Lothar Franz von Schönborn

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Lothar Franz von Schönborn, portrait by Christian Schilbach, 1715
Electoral coat of arms at the Electoral Mainz Lieutenancy in Erfurt

Lothar Franz von Schönborn (born October 4, 1655 in Steinheim am Main , † January 30, 1729 in Mainz ) was Prince-Bishop of Bamberg (1693–1729), Elector and Archbishop of Mainz (1695–1729).


He came from the Schönborn house . His parents were the Electoral Mainz bailiff Philipp Erwein von Schönborn (1607–1668), the only brother of the Mainz Elector and Archbishop Johann Philipp von Schönborn (1605–1673), and Maria Ursula, née. Greiffenclau von Vollrads (1610–1682), a niece of the Archbishop of Mainz, Georg Friedrich von Greiffenklau (1573–1629).

His nephews were the (prince) bishops Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn (1673-1724), Friedrich Carl von Schönborn (1674-1746), Cardinal Damian Hugo Philipp von Schönborn-Buchheim (1676-1743) and Franz Georg von Schönborn (1682 -1756).


He received his training at the Jesuit college in Aschaffenburg . In 1665 Lothar Franz became domiciliary in Würzburg , in 1667 in Bamberg . He received a cathedral praise in Mainz in 1674. He made his cavalier tour through Holland, France and Italy. He completed his biennium from 1673 to 1675 in Vienna. During this time he also found a fundamentally pro-imperial stance. He became canon in Bamberg in 1681 and in Würzburg in 1683. He was on various diplomatic missions for the Bishop of Bamberg and was appointed President of the Court Chamber . In 1689 he became scholastic and curator in Bamberg and canon of Mainz. As a canon, he had Gaibach Castle designed artistically since 1694 (later he also had a sizable garden added for Seehof Castle ).

In 1693 he was elected Bishop of Bamberg. He was elected Elector of Mainz in 1695 against the imperial recommendation after he had become coadjutor in 1694 . Shortly after being elected bishop in Mainz, he received the archbishop's pallium and was ordained priest and bishop. Although he was personally pious, he limited his priestly activity primarily to prominent events. The church and liturgical reforms begun by his predecessors were continued during Schönborn's term of office.

During his reign, the emperor and pope were banned from surrendering elections , from which he obtained papal dispensation for Mainz . Nonetheless, Lothar Franz occasionally disregarded the provisions of the electoral surrender and made violations of the rights of the Mainz cathedral chapter in the case of benefices and offices as well as tax levies .

As Imperial Arch Chancellor and Elector, he was concerned with the preservation of the empire and its defense. He also defended the existing institutions of the empire against change. As Imperial Arch Chancellor, he was able to exercise a certain influence on the Viennese court through his nephew and Imperial Vice Chancellor Friedrich Karl von Schönborn-Buchheim .

Schönborn played an important role in the district associations of the Vordere Reichskreise both in connection with the Palatinate War of Succession in the Frankfurt Association Recess and with the Spanish War of Succession in the Nördlinger Association . In the latter, he initially pleaded for an armed neutrality of the association before going over to the emperor's side.

In 1707 he participated in the conversion of Princess Elisabeth Christine von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel to the Catholic faith and married her with Emperor Karl VI. The coronation of Emperor Charles VI. on December 22nd, 1711 in the Frankfurt Cathedral formed the high point in the work of Lothar Franz. For his loyalty he received 100,000 guilders, with which he began the construction of the Weissenstein Castle in Pommersfelden in 1711 . Since he had not only elected and crowned the emperor, but also continued to give political support, in 1726 he also received the Palanok Castle with the area around Mukachevo and Tschynadijowo in the Kingdom of Hungary , one of the largest possessions in Eastern Europe, consisting of 4 cities and 200 Villages with a total area of ​​2,400 square kilometers existed; a year later, after Lothar Franz's death, this Hungarian inheritance fell to his nephew Friedrich Karl von Schönborn-Buchheim and remained in the possession of the Schönborn family until the 20th century.

New well in Mainz, built in 1726 under Archbishop Lothar Franz

In 1710 there was a major conflict with the cathedral chapter on the occasion of the coadjutor election. Due to domestic political interests, Lothar Franz wanted to appoint a relative as coadjutor in order to give stability to his system of government. The cathedral chapter, on the other hand, nominated its canon Franz Ludwig von Pfalz-Neuburg as a candidate and pushed through his election with papal help, among other things. Otherwise, Lothar Franz's policy was aimed at rebuilding the electoral state, which had been badly affected by the war of conquest of Louis XIV against the Palatinate (1688–1697) and the War of the Spanish Succession . So was z. For example, under his rule in 1726, the New Fountain in Mainz was built, with which he wanted to guarantee better drinking water for the citizens of the Bleichenviertel .

He remedied the maladministration, justice and finance through reforms that led to a tighter centralization of the state. The extent to which Lothar Franz can be described as an absolute ruler, especially in relation to the cathedral chapter, is controversial. It is said that for domestic political reasons he did not rule in an absolutist way; others see him as a powerful, dominant personality. He was followed by two electors who were less important for Mainz.

Like his nephews later, Lothar Franz von Schönborn was an important client. His uncle, Elector Archbishop Johann Philipp (1605–1673), had the Mainz fortress expanded with 16 bastions , which formed a star-shaped belt around the city, and the Mainz citadel as a command post after the end of the Thirty Years War between 1655 and 1675 . During the War of the Spanish Succession, Lothar Franz had the fortress builder Johann Maximilian von Welsch build a second ring of fortresses with five forts that were far forward around the city of Mainz (1710–1730). Welsch was also commissioned with the construction of the Favorite pleasure palace near Mainz (1700–1722) and expanded the Kurmainzische Lieutenancy in Erfurt to a four-wing complex (1713–1720), Johann Baptist Ferolski built the Mainz Rochusspital from 1721–29 . Above all, however, the Dientzenhofer brothers became Lothar Franz's court architects: Leonhard Dientzenhofer designed the New Residence in Bamberg and several monasteries from 1697–1703 , Johann Dientzenhofer 1711–1718 Weissenstein Castle in Pommersfelden, the latter as a private country estate, which is still owned by Count Schönborn from Wiesentheid heard. Lothar Franz's library can also be viewed there, as well as Germany's largest private collection of Baroque paintings with over 600 exhibits, including paintings by van Dyck , Rubens , Brueghel, Giordano , Tizian , Artemisia Gentileschi and Dürer .


In Mainz's old town , Schönbornstrasse was named after him. In Hanau, district of Steinheim, Schönbornstrasse was named after the Schönborn family.


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Web links

Commons : Lothar Franz von Schönborn  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Historisches Mainz: Der Neue Brunnen , website of the city of Mainz, accessed on September 10, 2009.
predecessor Office successor
Anselm Franz von Ingelheim Elector Archbishop of Mainz
Franz Ludwig of Pfalz-Neuburg
Marquard Sebastian Schenk von Stauffenberg Bishop of Bamberg
Friedrich Karl von Schönborn-Buchheim