1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Frederick II., Elector of Saxony

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FREDERICK II. (1411–1464), called “the Mild,” elector and duke of Saxony, eldest son of the elector Frederick I., was born on the 22nd of August 1411. He succeeded his father as elector in 1428, but shared the family lands with his three brothers, and was at once engaged in defending Saxony against the attacks of the Hussites. Freed from these enemies about 1432, and turning his attention to increasing his possessions, he obtained the burgraviate of Meissen in 1439, and some part of Lower Lusatia after a struggle with Brandenburg about the same time. In 1438 it was decided that Frederick, and not his rival, Bernard IV., duke of Saxe-Lauenburg, was entitled to exercise the Saxon electoral vote at the elections for the German throne; and the elector then aided Albert II. to secure this dignity, performing a similar service for his own brother-in-law, Frederick, afterwards the emperor Frederick III., two years later. Family affairs, meanwhile, occupied Frederick’s attention. One brother, Henry, having died in 1435, and another, Sigismund (d. 1463), having entered the church and become bishop of Würzburg, Frederick and his brother William (d. 1482) were the heirs of their childless cousin, Frederick “the Peaceful,” who ruled Thuringia and other parts of the lands of the Wettins. On his death in 1440 the brothers divided Frederick’s territory, but this arrangement was not satisfactory, and war broke out between them in 1446. Both combatants obtained extraneous aid, but after a desolating struggle peace was made in January 1451, when William received Thuringia, and Frederick Altenburg and other districts. The remainder of the elector’s reign was uneventful, and he died at Leipzig on the 7th of September 1464. By his wife, Margaret (d. 1486), daughter of Ernest, duke of Styria, he left two sons and four daughters. In July 1455 occurred the celebrated Prinzenraub, the attempt of a knight named Kunz von Kaufungen (d. 1455) to abduct Frederick’s two sons, Ernest and Albert. Having carried them off from Altenburg, Kunz was making his way to Bohemia when the plot was accidentally discovered and the princes restored.

See W. Schäfer, Der Montag vor Kiliani (1855); J. Gersdorf, Einige Aktenstücke zur Geschichte des sächsischen Prinzenraubes (1855); and T. Carlyle, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, vol. iv. (London, 1899).