George II (Brieg)

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Georg II of Brieg.PNG

Georg II von Brieg (also Georg II the Black ; * July 18, 1523 , † May 7, 1586 in Brieg ) came from the Liegnitz branch of the Silesian Piasts . 1537–1586 he was Duke of Brieg and Wohlau , 1552–1557 administrator of the Duchy of Liegnitz .

Origin and family

His parents were Duke Friedrich II of Liegnitz and Sophie († 1537), daughter of Margrave Friedrich II. On February 15, 1545 he married Barbara , Margravine of Brandenburg († 1595), daughter of Elector Joachim II of Brandenburg and in Berlin the Magdalena of Saxony . The children came from marriage:


Georg's father and the Brandenburg Elector Joachim II agreed on October 19, 1537 a double wedding between Georg and Joachim's daughter Barbara on the one hand and Prince Elector Johann Georg and Friedrich II's daughter Sophie on the other. At the same time, they agreed on a hereditary brotherhood , according to which, if the Liegnitz Piasts died out, the Hohenzollerns should acquire all their possessions and, in the opposite case , the possessions of the Hohenzollern in Silesia and Lusatia , should go to the Liegnitz Piasts.

Georg, whose youth is little known, became heir to the Liegnitz subduchies of Brieg and Wohlau after the death of his father in 1547, while the Duchy of Liegnitz fell to his older brother Friedrich . Only after his father renounced the hereditary brotherhood with Brandenburg in 1537, Georg was enfeoffed on March 7, 1549 by King Ferdinand I with Brieg-Wohlau. Because of the mismanagement of his older brother Friedrich, Georg officiated from 1552–1557 as administrator of the Duchy of Liegnitz.

Although Georg represented class and Protestant concerns towards the ruling Catholic Habsburgs and was considered the spokesman for the Silesian Protestants, he had an outwardly good relationship with the Habsburgs. He managed to consolidate Protestantism in his country and to continue the reforms his father had begun. In return for a loan of 14,000 thalers, King Ferdinand granted him the right to dispose of the goods of the abolished Strehlen monastery that were in Georg's duchy . In 1551 Georg was appointed to the commission that was supposed to protect the clergy. A conflict between Georg and the king arose in 1561 during the Leubus vacancy when Georg wanted to claim his patronage rights as sovereign. Even for his plan to operate his own salt boiler , Georg could not get the approval of the king. Customs and economic policy measures led to disputes, which were mostly settled in favor of the king. There were also disputes with monasteries and foundations over their property rights and tax liability. In the Turkish campaign of 1566 Georg participated as leader of the auxiliary troops from Silesia and Lusatia. In 1573 Georg issued the Strehlen decree , which was followed in 1574 by the Heidersdorf Confession of the Brieger clergy. With both of them, the internal Protestant disputes within the Brieger clergy were to be settled. In 1574 Georg worked as an imperial commissioner in the election of Bishop Martin von Gerstmann from Breslau , with whom he was on friendly terms. In order to maintain internal order, Georg issued state police regulations in 1577.

The neighboring Margrave and Duke of Jägerndorf Georg Friedrich , from the House of Hohenzollern , who stayed mainly in Ansbach , entrusted Georg II with the implementation of the dissolution of the Bohemian land law in Jägerndorf. With the Bohemian land law, it was above all the land nobility who prevailed over their subordinates in the points of contention and also contained conflict with the practiced Roman law . In principle, the "Jägerndorfsche government" set up by Georg Friedrich was required to seek advice from Georg II von Brieg, who was a friend of the margrave, and made frequent use of this.

Georg maintained good contact with the Berlin court. With the help of his electoral brother-in-law Johann Georg, he succeeded in applying for the Magdeburg Dompropstei for his son Joachim Friedrich, who already held the Brieger Dechantei .

Georg resided in Brieg, which flourished during his reign. He rebuilt the Brieger Castle in the Renaissance style under the direction of the Northern Italian builders Jakob Pahr and Bernhard Niuron . From 1564 to 1569 they also directed the new building of the Brieger Gymnasium "Illustre Gymnasium Bregense", which opened in 1581 and became a respected Protestant educational institution. After the fire in Brieger in 1569, Georg arranged for the town hall to be rebuilt in 1570–1577. From 1572–1575 the city fortifications were expanded.

Georg, who had an excellent command of the Latin language, was considered an art patron and collector of books and music. A knitted carpet created around 1564 from the Brieger Castle with the coat of arms of George and Barbara is in the National Museum in Wroclaw . Life-size stone sculptures of Georg and Barbara were created for the restored Brieger castle portal.

Georg died in Brzeg in 1586. His body was buried in the St. Hedwig's Chapel, which he had converted into the mausoleum of the Brieger dukes. His duchy was divided between his sons Joachim Friedrich, who inherited Brieg, and Johann Georg, who went to Wohlau. Georg's widow Barbara received Ohlau as Wittum .

The hereditary brotherhood with the Hohenzollerns agreed by Georg's father in 1537 was used by the Prussian King Friedrich II as an occasion for his claim to Silesia. Presumably for this reason the castle built by Georg II von Brieg was destroyed in the First Silesian War .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Gottlieb Biermann : History of the Duchies of Troppau and Jägerndorf . Teschen 1874. p. 322 ff.