Moritz (Hessen-Kassel)

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Copper engraving with the portrait of Moritz von Hessen-Kassel from the Theatrum Europaeum from 1662

Moritz von Hessen-Kassel , called "the learned" (* May 25, 1572 in Kassel ; † March 15, 1632 in Eschwege ) from the House of Hesse was the ruling Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel from 1592 to 1627 .


Moritz was the son of Landgrave Wilhelm IV of Hessen-Kassel and his wife Sabine von Württemberg . He was comprehensively educated and his upbringing was geared entirely to Philipp Melanchthon and Martin Bucer . It was only under the influence of his two wives that he was reformed . Moritz is said to have spoken eight languages, was also interested in science and is said to have carried out alchemical experiments. He loved magnificent elevators, jousting games and allegories and had the first independent theater building in the German-speaking area, the Ottoneum in Kassel, built. He was a skilled musician and a serious composer ; he discovered and promoted Heinrich Schütz .

On September 23, 1593 he married Agnes von Solms-Laubach , who died on November 23, 1602 and with whom he had a daughter and two sons, including the later Landgrave Wilhelm V of Hesse-Kassel.

After the death of his first wife and six months of mourning, he entered into a second marriage with Juliane von Nassau-Dillenburg on May 22, 1603 , from which 14 children emerged. Juliane ensured that her children received a quarter of Hessen-Kassel as a hereditary fief ( Rotenburger Quart ). So with the three surviving sons of Julianes - Hermann von Hessen-Rotenburg , Friedrich von Hessen-Eschwege and Ernst von Hessen-Rheinfels - the landgrave branch lines Hessen-Rotenburg , Hessen-Eschwege , Hessen-Wanfried and Hessen-Rheinfels (younger line) were created .

In 1595 Moritz converted his Pageschool into a court school for aristocrats and citizens. This resulted in the “Collegium Mauritianum” in 1598, which was modernized again in 1618 and converted into the “ Collegium Adelphicum Mauritianum ”. Ernst von Börstel was won as the first prefect .

"Second Reformation"

In 1605 Moritz converted to Calvinism . According to the principle of the Augsburg Religious Peace (" Cuius regio, eius religio "), the sovereign had the right to enforce a change of confession among his subjects. However, the Augsburg Religious Peace was only concluded between Lutherans and Catholics, and its applicability to Reformed people was questionable. In any case, Moritz went beyond the scope of interpretation when he also introduced the Reformed Confession in the parts of the country that had come to Hessen-Kassel in 1604 when the inheritance of the extinct line from Hessen-Marburg was divided and for which a change of denomination was excluded by testamentary decree . The forced change of denomination at the entire University of Marburg , which led to the foundation of the Lutheran University of Giessen by Hessen-Darmstadt in 1607, was also illegal .


Moritz often acted unhappy during his reign and increasingly lost the trust of the estates . He carried out risky actions on the periphery of his territory, such as the catastrophic campaign on the Lower Rhine against the Spanish occupation of the monastery of Münster in 1598/99 or the failed occupation of the coadjutor position of the monastery of Paderborn in 1604. From 1604 it came in the course of the Marburg inheritance dispute to protracted conflicts with Hessen-Darmstadt. Moritz then lost a process at the Reichshofrat in 1623 , through which he had to cede not only the Marburg inheritance, but also parts of Lower Hesse as well as Schmalkalden and Katzenelnbogen as a pledge. His turning to foreign advisors also poisoned the relationship with the estates.

In the Thirty Years' War , in which Hesse was one of the most heavily devastated areas, Moritz also came into opposition to the emperor through his support for the Protestant Union and his military commitment in favor of the Danish king Christian IV . In the early 1620s, the knighthood was no longer willing to bear the high costs. The invasion of League troops under General Tilly finally brought the break in 1623, when the representatives of the estates entered into negotiations with the general without the knowledge of the Landgrave. Moritz then raised the charge of treason and thus lost the last remaining trust of the estates. On March 17, 1627 he was forced by the estates to abdicate in favor of his son.

As early as 1623 Moritz was accepted into the Fruit Bringing Society by Prince Ludwig I of Anhalt-Köthen . Moritz was given the company name "the well-known" and the motto "in diligent practice". The spindle tree ( Euonymus europaea L.) was given to him as an emblem . Landgraf Moritz's entry can be found in the company's Koethen company register under number 80.

After his abdication in 1627, Moritz first moved to Melsungen Castle , then back to Frankfurt and later made Eschwege Castle his retirement home. Upper Hesse was transferred to Hessen-Darmstadt, and Moritz's office director Dr. Günther was executed. Moritz made more than four hundred drawings, sketches, as-built plans and building drafts at Melsungen Castle, which provide information about the city, its floor plan and its buildings at the beginning of the 17th century. He was also busy reading the future and looking for the philosopher's stone .

Landgrave Moritz died on March 15, 1632 in Eschwege at the age of 60. The voluminous commemorative publication Monumentum Sepulcrale was printed in his honor, praising him as sovereign and especially as a scholar.


Moritz married Agnes zu Solms-Laubach (1578–1602), daughter of Johann Georg von Solms-Laubach (1546–1600) in 1593 . The following children were born out of the marriage:

⚭ 1613 Katharina Ursula von Baden-Durlach (1593–1615)
⚭ 1617 Agnes Magdalene of Anhalt-Dessau (1590–1626)

After Agnes's death, he married Juliane von Nassau-Dillenburg (1587–1643) in 1603 . With her he had seven sons and seven daughters:

⚭ 1633 Sophia Juliana von Waldeck (1607–1637)
⚭ 1642 Kunigunde Juliane von Anhalt-Dessau (1608–1683)
⚭ 1646 Countess Palatine Eleonore Katharina von Zweibrücken (1626–1692)
  • Christian (1622–1640), Swedish colonel, died after a feast with General Baner with some other officers; a poison attack is suspected.
  • Ernst (1623–1693), Landgrave of Hesse-Rheinfels -Rotenburg
⚭ 1647 Countess Maria Eleonore zu Solms-Lich (1632–1689)
⚭ 1690 Alexandrine von Dürnizl († 1754)
  • Christine (1625-1626)
  • Philip (1626–1629)
  • Elisabeth (1628–1633)


  • Davidis regis prophetae psalterium (1593)
  • Encyclopaedia (1597)
  • Poetices methodices conformatae (1598)
  • Luther, Martin: Christian hymn book of all kinds of spiritual chants and songs. - Cassel: Mencke, 1631 (set to music by Landgrave Moritz)


  • Ulrike Hanschke: Northern Hesse in the drawings of Landgrave Moritz . Kassel 2017, ISBN 978-3-7376-0424-6 .
  • Gerhard Menk (ed.): Landgrave Moritz the learned. A Calvinist between science and politics. Trautvetter & Fischer, Marburg 2000, ISBN 3-87822-112-6
  • Heiner Borggrefe: Ut pictura politeia or The painted princely state of Moritz the learned and the image program in Eschwege . Marburg 2000.
  • Heiner Borggrefe (ed.): Moritz the learned. A renaissance prince in Europe. Edition Minerva, Eurasburg 1997, ISBN 3-932353-04-8
  • Birgit Kümmel: The iconoclast as an art lover. Studies of Landgrave Moritz von Hessen-Kassel (1592 - 1627) . Marburg 1996.
  • Bruce T. Moran: The alchemical world of the German court. Occult philosophy and chemical medicine in the circle of Moritz of Hessen (1572 - 1632) . Stuttgart 1991.
  • Max LenzMoritz the Scholar, Landgrave of Hesse . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1885, pp. 268-283.
  • Heinz-Horst Schrey:  MORITZ the learned. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 6, Bautz, Herzberg 1993, ISBN 3-88309-044-1 , Sp. 142-143.
  • Fritz Wolff:  Moritz the scholar. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 18, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-428-00199-0 , pp. 136-139 ( digitized version ).
  • Hans Hartleb : Germany's first theater building. A history of the theater life and the English comedians under Landgrave Moritz the Scholar of Hessen-Kassel. De Gruyter, Berlin 1936.
  • T. Hartwig: The court school at Cassel under Landgrave Moritz the scholar . Dissertation, University of Marburg 1864.

Web links

Commons : Moritz (Hessen-Kassel)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. SCHLOTTER, Acta, p. 327 - also: Mortaigne de Potelles, Kaspar Kornelius: The Thirty Years War in personal testimonies, chronicles and reports  ( 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
William IV Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel
Wilhelm V.