Ludwig I. (Anhalt-Koethen)

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Ludwig I., copper engraving by A. Römer, 1668.

Ludwig I, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen (born June 17, 1579 in Dessau , † January 7, 1650 in Köthen ) from the house of the Ascanians was the ruling Prince of Anhalt-Köthen and founder of the Fruitful Society , the first German language society .


Ludwig was the youngest son of Prince Joachim Ernst von Anhalt and his wife Eleonore von Württemberg. After his father's death in 1586, Ludwig grew up with his half-brother and guardian, Prince Johann Georg I of Anhalt-Dessau, at his court in Dessau.

At the age of 17, Prince Ludwig traveled through Great Britain , France and the Netherlands from 1596 to 1597 . Hardly a year back in Dessau, he left for Switzerland in 1598 and visited Austria , Hungary and Italy , where he stayed until 1602. During his long stay in Florence, Prince Ludwig was accepted into the Accademia della Crusca as the first German member in July 1600 through the mediation of his Italian teacher Bastiano de 'Rossi , where he was named L'Acceso ( The Inflamed One ).

After extensive travels through France, Britain and the Netherlands, Prince Ludwig took over the government of the Anhalt-Köthen region after the division of the estate in 1606. On October 31, 1606 he married Amoena Amalia von Bentheim-Tecklenburg . With her he had a son, Prince Ludwig the Younger of Anhalt-Koethen , who died early.

Prince Ludwig remained cautious militarily and politically, but he vehemently promoted agriculture, created a pleasure garden that still exists today and designed the newly built palace and courtyard in the Italian manner. With his financial support, Wolfgang Ratke began a major school experiment in Köthen in 1619 . Due to personal, but also denominational problems, which led to the arrest of Wolfgang Ratke in 1619, Prince Ludwig continued the project alone. This included, among other things, an encyclopaedic schoolbook program with a printing plant set up specifically for this purpose.

Prince Ludwig I was not only a founding member of the Fruitful Society , but also its first head, which made Köthen the seat of the Society in 1617. Still in the style of the Accademia della Crusca , he chose a well-baked Weitzen bread in a bowl as the emblem and the nourishing person as the company name . Prince Ludwig was the only member to use a Latin motto, Vita mihi Christ, mors lucrum (according to Phil 1.21  EU ). In the Koethen society book, Prince Ludwig is under No. 2, right behind the initiator of the society, Court Marshal Caspar von Teutleben .

During the Thirty Years' War King Gustav Adolf of Sweden transferred the governorship of the Magdeburg and Halberstadt monasteries to Prince Ludwig . Count Axel Oxenstierna wanted to oust him from this position . This attempt was particularly problematic for the Fruitful Society , since Oxenstierna was a member.

On September 8, 1625, Amoena Amalia died at the age of 39. After the obligatory year of mourning had ended, Prince Ludwig married Sophie, daughter of Count Simon VI, on September 12, 1626 . to the lip . With her he also had a son, Prince Wilhelm Ludwig .

On January 7, 1650, Prince Ludwig died in Köthen at the age of 70 and was buried there in the royal crypt of St. Jacob's Church. His successor was his second son, Wilhelm Ludwig .


Monument on the Koethener Schlossplatz

The Prince Ludwig Monument on Köthener Schlossplatz was inaugurated in 1907. The Ludwigsbau of the Koethen Palace, the former Freemasons lodge Ludwig zum Palmbaum , the Ludwigsiche in the palace gardens and the Ludwigstrasse in Koethen were also named after him.

Garden art

From 1606 Ludwig von Anhalt-Köthen laid out the famous palace garden around his residence, which is recognized accordingly in the Topographia Superioris Saxoniae . Many plants and even several gardeners were imported from Italy or hired in Köthen. The prince not only focused on the beautiful, but all quarters were also laid out with utility aspects - fruit trees, potted plants, flower parterres , a labyrinth, racks with potted plants and even a small fig house for wintering southern plants were part of it. The complex exceeded the size of the castle many times over and was retained and further developed under the following princes. Essentially, it is about the Köthener Schlossgarten, which, however, owes its current shape to changes in the 19th century and neglect in the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century.


  • First marriage: Prince Ludwig married Countess Amoena Amalie von Bentheim-Tecklenburg and Steinfurt in 1606 (1586–1625)
∞ Princess Elisabeth Charlotte of Anhalt-Harzgerode (1647–1723)

Works (selection)

  • (Ex.) Johannis Baptistae Gelli… graceful conversation with Capricci del Bottaio . Koethen 1619
  • (Ex.) Johannis Baptistae Gelli… La Circe addressed gracious conversations . Koethen 1620
  • Kurtzer report Von der Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft (Fruit Bringing Society) projects, including names, paintings and words, mapped out in rhymes. [O. O.], 1628. Digitized and full text in the German text archive
  • (Ex.) Jean du Bec-Crespin: Memorable story of the great Tamerlanis . Koethen 1639
  • (Ex.) Francisci Petrarchae ... Six triumphs or victories. Koethen 1643

New edition:


  • Klaus Conermann: Prince Ludwig von Anhalt-Koethen (1579–1650) . Köthen 2002, ISBN 3-910017-03-7
  • Viktor Martin Otto Denk: Prince Ludwig of Anhalt-Koethen . Marburg 1917 (Reprint: Micado, Köthen o. J. [1997], ISBN 3-931891-02-X )
  • Gerhard Dünnhaupt : The translations of Prince Ludwig , in: Daphnis 7 (1978), pp. 513-529
  • Gerhard Dünnhaupt: Die Fürstliche Druckerei ... A contribution to the 400th birthday of Prince Ludwig . (AGB; XX.4). Booksellers Association, Frankfurt am Main 1979, ISBN 3-7657-0934-4
  • Gerhard Dünnhaupt:  Ludwig. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 15, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-428-00196-6 , p. 347 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Gerhard Dünnhaupt: Ludwig, Fürst von Anhalt-Köthen (1579–1650) , in: Personal bibliographies on the prints of the Baroque , Vol. 4. Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-7772-9122-6 , pp. 2607-2618.
  • Günther Hoppe: Ludwig von Anhalt's Italy experience . Koethen 1986
  • Michael Karkosch : The fruitful pleasure garden in Köthen and the Anhalt orangery culture , in: Die Gartenkunst , 2/2010, ISSN  0935-0519 , pp. 177–207
  • Gottlieb Krause : Ludwig, Prince of Anhalt-Cöthen and his country . 3 volumes. Köthen and Neusalz 1877–1879
  • Ferdinand Siebigk:  Ludwig, Prince of Anhalt-Koethen . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 19, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1884, pp. 476-483.

Web links

Commons : Ludwig I. von Anhalt-Köthen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Membership catalog of the Accademia della Crusca
  2. Deutschlandfunk: Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft
  3. Philately: commemorative stamp "400 years of fruit-bearing society"
  4. ^ Fruitful society: Prince Ludwig von Anhalt-Köthen
predecessor Office successor
Johann Georg I. Prince of Anhalt-Köthen
1606 - 1650
Wilhelm Ludwig