John George IV, Elector of Saxony

Last updated
John George IV
Jan Jerzy IV 4.jpg
Elector of Saxony
Reign12 September 1691 – 27 April 1694
Predecessor John George III
Successor Frederick Augustus I
Born(1668-10-18)18 October 1668
Dresden
Died27 April 1694(1694-04-27) (aged 25)
Dresden
Burial
Spouse Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach
Issue Wilhelmina Maria Fryderyka von Rochlitz (illegitimate)
House Wettin
Father John George III, Elector of Saxony
Mother Princess Anna Sophie of Denmark
Religion Lutheran

John George IV (18 October 1668 in Dresden 27 April 1694 in Dresden) was Elector of Saxony from 1691 to 1694.

Contents

He belonged to the Albertine line of the House of Wettin and was the eldest son of the Elector John George III and Anna Sophie of Denmark.

First years as elector

John George succeeded his father as Elector when he died, on 12 September 1691.

At the beginning of his reign his chief adviser was Hans Adam von Schöning, who counselled a union between Saxony and Brandenburg and a more independent attitude towards the emperor. In accordance with this advice certain proposals were put before Leopold I to which he refused to agree; and consequently the Saxon troops withdrew from the imperial army, a proceeding which led the chagrined emperor to seize and imprison Schöning in July 1692. Although John George was unable to procure his minister's release, Leopold managed to allay the elector's anger, and early in 1693 the Saxon soldiers rejoined the imperialists.

Marriage and The Neidschutz Affair

In Leipzig on 17 April 1692, John George married Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach, Dowager Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach. The young Elector was forced to marry by his mother, the Dowager Electress Anna Sophie, supposedly to produce legitimate heirs to the Electorate. The real reason for the marriage was to end the liaison between John George and Magdalena Sibylla of Neidschutz.

John George III, the late Elector had tried to separate the lovers, perhaps because he was aware of a close blood relationship between them — for Magdalena Sybilla may have been his own illegitimate daughter by Ursula Margarethe of Haugwitz, and therefore John George IV's half-sister. By order of the Elector, Ursula had married Colonel Rudolf of Neidschutz, who officially appears as the father of her daughter.

John George may never have known of his possible blood relationship to Magdalena Sibylla or regarded the claim as a rumor spread by ill-wishers. Immediately after he assumed the Electorate, he openly lived with her, and she became the first ever Official Mistress (Favoritin) of an Elector of Saxony.

The Electress, Eleonore Erdmuthe, humiliated every day since her wedding, was relegated to the Hofe (the official residence of the Elector). John George moved into another palace with Magdalena Sybilla.

Desperate to marry his mistress, John George tried to murder his wife, but was prevented by his younger brother, Frederick August. When John George tried to stab Eleonore with a sword, the unarmed Frederick stopped the weapon with his hand, injuring it and leaving him with a lifelong handicap.

Last Days

After a substantial bribe from the Elector, on 20 February 1693 Magdalene Sybille was created Countess of Rochlitz (Grafïn von Rochlitz) by Imperial Decree. Shortly before, she gave birth the only daughter of the couple, Wilhelmina Maria.

But the happiness ended soon: Magdalene Sybille contracted smallpox and died on 4 April 1694, in the arms of the Elector, who was also infected with the disease.

John George died twenty-three days later, on 27 April. He was buried in the Freiberg Cathedral.

Because he died without legitimate issue—Electress Eleonore suffered two miscarriages during their marriage, in August 1692 and February 1693—he was succeeded as Elector by his brother Frederick Augustus I (king of Poland as Augustus II of Poland). The new Elector took the guardianship of the little orphan Wilhelmina Maria, who was raised in the court. He acknowledged the girl as his niece and gave her a dowry when she was married to a Polish Count.

Literature

Ancestry

John George IV in the Mad Monarchs Series: http://www.madmonarchs.nl/

Related Research Articles

George, Duke of Saxony Duke of Saxony

George the Bearded, Duke of Saxony, was Duke of Saxony from 1500 to 1539 known for his opposition to the Reformation. While the Ernestine line embraced Lutheranism, the Albertines were reluctant to do so. Despite George's efforts to avoid a succession by a Lutheran upon his death in 1539, he could not prevent it from happening. Under the Act of Settlement of 1499, Lutheran Henry IV became the new duke. Upon his accession, Henry introduced Lutheranism as a state religion in the Albertine lands of Saxony.

John George III, Elector of Saxony Elector of Saxony

Johann George III was Elector of Saxony from 1680 to 1691. He belonged to the Albertine line of the House of Wettin.

Augustus II the Strong Elector of Saxony

Augustus II the Strong, also known in Saxony as Frederick Augustus I, was Elector of Saxony from 1697, Imperial Vicar and elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in the years 1697–1706 and from 1709 until his death in 1733. He was succeeded by his son, Augustus III of Poland.

John George I, Elector of Saxony German noble

John George I was Elector of Saxony from 1611 to 1656.

Augustus, Elector of Saxony Elector of Saxony

Augustus was Elector of Saxony from 1553 to 1586.

Electorate of Saxony State of the Holy Roman Empire, established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate 1356

The Electorate of Saxony was a state of the Holy Roman Empire established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate by the Golden Bull of 1356. Upon the extinction of the House of Ascania, it was feoffed to the Margraves of Meissen from the Wettin dynasty in 1423, who moved the ducal residence up the river Elbe to Dresden. After the Empire's dissolution in 1806, the Wettin Electors raised Saxony to a territorially reduced kingdom.

John George I, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach Duke of Saxe-Eisenach

Johann Georg I, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach.

Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth Queen consort of Poland

Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth was Electress of Saxony from 1694 to 1727 and titular Queen of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1697 to 1727 by marriage to Augustus II the Strong. Not once throughout the whole of her thirty-year queenship did she set foot in Poland, instead living in Saxony in self-imposed exile. Born a German margravine, she was called Sachsens Betsäule, "Saxony's pillar of prayer", by her Protestant subjects for her refusal to convert to Catholicism and her loyalty to the Protestant faith. Despite the allegiance of Christiane Eberhardine and her mother-in-law, Anna Sophie of Denmark, to Lutheranism, her husband and son, later Augustus III, both became Catholics, ensuring Catholic succession in the Albertine lands after a century-and-a-half.

Christian II of Saxe-Merseburg, was a duke of Saxe-Merseburg and member of the House of Wettin.

Christian III Maurice, Duke of Saxe-Merseburg, was a duke of Saxe-Merseburg and member of the House of Wettin.

Christian Ernst, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth

Christian Ernst of Brandenburg-Bayreuth was a member of the House of Hohenzollern and Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth.

Princess Anna Sophie of Denmark Electress consort of Saxony

Princess Anna Sophie of Denmark and Norway was the eldest daughter of King Frederick III of Denmark and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and Electress of Saxony from 1680 to 1691 as the wife of John George III.

Magdalena Sibylla of Neidschutz German countess

Magdalena Sibylla of Neidschutz, later Countess of Rochlitz, was a German noblewoman and the mistress of John George IV, Elector of Saxony. She was the first ever Official Mistress (Favoritin) of an Elector of Saxony.

Wilhelmina Maria Frederica, Countess of Rochlitz was a Polish noblewoman of German descent. She was the illegitimate daughter of John George IV, Elector of Saxony, and Magdalene Sibylle, Countess of Rochlitz, his official mistress. Her parents, who may have been half-siblings, both died from smallpox soon after her birth, and she was raised in Poland at the royal court of her uncle and guardian, Augustus II the Strong of Poland.

Duchess Magdalene Sibylle of Prussia Electress of Saxony

Magdalene Sibylle of Prussia was an Electress of Saxony as the spouse of John George I, Elector of Saxony.

Margravine Magdalene Sibylle of Brandenburg-Bayreuth Electress of Saxony by marriage

Magdalene Sibylle of Brandenburg-Bayreuth was Electress of Saxony from 1656 to 1680 as the wife of John George II. The daughter of Christian, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, and Marie of Prussia, she was by birth a Markgräfin, or Margravine, and a member of the Brandenburg-Bayreuth branch of the House of Hohenzollern.

Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach Margravine consort of Brandenburg-Ansbach

Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe Louise of Saxe-Eisenach, was a German princess member of the House of Wettin and through her two marriages was Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Electress of Saxony.

Anne of Denmark, Electress of Saxony Electress of Saxony

Anne of Denmark was a Danish princess from the House of Oldenburg. Through her marriage with Augustus of Saxony she became Electress of Saxony. She was renowned for her knowledge of plants and her skill in the preparation of herbal remedies, and contributed to the development of farming and horticulture in Saxony. She was a major influence in the introduction of orthodox Lutheranism and played a role in the decision to persecute Calvinists.

Saxe-Merseburg

The Duchy of Saxe-Merseburg was a duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, with Merseburg as its capital. It existed from 1656/57 to 1738 and was owned by an Albertine secundogeniture of the Saxon House of Wettin.

Dorothea Maria of Saxe-Weimar, Duchess of Saxe-Zeitz Duchess consort of Saxe-Zeitz

Dorothea Maria of Saxe-Weimar, was by birth Duchess of Saxe-Weimar from the Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin and by marriage Duchess of Saxe-Zeitz.

References

John George IV, Elector of Saxony
Born: 18 October 1668 Died: 27 April 1694
Regnal titles
Preceded by
John George III
Elector of Saxony
1691–1694
Succeeded by
Frederick Augustus I