Johann Georg III. (Saxony)

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Johann Georg III. (Born June 20 . Jul / the thirtieth June  1647 greg. In Dresden , † September 12 jul. / 22. September  1691 greg. In Tübingen ) was a prince of the House of Wettin ( Albertine line ). From 1680 he was elector of Saxony and arch marshal of the Holy Roman Empire . Because of his courage and his enthusiasm for the war, he was also called "Saxon Mars ".

Johann Georg III. of Saxony
Engraving by Samuel (?) Weishun
Johann Georg III. - Section from the Dresden prince procession


He was a son of Johann Georg II. Elector of Saxony from 1656-1680 and his wife Magdalena Sibylle of Brandenburg-Bayreuth . Already in childhood he got to know the duties and manners typical of an heir to the throne. In addition to a strictly Lutheran upbringing, this included language lessons as well as learning to build forts and the art of war . At the age of 16 he was introduced to the state government and in 1672 he became bailiff of Upper Lusatia , based on the Ortenburg .

Johann Georg showed great interest in the military. As electoral prince 1674–1678, he led the 6,500-strong Saxon auxiliary troops in the Rhine campaign.


After taking office, he reduced the size of the court considerably and tried to save on festivities and construction work. Instead, following the example of Kurbrandenburg, he began building up a small 12,000-strong standing army . For this he was able to oblige the estates to pay contributions. The Secret War Chancellery was set up as the highest military authority. He neglected domestic politics in favor of war, travel and hunting.

Around 1704 the author of the anonymous manuscript Portrait de la cour de Pologne wrote : “Under Johann Georg III. the greatest corruption has broken in, since the court lived in abundance and cared about nothing but food and drink. The Ministry was tainted with selfishness and laziness. The Leibpage was actually the Prime Minister. The Secret Councils committed their deceit only through him. "

In its time, the country had largely recovered from the consequences of the Thirty Years' War , and the court was once again recognized throughout Europe. In 1689 Dresden had 21,300 inhabitants and slowly shed its provinciality. In 1685, a fire destroyed Altendresden on the right bank of the Elbe , which later became the Inner New Town . Wolf Caspar von Klengel and Balthasar Permoser were entrusted with the baroque reconstruction and expansion. In front of the Pirnaischer Tor he had the construction work on the Great Garden continued.

In his character he resembled his father, the Elector Johann Georg II of Saxony , ie he quickly indulged in sensual pleasures and had a great preference for Italian music and theater. In 1685 he brought the singer Margherita Salicola and the important castrato Domenico Cecchi called " Cortona " from Venice to Dresden. This marked the beginning of a new era of opera in Saxony.

In 1686 he appointed the pietist- oriented Philipp Jacob Spener to be the court preacher. But Spener could not prevail and in 1691 accepted the call to Brandenburg.

Foreign policy

Johann Georg III. of Saxony

In foreign policy, Johann Georg was less fickle than his father. He gave up relations with the French crown and tried hard to win Brandenburg and other German princes for the imperial war against the French aggressor. In February 1681 he visited the Great Elector , whom he admired for his military achievements, and concluded a defensive alliance with him. In October 1683 (to Vienna) he repeated his visit.

Appreciated by the Habsburg imperial court as an ally, but also viewed with suspicion, he was unable to obtain supreme command of the entire imperial troops in the face of the approaching threat of an Ottoman invasion , nor did he receive the necessary funds (food and winter quarters) for the maintenance of his auxiliary troops . Johann Georg's wish that Emperor Leopold should decide a legal dispute over a forest area in the Ore Mountains in his favor was also in the room. The emperor only allowed material support when the siege of Vienna made his situation increasingly hopeless.

Johann Georg led his 10,400-strong army against the Turks himself. However, he received enormous opposition from his estates, as this costly action not only exhausted the finances of Electoral Saxony, but also disliked the ideological support for the Catholic emperor, who had often cracked down on Protestantism in his own hereditary lands. At Tulln on the Danube he joined the imperial army and moved with them to relieve Vienna . In the subsequent battle of the Kahlenberg on September 12th, he commanded the left wing with great personal bravery. The battle cry " Maria hilf " selected by the emperor had previously been changed to "Jesus und Maria hilf" at the request of Johann Georg.

The Polish King John III. Sobieski , the commander-in-chief outside Vienna, said of Johann Georg: "The Elector of Saxony is an honest man with a straight heart."

After the victory, he also accompanied the emperor as he entered Vienna. But as early as September 15, without saying goodbye to the emperor or the other commanders, he started the march back towards Saxony - probably because of the harsh treatment he was given as a Protestant. In particular, he had received only six cannons, five tents, an elephant and several manuscripts from the extensive booty from the Turks. On the way back through Bohemia, his troops were refused food.

In 1686 he again supported Emperor Leopold's Turkish War. On payment of subsidies of 300,000 thalers , he sent a 5,000-strong auxiliary corps to Hungary. As early as 1685 he had rented 3,000 Saxon regional children to the Republic of Venice for their war in Morea ( Peloponnese ) for 120,000 thalers for two years. Furthermore, in 1688 he left up to 10,000 men ( soldier trade ) to the Dutch States General .

He did not join the great Augsburg Confederation of 1686 against France - however, he personally traveled to The Hague in March 1688 to agree with Wilhelm of Orange , the Duke of Braunschweig-Lüneburg and the Elector of Brandenburg about possible action against Louis XIV to keep from France . However, the imminent takeover of the English throne by Wilhelm was not directly supported.

After France invaded the empire again in 1689 , he again led his auxiliary troops himself and took over the cover of Franconia . He then united his troops with the army of Charles of Lorraine and took part in the siege of Mainz . Due to illness he had to leave the theater of war, but returned against the will of his doctors and advisers in May 1690 and, after a strengthened alliance with the emperor, took over the supreme command of the imperial army. However, due to personal skirmishes between Johann Georg's field marshal Hans Adam von Schöning and the imperial general Caprara , the successes remained low - only the crossing over the Rhine at Sendhofen was successful.

Johann Georg died a short time later in Tübingen, where he had been brought, of an epidemic, probably dysentery or plague , and was buried in a tin coffin in the princely crypt of Freiberg Cathedral .

Death Coin-1691-Kuranttaler-av.jpg
Death Coin-1691-Kuranttaler-rv.jpg
Funeral thaler Johann Georg III.
Commemorative coin for his death
Kuranttaler in 12-Taler-Münzfuß according to the contract of January 26th, 1690 in Leipzig
12 Loth silver = 750 ‰ silver, fine weight: 19.488 g rough weight: 25.984 g
Weight: 25.84 g Diameter: 43.79-45.80 mm Thickness: 1.95 mm
Minted in 1691 Mint Dresden, mint master Johann Koch

Obv . : Title of ruler after Georgskreuz as inscription on top from the right, between the knurled edge and the inner circle of pearls: JOHANNES GEORGIUS III., DUX SAXONIÆ, JULIACI, CLIVIÆ, MONTIUM, ANGARIÆ & WESTFALIÆ, SACRI ROMANI IMPERII ARCHMARSCHALLUS & III Saxony, Jülich, Cleve and Berg, Engern and Westphalia, the Holy Roman Empire Archmarschall and Elector
Inscription in 11 lines in Latin capital within a string of pearls:
HEROS DEFENSO IMPERIO A TURCIS GALLISQUE GLORIOSISSIMUS, NATUS ANNOISSCIXLIMATE JUNODECUS FUELIS ELO TUBINGÆ OBIT ANNO MDCXCI XII SEPTEMBRIS = a hero famous for defending the empire from the Turks and the French, born on June 20, 1647, died in the beginning of the 12th year of his most happily elected electoral dignity in Tübingen on September 12, 1691
under the first letter of the inscription from the first name and surname of the mint master: I ◦ K ◦
Rev .: An armored arm protruding from the clouds, holding a flag with the radiant name in it,

Inscription at the top separated by the tip of the flag: IEHOVA ◦ VEXILLVM ◦ MEVM ◦ (= The Lord my banner.)


He was married to Anna Sophie , daughter of the Danish King Friedrich III, on October 9, 1666 . With this he had two sons:

With Margarita Salicola he had the illegitimate son


Pedigree of Johann Georg III.

August of Saxony (1526–1586)
⚭ 1548
Anna of Denmark (1532–1585)

Johann Georg von Brandenburg (1525–1598)
⚭ 1548
Sabina von Brandenburg-Ansbach (1529–1575)

Albrecht of Prussia (1490–1568)
⚭ 1550
Anna Maria of Braunschweig (1532–1568)

Wilhelm V (1516–1592)
⚭ 1546
Maria of Austria (1531–1581)

Joachim II (1505–1571)
⚭ 1524
Magdalene of Saxony (1507–1534)

Georg von Brandenburg-Ansbach (1484–1543)
⚭ 1525
Hedwig von Münsterberg-Oels (1508–1531)

Albrecht of Prussia (1490–1568)
⚭ 1550
Anna Maria of Braunschweig (1532–1568)

Wilhelm V (1516–1592)
⚭ 1546
Maria of Austria (1531–1581)

Great grandparents

Elector Christian I of Saxony (1560–1591)
⚭ 1582
Sophie of Brandenburg (1568–1622)

Duke Albrecht Friedrich of Prussia (1553–1618)
⚭ 1573
Marie Eleonore von Jülich-Kleve-Berg (1550–1608)

Elector Johann Georg von Brandenburg (1525–1598)
⚭ 1548
Sabina von Brandenburg-Ansbach (1529–1575)

Duke Albrecht Friedrich of Prussia (1553–1618)
⚭ 1573
Marie Eleonore von Jülich-Kleve-Berg (1550–1608)


Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony (1585–1656)
⚭ 1607
Magdalena Sibylle of Prussia (1586–1659)

Margrave Christian of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1581–1655)
⚭ 1604
Marie of Prussia (1579–1649)


Elector Johann Georg II of Saxony (1613–1680)
⚭ 1638
Magdalena Sibylle of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1612–1687)

Johann Georg III.


Web links

Commons : Johann Georg III. (Saxony)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ We are talking about August Ferdinand Pflug (1662–1712). Pflug also won the trust of Johann Georg IV. And August the Strong, under whom he became court marshal and first minister.
  2. Johann Georg III. (1647-1691). (No longer available online.) In: Television: History of Central Germany → Zeitreise Mitteldeutschland → People. MDR, August 24, 2007, formerly in the original ; Retrieved October 19, 2009 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
predecessor Office successor
Johann Georg II. Elector of Saxony
Johann Georg IV.