxe-Meiningen (born October 7, 1672 in Gotha ; † November 24, 1724 in Meiningen ) from the Ernestine line of the Wettins , was Duke of Saxe-Meiningen from 1706 to 1724 .

Duke Ernst Ludwig I of Saxe-Meiningen


Ernst Ludwig was the eldest son of Duke Bernhard I of Saxony-Meiningen (1649–1706) from his first marriage to Maria Hedwig (1647–1680), daughter of Landgrave Georg II of Hesse-Darmstadt . The prince, born at Friedenstein Castle , was trained very thoroughly and was considered the declared darling of his stepmother Elisabeth Eleonore . Turning to the arts from an early age, namely poetry and music, Ernst Ludwig studied at the Rudolph-Antoniana Knight Academy in Wolfenbüttel .

In 1689 he entered the military and commanded three regiments against France. He fought under the “Türkenlouis” in 1695 and was instrumental in the conquest of the Landau citadel . He eventually became an imperial field marshal lieutenant and field master general of the Palatinate.

After the death of his father in 1706, Ernst Ludwig I ruled together with his brother Friedrich Wilhelm and his half-brother Anton Ulrich , as Bernhard I had determined the indivisibility of the country in his will, but also the joint government of his sons.

As the elder of the brothers, Ernst Ludwig, contrary to his father's will, strove for sole rule for himself and his descendants. Immediately after the death of his father, Ernst Ludwig also managed in a contract that his brothers left the government to him, which led to a break with his half-brother Anton Ulrich. However, the introduction of the primogeniture failed, which is why his brothers reigned as guardianship for his sons after Ernst Ludwig's death. The country experienced a decline due to the ongoing quarrels within the royal family.

As a duke, Ernst Ludwig was involved in numerous military conflicts that aimed to enlarge his domain and resulted from the death of his uncles Albrecht , Heinrich and Christian , who had died without heirs. The imperial arbitration of the "Coburg-Eisenberg-Römhilder inheritance dispute" that took place in 1714 was far below Ernst Ludwig's expectations.

The country's indebtedness, which was already becoming apparent under his father, increased under Ernst Ludwig's government. Attempts at domestic policy reform remained superficial and mostly ineffective. The duke, who tended towards an almost exaggerated piety, successfully devoted himself to religious questions and the promotion of ecclesiastical life. As a 17-year-old he already had a collection of German and French songs. He later wrote and composed hymns.

He himself wrote the text for the funeral music for his funeral in November 1724. The music was composed by Hofkapellmeister Johann Ludwig Bach ; it is considered the most ambitious of his surviving works.


Ernst Ludwig I was married twice. First (since 1704) with Dorothea Maria (1674–1713), daughter of Duke Friedrich I of Saxe-Gotha, with whom he had the following children:

⚭ 1729 Duke Friedrich III. of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1699–1772)

In his second marriage in 1714 he married Elisabeth Sophie (1674–1748), daughter of Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg . This marriage remained childless.


  • Ludwig Bechstein: Communications from the life of the Dukes of Saxony Meiningen p. 36 ff. ( Digitized version )
  • Hannelore Schneider : The Duchy of Saxony-Meiningen under its first dukes. In: 300 years of Elisabethenburg Palace . South Thuringian Research, Issue 27, Meiningen 1994.
  • Alfred Erck, Hannelore Schneider: Musicians and monarchs in Meiningen 1680 to 1763 , Bielsteinverlag, 2006
  • L. Hertel: Meiningische history from 1680 to the present. Writings of the Association for Saxony-Meiningen History and Regional Studies, Issue 47, Hildburghausen 1904.
  • David Voit: The Duchy of Saxony-Meiningen , Storch & Klett, 1844

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Peter Wollny: Johann Ludwig Bach's funeral music for Ernst Ludwig von Sachsen-Meiningen . In: Supplement to the CD Johann Ludwig Bach. Funeral music , Harmonia Mundi 2011
predecessor Office successor
Bernhard I. Duke of Saxony-Meiningen
Ernst Ludwig II.