Maurice, duke and elector of Saxony

Maurice, 1521–53, duke (1541–47) and elector (1547–53) of Saxony. A member of the Albertine branch of the ruling house of Saxony, he became duke of Albertine Saxony during the Protestant Reformation. Although a Protestant, he was more swayed by political than by religious motives. In 1546 he made an agreement with Holy Roman Emperor Charles V by which he was to receive, in return for deserting the Protestants of the Schmalkaldic League, the lands and title of his cousin, Elector John Frederick I of Saxony, ruler of the Ernestine portion of Saxony. He fought for Charles in the Schmalkaldic War and after the battle of Mühlberg (1547) received the electorate and a portion of his cousin's lands. However, Maurice's disgust with the emperor's ill-treatment of the Protestant leader Philip of Hesse, and his still unsatisfied ambition, led him to turn against Charles. After raising an army for the execution of the ban against Magdeburg, with which he had been entrusted, he formed an alliance with Henry II of France (1551). In the war that followed Maurice nearly captured Charles at Innsbruck. He forced Charles to free Philip and to conclude (1552) the Treaty of Passau. In 1553, Maurice was killed in a battle against Albert Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Kulmbach.

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