Johanna Magdalena of Saxe-Altenburg

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Johanna Magdalene, Princess of Saxony-Altenburg, Duchess of Saxony-Weissenfels, copper engraving by Johann Hainzelmann , today in the Dresden Kupferstichkabinett (archive number A 26876 in A 288ab, 4 (D XVI-XVIII))
Princess Johanna Magdalena of Saxony-Altenburg as a child

Johanna Magdalena von Sachsen-Altenburg (* 14. January 1656 in Altenburg ; † 22. January 1686 in Weissenfels ) was Princess of Saxe-Altenburg of the House of Ernestine Wettins and by marriage Duchess of - in some cases direct imperial - Saxon Sekundogeniturfürstentums Saxony-Weißenfels- Querfurt .


The last of the House of Sachsen-Altenburg

Johanna Magdalena was the only daughter of Duke Friedrich Wilhelm II of Saxony-Altenburg and his wife Magdalena Sibylle of Saxony , daughter of Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony .

Orphaned at an early age by the death of her two parents in 1668/69, Johanna Magdalena became a plaything in the dynastic plans of her relatives. In 1671, at the age of 15, they married their uncles, the Saxon Elector Johann Georg II and the Duke Moritz von Sachsen-Zeitz , in whose residences in Dresden and Zeitz she also stayed more often, with their cousin, the Hereditary Prince Johann Adolf von Sachsen- Weissenfels .

The marriage of Johanna Magdalena was politically explosive at the time, as her older brother, Hereditary Prince Christian von Sachsen-Altenburg, had died early and her younger brother, 13-year-old Friedrich Wilhelm III. , had followed his father as duke, but was also under the guardianship of his uncles due to his minority and testamentary statements of his father.

The calculation of the two Albertine uncles was therefore to speculate on the extinction of the Altenburg Ernestines in the male line, which might have resulted in parts of the Altenburg property having fallen to the Albertine Weissenfels, which is why the marriage also enjoyed the great benevolence of Duke August von Sachsen-Weißenfels . If the Weißenfelsers also died out, the only profiteers would have been the other Albertines due to their close relatives.

As Duke Friedrich Wilhelm III. died childless of smallpox just six months after his sister's marriage , the two Wettin houses, which had always rivaled each other, finally filed claims on Sachsen-Altenburg . Ultimately, however, the Ernestines Ernst von Sachsen-Gotha and Johann Ernst II. Von Sachsen-Weimar succeeded in asserting themselves, as they were able to assert older claims due to past dynastic connections with the Altenburgers in the 1630s.

In Saxony-Weißenfels

Due to her upbringing by the theologians Johann Stiel and Johann Christfried Sagittarius (1617–1689), Johanna Magdalena was very pious throughout her life and showed great interest in the church affairs of her duchy. But also in private she often studied the Bible, which she provided with numerous annotations, and occupied herself with the writing of prayer books, collections of sayings and textbooks, which she gave away to relatives and members of the court. She gave the castle church of her residence Schloss Neu-Augustusburg a gold-embroidered regalia, later a golden chalice and a host box, and in 1681 she donated a silver baptismal font for the Marienkirche in Weißenfels . On the occasion of her death in 1686, commemorative coins were minted, which were distributed at the exequies in her memory.

She was also a popular country mother and cared for the social needs of her subjects. During her lifetime she made regular donations for the poor residents of the city of Weißenfels and also considered them in her will.

She died on January 22nd, 1686 at the age of 30 and was buried in a pewter coffin in the castle church of Neu-Augustusburg Castle. Three of her sons were successively dukes of Saxe-Weissenfels. Since all male descendants of their sons died in childhood, the Weißenfels line also ended 60 years after Johanna Magdalena's death.

Marriage and offspring

On October 25, 1671, in Altenburg , she married Johann Adolf I, Duke of Saxony-Weißenfels , the son of August, Duke of Saxony-Weißenfels from his marriage to Anna Maria von Mecklenburg-Schwerin . The marriage had eleven children:


  • 300 years of Neu-Augustusburg Castle, 1660-1694 - Residence of the Dukes of Saxony-Weissenfels : Festschrift. Weißenfels, 1994, pp. 38-39
  • Gerhardt, Friedrich: Castle and Castle Church of Weissenfels, Weissenfels, 1898, pp. 55–56
  • Johann Christoph Dreyhaupt: Description of the ... Saal-Creyses, especially the cities of Halle . Halle, 1749/1751 (i.e. "Dreyhaupt-Chronik")

Web links

Commons : Johanna Magdalena von Sachsen-Altenburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files