Johann Adolf I (Saxony-Weissenfels)

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Duke Johann Adolf I von Sachsen-Weißenfels with an allonge wig and in armor with princely regalia and the sash of the Elephant Order - in the background the town of Weißenfels an der Saale, which is crowned by the new castle, painting from the end of the 17th century.
Duke Johann Adolf I of Saxony-Weißenfels with an allonge wig, marshal's baton and in court costume, engraving from the end of the 17th century.
Duke Johann Adolf I of Saxe-Weissenfels, copper engraving by Christian Romstet

Johann Adolf I von Sachsen-Weißenfels (born November 2, 1649 in Halle , † May 24, 1697 in Weißenfels ) was the second Duke of the Electoral Saxon secondary school of Saxony-Weissenfels and Prince of Saxony-Querfurt and came from a sideline of the Albertine Wettins . As a duke, his personal physician was the important Georg Handel , father of the German-British composer Georg Friedrich Handel .


Johann Adolf I was the eldest son of Duke August von Sachsen-Weißenfels , administrator of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg , and his wife Anna Maria von Mecklenburg-Schwerin , daughter of Duke Adolf Friedrich I von Mecklenburg-Schwerin .

Assumption of government in the duchy and continuation of patronage

After the death of his father and the associated loss of the ore monastery of Magdeburg , Johann Adolf I moved with the entire court on August 18, 1680 from Halle to Weißenfels to the still unfinished Neu-Augustusburg Castle , which was finally completed under his rule.

The palace church was consecrated on October 31, 1682, and the palace courtyard was finally paved in 1694. In the newly established large theatrum, a comedy hall, operas in German took place as early as 1685 .

For the rest of Weißenfels, too, the elevation to the seat of residence resulted in major changes. Several gentlemen's houses were built in the city, the palace garden was expanded and developed into one of the most important baroque pleasure gardens of its time in central Germany. By issuing a fire code , the citizens were also forced, under threat of fines, to remove barns, which always posed a devastating risk of fire, from the cityscape, and a further tightened order in 1691 also made smoking of tobacco "on the street, in Höffen and Stables ”and walking around with open coal pots are prohibited. The covering of roofs with straw was also prohibited and all citizens of the city were obliged to extinguish the fire in the event of a fire. In 1690 a pipeline was built that supplied the castle complex with water from the Selau area and brought the fountains in the gardens up to date. The paving and cleaning of the streets and squares, the mending of paths and the removal of rubbish were promoted. The city of Weißenfels developed not only into an administrative center, but also into an economic center - with the establishment of a goldsmith's guild, this art was able to gain recognition.

Johann Adolf continued to promote music and the fine arts based on the example of his father and other members of his house in the sense of absolutist princely self-expression - so Johann Philipp Krieger , who had already been in August's service, was appointed court conductor. Johann Adolf also discovered the musical talent of the son of his court surgeon Georg Handel and urged him to give the young Georg Friedrich musical training. In 1691 he appointed August Bohse , the later professor of rhetoric , to be his secretary and had him write numerous libretti for the princely opera.

He was also largely devoted to courtly hunting, which is why he and his court moved to his chamber estate in Langendorf from 1677 to 1679 and again in 1692 .

Duke Johann Adolf was accepted into the Fruitful Society by his father, who acted as its head . He was given the company name of the careful .

Dispute over the Barby inheritance

After the Rosenburg office fell to the Archbishopric of Magdeburg in 1659 when the Counts von Barby died out and Duke August, in his capacity as administrator, not only took possession of this area, but also took it through the cathedral chapter as a hereditary fiefdom for himself and in 1661 for his sons had claimed, raised both electoral Brandenburg and Electorate contradiction, since the entire archbishopric including all prey fallen fief under the provisions of the Treaty of Westphalia in Brandenburg would have to fall, and the Elector of Saxony in turn the matter as a completed fief conceived and tried it in the name of Emperor Leopold I to take possession for himself.

Electoral Saxony finally agreed to Duke August's plans in 1666, as it was hoping that Rosenburg would come into possession of the property after the Weißenfels line had died out, but Rosenburg sold the object in dispute on March 3, 1679 for 16,000 thalers to Hans Adam von Ende , the court master of his second wife and Johann Adolf's stepmother Johanna Walpurgis von Leiningen-Westerburg .

Johann Adolf, who saw his inheritance threatened by his father's actions, protested but was intimidated by his father. After the death of August 1680, however, Johann Adolf turned to Brandenburg in order to obtain a declaration of invalidity of the purchase contract and also filed a proper complaint with the government in Halle.

When Hans Adam saw from the end that his case was unstable, he sold the Rosenburg rulership in April 1681 for 60,000 thalers to the then electoral prince Friedrich von Brandenburg while the lawsuit was ongoing . The process was dragged out further and further on the part of Brandenburg and finally fizzled out. Duke Johann Adolf was left behind.

Finally, in 1687, Johann Adolf decided to sell the Burg office , which had also split off from the ore monastery of Magdeburg to Sachsen-Weißenfels, to Brandenburg, which enabled him not only to free himself from the Brandenburg sovereignty over Sachsen-Querfurt, but also the He was able to redeem the town of Weißenfels pledged by his father to finance his sumptuous court keeping to his cousin Christian von Sachsen-Merseburg and to repay other accumulated debts.

The former capital of the county, the city of Barby itself, was not obliged to the archbishopric, but had the Elector of Saxony as overlord. In the will of Johann Georg von Kursachsen , which provided for the creation of a secondary school at the time, it was stipulated that the entitlement to Barby would be part of the inheritance of the Weißenfels line. Barby, who fell at the same time as Rosenburg, was assigned to Johann Adolf's younger brother Heinrich as apanage .

Dispute with Saxony

After the death of Elector Johann Georg II of Saxony in 1680, who had still recognized the will of his father Johann Georg I regarding the split-off of partially independent secondary education for his other sons in the main comparison of friends and in other agreements with his brothers, the current Elector Johann Georg protested III. against these previous agreements and refused to recognize the principalities and sidelines of his cousins, which in turn not only led to considerable diplomatic resentment, but also resulted in difficulties for Duke Johann Adolf, as he was facing a permanent threat from a possible Saxon occupation looked exposed. The conflict was only with the assignment of in-ducal territory font Assen in the Electorate of Saxony in the Treaty of Torgau on 12 May 1681 the Eluzidationsvergleich of Dresden on 12 September 1682 definitively with the investiture Johann Adolf about his imperial immediacy Principality Querfurt on 12 April 1688 in Vienna by the emperor and the seat and vote acquired with it on the Upper Saxon district council.

Death and burial

Duke Johann Adolf I died on May 24, 1697 at 11:30 a.m. at the age of 47 and was buried on May 26 in a pewter coffin in the castle church of Neu-Augustusburg in the presence of the nobility .

Three of his sons, who survived childhood, succeeded him one after another on the ducal throne.

Marriages and offspring

His first marriage was on October 25, 1671 in Altenburg with Johanna Magdalena von Sachsen-Altenburg , the daughter of Duke Friedrich Wilhelm II of Sachsen-Altenburg from his marriage to Magdalena Sibylle von Sachsen . After her death on January 22, 1686, he went on February 3, 1692 in Querfurt a second, but this time morganatic marriage with Christiana Wilhelmina von Bünau (born April 4, 1666 in Altenburg, † April 24, 1707 in Dahme ), daughter of Rudolf from Bünau, a. Christiana Wilhelmina received 6,000 thalers as a morning gift as well as an annual widow's pension of 3,000 thalers and the Dahme Castle was assigned as a Wittum - in addition, she was made Countess of the Empire by Emperor Leopold I in 1697 . The marriage was generally tolerated and accepted, since the first, befitting marriage of Johann Adolfs had already produced enough sons entitled to inherit for the duchy and therefore there was no need for the widower to enter into another marriage with a person from the royal estate. However, this connection did not produce any offspring.

He had the following children with his first wife:


Web links as sources

Commons : Johann Adolf I, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
August Duke of Saxony-Weißenfels and Prince of Saxony-Querfurt
Johann Georg