Contemporaries in the Holy Roman Empire
Henry the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, 1514-1568
Duke Henry the Younger was looked upon as unscrupulous and a man of action. In 1525, his involvement in the Battle of Frankenhausen was decisive to the defeat of the peasants' uprising. He served the emperor as general in Spain and Italy until 1528.
Henry was married to a Württemberg duchess since 1515 but he also had a mistress, Eva von Trott, a lady-in-waiting. He organised her fake burial which fooled no one as they had ten children. Scandal overtook in the end and numerous protestant pamphlets attacked and made fun of the duke. Martin Luther called him a tomfool and buffoon.
In 1545, Henry was arrested and kept prisoner by his protestant opponents of the Schmalkalic League. He was only released after the Battle of Mühlberg in 1547. In 1553, Maurice of Saxony and Henry defeated Albert Alcibiades in a bloody battle near Sievershausen, in which his two elder sons died. Henry was a strict opponent of the Reformation but became more tolerant as he grew older and he did not oppose the succession of his protestant son Julius.
Thaler 1541, Riechenberg. Ø 40 mm. Welter 389; Davenport 9043.
with the arms (◊) of Brunswick (2 lions), Lüneburg, Eberstein and Homburg.
effigy with barett
and necklace with pendant.
"I have not yet seen a righteous man forsaken."
Naked Wild Man with uprooted tree trunk. 41 between his feet.
The Wild Man is a legendary and fearsome figure, colossal, naked and hairy, often shown with leafage for a loincloth and holding an uprooted tree trunk. When mining was resumed in the Harz Mountains in 1529, miners from the Ore Mountains were recruited. They introduced the legend of the Wild Man. Eventually, the Wild Man became a symbol for the Harz Mountains, and the dukes of Brunswick minted "Wild-Man coins" for centuries.
Reichsguldiner n. d. (1560), Goslar. Ø 39 mm. Welter 389; Dav. 18.
Obv.: HEI - NRich (1)
DV - X·BRu
N· - Et· (3)
in between the arms of Brunswick (1), Lüneburg (2), Homburg (3) and Eberstein (4)
effigy with barret and necklace with the order of the Fleece,
below the initials of: In Gottes Gewalt Habe Ich Gestalt | Der Hats Gefüget Das Mir Genüget
Wild Man with loincloth holds a tree trunk with roots in one hand and in the other a shield with double eagle and the imperial orb from which the valency has been erased.
This imperial guldiner was minted after the 3rd imperial mint order (Augsburg, 1559) and equalled 60 Kreuzer. The legend on the reverse was specified: FERNANDI IMP. AUGUSTI P. F. DECRETO with P.F.DECRETO ("... by order of ..."). The mint order also prescibed the double eagle and the orb with the valency of 60. It is unusual that the double eagle does not take up the frame completley but makes room for the Wild Man.
The coin cabinets of Berlin, Brunswick and Hanover hold pieces which still show the valency because they were withdrawn from circulation at an early date. The valency was frequently erased from pieces that remained in circulation because it no longer corresponded to the devalued Kreuzer of later times.
Thaler 1562, Goslar. Ø 41mmm , 28,80 g. Welter 399; Dav.9051.
DVX B - RVNSvievum
"Henry, by the grace of God, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg (mm.)"
Effigy with cap and order of the Golden Fleece between year date 6 - 2.
Rev.: IN GOTs
Ich (mein Sach)
"In God have I placed my trust and he has ordained so that it satisfies me."
Quartered arms (above: Brunswick & Lüneburg; below: Everstein & Homburg) with helmet and crest.
The Golden Fleece on the order necklace surrounds the arms.
A wild man, symbol for the Harz region, holds the arms.
The first thalers with Henry's effigy show a necklace with pendant (see the coin above). The necklace with the Order of the Golden Fleece only appears on thalers minted since 1557, and it is shown on both sides of the coin. Henry had been awarded the order in 1555, and he must have been hugely proud of it.