ASCHAFFENBURG, a town of Germany, in the kingdom of Bavaria, on the right bank of the Main, at its confluence with the Aschaff, near the foot of the Spessart, 26 m. by rail S.E. of Frankfort-On-Main. Pop. (1900) 18,091; (1905) 25,275. Its chief buildings are the Johannisburg, built (1605-1614) by Archbishop Schweikard of Cronberg, which contains a library with a number of incunabula, a collection of engravings and paintings; the Stiftskirche, or cathedral, founded in 980 by Otto of Bavaria, but dating in the main from the early 12th and the 13th centuries, in which are preserved various monuments by the Vischers, and a sarcophagus, with the relics of St Margaret (1540); the Capuchin hospital; a theatre, which was formerly the house of the Teutonic order; and several mansions of the German nobility. The town, which has been remarkable for its educational establishments since the 10th century, has a gymnasium, lyceum, seminarium and other schools. There is an archaeological museum in the old abbey buildings. The graves of Klemens Brentano and his brother Christian (d. 1851) are in the churchyard; and Wilhelm Heinse is buried in the town. Coloured and white paper, ready-made clothing, cellulose, tobacco, lime and liqueurs are the chief manufactures, while a considerable export trade is done down the Main in wood, cattle and wine.
Aschaffenburg, called in the middle ages Aschafaburg and also Askenburg, was originally a Roman settlement. The 10th and 23rd Roman legions had their station here, and on the ruins of their castrum the Frankish mayors of the palace built a castle. Bonifacius erected a chapel to St Martin, and founded a Benedictine monastery. A stone bridge over the Main was built by Archbishop Willigis in 989. Adalbert increased the importance of the town in various ways about 1122. In 1292 a synod was held here, and in 1474 an imperial diet, preliminary to that of Vienna, in which the concordat was decided which has therefore been sometimes called the Aschaffenburg Concordat.
The town suffered greatly during the Thirty Years' War, being held in turn by the various belligerents. In 1842-1849, King Louis built himself to the west of the town a country house, called the Pompeianum, from its being an imitation of the house of Castor and Pollux at Pompeii. In 1866 the Prussians inflicted a severe defeat on the Austrians in the neighbourhood.
The principality of Aschaffenburg, deriving its name from the city, comprehended an area of 654 English sq. m. It formed part of the electorate of Mainz, and in 1803 was made over to the archchancellor, Archbishop Charles of Dalberg. In 1806 it was annexed to the grand-duchy of Frankfort; and in 1814 was transferred to Bavaria, in virtue of a treaty concluded on the 19th of June between that power and Austria. With lower Franconia, it now forms a district of the kingdom of Bavaria.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)