Heinrich Julius (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel)

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Prince Heinrich Julius of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel

Heinrich Julius (born October 15, 1564 at Hesse Castle ; † July 20, 1613 in Prague ) was the postulated Bishop of Halberstadt , Duke of Braunschweig and Lüneburg and Prince of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel , from 1582 to 1585 also administrator of the Minden diocese . He ruled from 1589 until his death in 1613.


Heinrich Julius

Already at the age of 12 Heinrich Julius was appointed rector of the Helmstedt University, founded by his father Duke Julius , for which he also had the Juleum lecture hall built. In 1566 he came under guardianship and finally in 1578 rule in the Diocese of Halberstadt , which then became Protestant. To his inauguration there had been a nationally respected dispute. His motto was PRO PATRIA CONSUMOR, “I consume myself for the fatherland”. The father arranged for extensive training in the ancient languages ​​as well as in theological and legal matters. Heinrich Julius must be considered one of the most educated rulers of his time. Nevertheless, he was considered a special patron of the alchemists - a passion that linked him to the Emperor Rudolf II in Prague.

Expansion of the residence

In the throne Duke Henry Julius took over from his father Duke Julius unfinished abandoned construction project of a large commercial and industrial city "God's camp" just outside his residence Wolfenbüttel , consisting so far of a makeshift fortified workers' and craftsmen's settlement. (This district is now called “Juliusstadt”, an outer area of ​​Wolfenbüttel's old town.) Instead of pursuing this unrealistic project, he took care of the expansion of the core of his residential city, the “Heinrichstadt”, named after his grandfather Heinrich the Younger .

A pond was filled in on the site of today's city market, the city council acquired the most representative residential building on the square and set up its town hall. The few stone houses to be found in Wolfenbüttel were also built during this time. In 1590 the city received a suitable office building in the style of an Italian palazzo . In 1608 the largest building project was tackled, the main church Beatae Mariae Virginis (BMV) , which was not completed until 35 years later - except for the tower - and which became the burial place of the Princely Family of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel for around 100 years - the first noteworthy New Protestant church in Northern Germany.

At the time, there was also no such closed Renaissance city in northern Germany . It is remarkable that this concept has remained unadulterated to this day. No war devastation, no major fire and also not the architecture of the 20th century could cause greater damage to the appearance.

Wolfenbüttel's function as a fortress was also particularly important . Low-level fortifications with ramparts and bastions , three-story casemates , garrisoned by 3,000 soldiers, were intended to deter potential besiegers . At the beginning of the Thirty Years' War Wolfenbüttel was the strongest fortress in northern Germany.


Duke Heinrich Julius loved theater and acting . From England he hired an acting company under the direction of Robert Browne and the popular actor Thomas Sackville . The planned short guest performance turned into a stay of several years. During this time the troupe not only played for the court, but also for the people in the streets and squares. Until then, there were no sedentary theater ensembles in Germany, which is why Wolfenbüttel is also the first German city with a permanent theater.

The Duke, who was involved in literature, also wrote pieces for the English troupe in the style of traditional folk junk literature, but combined this with the desire to educate the audience and keep them away from vice. The pieces obviously had a certain audience success, as they were later played by the troupe on guest tours outside Wolfenbüttel.

As his best work, the comedy by Vincentio Ladislao Sacrapa of Mantua from 1594 is named, in which he took up the theme of the " Bramarbas " handed down by Plautus . His pieces contain realistic scenes from everyday life in addition to drastic effects, dance and music interludes and fool figures. It was not until 1855 that a complete edition of the dramas was published by WL Holland.

Another important artist of this time was Michael Praetorius , one of the most famous composers of the early Baroque, as court conductor in Wolfenbüttel. He arranged more than a thousand evangelical hymns for church music , the most famous of which is his setting of Es ist ein Ros sprung . As a music theorist, he made a name for himself with his work Syntagma musicum . Finally he published Terpsichore , a collection of over 300 mostly French dances for popular music at court .


In the 1590s Heinrich Julius was in a dispute with his landed gentry . As a means of arguing, he had several silver mocking coins, the so-called emblematic thalers , minted in large numbers (e.g. the rebel thaler in 1595 , the truth thaler in 1597/98 and the mosquito thaler in 1599 ).

Although Heinrich Julius was a Protestant prince, he gained the trust of the Catholic Emperor Rudolf II and became his adviser. After 1600 Heinrich Julius stayed several times, sometimes for longer periods, at the imperial court in Prague until his death in 1613 , where he was director of the Privy Council from 1607 and, among other things, helped shape imperial politics with his excellent legal knowledge.

At the same time, from 1600 onwards he had the feudal and state contingent in his principality, which had already been founded by his ancestors, reformed by his general war commissioner David Sachse . This meant that parts of the population received military training. In earlier times this facility was only used for fortification and national defense. Landsknechts were mainly recruited for military moves ; the mercenary armies, however, caused high costs and the men found it difficult to integrate into society after their release.

In the summer of 1605 the preparations for the formation of the feudal and provincial contingent were completed and in autumn the duke attacked the city of Braunschweig , with which he had long been in dispute. An unsuccessful warfare by David Sachse caused this attack to fail.

Heinrich Julius died in Prague on July 20, 1613 and was buried in Wolfenbüttel. His successor in Wolfenbüttel was his son Friedrich Ulrich .


Heinrich Julius became administrator in the Diocese of Halberstadt on December 7, 1578 . After the Minden Bishop Hermann had made himself unpopular through his overly strict and Protestant administration, the Minden Cathedral Chapter asked Hermann's Duke Julius von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (who was himself Bishop Elect in Minden in 1553/54) that his son be unaware May Heinrich Julius become bishop in Minden. Hermann did not resign entirely voluntarily. In February 1582 he was followed by Heinrich Julius as Bishop Elect of the Diocese of Minden and Prince-Bishop in the Minden Monastery . The choice of the Minden cathedral chapter fell on Heinrich Julius on the one hand because the power of the Guelphs in the region could not be ignored and therefore this time only a Guelph as bishop was possible as the successor to Hermann Schaumburg; on the other hand, the Minden cathedral chapter hoped for major concessions from Heinrich Julius to the Catholic clergy in the diocese, who were concerned about the progress of the Reformation in the diocese of Minden. Heinrich Julius, like his entire dynasty, was Protestant, and in Minden it could be observed that some of the former Minden bishops from the house of Braunschweig-Lüneburg did not decisively oppose the reformatory efforts; Nevertheless, it was hoped that far-reaching concessions from Heinrich Julius could be negotiated in advance as a condition for the election. It was agreed that the clergy and cathedral chapter should be kept Catholic and that no one in the diocese should be "bothered" with a new religious interpretation. After taking office, it became clear that the Minden cathedral chapter had been mistaken. Heinrich Julius ignored the agreements and decreed in March 1583 that from now on preaching in Minden could only be done according to the Augsburg denomination . At the end of his tenure, Minden was almost entirely Lutheran. During his tenure, however, he was denied papal confirmation, for which he had asked the Pope at the request of the cathedral chapter; The title of bishop was denied to him and so he only ruled as administrator over Minden. Therefore the emperor also refused the investiture . Heinrich Julius resigned from his ecclesiastical offices in Halberstadt and Minden on September 25, 1585, in order to marry Dorothea, Princess of Saxony in Wolfenbüttel on September 26, 1585 and later to take over the reign in Wolfenbüttel, succeeding his father.

Witch hunt

Heinrich Julius became notorious for his " ardent witchcraft " . During his reign, the usual witch hunt in Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel reached its climax. Between 1590 and 1620 114 people were charged with "sorcery" and more than 50 people were burned. Among them was Anna Landmann , who was burned in Hornburg in 1597 on his orders . In addition, Duke Heinrich Julius expelled all Jews from the country in 1591 .


Heinrich Julius first married Princess Dorothea of ​​Saxony (1563–1587), a daughter of Elector August of Saxony :

⚭ 1605 Prince Rudolf of Anhalt-Zerbst (1576–1621)

He then married Princess Elisabeth of Denmark (1573–1626) , the eldest daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark :

⚭ 1614 Princess Anna Sophia of Brandenburg (1598–1659)
⚭ 1607 Prince Ernst Casimir von Nassau-Dietz (1573–1632)
⚭ 1. 1612 Duke August of Saxony (1589–1615)
⚭ 2. 1618 Duke Johann Philipp von Sachsen-Altenburg (1597–1639)
⚭ 1619 Duke Ulrich of Pomerania (1589–1622)
⚭ 1615 Margrave Christian Wilhelm of Brandenburg (1587–1665)
  • Heinrich Julius (1597-1606)
  • Christian (1599–1626), Bishop of Halberstadt, the great Halberstadt
  • Rudolf (1602–1616), Bishop of Halberstadt
  • Heinrich Karl (1609–1615), Bishop of Halberstadt
  • Anna Auguste (1612–1673)
⚭ 1638 Count Georg Ludwig von Nassau-Dillenburg (1618–1656)


  • From Susanna , drama, 1593.
  • From a butcher , comedy, 1593.
  • From an innkeeper , comedy, 1593.
  • From a Woman , Comedy, 1593.
  • From a Buhler and Buhlerin , Tragedy, 1593.
  • From an Unwanted Son , Tragedy, 1594.
  • From an adulteress , tragedy, 1594.
  • From a landlord or host , drama, 1594.
  • From a nobleman , comedy, 1594.



Web links

Commons : Heinrich Julius von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Joachim Lehrmann : Goldmakers, Scholars and Crooks - The search for the philosopher's stone in Braunschweig, Hanover, Hildesheim. Lehrte 2008, ISBN 978-3-9803642-7-0 , pp. 229-239.
  2. ^ Entry on Heinrich Julius von Braunschweig-Lüneburg on catholic-hierarchy.org ; Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  3. ^ H. Kampschulte: History of the introduction of Protestantism in the area of ​​the current province of Westphalia . Schöningh, Paderborn 1866, p. 432 ( books.google.de ).
  4. Ludwig Freiherr von Pastor, Ralph Francis Kerr: The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages . tape 10 . Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, London 1930, p. 351 (English, books.google.de ).
  5. ^ Wilhelm Gottlieb Soldan, Heinrich Heppe: History of the witch trials. Reprint of the 3rd (last) edition in the new edition. by Max Bauer. 1999, ISBN 3-88059-960-2 , p. 44.
  6. ^ Hans Dieter Lange: Landmann, Anna. In: Horst-Rüdiger Jarck , Dieter Lent et al. (Ed.): Braunschweigisches Biographisches Lexikon - 8th to 18th century . Appelhans Verlag, Braunschweig 2006, ISBN 3-937664-46-7 , p. 426-427 .
predecessor Office successor
Julius Duke of Braunschweig and Lüneburg,
Prince of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel,
Prince of Calenberg
Friedrich Ulrich
Sigismund of Brandenburg Prince-Bishop of Halberstadt
Heinrich Karl of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
Hermann von Schauenburg Bishop of Minden
Anton von Schauenburg