Philipp I of Hesse

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Philipp I of Hesse
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Philipp I of Hesse

Philipp I, Landgraf von Hessen, "the Magnanimous" (13 November 1504 - 31 March 1567), was a leading champion of the Reformation and one of the most important German rulers of the Renaissance.

He helped suppress the Peasants' War, embraced Protestantism in 1524 after a personal meeting with Philipp Melanchthon, tried to reconcile Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli at the Marburg Colloquy in 1529 and signed the Lutheran Augsburg Confession in 1530. He formed the Schmalkaldic League with Johann Friedrich I of Saxony in 1531.

He fought to uphold Protestantism against the Catholic Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. That he engaged in bigamy and forced Luther and Melanchthon to condone this was one of the main events that weakened Protestantism during its early days. After a lost battle, Philipp was caught by the Imperial troops and jailed; he was only freed years later after some concessions and due to pressure of other Protestant princes.

He founded the first Protestant university, the University of Marburg, in 1527.

On his death, his territories were divided (Hesse becoming Hesse-Kassel, Hesse-Marburg, Hesse-Rheinfels, and Hesse-Darmstadt) between his four sons by his first wife, Catherine of Saxony (daughter of George, Duke of Saxony), namely Wilhelm IV von Hessen-Kassel, Ludwig IV (III) von Hessen-Marburg, Philipp II von Hessen-Rheinfels, and Georg I von Hessen-Darmstadt.

Philipp was by all contemporary descriptions a highly intelligent and gifted but also particularly haughty and selfish person; the epithet "magnanimous" thus surprises. However, it seems now that this, the translation of der Großmütige, is actually a misinterpretation; while großmütig indeed means "magnanimous" in modern German, in Renaissance German, it appears to have meant "haughty".de:Philipp I. (Hessen) sv:Filip den ädelmodige

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