Johann Cicero

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Elector Johann Cicero
Johann Cicero, Elector of Brandenburg
Johann Cicero and his wife Margaret of Saxony
Table grave with reclining figure Johann Cicero in the Berlin Cathedral

Johann "Cicero" von Brandenburg (born August 2, 1455 in Ansbach ; † January 9, 1499 in Arneburg , Altmark ) from the House of Hohenzollern , was elector and margrave of Brandenburg from March 11, 1486 until his death .


Johann was the eldest son of the Brandenburg Elector Albrecht Achilles (1414–1486) from his first marriage to Margarete von Baden (1431–1457). The prince stayed on the family's Franconian estates until he was 12 years old and was brought to the Mark Brandenburg as presumptive heir in 1466 by his uncle Friedrich II . He took part in the war against Pomerania in 1468 and accompanied his uncle to negotiations with King Matthias of Hungary .

His father appointed Johann, who was nicknamed Cicero because of his great eloquence and knowledge of the Latin language , as regent of the Mark Brandenburg as early as 1473 . Before that, in 1470, after the abdication of Frederick II, he had already been appointed one of eleven governors of the Mark Brandenburg, others were, for example, the Lubusz Bishop Friedrich and the Brandenburg Bishop Dietrich IV . Albrecht himself, like his predecessors, preferred to stay at the southern headquarters of the electoral house in Franconia . Because of his youth, Johann was buried as regent in 1476, Bishop Friedrich von Lebus .

Johann Cicero married Margarete , daughter of Duke Wilhelm III, in Berlin on August 25, 1476 . of Saxony . The wedding had to be postponed because of Johann's financial difficulties.

After the death of his father in 1486, Johann Cicero succeeded him as Margrave of Brandenburg as well as Elector and Arch Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Empire, the Franconian possessions had been guaranteed by Albrecht Achilles to Johann's younger half-brothers through house law. He confirmed the privileges of the twin cities of Berlin - Cölln and made them his permanent residence .

In 1488 Johann Cicero introduced the beer tax. This set a precedent for the principle of indirect taxation . There had been riots in the Altmark because of the tax, which Johann had forcibly suppressed. Even during his time as regent, disputes with the duchies of Pomerania and Glogau and the towns of the Altmark had begun.

In 1492 he was involved in the Sternberg host-molester trial , as a result of which 27 Jews were burned at the stake and the rest of them had to leave Mecklenburg .

Through clever diplomacy, the elector gained the rule of Zossen in addition to his territory and in 1493 acquired a prospective right to succession in Pomerania through the Treaty of Pyritz .

In 1499 Johann Cicero, who suffered from obesity, died of dropsy in the chest at Arneburg Castle . His son Joachim I succeeded him as elector . As the first Hohenzollern elector, Johann found his final resting place in the Mark. He was buried in the Lehnin monastery . At the instigation of his grandson Joachim II , his remains were transferred to the Berlin Cathedral together with the epitaph created by the sculptor Hans Vischer .

Still image in the Siegesallee

The sculptor Albert Manthe erected a statue of Johann Cicero as a central statue for monument group 18 in Siegesallee , which the Berlin population ridiculed as a doll avenue .

As secondary characters, the monument was assigned busts of the adviser Eitelwolf vom Stein and of Obermarschall Busso von Alvensleben . The monument group was unveiled on November 14, 1900. The statue shows the elector "in the costume of the Maximilian period , with a long-sleeved coat over the armor and a beret-like headgear". Emperor Wilhelm II , who commissioned Monumentalallee, personally approved the oratory approach to the figure during a visit to Manthe's studio.


From his marriage Johann Cicero had the following children:

  • Daughter (1480–1482)
  • Wolfgang (* / † 1482)
  • Joachim I. "Nestor" (1484–1535), Elector of Brandenburg
⚭ 1502 Princess Elisabeth of Denmark (1485–1555)
  • Elisabeth (* / † 1486)
  • Anna (1487-1514)
⚭ 1502 King Frederick I of Denmark (1471–1533)
⚭ 1507 Duke Heinrich V of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1479–1552)
  • Albrecht (1490–1545), cardinal, archbishop of Magdeburg and elector of Mainz


Web links

Commons : Johann Cicero  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Mario Müller: Dietrich von Stechow, Bishop of Brandenburg 1459–1472. Regesta on the Vita and the episcopate. Published in: Sascha Bütow, Peter Riedel, Uwe Tersp (eds.): The Middle Ages end yesterday. Contributions to the regional, cultural and religious history of Heinz-Dieter Heimann on his 65th birthday. Lukas Publishing House. ISBN 978-3-86732-188-4 . P. 114 f.
  2. General German Real Encyclopedia for the Educated Estates Volume 14, p. 257 ( digitized version )
  3. Volker Honemann: The Sternberger desecration of the host and its sources. 2008, with reference to the single-sheet print by Simon Koch: Van der mishandelinge des hilligen Sacraments der bosse ioden to den Sternberge. Magdeburg, 1492.
  4. Uta Lehnert: The Kaiser and the Siegesallee. Réclame Royale . Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-496-01189-0 , p. 165.
predecessor Office successor
Albrecht Achilles Elector of Brandenburg
Joachim I.