start page Charles V TOUR:  John Frederic the Magnanimous

      Contemporaries in the Holy Roman Empire      

Philip the Magnanimous,  Landgrave of Hesse 1509-1567
*1504. He promoted the Reformation, closed monasteries in Hesse, founded the University of Marburg and tried to bring together diverging protestant theologians. In 1531 Philip was a major founder of the alliance of Schmalkalden, an alliance of protestant rulers and cities against the catholic policy of the emperor. After the defeat of the alliance in the battle of Mühlberg (1547) Philip was held captured until 1552. In 1540 he was formally conceded a bigamous marriage. After his death his four legitime sons divided the country. Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Darmstadt endured until 1866 respectively 1918.



Thaler 1538, Cassel.     Ø 40 mm, 28,95 g.   Hoffm.4478; Dav.9269.
Obv.:  PHILIPVS·Dei:Gratia:LANdgravius:HASSiae: (raven) ·Comes:CACEnellenbogio:DIetz:NIDda:
Effigy of Philip in armour with baton and gripping a sword with his left hand.
The raven in the legend stands for mintmaster Gregorig Einkhur.
Rev.:   SI DEVS - NOBIS - QVIS CO - NT NOS
SI DEUS NOBIS QUIS CONTra NOS = If God is with us who could be against us?
crowned double tailed hessian lion to the left, date 15-38 in the field,
in the legend the shields from Katzenelnbogen (top), Ziegenhain (right), Diez (bottom) and Nidda (left)



Thaler 1543, Goslar. "Schmalkaldic League Thaler".     Ø 41 mm   Schütz 428; Dav.9740.
Obv.:   ·PHILIP. - D:G·LANd - Gravius - HASSIaE - C.K.D3N
[ Philippus Dei Gratia Landgravius Hassiae Comes Katzenelnbogen Dietz Ziegenhain Nidda ]
Legend : Title and name of his possessions interrupted by their arms (lion for Hesse at the top).
Field : Effigy of Philip in armour with baton and gripping a sword with his left hand. Date 15 - 43.
Rev.:   IOHANnes·F - REDERICus - Dux·SAC(x)oniae·Burggravius· - MAGDEburgensis·
Legend : His title interrupted by arms (electoral duchy and Saxony at the top).
Field : Effigy of John Frederic the Magnanimous in electoral coat with shouldered electoral sword.
The sides of the coin refer to different sovereigns, so both sides may be considered as the obverse. The so called "Schmalkaldic League Taler" was minted jointly by the two main leaders to promote the league and to support war funds. The 2nd leader of the league - John Frederic the Magnanimous - follows on the next page of the TOUR.


Philip war imprisoned in the Netherlands after the defeat of the Schmalkaldic Leage in 1547 and got free in 1552 when his son in law, elector Maurice of Saxony, switched sides and launched a surprise attack agaist the Emperor.

Thaler 1552, Cassel, "Spruchtaler".     Ø 45 mm   Hoffmeister 368; Schütz 448; Dav.9271.
Obv.:   ·PHILIP·D·G·LANDG·HASSIE·C·K·D·3·N·A·1552 FIER FE ¤
Effigy of Philip in armour as bevor.
Rev.:   BESS·LAND·V·LVD·V·LORN·ALS·ENFALSCH·AID·GESCHWORN.¤
in German: "Besser Land und Leut verloren als ein Falscheid geschworen"
"It is better to loose country and people than swear a false oath"
Therefore the Thaler is called "Spruchtaler" (talking Thaler).
Arms of Hesse (middle), Katzenelnbogen (top left), Nidda (top right), Ziegenhain (bottom left) und Diez,
in between: P - SE - D - S   (Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos)
"To spare the humble and to crush the proud"

start page Charles V  /  Karl V. TOUR:  John Frederic the Magnanimous