An impetuous youth at Solitude PalaceFriedrich von Schiller

Perhaps the most famous student of Hohe Karlsschule is Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805). As the son of an officer of Württemberg, he inherited a path to the ducal court almost from the cradle. Yet for the young Schiller, this was unthinkable—the only path left to him was to flee!

Portrait of Friedrich Schiller's father: Johann Kaspar Schiller, 1793

His father, Johann Kaspar Schiller.

Where did Friedrich Schiller spend his childhood and youth?

He was born in Marbach. Together with his five sisters, Friedrich Schiller grew up in the residential city of Ludwigsburg. His father was employed here as an officer and royal gardener to Carl Eugen. At 13 years old, Schiller entered the Hohe Karlsschule at Solitude and began to study law. Later, he changed to medicine and became a military doctor.

Did Friedrich Schiller enjoy his time at Solitude?

The sensitive soul of this young student suffered from the beginning under the strict military discipline that was the order of the day at the Hohe Karlsschule. And no wonder as it was still called the "Military Academy," or "military nursery," at that time. Schiller did complete his study of medicine there, yet inwardly withdrew from a life in the service of Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg. Fascinated by the writings of other poets, he became a writer and wrote the sensational play, "The Robbers."

Schloss Solitude, Gemälde von Jean Adrien Claude Servadoni, um 1765

Solitude Palace in 1765.

Portrait of Friedrich Schiller by Franz Gerhard von Kügelgen, 1808

Friedrich Schiller in profile.

Were his early writings universally praised?

With the success of his drama, "The Robbers," which was originally produced in "foreign" Mannheim, Schiller came under criticism. Due to unauthorized trips to Mannheim, Carl Eugen briefly had the budding poet imprisoned and then even prohibited him from writing. A lover of freedom, as Schiller was, there was only one way out: flight!

Schiller monument in Mannheim, constructed in 1862

Schiller monument in Mannheim.

When did the poet leave Württemberg?

Carl Eugen celebrated the arrival of the Russian ducal couple in 1782 with a lively party that drew a great deal of public attention. Unnoticed by the duke, Schiller was able to leave the state. He settled in Weimar. His contemporaries valued him, and he even received a title of nobility. His works made him part of literary history. What's more, he visited Ludwigsburg once against in 1793.

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