Joachim II (Brandenburg)

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Elector Joachim II of Brandenburg by Lucas Cranach the Elder Ä.

Joachim II. Hector (born January 13, 1505 in Cölln ; † January 3, 1571 in Köpenick ) from the Hohenzollern dynasty was Margrave of Brandenburg from 1535 to 1571 as well as Elector and Arch Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Empire .



Joachim II was the eldest son of Joachim I Nestor and Elisabeth of Denmark, Norway and Sweden . In return for the electoral vote of the father in the election of the king, marriage offers were made in 1517–1518 with the daughter of the French king and the 10-year-old granddaughter of the emperor.

His mother tended to the teachings of Martin Luther early on and therefore had to flee from his father in 1528. By testament of his father in 1534 who went Neumark and other parts of the country as Markgrafschaft Brandenburg-Küstrin to his younger brother Johann . In the same will, Joachim I obliged his sons to remain Catholics forever. In 1524 Joachim married Magdalene von Sachsen , the daughter of the Saxon elector, and thus initially tied himself more closely to the Catholic side.

In 1532 he went on a campaign against the Turks as leader of the Lower Saxony district contingent and returned victorious, whereupon he was given the nickname Hector . In 1533 his father tied him again to the Catholic side in the Halle alliance and in his will in 1534 obliged his sons to remain Catholic forever.

Beginning of the reign

In 1535, Joachim took over the regency in Brandenburg after the death of his father. He married Hedwig of Poland , a daughter of King Sigismund I. He fought with his brother Johann for almost a year over claims to the Neumark , which had been separated from the Mark Brandenburg at the instigation of his father and which ultimately remained until 1571.

The new elector had a court church built in the nearby Dominican monastery church and furnished it with magnificent works of art and relics from many churches and monasteries in the Mark. It was consecrated in 1536 and the remains of his father and grandfather were transferred from the Lehnin monastery . In 1538 he began to renovate the castle.

During the course of his reign, the Elector's closest confidants were the councilor Eustachius von Schlieben , the court marshal Adam von Trott , the chamberlain Matthias von Saldern and the later chancellor Lampert Distelmeyer .

Re-admission for Jews in the Mark Brandenburg

After Philipp Melanchthon had explained the assembled imperial princes, including Joachim, the Brandenburg pogrom of 1510 as a judicial crime as a result of the Berlin host desecration on the occasion of a fictitious desecration of the host , Josel von Rosheim approached Joachim II and reached him at the Fürstentag in Frankfurt am Main in spring 1539 the promise to allow Jews to reside in the Mark Brandenburg , which has since been banned . As a result of both encounters, Joachim II first reopened the mark to Jews on June 25, 1539.

Introduction of the Reformation in the Mark Brandenburg

Joachim II takes Holy Communion in both forms; Etching by Bernhard Rode , 1783

In 1539 Joachim introduced a new church order in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, after consultations with Philipp Melanchthon. This took over the Reformation practice of priestly marriage and the chalice for laypeople at the Lord's Supper and the doctrine of justification according to Luther's theology. Otherwise he tried to maintain the Catholic traditions in order to be able to remain a conversation partner for both sides in negotiations in the Reich.

On November 1, 1539, he personally took part for the first time in a church service with the celebration of the Last Supper in both forms , probably in the St. Nicholas Church in Spandau . However, this event was only passed down very unclearly in contemporary evidence, so that the exact sequence cannot be clearly reconstructed to this day. Another Protestant service was probably held on November 2nd in Berlin's Nikolaikirche .

In the period that followed, the monasteries and monasteries in the Mark Brandenburg were secularized .

Accumulation of the mountain of debt

In 1542 Joachim II began to build the hunting lodge at the green forest and had a causeway built there from the Berlin city palace . This original dam path was later to be called Kurfürstendamm and centuries later it became famous in a completely different design. Joachim II had amassed a mountain of debt of 700,000 Reichsthalers or around 1,000,000 guilders as early as 1544 through his lavish household and building activities. From 1543 onwards, for financial reasons, he encouraged the settlement of Jews in Brandenburg, who had to pay high special taxes ( Judenregal ). In the trade fair city of Frankfurt an der Oder , in particular, a large community has been established since 1539.

Statue of Joachim II in front of the Nikolaikirche in Berlin-Spandau by Erdmann Encke (1889); it commemorates the conversion of the elector to the Lutheran faith in this church in 1539

After Joachim's court factor Michael von Derenburg fell victim to a robbery on April 23, 1549 when the electoral income was transferred from Frankfurt an der Oder to Berlin and had a fatal accident soon after, the elector appointed Lippold Ben Chluchim, who had immigrated from Prague 13 years earlier, in 1556 to his chamberlain and court factor (court Jew), also to the head of all Brandenburg Jews and in 1567 also to the mint master . As mint master, he moved the mint to Poststrasse 4 in the Nikolaiviertel (today the Kurfürstenhöfe office building ).

On March 18, 1558, Joachim II, together with Ottheinrich von der Pfalz , August von Sachsen , Count Palatine Wolfgang von Zweibrücken , Duke Christoph von Württemberg and Landgrave Philipp von Hessen signed the Frankfurt Recess drafted by Philipp Melanchthon , in which he declared himself to the Augsburg Confession known. Furthermore, in 1558 he initiated the construction of Köpenick Castle after the remains of an old castle were torn down.

After the death of his uncle Albrecht in 1568, Joachim II Hector sought to become a co-heir of the Duchy of Prussia . This may explain that even after his conversion Joachim II was one of the conciliatory forces in the empire and above all did not join the Schmalkaldic League . Since the Duchy of Prussia was a Polish fief at the time , it was necessary to obtain a loan from the Polish King Sigismund II at the usual financial expense at the time. This succeeded, in 1569 the king, at the same time brother-in-law of Joachim II, enfeoffed him and the Berlin Hohenzollern as an inheritance in the Duchy of Prussia. For this purpose - and because of the otherwise lavish courtship of Joachim II - the elector subjected the inhabitants of the mark, especially the high Jewish taxes. Joachim II did not shy away from the deterioration of coins and confiscations.

Coercive measures against the merchants

Märkische merchants who imported goods from outside the Mark had to pay for them in weighed precious metal , as the Brandenburg mint was no longer accepted abroad because of its reduced precious metal content. Joachim II, however, forbade calculating the coin at reduced rates. Accordingly, the merchants avoided the compulsory exchange rate by initially doing their foreign and wholesale business in foreign currency, and after Joachim II had forbidden this, paying in weighed precious metal. The elector reacted to this by prohibiting the use and possession of precious metals. Sales proceeds obtained in precious metal had to be sold to the state treasury at prescribed, compulsory rates that valued the devalued national coin highly. In addition, Märkische Jews had to import expensive precious metal, which they then had to deliver to the elector at a lower cost than the cost price dictated at home. This made it impossible for merchants to import and export at cost-covering revenues. As mint master, Lippold was charged with enforcing the coercive measures against the merchants, Lutheran and Jewish alike. The measures also included searches of merchants' houses, with precious metal found - illegally held - confiscated in favor of the sovereign.

Sometimes bizarre conduct of life and office

According to the historian Felix Escher , the conduct of life and office of Elector Joachim II [...] was sometimes bizarre . As an example, Escher cites a pleasure battle staged by the Elector on August 8, 1567 between Berlin / Kölln and Spandau citizens, which went down in Spandau's history as a club war . The events described, among others, Theodor Fontane in volume 3 "Havelland" of the walks through the Mark Brandenburg under the chapter heading The sea battle in the Malche . Fontane referred to the description of the Brandenburg chronicler Nicolaus Leuthinger in his long-missed Scriptorum de rebus Marchiae Brandenburgensis… , which was published in 1729 by Johann Christoph Müller and Georg Gottfried Krause. Fontane gives Leuthinger's account of the events in detail. As a further example of Joachim's sometimes bizarre way of life and office, Escher cites:

“A princely“ amusement ”that was similar in some trains followed in the winter of 1570, when the elector and members of the court society drove to Spandau by sledge and from there brought many common women and maidens with them and brought them back to their homes . As a renaissance prince, the elector felt he was above the moral standards that were valid at the time. "

- Felix Escher: Spandau in the shadow of the fortress. 1983.

After his wife Hedwig of Poland suffered an accident in 1549, in which she was injured in the pelvis and from then on could only walk on crutches, which damaged both the electoral marriage and hunting pleasure, he took the bourgeois Anna Dieterich as his lover, Wife of a gun founder, who was therefore known as the "beautiful foundress". He had several children with her, appeared with her unabashedly in public and had his natural daughter Magdalena raised to countess.


Joachim II died surprisingly - in the absence of his personal physician Paul Luther - on January 3, 1571 in Köpenick , where he stayed in the castle with a hunting party over the turn of the year and gave presents to his favorites with Portuguese people . His lavish court keeping - paired with his lively construction activity - ensured that the elector's household was almost permanently over-indebted during his reign. His son and successor, Johann Georg, assumed debts of 2.5 million guilders . He initially accused Lippold of embezzlement and fraud. But after he was acquitted, Johann Georg accused him of sorcery and the poisoning of his father. Lippold was executed, the Jews were - once again - expelled from Brandenburg and were only allowed to settle in the electorate again in 1671.

The "beautiful foundress" was also expropriated by Johann Georg, although he had promised his father the opposite in a document, and imprisoned in the July tower of the Spandau citadel until her death in 1575.


First marriage: Joachim II married Magdalene of Saxony († January 25, 1534), daughter of Georg, Duke of Saxony .

⚭ 1. 1545 Princess Sophia of Liegnitz (1525–1546)
⚭ 2. 1548 Princess Sabina of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1529–1575)
⚭ 3. 1577 Princess Elisabeth of Anhalt (1563–1607)
⚭ 1545 Duke Georg II of Brieg (1523–1586)
  • Elisabeth (1528–1529)
  • Friedrich (1530–1552), Archbishop of Magdeburg
  • Albrecht (* / † 1532)
  • Georg (* / † 1532)
  • Paul (* / † 1534)

Second marriage: Joachim II married Hedwig of Poland .

⚭ 1559 Duke Franz Otto of Braunschweig-Lüneburg (1530–1559)
⚭ 1560 Duke Julius of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1528–1589)
⚭ 1561 Wilhelm von Rosenberg (1535–1592)
  • Joachim (1543–1544)

Monument in the Siegesallee

Monument group 20 in Siegesallee with Joachim II in the center

The sculptor Harro Magnussen designed monument group 20 for Berliner Siegesallee with a statue of Joachim II as the main character. The central theme of the group was the introduction of the Reformation by Hector, which Magnussen underscored with a lavishly decorated inscription cartouche on the monument base, in which, among other things, a communion chalice and an oblate were depicted.

The selection of the minor characters was also due to the Reformation theme. To the left of Hector stood a bust of Margrave Georg the Pious von Ansbach and to the right the bust of the Bishop of Brandenburg Matthias von Jagow , from whom Hector had received the Lord's Supper in both forms in 1539 . In addition, in the middle of the bench, between the secondary figures, there was a gilded bronze medallion with a portrait relief of Martin Luther . The base of the locket contained on the orders of the principal of Victory Boulevard, Emperor Wilhelm II. , The inscription with the first line of the hymn of Luther: A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing .

When depicting Hector's armor , Magnussen transferred exactly the details of the original, richly decorated, splendid armor of Joachim II, which was on display in the Berlin Zeughaus . He formed the serious, bearded face and the high headgear according to the depiction on two portrait reliefs, which were kept in the form of soapstone models in the Royal Coin Cabinet .

The unveiling of the group took place on December 22, 1900. Originally, the figures - in keeping with their central theme - were to be handed over on Reformation Day in 1900, which failed due to an accident in the stone sculptor's workshop.

See also


Lexicon article

Biographical essays No separate monograph has yet appeared on Joachim II that scientifically describes his person in all details.

  • Lothar Voßmeyer: Brandenburg's elector during the Reformation . Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-945256-20-6 .
  • Lars Adler: Joachim II of Brandenburg (1505–1571) . In: Susan Richter , Armin Kohnle (ed.): Dominion and change of faith. The Prince Reformation in the Reich and Europe in 28 biographies (Heidelberg Treatises on Middle and Modern History; Vol. 24), Heidelberg 2016, ISBN 978-3-8253-6656-8 , pp. 264–282.

Essays on partial aspects

  • Mathis Leibetseder: Spaces of action of Prince Elector Joachim II of Brandenburg at the court of his father (1520-1535) In: Research on Brandenburg and Prussian history . Vol. 25, 2015. 1. pp. 1-27.
  • Mathis Leibetseder: Elector in armor: knighthood and representation at the court of Joachim II of Brandenburg. In: The staging of the heroic monarchy. 2014. pp. 76-106.
  • Frank Göse : "And because I missed the orthen a bit": on the relationship between Elector Joachim II and the Emperor and Empire in the middle of the 16th century . In: sheets for German national history . Vol. 145/146 (2009/2010), pp. 13-47.

Popular science presentations

  • Uta Lehnert: The Kaiser and the Siegesallee. Réclame Royale. Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-496-01189-0 .

Web links

Commons : Joachim II of Brandenburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ingo Materna , Wolfgang Ribbe (ed.): Brandenburg history . Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-05-002508-5 , pp. 283 f .
  2. Eugen Wolbe , History of the Jews in Berlin and in the Mark Brandenburg , Berlin: Kedem, 1937, p. 64.
  3. The place was always a matter of dispute, see the latest literature
    1. Leibetseder, Mathis: Elector and denomination. The divine service of November 1, 1539 as part of electoral positioning in the religious field of the 16th century. In: Frank Göse (Ed.): Reformation in Brandenburg. Course, actors, interpretations. Berlin 2017. pp. 91–112
    2. Adolf Laminski: The official introduction of the Reformation in Brandenburg began on November 1, 1539 in Berlin-Kölln. In: Hostels of Christianity . 19 (1995). Pp. 107-109.
    3. Karl Themel : What happened on November 1st and 2nd, 1539 in Berlin and Spandau? In: Yearbook for Berlin-Brandenburg Church History , 40 (1965), pp. 86–123.
  4. November 1, 1539 Reformation in the Mark Brandenburg Reconstruction based on the traditional sources
  5. ^ Jaeger, Hans, "Michel von Derenburg" in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 17 (1994), p. 440 f. Online version
  6. ^ Ingo Materna , Wolfgang Ribbe , Kurt Adamy: Brandenburg history. Akademie Verlag, 1995, ISBN 3-05-002508-5 , p. 279. (digitized version )
  7. Eugen Wolbe: History of the Jews in Berlin and in the Mark Brandenburg , Berlin: Kedem, 1937, p. 74.
  8. Eugen Wolbe: History of the Jews in Berlin and in the Mark Brandenburg , Berlin: Kedem, 1937, p. 75.
  9. Felix Escher : Spandau in the shadow of the fortress. In: Slavic castle, state fortress, industrial center. Studies on the history of the city and district of Spandau. Wolfgang Ribbe (Ed.), Colloquium-Verlag, Berlin 1983, ISBN 3-7678-0593-6 , p. 176.
  10. Theodor Fontane : The sea battle in the Malche. In: Gotthard Erler , Rudolf Mingau (Hrsg.): Walks through the Mark Brandenburg in 8 volumes. Volume 3 Havelland. Aufbau-Verlag , Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-7466-5703-2 , pp. 176-182.
  11. Felix Escher: Spandau in the shadow of the fortress ... p. 176. The quotation given by Escher comes from: Daniel Friedrich Schulze: For the description and history of the city of Spandau. Ed. Otto Recke, 2 vol., Spandau 1913, vol. 2, pp. 70f.
  12. Uta Lehnert: The Kaiser and the… pp. 171–174.
predecessor Office successor
Joachim I. Elector of Brandenburg
Johann Georg