Ferdinand von Bayern, Graf von Wartenberg

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Ferdinand von Bayern

Birthplace: Landshut, Niederbayern, Bavaria, Germany
Death: January 30, 1608 (57)
Munich, Oberbayern, Bavaria, Germany
Place of Burial: Mhunchen, Oberbayern, Bavaria
Immediate Family:

Son of Albrecht V "the Magnanimous", Duke of Bavaria and Archduchess Anna of Austria
Husband of Maria von Pettenbeck
Father of Ernst Benno von Bayern, Graf von Wartenberg
Brother of Karl Prince Of Bavaria; Wilhelm V, Duke of Bavaria; Maria, Prinzessin von Bayern; Maximiliana Princess Of Maria; Friedrich, Prince Of Bavaria and 1 other

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About Ferdinand von Bayern, Graf von Wartenberg


Ferdinand of Bavaria was born 20 January 1550, in Landshut, in the Duchy of Bavaria, and died 30 January 1608 in Munich, at the age of 58. He was the second surviving son of Albert V, Duke of Bavaria, and his wife Archduchess Anna of Austria, and consequently was prepared for a military career. Ferdinand is also known for the two extraordinary diaries he kept, one as fifteen-year-old boy on a journey from Munich to Florence, for his aunt's wedding, and a second journey to Florence, this time as young and experienced man of affairs.


In 1565, the 15-year-old Ferdinand made a widely publicized journey to Florence, to attend the wedding of his maternal aunt, Johanna of Austria, to Francesco I de' Medici, and to visit with other maternal aunts in the city. Johanna's marriage to the Medici was a politically expedient one: she was expected to produce heirs. The groom's mistress, whom he married after the death of his wife in 1579, was already well-established in 1565: this was a political marriage, and an extravagant one, and cost Duke Cosimo, father of the groom, over 60,000 ducats, a phenomenal sum.

Sending a teen-aged boy into the hot-house of Medici intrigue might have seemed questionable to the sober-minded Wittelsbachs. Albert had supported whole-heartedly the Catholic Counter-Reformation; Jesuits were entrenched at the Jesuit College of Ingolstadt, and had raised his children accordingly. Ferdinand's older brother earned for himself the sobriquet "the Pius" for his melancholy demeanor, his ardent attachment to prayer and meditation, and, more obviously, for his eschewal of hunting, dancing, and other frivolities that dominated social life in a 16th-century court. The Emperor chided his father on sending his second son, not sending William, heir to the duchy, but Albert pointed out that he was not able, on such short notice, to put together an appropriate entourage for the heir; the second son would have to do. Ferdinand's entourage was no mean affair. His chief financial adviser, Hanns Jakob Fugger, served as chief steward on the journey, and Fugger's son as Ferdinand's cup-bearer. They traveled by horse, sledge (sled), boat, and carriage in the journey that took four months, from Munich to Florence and back to Munich, and throughout the entire journey, Ferdinand maintained a journal, unusually written in the third person, about his adventure. Through Ferdinand's eyes, via his journal, we have an unusual picture of mid-16th century masquerades, musical performances, and comedies, the experience of which Ferdinand brought with him when he returned to Munich in February of the following year.

On another journey, as a guest of the emperor in Vienna, he recorded the near riot during the Corpus Christi procession of 1578. As he and the archdukes Ferdinand and Maximilian heard the mass, the population harassed the celebrant priests, and interfered with the conduct of the procession itself.


His younger brother, Ernst, was elected to the Archbishopric of Cologne, in 1583, as part of the conflict over the control of the electoral see. Ferdinand took command of his brother's army during the Cologne War; his able management of the army, plus the support of troops from the Duke of Alba in the Spanish Netherlands, secured the electoral dignity for his brother, and consolidated the family's place in imperial politics.

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Ferdinand von Bayern, Graf von Wartenberg's Timeline

January 20, 1550
Landshut, Niederbayern, Bavaria, Germany
February 13, 1604
Munich, Oberbayern, Bavaria, Germany
January 30, 1608
Age 58
Munich, Oberbayern, Bavaria, Germany
Mhunchen, Oberbayern, Bavaria