1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Albert (prince)

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ALBERT (1522-1557), prince of Bayreuth, surnamed THE WARLIKE, and also ALCIBIADES, was a son of Casimir, prince of Bayreuth, and a member of the Franconian branch of the Hohenzollern family. Born at Ansbach on the 28th of March 1522, he lost his father in 1527 and came under the guardianship of his uncle George, prince of Ansbach, a strong adherent of the reformed doctrines. In 1541 he received Bayreuth as his share of the family lands, and as the chief town of his principality was Kulmbach he is sometimes referred to as the margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. His restless and turbulent nature marked him out for a military career; and having collected a small band of soldiers, he assisted the emperor Charles V. in his war with France in 1543. The peace of Crépy in September 1544 deprived him of this employment, but he had won a considerable reputation, and when Charles was preparing to attack the league of Schmalkalden, he took pains to win Albert's assistance. Sharing in the attack on the Saxon electorate, Albert was taken prisoner at Rochlitz in March 1547 by John Frederick, elector of Saxony, but was released as a result of the emperor's victory at Mühlberg in the succeeding April. He then followed the fortunes of his friend Maurice, the new elector of Saxony, deserted Charles, and joined the league which proposed to overthrow the emperor by an alliance with Henry II. of France. He took part in the subsequent campaign, but when the treaty of Passau was signed in August 1552 he separated himself from his allies and began a crusade of plunder in Franconia. Having extorted a large sum of money from the burghers of Nuremberg, he quarrelled with his supporter, the French king, and offered his services to the emperor. Charles, anxious to secure such a famous fighter, gladly assented to Albert's demands and gave the imperial sanction to his possession of the lands taken from the bishops of Würzburg and Bamberg; and his conspicuous bravery was of great value to the emperor on the retreat from Metz in January 1553. When Charles left Germany a few weeks later, Albert renewed his depredations in Franconia. These soon became so serious that a league was formed to crush him, and Maurice of Saxony led an army against his former comrade. The rival forces met at Sievershausen on the 9th of July 1553, and after a combat of unusual ferocity Albert was put to flight. Henry II., duke of Brunswick, then took command of the troops of the league, and after Albert had been placed under the imperial ban in December 1553 he was defeated by Duke Henry, and compelled to fly to France. He there entered the service of Henry II., and had undertaken a campaign to regain his lands when he died at Pforzheim on the 8th of January 1557.

See J. Voigt, Markgraf Albrecht Alcibiades von Brandenburg-Kulmbach (Berlin, 1852).