George, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach : biography
George of Brandenburg-Ansbach () (4 March 1484 – 27 December 1543) was a Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach from the House of Hohenzollern.
Family and children
George went on to marry three times: First to Beatrice de Frangepan (1480 – c.1510); the marriage produced no children.
George's second wife was Hedwig of Münsterberg-Oels (1508–1531), daughter of Charles I of Münsterberg-Oels; their marriage produced two daughters:
- Anna Maria of Brandenburg-Ansbach (December 28, 1526 – May 20, 1589) who married Christoph, Duke of Württemberg in 1544.
- Sabina of Brandenburg-Ansbach (12 May 1529 – 2 November 1575) married John George, Elector of Brandenburg.
His third wife was Emilie of Saxony (July 27, 1516 – March 9, 1591), daughter of Henry IV, Duke of Saxony and Catherine of Mecklenburg on August 25, 1533:
- Sophie of Brandenburg-Ansbach (March 23, 1535 – February 12, 1587) married Henry XI of Legnica on November 11, 1560.
- Barbara of Brandenburg-Ansbach (June 17, 1536 – June 1591 in Kloster Himmelkron)
- Dorothy Catherine of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1538–1604) married in 1556 Henry V of Plauen, Burgrave of Meissen.
- George Frederick (1539–1603), who became Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Regent of the Duchy of Prussia.
He was born in Ansbach, the third of eight sons of Margrave Frederick the Elder and his wife Sophia of Poland, daughter of Casimir IV of Poland and Elisabeth of Habsburg. Through his mother, he was related to the royal court in Buda. He entered the service of his uncle, King Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary, living at his court from 1506. The king received him as an adopted son, entrusted him in 1515 with the Duchy of Oppeln, and in 1516 made him member of the tutelary government instituted for Hungary, and tutor of his son Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia. In 1521 he made an arrangement with Petar Keglević and pulled back from Hungary and Croatia; this arrangement, accepted by Louis II in 1526, was not accepted by Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I until 1559.
Territories and influence
At the court of Hungary there were two parties arrayed against each other: the Magyar party under the leadership of Zápolyas and the German party under the leadership of George of Brandenburg, whose authority was increased by the acquisition of the duchies of Ratibor and Oppeln by hereditary treaties with their respective dukes and of the territories of Oderberg, Beuthen, and Tarnowitz as pledges from the king of Bohemia, who could not redeem his debts.
By the further appropriation of the Duchy of Jägerndorf, George came into possession of all Upper Silesia. As the owner and mortgagee of these territories he prepared the way for the introduction of the Protestant Reformation, here as well as in his native Franconia. Earlier than any other German prince or any other member of the Hohenzollern line including even his younger brother Albert, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, he turned his eyes and heart to the new faith proceeding from Wittenberg.
The first reformatory writings began the work of winning him over to the evangelical cause. Martin Luther's powerful testimony of faith at the Diet of Worms in 1521 made an indelible impression upon his mind, and the vigorous sermons of evangelical preachers in the pulpits of St. Lawrence and St. Sebald in Nuremberg, during the diet there in 1522, deepened the impression. The study of Luther's translation of the New Testament, which appeared in 1522, established his faith on personal conviction. Moreover, he entered into correspondence with Luther, discussing with him the most important problems of faith, and in 1524 he met him personally during the negotiations concerning his brother Albert's secularization of the Teutonic Order's state of Prussia into the secular Duchy of Prussia.
After the accession of King Louis II, George was aided in his reforming efforts by Queen Maria, a sister of Charles V and Ferdinand I, who was favorably inclined toward the new doctrine. As the adviser of the young king, George firmly advocated the cause of the new gospel against the influences and intrigues of his clerical opponents and successfully prevented their violent measures. His relationship with Duke Frederick II of Liegnitz, Brieg, and Wohlau, and with Duke Charles I of Münsterberg-Oels, who had both admitted the Reformation into their countries, contributed not a little to the expansion of the gospel in his own territories. But it was his own personal influence, energy, and practical spirit that introduced the new doctrine and founded a new evangelical and churchly life. He made efforts to secure preachers of the new gospel from Hungary, Silesia, and Franconia, and tried to introduce the church order of Brandenburg-Nuremberg, which had already found acceptance in the Franconian territories.
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