Kaspar von Niedbruck

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Kaspar von Niedbruck (* around 1525 in Boulay-Moselle ; † September 26, 1557 in Brussels ) was a diplomat in the service of Ferdinand I and Maximilian II and a Reformation -minded humanist .

Early years

He came from the noble family von Niedbruck in Lorraine and was the son of the imperial field captain Johann Marschall von Niedbruck and his mother Margarethe von Seulheim. He was also a nephew of Johann Bruno von Niedbruck. A younger brother was Nicolaus von Niedbruck.

The parents designated Kaspar for the civil service and he received an excellent humanistic and legal education at various German and foreign universities. Around 1529 he heard from Calvin in Strasbourg , he studied in Orléans in 1544 , and in Erfurt and Wittenberg in 1546 . There he was a student of Philipp Melanchthon and also heard from Matthias Flacius . He last studied in Padua and Bologna in 1547 . There he presumably also acquired the title of Doctor of Law. In addition to Latin and Greek, he spoke numerous living languages. He spoke French as well as German. He also spoke Italian and - if not perfectly - Spanish.


In 1550 he was present at the Reichstag in Augsburg . Although he was a Protestant, he entered the service of the Habsburgs . In doing so, he initially veiled his denominational affiliation. Niedbruck was advised by Maximilian, the son of Ferdinand I and later emperor. At that time he was King of Bohemia and had returned from Spain. Little is known about Maximilian's first years of service. For Ferdinand it seems to have played a role in the creation and safeguarding of the Passau Treaty . In 1553 Ferdinand also appointed him to his council. After that he was in the service of both the father and the son.

Among other things, he served as a diplomat and negotiated with various German royal courts in connection with the breach of the peace by Albrecht Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Kulmbach . In 1554/1555 he again served as envoy in preparation for the Augsburg Reichstag. He also played a role in the Reichstag itself, which led to the Peace of Augsburg . Since Maximilian had to stay in Vienna, Niedbruck in Augsburg acted in his sense in negotiations with the Protestant princes. The reports he sent to Vienna are an important source for the achievement of the Augsburg religious peace. After the end of the Reichstag, Niedbruck returned to Vienna.

In 1556 he was sent to the Protestant princes to ask them in vain to support Maximilian, who was inclined to Protestantism, in his clashes with Charles V and Philip II . On this trip he also met leading Protestant theologians such as Melanchthon. In the same year he accompanied Maximilian to the Reichstag in Regensburg. In 1557, after the end of the Reichstag, he returned to Vienna. He then served, among other things, Ferdinand on a legation trip to the Netherlands to negotiate with Philip II over the war against France. He died during the trip in Brussels. The sudden death led to rumors of poisoning.


He used the diplomatic orders for studies and research. During the legation trip of 1554 he visited numerous libraries. In Cologne he acquired the Codex epistolaris Carolinus and letters from Bonifacius for the court library in Vienna . He also suggested the acquisition of Byzantine manuscripts. Further manuscripts came to the court library with his library after his death.

But he emerged in particular as a promoter of the first Protestant church history, the Magdeburg Centuries , and was in constant contact with Flacius and his colleagues. In addition to financial support, he supported the work by contributing literature. He also corresponded for the project with numerous foreign libraries and put scholars in contact with the Magdeburg group. Beyond the Magdeburg project, too, he was in close contact with the leading theologians in Wittenberg and numerous other scholars.

He himself wrote several legal and philological writings. In addition to seven preserved, others have been lost.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Austrian National Library: Collection of publications