Frederick I, Elector of Saxony

Frederick I

Frederick and Catherine, 19th century portrait
Elector of Saxony
Reign 6 January 1423 – 4 January 1428
Predecessor Albert III
Successor Frederick II
Margrave of Meissen
Reign 9 February 1407 – 4 January 1428
Predecessor William I
Successor Frederick II
Born (1370-04-11)11 April 1370
Dresden, Electorate of Saxony, Holy Roman Empire
Died 4 January 1428(1428-01-04) (aged 57)
Altenburg, Electorate of Saxony, Holy Roman Empire
Burial Princely chapel in Meissen Cathedral
Spouse Catherine of Brunswick-Lüneburg
among others...
Frederick II, Elector of Saxony
Anna, Landgravine of Hesse
William III, Duke of Luxembourg
House House of Wettin
Father Frederick III, Landgrave of Thuringia
Mother Catherine of Henneberg
Religion Roman Catholicism

Frederick I, the Belligerent or the Warlike (German: Friedrich der Streitbare; 11 April 1370 4 January 1428), a member of the House of Wettin, ruled as Margrave of Meissen from 1407 and Elector of Saxony (as Frederick I) from 1423 until his death.

He is not to be confused with his cousin Landgrave Frederick IV of Thuringia, the son of Landgrave Balthasar.


He was the eldest son of Frederick III, Landgrave of Thuringia, and Catherine of Henneberg. After the death of his uncle William I, Margrave of Meissen in 1407, he governed the Margraviate of Meissen together with his brother William II as well as with his cousin Frederick IV (son of Balthasar), until their possessions were divided in 1410 and 1415.

In the German town war of 1388 he assisted Frederick V of Hohenzollern, burgrave of Nuremberg, and in 1391 did the same for the Teutonic Order against Wladislaus II of Poland. He supported Rupert III, Elector Palatine of the Rhine, in his struggle with King Wenceslaus for the German throne, probably because Wenceslaus refused to fulfill a promise to give him his sister Anna in marriage.

Saxon electors Frederick the Warlike, Ernest, and Frederick II, Fürstenzug, Dresden

The danger to Germany from the Hussites induced Frederick to ally himself with Emperor Sigismund; and he took a leading part in the war against them, during the earlier years of which he met with considerable success. For his victory at the Battle of Brüx in 1421, Frederick was granted the ranks of Duke and Elector. In the prosecution of this enterprise Frederick spent large sums of money, for which he received various places in Bohemia and elsewhere in pledge from Sigismund, who further rewarded him on 6 January 1423 with the vacant electoral Duchy of Saxony-Wittenberg; and Fredericks formal investiture followed at Ofen on the 1 August 1425. Thus ascended Frederick IV, who called himself Frederick I now as duke and elector. Thus spurred to renewed efforts against the Hussites, the elector was endeavouring to rouse the German princes to aid him in prosecuting this war when the Saxon army was almost annihilated at Aussig on the 16 August 1426.

After the death of his brother William Frederick became ruler over the entire possession of The House of Wettin except Thuringia.

Frederick died in 1428 at Altenburg. He was buried as the first Wettin in the princely chapel in Meissen Cathedral.

In 1409, Frederick and his brother William founded the University of Leipzig, for the benefit of German students who had left the University of Prague after the events relating to the Western Schism.


Frederick I married 8 February 1402 Catherine of Brunswick-Lüneburg (d. 1442), daughter of Henry the Mild, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and had 7 children:

  1. Catherine, died young;
  2. Frederick II, Elector of Saxony (1412–1464);
  3. Sigismund, Bishop of Würzburg, (3 March 1416 24 December 1471);
  4. Anna, (5 June 1420 17 September 1462), married to Louis I, Landgrave of Hesse;
  5. Catherine, (1421 23 August 1476, Berlin), married to Frederick II, Elector of Brandenburg;
  6. Henry, (21 May 1422 22 July 1435);
  7. William III, Duke of Luxemburg (1425–1482), Landgrave of Thuringia;
married firstly, in 1446, Archduchess Anne of Austria (1432–1462)
married secondly, in 1463, Catherine of Brandenstein († 1492)



Frederick I, Elector of Saxony
Born: 11 April 1370 Died: 4 January 1428
Preceded by
William I
Margrave of Meissen
with William II & Frederick the Peaceful

Succeeded by
Frederick II
Preceded by
Albert III
Elector of Saxony
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