Coins and medals with reference to the Schmalkaldic Leage

Imperial Diet of Augsburg 1530 and foundation of the Schmalkaldic League 1530/31
Signing of the "Constitution for Resistance" 1535 in Schmalkalden
Leage Assembly in Schmalkalden on the Council Question
Expulsion of Duke Henry the Younger in 1542
Attempted restitution and imprisonment of Duke Henry the Younger 1545
Imperial Diet of Regensburg in 1546
Schmalkaldic War 1546 - 1st Phase in the Danube region
Schmalkaldic War 1546/47 - 2nd Phase in Saxony
Brunswick's Struggle for Independence against Duke Henry the Younger

Imperial Diet of Augsburg 1530 and foundation of the Schmalkaldic League 1530/31
After his imperial coronation in Bologna, Charles V attended the Imperial Diet in Augsburg in 1530, where he wanted to deal personally with the dispute over religious issues in the Empire. Since the Imperial Diet in Worm in 1521, which had ended with an edict against Luther, the Lutherans had been able to expand their position, but they still faced an Old Believer majority at the Imperial Diet. Furthermore, the Imperial Chamber Court threatened the spread of the new doctrine and the associated progressive secularisation of church properties.
In response to this Imperial Diet, the Schmalkaldic League was founded at the turn of the year 1530/31, later so called after the most frequent meeting place, Schmalkalden. Furthermore, the foundations were laid for a military defence community in conflicts in "matters of religion" as ultima ratio.

Signing of the "Constitution for Resistance" 1535 in Schmalkalden
After years of negotiations, the "Constitution for Resistance" was finally enacted at the meeting in Schmalkalden on 23.12.1535. The mutual assistance that the Allies had promised each other in 1530/31 was now organised as an alliance-wide obligation. The constitution regulated the distribution of votes and financial burdens among the allies, the supreme command and the number of troops. The two most powerful members of the Alliance, Elector John Frederick of Saxony and Landgrave Philip of Hesse, became captains of the League and had a leading role in decision-making.

Medal 1535, on the renewal of the Schmalkaldic League
by Hieronymus Magdeburger.     Ø 39 mm, 17,20 g.   Hoffmeister 280; Schütz 402; Tentzel 7/6.
Bust of Philip from front with feathered hat. Date 15 - 35 in the field.
"By the Grace of God John Frederick Duke of Saxony"

Bust of Johann Friedrich in profile and with bare head. Date as above, but the number 3 is reversed,
which was interpreted as a bad omen by contemporaries post festum.
Elector Johann Friedrich is mistakenly titled here only as Duke.
The German legend emphasises the national consciousness, because Latin transcriptions were actually common. In addition, the minted original pieces were sold directly to the interested public.

Medal 1536 by Wolf Milicz.     Ø 42,5 mm, 24,9 g.   Katz 270.
Erroneous Latin: CONTRAFACTURA = effigy.   Bust of Johann Friedrich half-right with necklace.
Incorrect Bible quotation, translated according to Tentzel:
"She (the authorities) does not wield the sword in vain, for she is God's servant as an avenger"
Three knights with helmets for Meissen (left), Electoral Saxon and Thuringian (right) in battle with foot soldiers, two already fallen soldiers on the ground.

Leage Assembly 7.2.-6.3.1537 in Schmalkalden on the Council Question
11 princes, 6 counts, representatives of 28 imperial cities, envoys of the emperor, the pope and the French and Danish kings as well as representatives of 5 other princes attended the "most glamorous prince's day" in Schmalkalden. 42 Protestant theologians, including Luther and Melanchthon, also attended. However, Marin Luther fell ill and had to leave early. They discussed the Council of Faith called to Mantua in 1537. Participation in the Council was rejected "because the Pope wanted to be a judge in his own cause". The refusal put the religious peace that had been agreed until the Council in question. But further opposition to the council and its repeated adjournments put the significance of the Schmalkaldic renunciation into perspective.

Minted silver medal 1537 by Wolf Milicz.     Ø 50 mm, 35,95 g.   Coll.Merseb.545; Katz 274.
With reference to the Leage Assembly 1537 in Schmalkalden.

Effigy of John Frederick, now erroneously wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece (!) on a pearl necklace.
Rev.:   Battle of six competition riders.   Exergue:
(Text like on the previous medal)
If John Frederick ordered this medal, it was certainly without his opponent's order!

Both medals use the same Bible verse on the reverse, but in conjunction with different images: on the medal of 1536 Saxon horsemen defeat foot soldiers, while the medal of 1537 shows Saxon horsemen fighting against equally strong "of the same rank", with the outcome still open. It seems obvious to relate the indulgent elector's Power claim indicated in the Bible verse to the defeated Anabaptists in 1536 and to the impending danger from the imperial Old Believers in 1537. The Elector had participated with auxiliary troops in the defeat of the Anabaptists in Münster in 1535, but was still involved in the persecution of heretical subjects and Anabaptists in 1536.

Expulsion of Duke Henry the Younger in 1542
In the dispute between the imperial city of Goslar, a member of the Confederation, and Henry the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, before the Imperial Chamber Court, there was a one-sided judgment against the city. Henry wanted to execute the associated eight, although the emperor had suspended the eight and Henry's friends advised him against it. As a preemptive measure to protect Goslar, the Elector and Landgrave led a superior army against Henry, who was forced to flee. Wolfenbüttel capitulated on 13.8.1542, the duchy was occupied and the Reformation was introduced.
The mine at Rammelsberg, over which Goslar and Duke Heinrich the Younger had quarrelled, was now used by the victors. The captains of the Schmalkaldic League struck their League coins from the silver of the Rammelsberg: Thalers, half and quarter thalers. For this purpose, a separate "League mint" was established in Goslar. The League coins, which were minted in abundance from 1542 to 1547, served for propaganda.

1st type (1542): Double thalers, thalers, half and quarter thalers from the same dies.

1st Schmalkaldic League Thaler 1542, Goslar.     Ø 40 mm, 28,93 g.
Schnee 119; Schütz 415; Dav.9737.

Hessian side:   PARCER - E:SVBI - E - CTIS.ET / DEBELL - ARE: - SVP - ER - BOS
That means distributed over two writing circles: PARCERE SVBIECTIS ET DEBELLARE SVPERBOS
"Spare the subjugated and conquer the arro" (Virgil, Aeneis)
Armoured effigy of Philip the Magnanimous, command staff in the right, the left at the hilt of the sword.
In the field around the head:
4-Z | PH - LA G   (date | Philips title).
Saxon side:  IOHANnes.FR - IDERIHcus Dux - SACxonas:BVRGgraius: - MADEBVrgensis
interrupted by small arms
inner circle : 
:SOLI: - :DEO: - :VICTO - RIA:   "Our victory is from God alone"
Effigy of John Frederick, Elector of Saxony, with short sword and folded ermine coat.

The common opposition to the Emperor did not prevent the Elector and the Landgrave from pursuing their own interests, even against each other:
When the Landgrave extended his influence over southern Germany in 1534 by restoring Duke Ulrich to Württemberg, this had to be done without the support of the Schmalkaldic League, because the Elector delayed the approval of the "Constitution for Defence", which had already been drafted. The Elector, in turn, had wanted to take up arms against Duke Henry the Younger much earlier, but had long been prevented from doing so by the Landgrave.

2nd Typ (1542-1547): Thaler as well as double thalers and 1½-fold thalers with many stamp variants,
including a very rare variant with the elector in profile in 1542 (Keilitz 227.1; Schütz 419)

2nd Schmalkaldic League Thaler 1542, Goslar.     Ø 40 mm.
Keilitz 228; Schnee 131; Schütz 428; Dav.9740,     minted with dates from 1543 fo 1547

Hessian side:   ·PHILIP. - D:G·LANd - Gravius - HASSIaE - C.K.D3N
[ Philippus Dei Gratia Landgravius Hassiae Comes Katzenelnbogen Dietz Ziegenhain Nidda ]
Coat of arms in the legend: Landgraviate of Hess (top), counties Katzenelnbogen (right), Diez,
Ziegenhain and county Nidda (left).
Armoured portrait of Philip, in his right hand a baton of command, his left hand on the hilt of his sword,
date in the field.

Saxon side:   IOHAN·F - REDERIC - D·SAC·B· - MAGDE·  
"John Frederick Duke of Saxony, Burgrave of Magdeburg"
Coat of arms in the legend: Electorat of Saxony (top), Landgraviate Thuringia (right),
Burgraviate Magdeburg and Margraviate Meißen.
Bust of Elector John Frederick of Saxony in ermine coat with shouldered sword almost from the front.
Both sides of the coin can be regarded as the obverse, as they each show one of the coin's sovereigns.

The elector's sword and cloak are clearly visible on both of the preceding coins, but ELECTOR, the elector's title, is missing. The title Burgrave of Magdeburg seems to be more important to John Frederick here. As such, he attempted to expand his secular powers in Magdeburg as patron of the city against Archbishop Albrecht and to introduce the Reformation. At the same time, his rival Duke Moritz of Saxony tried to acquire the position of coadjutor for his brother August. Here, the Elector emphasised a claim to power that he would not be able to enforce.

Double thaler 1543.     Silver casting, Ø 51 mm, 48,8 g.  Schnee 122; Keilitz 232; Schütz 423.
Specimen in the Coin Cabinet, Dresden State Art Collection.

Saxon side:
SI·DEVS - PRO·NOBQVIS·CONT·NOS   Doppelzeilige Umschrift:
"Johann Friedrich, Elector (and) Duke of Saxony, Burgrave of Magdeburg /
"If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Paul's Letter to the Romans 8:31)
Hip portrait of the Elector in his regalia, facing right with his sword shouldered and his coat of arms in his left hand.

Hessian side:
VICTORIA·NOSTRA·A SOLO·DEO·EST♣   Double-line inscription: "Philip by the grace of God, Landgrave of Hesse, Count of Katzenelnbogen, Dietz and Nidda / Our victory is from God alone".
Hip portrait of the landgrave in armor facing left, with his left hand on the hilt of his sword and his coat of arms in his right hand.

1/2 und 1/4 Schmalkaldic federal thalers 1542-1546

1/2 Schmalkaldic federal thaler 1544, Goslar.    Ø 34 mm, 14,18 g.   Keilitz 234; Schütz 434.
Saxon side:   IOHANnes·FRIdericus·ELECtor·DVX·SAXoniae·BVRGgravius·MAGDEburgensis
Saxon arms helmet
Hessian side:   ·PHILLPpus·Dei·Gratia·LANDGravius·HASSiae·Comes·CAtzenellen·Dietz·3I(et)·NIdda
Hessian coat of arms helmet, the date "44" between the buffalo horns.

1/4 Schmalkaldic federal thaler 1545, Goslar.    Ø 28 mm, 7,20 g.  Keilitz 236; Schütz 440.3.
Sächsische Seite:  *IOHANnes·FRIdericus·ELECtor·DVx·SAXoniae·BVRggravius·MAGdeburgensis
Wappen von Kursachsen, Hzm. Sachsen und Lgft. Thüringen, darunter die abgekürzte Jz. 45.
Hessische Seite:   *PHILIPpus·Dei·Gratia·LANdgravius·HASSiae·Dietz·3(Z)iegenhain·Et·NIdda
Wappen der Lgft. Hessen (Löwe), Gft. Ziegenhain (links) und Gft. Diez.

Attempted restitution and capture of Duke Henry the Younger in 1545
Expelled in 1542, Duke Henry the Younger of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel sought the restoration of his former rights from Emperor Charles V and at the subsequent imperial diets. Charles V appointed an independent provisional administration for Henry's country. Because the Schmalkaldic League did not accept this decision, Henry the Younger prepared an army and began the siege of Wolfenbüttel on 29 September 1545. Landgrave Philip led a relief army and was able to arrest Duke Henry the Younger on 21 October 1545 without fighting (encounter at Bokolom). Henry was only freed again after the defeat of the Schmalkaldic League (1547).

Schauthaler 1545, Goslar.     Ø 51 mm, 29,10 g.   Schnee 127 ; Schütz 437.1.
On the arrest of Duke Heinrich the Elder of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel.

Obv.:   ·IVSTVS·Non·RELINQ·   "The righteous will not be forsaken" according to Psalm 35:25
or ·IVSTVS·Nunc·RELINQ·   "The (apparently) righteous is now abandoned" (see Tentzel p.152).
Landgrave Philip of Hesse, Elector John Frederick Duke of Saxony and Duke Moritz of Saxony in
full armour with their coats of arms side by side from the front, above their heads banners with their names:

These pieces were minted in different thicknesses, weighing 1/2, 1, 1½, 2 and 3 thalers.
For more informations see an article published in German (mt 1/1990, S.10-13).

Duke Maurice of Saxony was fighting in Hungary for King Ferdinand against the Turks, when he granted 50,000 guilders in 1542 for the expulsion of Henry the Younger. In 1544 he received the order from Charles V to negotiate between the expelled Henry the Younger and the Schmalkaldians. When Henry was arming in 1545, Maurice initially felt threatened and rushed to the aid of his father-in-law, Landgrave Philip. But he did not give up his attempts to mediate between Henry and Philip: When the troops in Bokolom were already facing each other on October 21, 1545, he persuaded Henry in the field to ride to Philip in good faith, completely misjudging his intentions. Because instead of shaking hands with Henry, Philip had him arrested.
Maurice of Saxony avoided close cooperation with the Schmalkaldic League, which his father had only loosely joined in 1539. When a military conflict between the emperor and the Schalkaldic League became increasingly likely in 1546, he negotiated with both sides. He wanted to support the Schmalkalders in matters of faith and remain loyal to the emperor in political matters.

Imperial Diet of Regensburg in 1546
On the sidelines of the Reichstag, Charles V carried out his war preparations: Pope Paul III. promised the emperor military aid. Bavaria promised covert support (sham neutrality). Maurice of Saxony was obliged to remain neutral with vague promises. The emperor was also able to attract other young Protestant princes. Finally, the emperor imposed imperial ban on the Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse for disturbing the peace of the empire and for the capture of Duke Heinrich of Braunschweig, without having actually organized the necessary trial. Charles V did not formally wage a religious war, but rather enforced the imperial ban.

Schmalkaldic War 1546 :   1st Phase in the Danube region 1546
Although well prepared, the Schmalkaldic army behaved indecisively and did not take advantage of its initial superiority. This enabled the emperor to build up his army in Bavaria unhindered and combine it with supplies from Italy and the Netherlands.
In the first phase of the war there were only a few maneuvers n the Danube region. Landgrave Philip tried several times in vain to bring about a battle. Bad weather, a lack of money and the invasion of his cousin Maurice of Saxony into the Electorate of Saxony caused the elector to leave the camp near Giengen at the Brenz on 20th November 1546 and to move north with his troops. As a result, the southern German imperial cities of the federal government remained unprotected. They had to surrender to the imperial troops and pay expensive tribute. Duke Ulric of Württemberg and Count Palatine Frederick II the Wise also submitted and paid heavy fines.

Medal, so-called "Schmalkaldic Siegestaler" 1546.     Ø 44 mm, 29,66 g.   Köhler 1731.
"Victory of the invincible Charles V, Emperor of the Germans, always sublime"

Coat of arms of Emperor Charles V surrounded by
·VICTOR·GAVDET· - ·VICTVS·MOERET   "The victor rejoices - the vanquished mourns"
the date above the coat of arms:
·M·D·XLVI· / XXII·NOVEMBRIS   "22.11.1546"
"The Schmalkaldic rope is broken and we are free"
Double-headed imperial eagle holding a head in each beak. Cords extend from the heads and wrap around
four city views in torn pieces on either side of the eagle's tail feathers.
The two heads in the eagle's beaks are interpreted as the Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse. The four unidentified cities caught in pieces of rope represent the surrendered southern German imperial cities Nördlingen, Dinkelsbühl, Ulm, Reutlingen, Memmingen, Lindau, Biberach, Isny, Augsburg, Kempten, Heilbronn, Schwäbisch Hall and Esslingen, later also Constance. Only Strasbourg remained unscathed because of its French connections and did not have to submit.

Schmalkaldic War 1546/47 :   2nd Phase in Saxony
When King Ferdinand's troops invaded Electoral Saxon territories in the Ore Mountains, Duke Moritz wanted to get ahead of the Habsburgs: He occupied large parts of Electoral Saxony in November and had homage paid to him. But at the beginning of 1547, Elector John Frederick of Saxony, who had rushed back from southern Germany, regained his land and immediately turned against Moritz. Although Moritz survived the siege of Leipzig, he increasingly despaired of his situation. Finally, the Emperor came to Saxony with his army and pursued Elector Johann Friederich, who wanted to retreat to the fortified town of Wittenberg. Imperial troops surprised the Elector and captured him after a short battle (24 April 1547 near Mühlberg on the Elbe). Landgrave Philip came to the emperor voluntarily, took the fall and was arrested. The Schmalkaldic League was thus dissolved.

The Battle of Mühlberg was depicted on one of the earliest historical medals:

Cast silver medal 1547, on the battle of Mühlberg. Ø 59 mm.
Attributed to Nickl Milicz workshop.

as struck in silver: Habich 1909 (attributed to monogrammist WS); Bernhart 135; Katz 313.
"Eyes and face of Charles V ..." ?
Busts of the brothers Charles V and Ferdinand I, facing each other;
below, a putto holds the coats of arms of Castile and Austria.

Rev.:   Illustration of the battle on Locherheide on the Elbe: horsemen, soldiers on foot, boats.
  CAPTIVITAS / IOANIS.FRIDERICI   "Gefangenschaft Johann Friedrichs"
  DVCIS SAXONIAE / ·M·D·XLVII·   "Duke of Saxony / 1547" [up to then Elector]

The victorious Emperor Charles V experienced the height of his power in the empire at the subsequent "harnessed" Diet of Augsburg in 1547.

Touch the image to see the back.
Cast silver medal on Emperor Charles V, 1549 by Leone Leoni,   Ø 74 mm,   Bernhart 163-2.
Specimen in the Coin Cabinet of the Kunsthistorische Museum, Vienna.

Obv.:   IMPerator·CAESar·CAROLVS·V·AVGustus
Bust portrait of the emperor with laurel wreath, ceremonial armor and the Order of the Golden Fleece on a ribbon.
Rev.:   DISCITE IVSTITIAM·MONITI   "Learn justice - you have been warned!"
The fall of the Titans: Jupiter hurling lightning above the circle of various gods; in the middle field the Titans are trying to storm Mount Olympus with ladders; the fallen Titans are lying on the ground.
Leone Leoni came to Brussels in 1549 and was commissioned to create portrait medals of the emperor and his deceased wife Isabella. The medal's reverse motif, the fall of the Titans according to Virgil's Aeneid, refers to Charles V's victory over the Schmalkaldic League at the Battle of Mühlberg in 1547.
[Catalogue for the exhibition "Kaiser Karl V. Macht und Ohnmacht Europas", Gent - Bonn - Wien - Madrid, 2000. p.272]

See more coins and medals by Leone Leoni on this website.

Brunswick's Struggle for Independence against Duke Henry the Younger
Henry the Younger of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel had fallen out with the citizens of his own residential city of Brunswick, which had introduced the Reformation in 1528 and joined the Schmakaldic League in 1531/2. For example, Heinrich wanted to forbid the people of Brunswick from selling meat during Lent. The city, in turn, banned the monks of a monastery that was under the patronage of the duke from going out. After the Schmalkaldic League expelled Henry and his family in 1542, monasteries in Brunswick were plundered and riots were organised against the Old Believers.
After Henry's defeat at Bokolom, the city of Brunswick minted its first thalers in 1545 and 1546:

Thaler 1546, Brunswick.     Ø 40 mm, 28,7 g.   Jesse 36; Dav.9098.
also called "Resurrection Thaler" or "Triumphtaler", and incorrectly "Schmalkaldic League Thaler".

Obv.:   ❀·MONETA·NOVA·BRVNSSVICENSIS·  -  upright lion: Brunswick's coat of arms
Rev.:   VERBVM·DOmini· - MAnet·IN·Æternal   "God's word remains for eternity"
The risen Saviour with banner, standing on a skeleton, behind him his tomb; date 15 - 46.
Here the Saviour symbolises Landgrave Philip of Hesse and the devil under the feet of the Saviour stands for Henry of Brunswick.
These Brunswick thalers (28.87 g raw, 25.49 g fine) were minted - like the Schmalkaldic League thalers - approximately in the minting standard of the Saxon minting order of 20 January 1534, i.e. without regard to the official imperial minting order of 1524. Thalers, half-thalers and quarter-thalers with the dates 1546 and 1548 were minted with a value of around 11,000 thalers. The minting of thalers was interrupted when the triumph of 1545 turned into the defeat of the Schmalkaldic League three years later and also hit Brunswick hard. It was not until 1557 that the minting of thalers could be continued.
Freed from prison, Duke Heirich the Younger returned to his duchy in 1547. He besieged the city of Brunswick, initially without success in 1550, but after the victory in Sievershausen the city had to beg the Duke's forgiveness and recognise his sovereignty. Against payment of 80,000 thalers, however, Brunswick was able to have its most important privileges confirmed, in particular its hard-won religious freedom. The virtually free city of Brunswick finally came under the rule of the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel in 1671.

• P. Handy / K.-H. Schmöger,  Fürsten, Stände, Reformatoren - Schmalkalden und der Schmalkaldische
, Gotha 1996
• Gabriele Haug-Moritz,  Der Schmalkaldische Bund (1530-1541/42). Eine verfassungsgeschichtliche
  Fallstudie ...
, 2002
• Ausstellung in Torgau, 2004: Glaube & Macht. Sachsen im Europa der Reformationszeit, 2 Bde.
  (Katalog & Aufsätze)
• Wieland Jung,  Der Schmalkaldische Bund - Numismatische Zeugnisse zur Geschichte. Teil I.
  Beiträge zur Münzkunde in Hessen-Kassel, Heft 16 (1989).
• Wieland Jung,  Eine Medaille Kaiser Karl V. auf den Abzug des Bundesheeres 1546 von Giengen an
  der Donau
, Erfurter Münzblätter, Bd.13 (2006), S.83-87
• Peter Gaschütz,  Turnierritter oder Wiedertäufer? Bemerkungen zu einer Medaille aus dem
  Kurfürtentum Sachsen von 1536
,   NNB 10/1985, S.276-284