Hartmut XII. from Kronberg

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Hartmut von Kronberg; Statue of Eduard Schmidt von der Launitz (1860s)
Hartmut XXII von Cronberg - plaque below the statue

Hartmut XII. von Kronberg , in contemporary notation Hartmut von Cronberg , (* 1488 ; † August 7, 1549 ), was a knight from the von Kronberg family , a member of the crown tribe and committed advocate of Martin Luther's ideas . As a name of honor - and also to distinguish it from the other members of the von Kronberg group, insofar as they were also called Hartmut - it is sometimes marked with the addition of the confessors or the reformer .

Birth, childhood and education

Hartmut was the oldest survivor of the eleven children of Johann IX. von Cronberg and Klara von Helmstadt. The date and place of birth of Hartmut are unknown, but the place of birth is assumed to be Oppenheim , as his father Johann held a position there as the Electorate of the Palatinate , from which he only moved to Höchst in 1489 to the service of Archbishop of Mainz , Berthold von Henneberg . Hartmut completed his knightly training at the court of Palatine Elector Philip the Sincere (1448–1508) in Heidelberg .

At the top of the crown trunk

The father Johann died in 1506 in Aschaffenburg , where he had meanwhile officiated as vice cathedral. Hartmut was 18 years old at the time. The executor was his relative Franz von Sickingen . Here Hartmut moved to the top of the crown tribe of the Kronberg knights. In 1511 he married the still very young Anna von Kronberg vom Flügelstamm (* after 1495, † 1551). Professionally, he was electoral Palatinate bailiff and high school in Oppenheim. His wife bore him three sons: Philipp VIIII (* after 1512), Hartmut XIII. (* before 1517) and Walter X., depending on the counting method, also as Walter XII. inscribed (* around 1519).

From 1514 a troubled time began for Hartmut, because he felt connected to Franz von Sickingen and his goals, especially since Franz's grandfather, Reinhard VIII von Sickingen, was also Hartmut's great-grandfather. From 1515 Hartmut supported him in a campaign against Worms (1515) and against the Duke of Lorraine (1516). In August 1518 there was a feud against Hesse , which Hartmut denied together with Franz von Sickingen. Landgrave Philip I of Hesse , who was only 14 years old , fled to Gießen and on to Spangenberg .

In 1519 Hartmut was of the same year in Frankfurt for Holy Roman Emperor crowned Charles V promised a lifelong pension of 200 gold florins for his efforts in the election.

Lutheran ideas and the Trier feud

On April 14, 1521, Hartmut met Martin Luther in Frankfurt am Main when he, like Hartmut himself, stopped in Frankfurt on the occasion of his trip to the Reichstag in Worms . Hartmut felt closely connected to Luther and his ideas. In Worms, Hartmut attended the closer negotiations with Luther that Richard von Greiffenklau , Archbishop of Trier , was conducting.

Hartmut was filled with high ideals and at the same time a childlike piety that led to his entanglement in the political turmoil of the time. He wanted to tackle all the evils he saw and also gave notice to the emperor. He publicly commented on the questions that seemed important to him in leaflets . These included many letters, some of which were written together with other knights, and also a letter to Pope Leo X , whom he accused of conducting financial transactions with the banks. Luther warned Hartmut meanwhile of an overvoltage that could lead to violence.

Nevertheless, in 1522 Hartmut followed a feud from Franz von Sickingen to the Trier bishop Richard von Greiffenklau based on a medieval understanding of law . Hartmut supported Franz by securing his headquarters in Ebernburg an der Nahe during Sickingen's absence and thus keeping his back free. However, after Sickingen's team had been defeated by the Electors of Trier and the Palatinate and Landgrave Philip of Hesse, the victorious princes turned directly against Kronberg, where Hartmut could only barely rush to set up a defense. Its 270 men were, however, not armed against the superior force of 3,000 men including many heavy artillery pieces. Waned as the prospect of a successful defense, Hartmut fled on the night of October 14, 1522 well on the north side through the grove (today yew grove), because now the Emperor Charles V. was in the name of imperial ban imposed on him. From now on, the castle and town of Kronberg became Hessian for 19 years. Landgrave Philip I of Hesse, later called the Magnanimous, introduced the Protestant faith in Kronberg in 1526 .

19 years in exile

From November 1522 Hartmut and his family stayed in Basel for several years , but in the following years also undertook various trips, including to Schweinfurt and Wittenberg (to Luther). Around 1525 he was also in Saxony and Bohemia and in 1527 made a sea voyage to see Emperor Charles V, who lived in Madrid . He asked to be released from the eight, but this was not implemented until 1532. In 1533 he became councilor in Oppenheim. In November 1541, a treaty concluded in Kassel between Hartmut and Philip the Magnanimous of Hesse ended the exile and Hartmut received Kronberg back.

The last few years

Hartmut lived with his family at the castle for eight years. He died on August 7, 1549; Place of death and circumstances of death are not known. His wife Anna died on April 14, 1551. Both were buried in the chapel of Kronberg Castle, where the common grave epitaph still stands today. At Berliner Platz in Kronberg there is a larger than life statue of Hartmut XII , slightly raised and facing the castle . from the 1860s.


  • H. Bode: Hartmut XII. by Cronberg. Imperial knight of the Reformation period. Verlag W. Kramer, Frankfurt a. M. 1987
  • W. Bogler: Hartmut von Cronberg. A character study from the Reformation period. Fonts d. Association f. Reformation story No. 57, Halle 1897
  • M. Müller-Hillebrand: Cronberg. History of a knight dynasty and their castle. Kurhessische Hausstiftung, Kronberg 1950
  • W. Ronner: Hartmut XII. by Kronberg and Michael Stifel. In: H. Bode: Kronberg im Taunus. Contributions to history, culture and art. Verlag W. Kramer, Frankfurt a. M. 1980, pp. 339-355

Web links

Commons : Hartmut XII. von Kronberg  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files