- Marbach am Neckar, Württemberg, Germany – Birthplace
- November 10, 1759 – Born
“I loathe this ink-wasting century, when I read in any Plutarch of great men.” – Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller
Life Sketch from The Other Eminent Men of Wilford WoodruffCopyright © Taken from the book: The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff. Special thanks to Vicki Jo Anderson. Please do not copy. German Poet, Dramatist, Historian 1759-1805 In the later part of the eighteenth century, Europe fell under the spell of the pursuit of liberty and freedom, much of it springing from the results of the American revolution. Such success kindled in the people of Europe a desire for their own freedom. This compelling spirit rumbled and boiled in France, finally giving way to a major eruption. So massive was its convulsions that it was some time before the effects of the French Revolution brought any benefits to its people. Germany, unlike united France, was still in a semi-feudal state with powerful Dukes exercising great control over a small area and limited number of people. These conditions precluded revolt. Nevertheless, Germany’s people felt the pull, and its revolution was carried out in their literature and dramas. The German literary revolution, or “The Storm and Stress” as it is often called, had its lead in author Friedrich Schiller.
Early LifeSchiller was born in Marbach on 10 November 1759, to Johann Kaspar Schiller and Elizabeth Dorothea Kodweis. Most of his childhood days were spent in the beautiful countryside of Lorch and Ludwigsburg. Born under one of the more restrictive dukes in Germany, the Duke of Wurtemburg, even as a child Schiller felt in a very personal way the loss of his freedoms. During the first four years of Schiller’s life, his father was away at war on orders of the duke. Only on occasional leaves did Schiller see his father. In his father’s absence, Schiller’s entire education and rearing fell to his mother. Those who knew her observed that she was deeply religious and had a great reverence and a love of nature. From her letters it can be observed that she was the most tender of mothers. She read a good deal, and her favorite books were historical in nature. She particularly liked to study the biographies of famous men. Young Schiller adored his mother, and he attributes his own deep spiritual search and development to his mother. He and his sister loved to hear her tell them Bible stories. Schiller’s sister, Christophine, wrote in her memoirs:
- Once, when we two, as children, had set out walking with dear Mamma to see our grandparents, she took the way from Ludwigsburg to Marbach, which leads straight over the hill [a walk of some four miles]. It was a beautiful Easter Monday, and our Mother related to us the history of the two disciples to whom, on their journey to Emmaus, Jesus had joined himself. Her speech and narrative grew ever more inspired; and when we got upon the Hill, we were all so much affected that we knelt down and prayed. This hill became a Tabor to us.