Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg

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Joachim I Nestor
Elector of Brandenburg
Lucas Cranach (I) - Joachim I Nestor - Jagdschloss Grunewald.jpg
portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1529
Elector of Brandenburg
Reign 1499–1535
Predecessor John Cicero
Successor Joachim II Hector
Born(1484-02-21)21 February 1484
Died 11 July 1535(1535-07-11) (aged 51)
Spouse Elizabeth of Denmark
Issue Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg
Anna, Duchess of Mecklenburg
Elisabeth, Duchess of Brunswick-Calenberg-Gottingen
Margaret, Duchess of Pomerania, Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst
John, Margrave of Brandenburg-Küstrin
House House of Hohenzollern
Father John Cicero, Elector of Brandenburg
Mother Margaret of Thuringia
Religion Roman Catholic

Joachim I Nestor (21 February 1484 – 11 July 1535) was a Prince-elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg (1499–1535), the fifth member of the House of Hohenzollern. His nickname was taken from King Nestor of Greek mythology.

Prince-elector members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire

The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire, or Electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the Holy Roman Emperor.

Margraviate of Brandenburg major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806

The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806 that played a pivotal role in the history of Germany and Central Europe.

House of Hohenzollern dynasty of former princes, electors, kings, and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania

The House of Hohenzollern[ˈhoːəntsɔlɐn] is a German dynasty of former princes, electors, kings and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania. The family arose in the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the 11th century and took their name from Hohenzollern Castle. The first ancestors of the Hohenzollerns were mentioned in 1061.



The eldest son of John Cicero, Elector of Brandenburg, Joachim received an excellent education under the supervision of Dietrich von Bülow, Bishop of Lebus and Chancellor of Frankfurt University. He became Elector of Brandenburg upon his father's death in January 1499, and soon afterwards married Elizabeth of Denmark, daughter of King John of Denmark. They had five children:

John Cicero, Elector of Brandenburg Elector of Brandenburg

John II was Elector of Brandenburg from 1486 until his death, the fourth of the House of Hohenzollern. After his death he received the posthumous cognomen Cicero, after the Roman orator of the same name, but the elector's eloquence and interest in the arts is debatable.

Denmark constitutional monarchy in Europe

Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.

  1. Joachim II Hektor (9 January 1505 – 3 January 1571)
  2. Anna (1507 – 19 June 1567) married Albert VII, Duke of Mecklenburg-Güstrow
  3. Elisabeth (24 August 1510 – 25 May 1558)
  4. Margaret (29 September 1511 – 1577), married on 23 January 1530 George I, Duke of Pomerania and after his death in 1534 John V, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst.
  5. John (3 August 1513 – 13 January 1571)

Joachim took some part in the political complications of the Scandinavian kingdoms, but the early years of his reign were mainly spent in the administration of his electorate, where he succeeded in restoring some degree of order through stern measures. He also improved the administration of justice, aided the development of commerce, and was sympathetic to the needs to the towns. On the approach of the imperial election of 1519, Joachim's vote was eagerly solicited by the partisans of King Francis I of France, and Charles of Burgundy. Having treated with both parties, and received lavish promises from them, he appears to have hoped to be Emperor himself; but when the election came, he turned to the winning side and voted for Charles. In spite of this, relations between the Emperor and the Elector were not friendly, and during the next few years Joachim was frequently in communication with Charles' enemies.

Holy Roman Empire varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

Francis I of France King of France

Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death in 1547. He was the son of Charles, Count of Angoulême, and Louise of Savoy. He succeeded his cousin and father-in-law Louis XII, who died without a son. Francis was the ninth king from the House of Valois, the second from the Valois-Orléans branch, and the first from the Valois-Orléans-Angoulême branch.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor

Charles V was Holy Roman Emperor (1519–1556), King of Spain and ruler of the Spanish Empire, Archduke of Austria, and ruler of the Habsburg Netherlands (1506–1555). The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and Incas, and the German colonisation of Venezuela both occurred during his reign. Charles V revitalized the medieval concept of the universal monarchy of Charlemagne and travelled from city to city, with no single fixed capital: overall he spent 28 years in the Habsburg Netherlands, 18 years in Spain and 9 years in Germany. After four decades of incessant warfare with the Kingdom of France, the Ottoman Empire, and the Protestants, Charles V abandoned his multi-national project with a series of abdications between 1554 and 1556 in favor of his son Philip II of Spain and brother Ferdinand I of Austria. The personal union of his European and American territories, spanning over nearly 4 million square kilometres, was the first collection of realms to be defined as "the empire on which the sun never sets".

In the course of Hohenzollern power politics Joachim Nestor and his brother managed to get the latter, Albert of Mainz, first onto the sees of Magdeburg and then its suffragan of Halberstadt, both prince-bishoprics also comprising princely territories. Since prince-episcopal sees were so influential, competing candidates usually ran for them. A candidature could turn into a bribery competition, without ever knowing exactly how much competitors paid to obtain office. The expenditures involved, as far as they exceeded one's own potential, were usually advanced by creditors and had then to be recovered by levying dues from the subjects and parishioners in the prince-bishoprics and dioceses that were just acquired. The acquisition in 1514 of the very influential Prince-Archbishopric-Electorate of Mainz for Albert was a coup that provided the Hohenzollerns with control over two of the seven electoral votes in imperial elections and many suffragan dioceses to levy dues.

Episcopal see the main administrative seat held by a bishop

An episcopal see is, in the usual meaning of the phrase, the area of a bishop's ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

Archbishopric of Magdeburg

The Archbishopric of Magdeburg was a Roman Catholic archdiocese (969–1552) and Prince-Archbishopric (1180–1680) of the Holy Roman Empire centered on the city of Magdeburg on the Elbe River.

Diocese Christian district or see under the supervision of a bishop

The word diocese is derived from the Greek term dioikesis (διοίκησις) meaning "administration". Today, when used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop.

According to canon law, Albert was too young to hold such a position and since he would not give up the archiepiscopal see of Magdeburg (in order to terminate the accumulation of archdioceses, which was also prohibited by canon law), the Hohenzollerns had to dispense ever greater briberies at the Holy See. This exhausted their means and caused them to incur vast debts with the Fuggers.

Canon law is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law, or operational policy, governing the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the individual national churches within the Anglican Communion. The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was originally a rule adopted by a church council; these canons formed the foundation of canon law.

Holy See episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, is the apostolic episcopal see of the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, ex cathedra the universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, and a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and Papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholic bishops and Catholics around the world organised in polities of the Latin Church, the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.

Fugger family of Augsburg

Fugger is a German family that was historically a prominent group of European bankers, members of the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century mercantile patriciate of Augsburg, international mercantile bankers, and venture capitalists. Alongside the Welser family, the Fugger family controlled much of the European economy in the sixteenth century and accumulated enormous wealth. The Fuggers held a near monopoly on the European copper market.

To assist in the recovery of the enormous expenditures employed to assist Albert, mediators stipulated with the Holy See that the pope would allow Albert to sell indulgences to the believers in his archdioceses and their suffragans. The sales proceeds had to cover the amortisation and servicing of the debts; a share for the Holy See, for allowing this exploitation of the believers; the expenditure paid from the Hohenzollerns own pockets; and the charges involved with the sales. [1]


In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, an indulgence is "a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins". It may reduce the "temporal punishment for sin" after death, in the state or process of purification called Purgatory.

The neighbouring Electorate of Saxony also bid for the See of Mainz, but failed to secure it. The Saxon elector Frederick the Wise had debts of his own as a result, but no see to show for it and no privilege to sell indulgences to recover his expenditures. Frustrated, he forbade the sale of indulgences in his electorate and allowed Martin Luther to polemicize against them.

Joachim Nestor, in contrast, became known as a pugnacious adherent of Roman Catholic orthodoxy who needed the sales of indulgences and the necessary intimidation of the believers in order to recover his expenditures. Joachim Nestor's brother, Archbishop Albert, was the initial object of Luther's attack. He urged on the Emperor the need to enforce the Edict of Worms, and at several diets was prominent among the enemies of the Reformers.

A patron of learning, Joachim Nestor established the Viadrina university of Frankfurt (Oder) in 1506. He promoted Georg von Blumenthal, the "Pillar of Catholicism", as Chancellor of Frankfurt University, Bishop of Lebus and a Privy Counsellor. He was among those who met at Dessau in July 1525 and was a member of the league established at Halle in November 1533. But his wife, against his will, like her brother King Christian of Denmark, became Lutheran, and in 1528 fled for safety to Saxony. He experienced the mortification of seeing Protestantism also favoured by other members of his family. He died at Stendal in 1535.


Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg
Born: 21 February 1484 Died: 11 July 1535
Regnal titles
Preceded by
John Cicero
Elector of Brandenburg
Succeeded by
Joachim II Hector

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  1. Fugger's accountants and preachers were travelling together from parish to parish. The preachers would sufficiently frighten the parishioners with the tortures of the purgatory, so that they would spend their scarce money for buying a reduction of years in the repurgatory - a so-called indulgence - for themselves, living and dead family and friends.