Wilhelm II (Hesse)

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Landgrave Wilhelm II (tomb)

Wilhelm II of Hesse , "the middle one" ( April 29, 1469 - July 11, 1509 ) was Landgrave of the Landgraviate of Hesse .


Wilhelm was the second son of Landgrave Ludwig the Franklin (1438–1471) and his wife Mechthild, a daughter of Count Ludwig I of Württemberg . Wilhelm married Jolanthe († 1500) in 1497, daughter of Count Frederick II of Vaudémont and sister of Duke René of Lorraine . After her death in childbed in the spring of 1500, he married Anna von Mecklenburg (1485–1525) on October 20, 1500 .

Wilhelm was actually intended for a career in the church. He had enjoyed a good education at the court of his uncle Eberhard “in the beard” of Württemberg, during which, however, he lost his liking for the clergy and instead discovered his inclination for the arms trade. He was first co-regent of a Lower Hessian part-rulership in 1485, but became Landgrave of all of Lower Hesse in 1493 after his older brother Wilhelm I, "the elder", resigned from the rule due to a mental illness caused by syphilis and retired to Spangenberg .

At a young age Wilhelm had become a good acquaintance and friend of the German king and later emperor Maximilian , whom he also assisted on several campaigns. In 1488 he and the Saxon Duke Albrecht freed Maximilian from captivity in the rebellious city of Bruges , and in 1490 he and 1,000 followers supported Maximilian on his journey to Hungary. 1503–1504 commissioned Maximilian I. Wilhelm with the execution of the Eight in the Electoral Palatinate , whereby his troops behaved quite roughly.

After the death in 1500 of his childless cousin William III., "The Younger" , which in since 1489 Marburg on the part Landgraviate Oberhessen had prevailed, united Wilhelm II. The entire country county Hessen again in one hand. He also succeeded in fizzling out the inheritance dispute with the Counts of Nassau over the former County of Katzenelnbogen and thus in de facto in favor of Hesse.

As early as 1504 Wilhelm, like his older brother before him, fell ill with syphilis . In 1506 he therefore actually handed over the business of government to a Regency Council appointed by him. He died, increasingly isolated for fear of the risk of infection, on July 11, 1509. His tomb, created by the Marburg sculptor Ludwig Juppe , is in the grave of the landgraves in the Elisabeth Church in Marburg .

His will, in which he appointed his widow Anna as regent, was not accepted by the Hessian estates . From this conflict of guardianship, in which the state court master Ludwig I von Boyneburg was her main adversary, Anna only emerged successfully as regent after five years, in 1514.


  • From the marriage with Jolanthe of Lorraine:
    • Wilhelm (March 27, 1500 - April 8, 1500)
  • From the marriage with Anna von Mecklenburg:
    • Elisabeth (March 4, 1502 - December 6, 1557); married since 1516 to Johann, Duke of Saxony
    • Magdalena (July 18, 1503 - September 10, 1504)
    • Philip I (November 13, 1504 - March 31, 1567); married since 1523 to Christine, Duchess of Saxony


  • Pauline Puppel: The regent. Guardian rule in Hesse 1500–1700. Campus, Frankfurt / Main 2004. ISBN 3-593-37480-3
  • Rajah Scheepers: regent by coup? Landgravine Anna of Hesse (1485–1525). Ulrike Helmer, Königstein 2007, ISBN 3-897-41227-6
  • Rajah Scheepers: Two Unknown Engagements by Landgrave Philip the Magnanimous? - Landgravine Anna's marriage policy. In: Journal of the Association for Hessian History (109/2004), pp. 13–29.
  • Rajah Scheepers: 'Not a woman's work.' - women, religion and political power. In: Yearbook of the European Society of Women in Theological Research (12/2004), pp. 193-206.
  • Tanja von Werner: Wilhelm II. - appearance and reality of life and death of a landgrave of Hesse. In: Andreas Meyer (Ed.): Elisabeth and no end ... on the afterlife of St. Elisabeth of Thuringia. 5th conference of the working group "Marburg Medieval Center (MMZ)", Marburg, June 1, 2007. Eudora-Verlag, Leipzig, 2012, ISBN 978-3-938533-32-1 , pp. 245-262.
  • Eckhart G. Franz : The House of Hesse. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-17-018919-0
  • Reimer:  Wilhelm II (Landgrave of Hesse) . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 43, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1898, pp. 28-31.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/artdok: The tomb of Wilhelm II in Marburg
predecessor Office successor
Wilhelm I. Landgrave of Hesse ( Lower Hesse )
Philip I.
William III. Landgrave of Hesse ( Upper Hesse )
Philip I.