Severinus of Saxony

Severinus of Saxony

Prince Severinus of Saxony, painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526
Noble family House of Wettin
Father Henry IV, Duke of Saxony
Mother Catherine of Mecklenburg
Born (1522-08-28)28 August 1522
Died 10 October 1533(1533-10-10) (aged 11)
Buried Cistercian abbey in Stams

Severinus of Saxony (German: Severinus von Sachsen; 28 August 1522, Freiberg 10 October 1533, Innsbruck) was a Saxon prince of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin.


Severinus was the second son of the Duke Henry of Saxony (1473–1541) from his marriage to Catherine (1487–1561), daughter of Duke Magnus II of Mecklenburg. His mother and the educator Balthasar Rysche had a significant influence on the education of Severinus and his older brother Maurice.

When his uncle George the Bearded visited, he would organize a fight between Severinus and his older brother Maurice. Despite his frail health, Severinus always had upper hand in such fights. This gave their father the idea that Maurice was better perhaps suited for an ecclesiastical career.

At the behest of their Catholic uncle George, Duke Severinus was separated from his Lutheran parents and sent to Innsbruck to receive a Catholic education. In Innsbruck, he stayed at the court of the future emperor Fredinand I and his wife Anna. He was raised together with their children. He had Bernhard von Rathschitz as his own private tutor.[1] He was buried in the Cistercian abbey in Stams. His tomb was looted and destroyed in 1552 by the troops of his own brother Maurice during the Schmalkaldic War.[2]


In 1526, Lucas Cranach the Elder made two portraits of the young Princes Maurice and Severinus. The painting of Severinus was created with tempera on wood and measures 57 x 38.5 cm. It is considered an excellent and safe work by Cranach and was included in the overall list of nationally valuable cultural heritage. It is owned by the House of Hesse Foundation and was on loan to the Portland Art Museum between 2005 and 2006.


References and sources


  1. Ernst Heinrich Kneschke: Neues allgemeines deutsches Adels-Lexicon, im Vereine mit mehreren …, p. 354
  2. Romedio Schmitz-Esser: Leichenschändung als neues Evangelium: Die Stamser Stiftsplünderung von 1552 und ihr Niederschlag in der Historiographie der Zisterze, in: M. Fuchs and R. Rebitsch (eds.): Kaiser und Kurfürst. Aspekte des Fürstenaufstandes 1552 (Geschichte in der Epoche Karls V. 11), Münster, 2010, p. 139–157
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