Saxony is one of the states of modern Germany. The capital is the city of Dresden. It's in the southeast of Germany, and because of this, has a strong relationship with Slavic cultures. It is known in German as Sachsen.

Hope the nodeshell rescue succeeded ...

The name given to several areas in Germany.

The original Saxony is the area of northern Germany that was home to those members of the Saxon tribe who didn't go off to conquer England.    During the period 777-797, the Frankish king Charlemagne made the Saxons' territory part of his empire (incidentally converting them to Christianity).  Saxony became a duchy, tucked in between Friesland and the Elbe and Salle rivers, with Thuringia and Franconia on its southern borders.  Its capital was Minden, today a center for pottery.

Lower Saxony ceased to exist as a single entity after the 1180 defeat of Duke Henry III (aka "Heinrich der Löwe"), who had rebelled against Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.  The victors split up his lands and the area merged into the general Medieval German patchwork.  Some of the most important states in the area were

Braunschweig (Brunswick)

The Kingdom of Prussia absorbed the states of northern Germany one by one during the 19th Century, absorbing the last, Hannover, in 1866.

After World War II, Lower Saxony was reconsolidated into the West German state of Niedersachsen, and it remains a state of a reunified Germany.

The most important cities in Niedersachsen are:

A far different Saxony emerged as a result of feudal responsibilities that Charlemagne's vassals in (Lower) Saxony were given for protecting (and extending) their Eastern borders. Several "marches" were set up between the Elbe and Oder rivers.  When Saxony was parceled out in 1180, the "Saxon East March" at the foot of the Erzgebirge was given to one of Frederick's allies, the Wettin family.  Saxony was an "electorate", that is, its ruler cast one of the votes to choose a Holy Roman Emperor.

In 1485 the electorate (which had absorbed Thuringia by then) was divided between two Wettin brothers, Ernest, and Albert.  The two branches of the family were bitter rivals.  Ernest's branch had the electorate until their defeat in 1547 during the Schmalkadic War, a run-up to the Thirty Years' War.

Albertine Saxony then got the electorate.  From 1697 to 1795, the Elector of Saxony was also the King of Poland.  The Electorate was elevated to a kingdom after Napoleon Bonaparte's 1806 dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire (which did not allow its princes to style themselves as "kings"). Although Frederick Augustus had backed the wrong side, the Congress of Vienna allowed him to remain a king after ceding a great deal of territory to Prussia.

Ernestine Saxony underwent several divisions into what were then called the "Saxon Duchies".  These formed and re-formed with alarming regularity, but there were four left by 1826:

The area was another patchwork, discontinuous pieces of land belonging to the various duchies as well as other states.

In 1871, The Saxon duchies were absorbed, along with the Kingdom of Saxony, into the newly-formed German Empire.  After World War I the former kingdom was its own state, and the duchies were consolidated into the state of Thuringia.  A Saxon city, Weimar, served as the capital to the doomed republic set up in the war's wake.

Under the influence of the Soviet Union, the area was re-formed into several East German districts, each with one of the major cities at its center.  After the 1990 reunification of Germany, popular sentiment caused the reconstitution of the "Freistaat Sachsen".  Another state, Sachsen-Anhalt, contains the remainder of the former kingdom.

The most important cities of Saxony are

Saxony has its own pottery center, Meissen.
European History Atlas, Breasted et. al., Denoyer-Geppert, Chicago, 1966

The above write-up fills in a lot I hadn't known and enables me to make sense of what until now had been jumbled lists of dukes, kings, and electors.

Electors of Saxony

  1. Friedrich I, the Warlike 1423-1428
    He was Margrave Friedrich IV of Meissen; he was awarded the duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg in 1423, a title that conferred the electorate on him.
  2. Friedrich II, the Gentle 1428-1464
  3. Ernst 1464-1486
    Founder of the Ernestine branch. When Saxony was divided in 1485 he received Saxe-Wittenberg and Thuringia.
  4. Friedrich III, the Wise 1486-1525
  5. Johann the Constant 1525-1532
  6. Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous 1532-1547
    Magnanimity served him poorly; he was deprived of the electorate by emperor Charles V.
  7. Moritz 1547-1553
    First of the Albertine branch.
  8. August 1553-1586
  9. Christian I 1586-1591
  10. Christian II 1591-1611
  11. Johann Georg I 1611-1656
  12. Johann Georg II 1656-1680
  13. Johann Georg III 1680-1691
  14. Johann Georg IV 1691-1694
  15. Friedrich August I the Strong 1694-1733
  16. Friedrich August II 1733-1763
  17. Friedrich Christian 1763
  18. Friedrich August III 1763-1806(-1827)
    Elevated to King of Saxony in December 1806.

Kings of Saxony

  1. Friedrich August I (1763-)1806-1827
    Also Duke of Warsaw 1807-1813.
  2. Anton 1827-1836
  3. Friedrich August II 1836-1854
    Co-regent from 1830.
  4. Johann 1854-1873
  5. Albrecht 1873-1902
  6. Georg 1902-1904
  7. Friedrich August III 1902-1918
    Swept away up by the republic November 1918.

Dukes of Saxony

  1. Albrecht the Bold 1464-1500
    Awarded Meissen and Osterland on the division of Saxony in 1485. Evidently he and his immediate heirs bore the title of Duke of Saxony, until they became Electors. But I don't know what the situation was between 1464 and 1485.
  2. Georg the Bearded 1500-1539
  3. Heinrich the Pious 1539-1541
  4. Moritz 1541-1547(-1553)
    Became Elector of Saxony in 1547.
The Upper Saxon duchies that survived to the end were the following four. Their capitals were respectively Weimar, Meiningen, Coburg, and Altenburg.

Dukes of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

  1. Ernst August I 1741-1748
  2. Ernst August II 1748-1758
  3. Carl August 1758-1815(-1828)
    Elevated to Grand Duke in 1815.

Grand Dukes of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

  1. Carl August (1758-)1815-1828
  2. Carl Friedrich 1828-1853
  3. Carl Alexander 1853-1901
  4. Wilhelm Ernst 1901-1918

Dukes of Saxe-Meiningen(-Hildburghausen)

  1. Carl and Georg I 1763-1782
  2. Georg I alone 1782-1803
  3. Bernhard II 1803-1866
    Don't ask me what bits Bernhard I was duke of.
  4. Georg II 1866-1914
  5. Bernhard III 1914-1918

Dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

  1. Ernst I 1806-1844
  2. Ernst II 1844-1893
  3. Alfred 1893-1900
    Son of Victoria and Albert.
  4. Karl Eduard 1900-1918

Dukes of Saxe-Altenburg

  1. Friedrich 1826-1834
  2. Joseph 1834-1848
  3. Georg 1848-1853
  4. Ernst I 1853-1908
  5. Ernst II 1908-1918
The former kingdom of Saxony was a state of the republic of Germany from 1918 to 1945. Between 1945 and 1952 East Germany had two states Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. This level of government was then abolished, but it was these post-War states that were restored after the Berlin Wall fell, and which were admitted as Länder to the Federal Republic in 1990. The capital of Saxony-Anhalt is Halle.

I have not covered places such as Thuringia, Oldenburg, and so on, which should be sought in their own place. (But they're not there yet.)

Sax"o*ny (?), n. [So named after the kingdom of Saxony, reputed to produce fine wool.]


A kind of glossy woolen cloth formerly much used.


Saxony yarn, or flannel made of it or similar yarn.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.