Contemporaries in the Holy Roman Empire
Maurice, Duke of Saxony 1541-1553, elector since 1547
*1521. Maurice was considered a talented and promising sovereign. He was politically ambitious but indifferent in religious matters. He supported the emperor against the Schmalkaldic League and won the decisive battle of 1547 against his cousin John Frederic I the Magnanimous. Thus Maurice gained both extensive lands and the electorate.
Maurice was a clever manipulator of alliances. When the increase of the emperor's power after the diet of Augsburg in 1548 caused growing political and religious discontent, Maurice switched sides. He initiated an anti-Habsburg plot of German protestant princes against the emperor in 1551 and also gained the assistance of King Henry II of France. The emperor had to flee from Innsbruck in 1552 when Maurice launched a surprise attack. King Ferdinand I finally mediated an armistice. The terms included the release of Maurice's father in law Philip the Magnanimous, and they eventually prepared the way to the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.
Maurice died at the age of 32 when he fought Albert Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. This looter and outlaw had been his ally only a year before. Maurice won the battle of Sievershausen in 1553, but he was fatally wounded and paid victory with his life.
Thaler 1542, Buchholz T. Ø 39 mm. Keilitz 193; Schnee 102; Dav.9734.
Obv.: IOHANnes FRidericus - ELECtor·DVX - SAConiae·BVRGgravivs - MAGDEBurgensis
with the coat of arms: Electorate/Saxony (top), Margraviate Thuringia (right), Magdeburg (bottom) and Meissen.
Effigy of John Frederic dressed as elector and holding the electoral sword on his shoulder.
Rev.: MAVRITIVs - DVX·SAX - ONIaE·FIE - RI·FECit·T· [ T = Sign of the mint in Buchholz]
with the coat of arms: Duchy Saxony (top), Thuringia (right), Palatinate of Saxony (bottom) and Margraviate Meissen.
Effigy of Maurice dressed with a coat looking to the left. Date in the field: 15- 4Z.
Thaler 1543, Buchholz T. Ø 39 mm. Keilitz 196; Schnee 117; Dav.9736.
Obv: IOHANnes Fridericus - ELECtor·DVX - SAXoniae·BVRGgravivs - MAGDeburgensis
with the arms: Electorate & duchy Saxony (top), Thuringia (right), Magdeburg (bottom) and Meissen (left).
Effigy of John Frederic holding electoral sword as before.
Rev.: MAVRITIVs - DVX·SAX - ONIaE·FIE - RI·FECit·T· [ FIERI FECIT = Caused to be made ]
with the arms: Duchy Saxony (top), Margraviate Thuringia (right), Palatinate of Saxony (bottom) and Margraviate Meissen.
Armored effigy of Maurice to the left, a battle axe on his right shoulder, a sword handle in his left hand, date in the field: 15 - 43.
Thaler 1547, Freiberg. Ø 39 mm. Keilitz 192.1; Schnee 115; Dav.-.
Obv.: IOHANnes Fridericus - ELector·DVX - SAXoniae·BVRgravivs - MAGdeburgensis·Z -
Arms in the legend: Electoral Duchy of Saxony (top), Margraviate Meissen (right), Landgraviate Thuringia, Duchy of Saxonia (left) - Bust of John Frederic I in electoral dressing carrying electoral sword.
Rev.: MAVRIcivs - DVX·SA - Xoniae·FIlius·IVSti - FREIberg (star) [star = mm. A. Alnpeck in Freiberg]
FILIVS IVSTI = son of Henry the Pious
Arms in the legend: Duchy of Saxony (top), Meissen (right), Palatine county Saxony, Thuringia.
Armored effigy of Maurice between date 15 - 47.
Little effort was made for the picture of Maurice. It is not a realistic portrait.
Note the difference to the next thaler, issued in the same year!
Thaler 1547, Annaberg. Ø 40 mm. Schnee 680; Dav.9786.
MAVRICIVS·D:G·DVX:SAXO:SA:ROMA:IMPERII / ARCHIMARSCHAL:ET:ELECTOR·ANB
The legende over both sides: "Maurice, by the grace of God Duke of Saxony, Holy Roman Empire / Archmarshal and Elector, (Mint:) Annaberg"
Here the effigy of Maurice is much more realistic.
Compare with a portrait painted by Lucas Cranach the Younger ca. 1550.
Thaler 1549, Annaberg. Ø 40 mm. Schnee 690; Dav.9787.
Obv.: MAVRICIVS - :Dei:Gratia:DVx:SAXoniae - :SAcri:ROmani:IMPerii:
"Maurice by the grace of God duke of Saxony, Holy Roman Empire"
arms in the legend: Meissen (top), Palatinate Saxonia (right), county Brehna (left)
Rev.: ARCHIMAR - SCHAL:ET: - ELECtor:ANnaBerg
"Archmarshal and elector, (mint) Annaberg"
arms in the legend: Mgft. Meissen (top), county Altenburg (right), Landgraviate Thuringia (left)
In the field a shield:
Saxony, Meissen; below: Palatinate Saxony, Landsberg; center: Electoral Duchy of Saxony.