John George II, Elector of Saxony
|Johann George II|
Portrait by Johann Finck, 1675.
|Elector of Saxony|
|Reign||8 October 1656 – 22 August 1680|
|Predecessor||John George I|
|Successor||John George III|
|Born||31 May 1613|
|Died||22 August 1680 (aged 67)|
|Spouse||Magdalene Sybille of Brandenburg-Bayreuth|
|Issue||John George III, Elector of Saxony|
|House||House of Wettin|
|Father||John George I, Elector of Saxony|
|Mother||Magdalene Sybille of Prussia|
He was the third (fourth in order of birth) but eldest surviving son of the Elector Johann George I, Elector of Saxony and Magdalene Sybille of Prussia, his second spouse. He succeeded his father as Elector of Saxony when John George I died on 8 October 1656.
In 1657 John George made an arrangement with his three brothers with the object of preventing disputes over their separate territories, and in 1664 he entered into friendly relations with Louis XIV. He received money from the French king, but the existence of a strong anti-French party in Saxony induced him occasionally to respond to the overtures of the emperor Leopold I.
The elector's primary interests were not in politics, but in music and art. He adorned Dresden, which under him became the musical centre of Germany; welcoming foreign musicians and others he gathered around him a large and splendid court, and his capital was the constant scene of musical and other festivals. He commissioned the building of the first opera house, the Opernhaus am Taschenberg.
His enormous expenditure on the arts compelled John George in 1661 to grant greater control over monetary matters to the estates, a step which laid the foundation of the later system of finance in Saxony. Also, his government was less effective in establishing absolutist rule and a standing army than were Bohemia or Prussia.
John George's reign saw the slow economic reconstruction of Saxony after the Thirty Years' War. New trades and manufactures developed, such as textiles, hard coal and glass. Locally mined silver filled the Electorate's empty treasury, and the Leipzig Trade Fair and the Bohemian Exulanten of 1654 also stimulated economic activity.
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- Mary E. Frandsen: Crossing Confessional Boundaries. The Patronage of Italian Sacred Music in 17th Century Dresden. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-19-517831-9
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "John George II". Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 459.
John George II, Elector of SaxonyBorn: 31 May 1613 Died: 22 August 1680
John George I
| Elector of Saxony
John George III