Elector John Frederick

1503-1554. German Lutheran prince, called “the Magnanimous.” Born at Torgau, he was the son of Elector John the Constant. Well educated under the Lutheran Spalatin,* he strongly supported Luther and was instrumental in the publication of early editions of his works. His reign as elector was crucial in the consolidation of Lutheranism, and particularly in the establishment of a Lutheran state church. A bulwark of the Smalcald League, he was defeated by Charles V's forces at Mühlberg in 1547, taken prisoner, and lost Wittenberg and his electoral title. Released in 1552, he established his government at Weimar and founded the University of Jena to replace Wittenberg, but he died at Weimar before his programs developed.