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Saxony (Ninety-Five Theses Map Game)

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Electorate of Saxony
Kurfürstentum Sachsen
Timeline: Ninety-Five Theses (Map Game)
OTL equivalent: Saxony
Coat of arms of Saxony Saxe-Wittenberg
1356 - Present
Flag of Electoral Saxony.svg Blason Jean-Georges IV de Saxe.svg
Saxony in 1517.png
Saxony (Green) within the Holy Roman Empire (Purple)
Largest city Leipzig
Other cities Dresden, Meissen
Official languages Latin, German
Regional Languages Upper Saxon
Ethnic groups  German
Religion Holy and Evangelical Church of Germany
Demonym Saxon
Religion Holy and Evangelical Church of Germany
Government Principality
 -  Prince-Elector John Frederick
 -  Golden Bull 10 January 1356 
 -  Wettin Accession 6 January 1423 
 -  Treaty of Leipzig 26 August 1485 
 -  Reunion of Saxony 19 December 1517 
 -  1530 census 800,000 
Currency Thaler

The Electorate of Saxony (German: Kurfürstentum Sachsen) is a central German state in the Holy Roman Empire, bordered by (clockwise from top): Brandenburg, Bohemia, Nürnberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, Hesse, Brunwick-Göttingen, and Brunswick-Lünenberg.

The current Prince-Elector of Saxony is John, Holy Roman Emperor. He has ruled Saxony and the Holy Roman Empire since 1526.


The history of Saxony relates the exploits from the early Saxon people in northern Germany in antiquity to the modern Electorate of Saxony in central Germany. In this period, Saxony has been a key nation in central Europe. 


The early Saxons were first recorded by the Romans in the 2nd century. By the 3rd and 4th centuries, the Saxons (along with other Germanic tribes) were organized into petty chiefdoms; the Saxons dominated from the Rhine in the northwest to the Elbe in the southeast. In the 8th century, the Saxons clashed heavily with the Franks and resisted Christian conversion until conquest by Charlemagne.

From 804, Saxony was a stem duchy of East Francia; it would provide many of the first powerful German kings after the fall of the Carolignian dynasty. The next few centuries were spent conquering Slavic neighbors and Christianizing most of Germany. In 1296, Saxony was split up into many different holdings. The Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg was ruled by the Ascanian line, which would received electoral dignity with the Golden Bull of 1356.


The Ascanian line went extinct in 1422, after many years of playing a substantial role in Imperial politics as the Archmarshal and an electoral state. The Emperor bestowed the principality upon Frederick I of the Wettin line, who was also the ruler of Meissen and Thuringia. Frederick I was succeeded by his son, Frederick II. Frederick II's death, however, brought about a division of the realm in the Treaty of Leipzig in 1485 by sons Ernest (of the Ernestine branch, which maintained the electoral dignity) and Albert (of the Albertine branch).

Ernest's son, Frederick III, became Elector in 1483. His cousin from the Albertine line, George, became Duke in 1500. The two men had strained relations with each looking for opportunities to undermine the other and restore the Electorate of Saxony. During the reign of Frederick III, famed Germany polymath Lucas Cranach became the court painter in Saxony, elevating the prestige of the realm in European noble circles.


Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustinian Monk

Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustinian Monk, by Lucas Cranach (1518)

In 1517, Saxony would be turned on its head. That October, a Saxon Augustinian monk named Martin Luther posted a tract titled The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences on the door of the castle church of Wittenberg. Luther then had it pubished by Cranach, and within a week it had spread throughout Saxony. 

Prince-Elector Frederick III, while not entirely convinced of Luther's ideas, offered him sanctuary throughout his realms, largely at the request of Cranach and his brother and heir, John. Frederick III, recognizing the cultural value added by ideas such as Luther's, then declared that full academic freedom was to be protected at the royal universities in Wittenburg, Erfurt, and Leipzig.

While Frederick was lenient, his cousin George the Bearded, the Albertine Duke of Saxony, attempted to crack down upon the Evangelical movement that had much traction in his realm. George threatened Luther's arrest, bringing to head the conflict between the two Wettin branches. Frederick sent his army to aid the peasants in the Duchy in deposing George reinstating unity in Saxony.

Frederick III remained loyal to the Catholic Church throughout this period, which he used to begin pushing for imperial reforms, including a standing bicameral legislature for the entirety of the Holy Roman Empire. When Emperor Maximilian died in 1519, Frederick III was elected Emperor as Frederick IV. As Emperor, he began to create a standing Diet in Dresden and reformed the judicial system of the empire to include the Reichskammergericht as a supreme court.

This period was also marked the start of a series of docks being built along the Elbe and Saale rivers, in addition to the creation of a small Saxon river-based flotilla. These projects, completed in Wittenberg (1520), Leipzig (1522), Dresden (1524), Magdeburg (1526), and Erfurt (1528), led to an increase in the power of local burghers, who grew increasingly Evangelical at this time.

Saxony's regional power only grew with the accession of John the Steadfast to succeed Frederick in 1526. John, a devout Evangelical, was elected Emperor. John tasked Luther with creating the Holy and Evangelical Church of Germany in 1528. This provided an official church organization for the Evangelical movement, which had hitherto been somewhat disorganized. John then created an alliance of Evangelical nations in Germany in 1529, the League of Erfurt.

In 1530, Emperor John the Steadfast severed all ties between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. This action created a great sense of turmoil amid the Holy Roman Empire in the following years, and in 1531 John established the Evangelical Inquistion to identify heretical Catholic preachers who contradicted the Holy and Evangelical Church of Germany.


The Electorate of Saxony is a member of the Holy Roman Empire, a federation of German feudal states. 

The coat of Arms has the coat of arms of the House of Wettin and that of the Arch-Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire.

Saxon Divisions (1517)

Map of Saxon subdivisions (with urban areas)

There are four sub-divisions of Saxony. In addition, there are 9 royal cities, which operate semi-autonomously from their state. The divisions and cities are:
  • Duchy of Saxony
    • Magdeburg
    • Wittenberg
    • Torgau
  • Margraviate of Meissen
    • Meissen
    • Dresden
    • Plauen
  • Landgraviate of Thuringia
    • Leipzig
    • Erfurt
  • Duchy of Anhalt
    • Dessau


Via Imperii und Via Regia

Map of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, which intersect at Leipzig

Saxony is home to a vibrant economy that is based on transcontinental trade and production. It is the wealthiest central German nation based on production and national accounts.

The high prevalence of major German cities in Saxony, and the presence of both the Via Regia and Via Imperii, makes Saxony a center for trade in central Europe. These two major roads, one north-south and the other east-west, intersect in the city of Leipzig.

The first Leipzig Trade Fair was held in 1165, making it one of the oldest continuous fairs in European history. It is noted for the protection of traders despite the nation of their origin or religious denomination, as well as the ban on similar fairs in surrounding nations. The fair occurs triannually and brings substantial wealth to Saxony.

Ore Mountains of Saxony

Plauen lace


Despite being a relatively peaceful nation, Saxony maintains a top-notch army equipped with much of the latest technologies. 

Each major city is defended by local militias, which have access to flintlock musketry as well as up-to-date artillery. These militia, or Bürgherwehr, help reduce the cost of the military in times of peace, allowing for the nation to focus more heavily upon maintaining an effective and stable economy. The militias are comprised of local fighting-aged civilians, and participation is mandatory.


HRE Religion Map 1530

Map of Religion in the Holy Roman Empire. Red is Evangelical, Yellow is Catholic

Saxony is noted for its cultural importance in the Holy Roman Empire. It is home to many famous thinkers and painters, including Lucas Cranach and Martin Luther, two central figures of the Northern Renaissance.

It is home to three major universities, where academic freedom is protected by the Prince-Elector. They are Erfurt University (founded 1379), Leipzig University (1409), and the University of Wittenberg (1502). The University of Wittenberg is noted as the school at which Martin Luther taught before leading the Evangelical Reformation.

The current court painter is Lucas Cranach the Elder. He has painted a number of important works in the Northern Renaissance movement, and also paints the portraits of all royalty and high-ranking court officials in Saxony.

Center of the Evangelical Reformation, home to Martin Luther

Wittenberg is the see of the Holy and Evangelical Church of Germany

Foreign Relations


Principality of Brunswick-Göttingen
Fürstentum Braunschweig-Göttingen
Timeline: Ninety-Five Theses (Map Game)
Saxon Vassal (1523-Present)
DEU Goettingen COA.svg
(and largest city)
 -  Merged with Calenberg 1495 
 -  Saxon Vassaliation 1523 

The Principality of Brunswick-Göttingen is a small nation to the northeast of Saxony. It is a vassal state to the Electorate of Saxony, and pays a regular tribute as well as owing military service.

It was split off from the Duchy of Brunswick in 1286 as a result of an estate division among members of the House of Welf. It retained close ties to Brunswick-Lüneburg for much of its early history. In 1495, it merged with the Principality of Calenberg, another off-shoot of Brunswick. As time passed, it grew more autonomous from Brunswick, and was often considered to be among the Free Imperial Cities.

The liege-vassal relationship between Saxony and Brunswick-Göttingen began to be developed with a rejected alliance offer in 1517. Two years later, however, Frederick III of Saxony's first cousin, once removed, Christine, was married to the prince of Brunswick-Göttingen, greatly improving relations and laying the foundation for the vassalization process.

This process was concluded in 1523. Since then, Brunswick-Göttingen has benefited from its protection by the Saxon rulers and has increased trade capacity due to Saxon trade and production routes.


Langraviate of Hesse
Landgrafschaft Hessen
Timeline: Ninety-Five Theses (Map Game)
Saxon Personal Union (1532-Present)
Coat of arms of Hesse.svg
(and largest city)
 -  Partitioned from Thuringia 1264 
 -  Dynastic Union with Saxony 1527 
 -  Personal Union with Saxony 1532 



League of Erfurt

Alliances with: Brandenburg, Hesse, Würzburg

Trade deal with: Teutonic Order, Lorraine

Royal marriage with: Nürnberg

Vassalizing (from 1523, until 1534): Nürnberg

To Do

  • Academic freedom
  • Auction houses


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