On November 10, Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller was born in Marbach at the Neckar river. His parents were the former army physician and Wuerttemberg officer Johann Kaspar Schiller (1723 - 1796) and his wife Elisabeth Dorothea Schiller, nee Kodweiss of Marbach. The couple had married in 1749. Schiller's older sister Christophine was born on March 4, 1757. Background link to: 'Introducing Schiller's Parents'
Schiller's infancy, his father moved with the
Wuerttemberg army in their Seven-Year war activities. His
wife presumably tried to follow him wherever she could.
Towards the end of 1763, Johann Kaspar was transferred to
Schwaebisch Gmuend to serve as recruiting officer there.
||1761 - 1764|
In early 1764, Schiller's family followed him to his new location. They moved to the nearby village of Lorch. The five-year-old Friedrich received his first elementary school education here, as well as Latin instructions by the village pastor, Ulrich Moser. His influence over the boy was so great that the lad formed the wish to become a Lutheran pastor, himself.
On January 23, 1766, Schiller's second sister, Luise Dorothea Katharina, was born.
Since father Johann Kaspar had never received his payment for his military services for several years; he chose to move back into a garrison to save money. The family moved to Ludwigsburg. Background link link to: 'The Lorch Years'
|1764 - 1766|
At Ludwigsburg, the family moved into the house of the court printer Christoph Friedrich Cotta. Friedrich entered the Ludwigsburg Latin school, aiming at a career as Lutheran pastor.
Friedrich's first impressions of the theater were provided by the family's free access to the Ludwigsburg Court Theater (as officers' family). Schiller's first poetic creations of this period were New Year's Wishes directed to his parents which have been preserved and a poem that has been lost.
November 20, 1768, saw the birth of Schiller's next sister Maria Charlotte.
In September, 1769, Schiller wrote his first annual provincial exam. Background link to the years '1767 - 1769'
|1767 - 1769|
On December 17, 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven was baptized. For more detailed information, please refer back to our Biographical Pages.
In February 1771, Duke Karl Eugen had elevated the Ducal Orphanage at Solitude to his Militaer- Pflanzschule (military training school).
Still back at Latin school in Ludwigsburg, Friedrich Schiller's scholastic achievements had taken 'a dive' due to his adolescent growth and several illnesses.
He received Lutheran confirmation with the other officers' sons in 1772.
Duke Carl Eugen offered Schiller's parents to have Friedrich educated for free at his new Solitude training school. Schiller's parents declined this invitation twice, but accepted the third offer.
On January 16, 1773, Friedrich entered the training school, which, from March 11 on, was officially called Herzogliche Militaer- Akademie (Ducal Military Academy). Background link to the years '1771 - 1773'
|1771 to 1773||
December 25, 1773, is noted as grandfather Ludwig van Beethoven's date of death. For more information, please refer back to our Biographical Pages.
By 1774, a law faculty had been established at the Military Academy. Without great conviction, Friedrich enrolled in this faculty. His behavior was described as 'indifferent' and his talent as 'mediocre'.
By his friends and fellow students, Schiller was described as friendly, with a passion for poetry, untidy on occasion, and very introvert. Schiller formed a sort of 'literary group' with his friends Friedrich Wilhelm von Hoven, Georg Friedrich Scharffenstein and Johann Wilhelm Petersen.
On September 23, 1774, Schiller's parents had to sign a bond. Background link to the year '1774'
In 1775, the Karlsschule or Military Academy was transferred from Solitude to Stuttgart.
Together with his friend Friedrich Wilhelm von Hoven, Schiller changed his course of studies from law to medicine. Background link to the years '1775-1776'
|1775 to 1776||
At about this time, father Johann van Beethoven must have begun to tutor his son Ludwig in music, mainly at the piano. For more details, please refer to our Biographical Pages.
On January 23, 1777, the poet, publicist and composer Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart was lured away from Ulm under a ruse onto Wuerttemberg soil, arrested and incarcerated for ten years (until 1787) in the Hohenasperg fortress. His son Ludwig became a student at the Karlsschule.
Schiller began to work on the first version of his play 'Robbers'.
Schiller returned to paying more attention to his medical studies in 1778. In October of that year, he wrote his forensic report, 'Beaobachtungen bei der Leichenoeffnung des Eleve Hiller' (Observations on the opening of the body of the student Hiller).
Schiller's scholastic achievements improved greatly during these two years. On the occasion of the December 1778 final exams, he became eligible for two prizes. Background link to the years '1777 - 1778'
In 1778, Beethoven performed at a concert his father had arranged in Cologne. For more details, please refer to our Biographical Pages.
At about this time, Beethoven also began to receive musical training outside of his home. See our Biogrpahical Pages.
On January 10, 1779, on the occasion of the birthday of the mistress of Duke Karl Eugen, Franziska Reichsgraefin von Hohenheim, Schiller held a conventional festive speech with the topic, 'Can too much of kindness, bonhommie and generosity still be considered virtues in the strictest meaning of the word?'
On the occasion of Duke Karl Eugen's birthday on Feburary 11, Schiller's lost play 'Der Jahrmarkt' was staged.
In May, Duke Karl Eugen, with the Karlsschule students destined to follow a stage career and with students of the girl's school, Ecole des demoiselles, formed a German National Theatre, for which, from 1780 on, a building was set aside. On October 7th, the Nationaltheater was founded in Mannheim.
Schiller's dissertation which he submitted in October of that year, 'Philosophie der Physiologie'(Philosophy of Physiology), was rejected. It was decided that Schiller, along with all other medical students, had to remain at the Karlsschule for yet another year.
On December 14, Schiller and Goethe met for the first time, although not directly in person. Goethe, who accompanied his Weimar patron, Duke Karl August, attended the founding anniversary of the Karlsschule. Background link to the year '1779'
On January 10, on the occasion of Franziska von Hohenheim's birthday, Schiller held a festive speech, 'Die Tugend in ihren Folgen betrachtet' (Virtue, seen from the vantage point of its consequences).
Duke Karl Eugen's February 11 birthday celebrations took place in his absence. On this occasion, the students, under Schiller's direction, staged Goethe's play 'Clavigo'. Schiller's over-dramatic performance was looked at by his fellow students and by himself from an ironic point of view and was met with great laughter.
During his last study year, Schiller only had to take Italian. He repeated, however, his psychology course with Professor Abel and heard lectures on Virgil and Homer.
For his practical training, Schiller often served in the sick room of the Karlsschule. He preferred to fill in at night, as light! was allowed to stay on all night in the sick room. Schiller used this to complete his play 'Robbers'.
At the beginning of November, Schiller submitted his second dissertation, 'Ueber den Zusammenhang der tierischen Natur des Menschen mit seiner geistigen' (on the inter-relationship between Man's animal nature and his intellectual nature). He also had to submit one more practical paper, 'De discrimine febrium inflammatoriarum et putridarum tractatio' (On the difference between infectious and lingering fevers).
On December 15, 1780, Schiller graduated from the Karlsschule.
His employment as regiment physician under the Stuttgart Grenadier Regiment of General Auge‚ yielded him only a salary of 18 florins monthly, since he, as well as all other graduates, did not get the opportunity to write his medical exam at the University of Tuebingen. Background link to the year '1780'
In the summer of 1780, Beethoven began his apprenticeship as a court musician under Christian Gottlob Neefe. See our Biographical Pages.
On January 16, Schiller's former fellow student Christian Weckherlin, now also a physician, suddenly died. The medical colleagues commissioned from Schiller a poem in his honor. The 'Elegie auf den den fruehzeitigen Tod Chistrian Weckherlins' (Elegy on the early death of Christian Weckherlin), and they paid for it to be printed.
At the beginning of February, Schiller and his former fellow student Joseph Kapf rented a room together from the Captain's widow Luise Dorothea Vischer. Schiller's former school friends meet there or in the nearby restaurant 'Goldener Ochse'.
At an officers' banquet in honor of the Duke, Schiller became so drunk that he had to be carried home in the Ducal sedan.
Anonymously, Schiller took over the job of editing the news magazine 'Nachrichten zum Nuzen und Vergnuegen', which was published twice a week in Stuttgart.
At the end of May or the beginning of June, his 'Robbers' was (self)- published (paid for with borrowed money) with 800 copies. The play was first reviewed on July 24, in an article in which the critic had this to say: 'If we should ever hope for that a Shakespeare will rise in Germany, he will rise in this man.' The Mannheim theater director, Baron von Dalberg, proposed that Schiller revise the play for its possible staging in Mannheim. Schiller began to revise it from mid-August on.
On October 22, the author of the 'Robbers' became known to the public.
Towards the end of this year, Schiller visited Daniel Schubart at the Hohenasperg fortress. Background link to the year '1781'
The 'Robbers' premiered on January 13 at the Mannheim Nationaltheater. Schiller went there secretly and watched the premiere in his own box.
In mid-February, Schiller self- published his 'Anthologie auf das Jahr 1782', as a contrast publication to Friedrich Staeudlin's 'Schwaebischer Musenalmanach auf das Jahr 1782'.
On March 31, the first issue appeared of the 'Wirtembergische Repertorium der Literatur' which Schiller, his former fellow student Johann Wilhelm Petersen and Professor Abel founded and published.
The 'Robbers' were staged in September in Leipzig and Hamburg, and in Frankfurt in November.
(The work ultimately premiered in Stuttgart on May 5, 1784, in the presence of Duke Karl Eugen).
From May 25 to 29, in the absence of Duke Karl Eugen, Schiller undertook a second journey to Mannheim. This journey then became known to the Duke who ordered Schiller to be incarcerated for two weeks and forbade him to have any contact whatsoever with 'foreign persons' such as the Mannheim theater people.
Towards the end of August, Schiller was called to Hohenheim to face the Duke who then and there forbade him all further writing activities under threat of incarceration, much like Schubart...
...this obviously caused Schiller to flee from his native Wuerttemberg. He took this opportunity during the September 17 to 25 festivities in honor of the later Russian Tsar Paul I and his wife Feodorowna, a niece of the Duke. On September 22, while Solitude was festively illuminated, 'Dr. Ritter' (Schiller) and his friend 'Dr. Wolf' (Schiller's friend, the musician Johann Andreas Streicher) left the capital city by the Esslingen Gate and arrived safely in Mannheim on September 24.
Dalberg had also been at the Solitude celebrations and was absent from Mannheim when Schiller and Streicher arrived there. The surprised Mannheim actors and the director Dietrich Meyer welcomed him, but could hardly believe that he was the author of the 'Robbers' when he read to them from his new play 'Fiesco' in his strong Wuerttemberg dialect.
While Schiller immediately began to correspond with Duke Karl Eugen through his former supervisor, General Auge, to ask of the Duke that he revoke his prohibition for him to write, but to no avail.
On October 31st, Schiller was struck from the register of officers of the Duke with the comment 'deserted', which made him officially a deserter.
On October 3rd, Schiller, not feeling too safe in Mannheim, left the city in the company of Streicher and went via Darmstadt, Frankfort, and Mainz to Oggersheim, where he arrived on October 13th.
From there, he negotiated with Mannheim regarding the staging of his 'Fiesco'. Dalberg had initially encouraged Schiller to take up this subject. The negotiations were unsuccessful, however. The Mannheim bookseller and theater publisher Schwan, however, published 'Fiesco'.
On November 30th, Schiller left Oggersheim and went via Worms, Frankfort, Glenhausen and Meiningen to Bauerbach, where he arrived on December 7th. He stayed there at Mme. von Wolzogen's property on her invitation. She was the mother of a former fellow student at the Karlsschule. Background link to the year '1782'
At Bauerbach Schiller, who lived there under the pseudonym 'Dr. Ritter', mainly socialized with Mme. von Wolzogen, her daughter Charlotte whom he at first courted, and with the Meiningen court librarian Friedrich Reinwald.
At Bauerbach, Schiller worked on his next drama, 'Luise Millerin' and on 'Don Carlos'.
Towards mid-March, Schiller was able to rekindle his contacts with Dalberg at Mannheim.
Towards the end of April, the first book edition of 'Die Verschwoerung des Fiesco zu Genua' was published by Schwan in Mannheim.
On October 8th, the Bonn theatre company, that had initially premiered the work in Bonn during this year, held a guest performance of the play in Frankfort.
On July 27th, Schiller returned to Mannheim. Here, he entered a contract with Dalberg and the Mannheim Nationaltheater to work as their theater poet. The contract became effective on September 1st and was termed for one year.
Schiller, however, soon became infected with malaria which was rampant in Mannheim at the time. Background link to the year '1783'
The Bonn court theater season of 1782/1783 saw the staging of Schiller's play 'Robbers'.
The play 'Fiesco' was first staged at:/p>
The Bonn Electoral Court Theatre on July 20th! (At that time, Beethoven had substituted as harpsichordist at the Bonn Court Theatre for musical performances. This might have come to and end at the end of that theater season. As to whether he became aware of the staging of Schiller's works, being twelve years old at the time, we do not know.
January 8, 1784, Schiller was elected to the Board of the
'Kurfuerstliche Deutsche Gesellschaft' (Electoral German
On January 11, the 'Fiesco' premiered in Mannheim. Schiller had made extensive revisions to it.
In mid-March, the first book edition of 'Kabale und Liebe, ein buergerliches Trauerspiel von Fridrich Schiller', was published by Schwan in Mannheim.
The play premiered in Frankfort on April 13th.
At the beginning of May, Schiller made the acquaintance of Charlotte von Kalb and her husband.
At the beginning of June, Schiller received a beautiful gift from four Leipzig admirers: four portraits, a carrying case as well as a composition of the song 'Amalia' from his 'Robbers'.
On June 26, Schiller held his acceptance speech at the German Society entitled 'Vom Wirken der Schaubuehne auf das Volk'.
Towards the end of July, Schiller's financial situation worsened. The lady who had been a guarantor in the case of his Stuttgart indebted- ness of 200 florins (who had fled to Mannheim), was arrested. His Mannheim landlord helped him out in the last minute. A further burden was his indebtedness to Mme. von Wolzogen. Johann Kaspar Schiller let his son know that he could no longer support him.
Schiller's reputation also suffered because of a comedy by Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter, 'Der schwarze Mann', which ironically portrayed a playwright who was fickle-minded with respect to the endings of his plays.
On August 31st, Schiller's contract with the Mannheim theater came to an end and was not renewed. He had not lived up to the stipulation to write three plays during one year.
However, Schiller stayed on in Mannheim and worked on his play 'Don Carlos'.
His passion for the married Charlotte von Kalb found expression in poems he wrote at that time, such as 'Freigeisterei der Leidenschaft' and 'Resignation'.
On December 26th, Schiller had occasion to read from the first act of his 'Don Carlos' at the Darmstadt court. Duke Karl August of Weimar was present and bestowed on Schiller, the very next day, the honorary title of a Weimar Court Councillor. Background link to the year '1784'
As our Biographical Pages point out, research had determined that this might have been the year in which Beethoven met the von Breuning family. His friend Wegeler, who had introduced him to this family, reports in his Biographische Notizen, "Ludwig made his first acquaintance with German literature, especially poetry, in the von Breuning family in Bonn" (Wegeler/Ries 14).
In January, Schiller's relationship with the Mannheim stage worsened. On January 19, he complained strongly to von Dalberg about the lax acting in the third staging of his play 'Kabale und Liebe' of the night before.
On Feburary 22nd, Schiller continued a letter to Christian Gottfried Koerner of Leipzig that he had begun to write on February 10th, and expressed his wish to leave Mannheim.
In mid-March, the first issue of Schiller's new periodical 'Rheinische Thalia' was published by Schwan in Mannheim.
At the same time, Schiller received Koerner's invitation to move to Leipzig and stay with him.
On April 9th, Schiller left Mannheim and arrived in Leipzig on April 17th. Koerner was in Dresden at that time, however.
At first, Schiller moved into a student lodging.
On April 24th, Schiller wrote a letter to his Mannheim publisher Schwan in which he asked for the hand of his daughter Margarethe.
At the beginning of May, Schiller moved into a small attic room in the village of Gohlis near Leipzig, which was a popular summer retreat of the Leipzigers, while the first reliably documented meeting with his friend Koerner only took place on July 1st. Koerner's wedding to Minna Stock took place on August 7th, and on September 11th, Schiller followed them to Dresden. There, he settled in Koerner's cottage in Loschwitz near Dresden.
In Loschwitz, he wrote his 'Ode to Joy' in October and November of that year. Background link to the year '1785'
THE ODE TO JOY -- ORIGINAL TEXT and TRANSLATION
TO THE SECOND PART OF THE ODE TO JOY HISTORY!