Hans Erasmus Aßmann


Hans Erasmus Aßmann

Hans Erasmus Aßmann, Freiherr von Abschatz (4 February 1646 – 22 April 1699) was a German statesman and poet from the second Silesian school.

Life

Abschatz was born at Würbitz in Lower Silesia. Even though his parents died soon, Abschatz visited the college in Liegnitz and later studied law at the universities of Strasbourg and Leyden. This was followed by a three year travel through Belgium, France, and Italy. Returning at the age of 23, he assumed the administration of his manors and married with Anna von Hund in 1669. His financial condition was favourable and his private life fortunate, only disturbed by the death of few close relatives.

With the death of the last Silesian Piast, Duke George William, and the annexion of Silesia to Austria, the talent he showed in the administration of his manors led Abschatz to enter political life. He went two times to speak at the imperial court. The first time as syndic for the Duchy of Liegnitz, the second time as a representative for all Silesian estates. Emperor Leopold I conferred to him the title of baron ("Freiherr"). In 1679, Abschatz was elected permanent deputy of Legnica at the "Fürstentage" in Breslau, the regular congress of the sovereigns of Silesia.

By his public services he gained the respect of his fellow countrymen and acquired what he once claimed to be the highest tribute to his life's work: An inscription on his tombstone saying "he was an honest man in his fatherland".

As a poet, Abschatz first oriented himself towards Daniel Casper von Lohenstein, a close friend. He was mostly known for his accurate translations and the mere fact that he - as a nobleman - was interested in poetry at all. This was commonly seen as a sign for a change in the attitude towards literature and gave hope that Germany could keep pace with the literary tradition of France and England. He also alluded himself to his intentions in this direction. He is quoted to have said that "nobility without personal merit is nothing but an empty house on foreign grounds. And while it is at first assigned with the governmental and military affairs, it is only the blossom of his mind which can grant to it the highest fame."

Notes

ources

* "Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie" - at Wikisource


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